Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend: The 10K

Hey, guys! I’m back with a (somewhat overdue) recap of the Disneyland 10K! You know, now that I have all my Marathonfoto pictures and all. :)

We spent the whole day in Disneyland on Friday, which, of course, wasn’t the best idea…my legs and feet were already sore by the time the alarm went off at 4am on Saturday morning. Nonetheless, I was glad to only have a short walk between my motel and the starting line — the one thing I like better about races in Disneyland, I gotta say… :)


As you may know, I decided to go with the whole Stitch theme and dress up as my favorite little blue alien. And Disneyland really seemed to have fun with this particular theme; they were playing Elvis songs (‘cuz, you know, Lilo loves Elvis…) as we walked to the starting corrals, and the runDisney staff were all wearing leis and doing the hula and whatnot. I left a few minutes before 5am, and by the time I squeezed into the back of corral B, it was almost time for the race to start.741730-1003-0025s

Stitch was there to send us off (which I loved, not gonna lie), and I was ready to start the race. Mind you, it was HOT and HUMID that morning — I was already sweating just from my leisurely stroll to the starting line.

As such, once we started running, I knew I had made a teensy weensy little costume blunder. You see, being the genius that I am, I thought it would be a FABULOUS idea to wear “Stitch mitts” are part of my costume. I knew it would be hot, but I figured I could manage — after all, it’s “only” 6 miles, right?


Wrong. Within minutes, my hands felt lie they were on fire, and I could literally feel my fingers swelling up. No joke! So I ripped off the mitts and decided I’d carry them until I either a.) stopped to take a picture or b.) spotted a Marathonfoto photographer. So, that’s what I did, but it was still a royal PITA and let me tell you I will NOT be wearing ANYTHING on my hands for a race ever again. Surprisingly enough, I was far more concerned about running with the giant stuffed hat on my head, but I honestly couldn’t even feel it. Wearing the Bondiband underneath was more than enough to absorb the sweat, and it felt a lot more lightweight than I thought.

Anyway, the first mile or two of this race are pretty boring. You’re running through the streets of Anaheim in the dark — really nothing to write home about. But before I knew it, it was time to head back into the parks, starting with California Adventure! You’re basically running through the “backstage” area with no clue where you actually are at any given time, but then before you know it you run through a “secret” entrance and you’re in the park.


I do love running by the water, especially since the World of Color lights and fountains are on and it looks pretty freakin’ awesome.


So, here’s where things started to get sort of interesting. Again, I liked the whole Stitch and Elvis theme. I really did. But with the exception of a handful of Elvis look-a-likes who were standing around to take pictures with runners, I really wasn’t seeing any characters whatsoever. Last year’s theme was Alice in Wonderland, and even though that’s not my favorite movie/character, I LOVED the 10K course in that it was a lot of time in the parks and there were TONS of characters.


I stopped for a quick picture with Mater in Cars Land, but after that…nothing. Last year, it seemed every time you turned a corner there was another character. Running through the parks is fun and all, but I was getting pretty annoyed with the fact that I slapped down the extra dinero to complete the Dumbo Double Dare just so I could run the 10K again (okay, fine, the extra medals have a little something to do with it, too…) and there weren’t any characters out. To me, that’s a big part of “running Disney,” and it annoys me a bit when runDisney doesn’t do their part to give the people what they want — you know what I’m sayin’?


Once we made it into Disneyland, I found it pretty eerie to find NO spectators on Main Street. I can’t remember if that’s how it was last year, too, but it definitely took a little something away from running down Main Street USA. Who doesn’t love having crowds of people to cheer for them? :) 741709-1048-0034sI  hopped in line for a photo in front of the castle — oddly enough, taken by a cast member as opposed to, you know, an actual photographer, since you’re really not allowed to get anywhere near the castle during Disneyland races — and was on my way.


Of course, even though Disneyland’s castle doesn’t hold a candle to Disney World’s, it’s still ridiculously fun to run through it. Never gets old!


I eventually spotted Chip and Dale — and, of course, Elvis? — and since you never see them in their little cops-and-robbers get-up, I figured I’d stop for that one. Not that I had any other choices or anything.

DSCF0495I’m sure you know my big hope for the morning was that Stitch would be out, and I figured if he was, that he’d be closer to the end of the race. Well, somewhere in mile 5, I spotted him! I ran like a maniac to get in his LOOOOOONG line (although it still wasn’t nearly as long as the Dopey line during the 5K in WDW!), and not 5 minutes after I jumped in line, cast members started turning away runners because “Stitch was done for the morning.”

Um…I started in Corral B, and it was only about an hour and 15 minutes into my race, and you’re going to tell me that the ONE big character they had out — and the “mascot” for this year’s race — wasn’t going to be posing for pictures any longer? Most of the runners were okay with continuing on, but I did hear lots of complaints along the lines of “what about the slower runners?!” when they weren’t allowed to get in line. If I had gotten there a few minutes later and they turned me away, I would have been INFURIATED. No offense, but if Disney wants to cater to runners of all speeds and abilities, then why would they pull characters off the course so early?

Stitch was posing with some random woman dressed in Hawaiian garb, so I asked her nicely if I could please take a photo with just Stitch, lol.741697-1011-0030s She didn’t mind, and I got my picture, and for moment — just a moment — I was feeling pretty good about the Disneyland 10K. :)


I made my way out of the park and and back through Downtown Disney to the finish, collected my Stitch medal and my goodies, and then basically got trapped in the worst traffic jam of my life as runners tried to make their way out of Downtown Disney while the race was still going on.


We were on a time schedule since we had breakfast reservations at Ariel’s Grotto (she’s my favorite and I like sitting on the water near the Big Wheel, so sue me, lol). Eventually, I made it out of Downtown Disney and found Todd — who, understandably, was too afraid to try to navigate the crowds to meet me at the finish line.


Bottom line? I had a lot of fun and everything, but I probably wouldn’t choose to run the Disneyland 10K again. (Unless there was maybe, like, a REALLY awesome theme. Or medal.) ;)

I got cleaned up (again