Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend: Dumbo Double Dare 2014

Hi, guys! Hope you all had an awesome weekend. At long last, here’s my recap of the Disneyland Half Marathon!

After an early dinner the night before the race, we headed back to the room to ensure at least 6-7 hours of sleep before a 4am wake-up call. We got dressed in our costumes — inspired, of course, by Lilo and Stitch, since I’m totally obsessed — and walked to the starting line in Downtown Disney with thousands of our newest friends. I definitely appreciate the ease and convenience of staying in one of the motels across the street from the Disneyland Resort, and it’s nice to not have to make the walk alone…seems lots of runners have the same idea!

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We jammed into the back of corral D and waited for the race to start. Much to my surprise, they let A and B go together, and within just a few minutes, they were ready to release C and D! Todd and I both submitted almost the same half marathon time for corral placement (2:02 and 2:03), and he was placed in C, but my Dumbo bib had D. I don’t know if that means anything…?

The race starts along the streets of Anaheim, just like the previous morning’s 10K. There are some spectators out, but for the most part, it’s pretty quiet. I found that even though it was still hot and I was sweating pretty profusely in the first couple of miles, it wasn’t QUITE as unbearable as the previous morning. But then again, it could have been because I didn’t have enormous plush gloves on my hands or a stuffed animal on my head.

Of course, I already knew that the best part of the race would come before the 4-mile mark. That’s when you’re actually running through the Disneyland parks! You start in California Adventure and then make your way to Disneyland, with lots of “behind-the-scenes” peeks at the “backstage” area (where taking photos is a big no-no, and you get to see all sorts of “unmagical” things).

We saw these guys shortly after entering the park, and I never pass up the army men photo opp; I have a picture with them from every runDisney race I’ve run thus far!

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Our next character stop was in Cars Land; I missed this photo opp last time, so I definitely wanted to grab it this year. I had to sort through the unidentified photos to find this one, and am still waiting for Marathonfoto to assign it to my account…so, for now, here’s the version with the watermark, haha.

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After that, there was pretty much nothing in the way of characters until Disneyland — so I continued to be just a tad disappointed by this year’s race weekend and the lack of hoopla along the course, which was totally unlike last year!

However, running by Mickey’s Fun Wheel and the World of Color fountains in California Adventure is definitely a highlight of this race. So, of course, we stopped to take a few photos there. :)

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At this point, it was growing increasingly humid and I was definitely feeling a little bit of fatigue in my legs from all the walking around the parks and running the 10K — but otherwise, I felt okay. The Lilo costume was nice and breezy, and as the sun was starting to come up a bit, I noticed that it was actually quite cloudy — which was a godsend.

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As we entered Disneyland, running down Main Street USA was SO much more exciting during the half than the 10K. There were tons of spectators and lots of excitement. I think we both loved the cheers for “Lilo and Stitch!” Todd won’t admit it but I totally caught him hamming it up for our cheering fans on more than one occasion, haha. ;) 741607-1019-0022s

Then, we spotted a VERY EXCITING photo opportunity with none other than The Thee Caballeros. Ever since we dressed up as Donald and Daisy for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, the ducks have become sort of our relationship mascot…including our my re-decorating of the house, haha. And we’re been sort of obsessed with The Three Caballeros song ever since we first took the ride in the Mexico Pavilion of Epcot together. So, needless to say, I was more than happy to stand in line for them.

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Before we made our way through the park, we stood in another fairly long line of runners waiting to get their photo taken in front of the castle. I still do not understand why there are no MarathonFoto photographers here; instead, a friendly cast member was standing by to take pictures for us.

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We stumbled upon a VERY long character line in Tomorrowland, which I KNEW had to be Darth Vader. Being something of a Star Wars geek, we decided to wait…but, of course, as we got closer to the front of the line, Darth Vader went in back for a snack or a nap or who-knows-what, and we ended up with just the Storm Troopers. Boo.

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Running through Disneyland was infinitely entertaining to me. I loved every second of it. Especially running through the castle. Maybe because it reminds me so much of running through Magic Kingdom…? :)

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We stumbled upon a few more characters and opted to stop for the evil stepsisters and stepmother…

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…and then there were a bunch of LONG lines for various villains, all in groups of two. It was a tough decision, but I decided to go for the shot with Jafar because a.) you never see him and b.) Aladdin is one of my favorite movies of all time. You could totally wait in line for the others, but I have to tell you, the lines were getting just a tad too long at that point…even for me!

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I was having a grand old time running in Disneyland and taking pictures and goofing around, but, unfortunately, this part of the race is over SO. FREAKIN’. FAST.

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The obligatory Dumbo pic!

I remembered from last year that the second part of the race wasn’t nearly as entertaining, and how I really started to struggle in those final miles. Well, this year was pretty much a repeat of that experience. Even though I was extremely glad to have someone to run with me this time around, once we left Disneyland, I just wasn’t really feeling it.

The sky was still pretty cloudy, which I was VERY grateful for, but it was still freakin’ hot. And I was tired and my legs and feet were really feeling the effects of walking the Disney parks on top of the Dumbo Double Dare running.

The course proceeds to take you onto the streets of Anaheim again, which really makes it feel like any one of the million half marathons I’ve run in big cities. The spectator support is pretty good, and Disney really does do a nice job of assembling entertainment along the way, from marching bands to hula dancers. One of the more popular parts of the course is a bunch of folks who kindly park their classic cars along the road. And, you know, the Batmobile, of course…

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I have to be honest and admit I couldn’t care less about cars, so it’s not all that exciting to me, but it definitely does offer at least a little bit of visual distraction!

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(But, no matter what they do, it’s still running 13.1 miles…in California…in the summer.)

I know Todd loved running by the Honda Center, and especially through Angel’s Stadium.

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I gotta admit, that’s the only other highlight of this race for me. Running in the stadium with spectators giving you high fives and cheering you along is pretty exciting. Unfortunately, it only lasts for all of two minutes or so, and then you’re outta there.

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After we made our way out of the stadium, I noticed I was having a bit of a wardrobe malfunction in that the leaves were falling off my costume shirt. The sun was starting to peek out and the temperatures were definitely rising, and I was REALLY starting to sweat like a pig. I was wearing a tech tank underneath my Lilo top — since this sort of thing has happened before — but even that wasn’t enough to absorb the sweat. Apparently, sweat + fabric glue = bye-bye costume. I had completely lost one leaf and really didn’t want any of the others to fall off, since you guys know how much I care about race-day costumes, haha — so I stole some pins from our bibs to stick through the others for the time being. Sadness. :(

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In other news, my excessive sweatiness had caused my iPod to get wetter than usual, and somewhere in the last mile or two, I heard a bunch of static and then the stupid thing just went dead. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve sweated all over my iPod a million times. I’ve run through sprinklers with it, had spectators squirt me with hoses while wearing it during races, etc., and nothing has ever happened. But I clip the thing to my bra strap (which I’ve also done a million times before!) while running in Anaheim, CA in the middle of summer, and apparently, that’s what did it in. It wouldn’t even turn on for days after that, and even now, it’s only sort of working…it won’t let me perform basic functions like, you know, turning it off or adjusting the volume.

Needless to say, between my costume falling apart and my iPod not working — and the fact that t was getting VERY HOT and my feet were VERY SORE — I was more than a little grumpy in those last couple of miles. I especially hate the part of the course where you’re essentially running on the edge of a cliff — no joke! You’re basically running on dirt and gravel on this narrow ledge, and I still don’t know why this isn’t considered extremely dangerous…there has to be another way to get out from the Honda Center to Angel’s Stadium, no? This part of the course is cramped and crowded and our many stops for characters meant we were trapped behind walls of walkers, and there were several times we couldn’t have run even if we wanted to.

The last 5K dragged on, but finally, I saw we were leaving the streets of Anaheim and running back towards Downtown Disney. And the hoopla and excitement that awaited us was more than enough to boost my spirits.

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We finally crossed the finish line right around my typical runDisney race time of 3:30.

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We collected our medal and goodies; we both received the half marathon medal and lovely Coast to Coast medal, and I also got my Dumbo Double Dare medal for the second year!

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Immediately after the race, we starting walking (or hobbling, whatever you want to call it) to the Paradise Pier Hotel for our breakfast reservations at PCH Grill. I did this for two reasons. One, I knew we’d likely need a chance to sit down and chill a bit before spending the rest of the day in Disneyland. And, two, not even gonna lie…I really, really wanted a picture with Stitch while dressed up in our costumes. I knew that there was a decent chance he wouldn’t be on the course for the half, but I did know that he’s usually one of the characters to greet guests at this particular beach-themed breakfast buffet.

Fortunately, I was right! :)

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After stuffing our faces eating breakfast, we went back to the room to clean ourselves up and head back to Disneyland to catch some missed attractions — and do a lot of sitting down whenever possible. I always develop a bad case of “Disney feet” during these runDisney race weekends because I just can’t seem to grasp the simple concept of NOT WALKING AROUND THEME PARKS ALL DAY LONG IN THE DAYS BEFORE A HALF MARATHON.

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Still, it was worth it. We had a blast. :)

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Will I be running the Dumbo Double Dare again? Honestly, I think this was it for me. I had a great time, don’t get me wrong, but running at Disneyland just isn’t the same as running at The World, and it never will be. (And that’s not just because the flight from New Jersey is more than twice as long!) There’s a whole lot of boring stretches of highway during WDW races, too, but for some reason, it still feels “magical”…and the Disneyland races will just never feel quite the same to me.

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I would still like to do the Tinkerbell Half Marathon one year, and maybe the new Star Wars Half Marathon, but I think my days of running half marathons in California in August have officially come to an end.

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What did you think of the Disneyland Half/Dumbo Double Dare this year?

Have you ever run the same race more than once?

Ever have a “wardrobe malfunction” (or iPod issues) in the middle of a race?

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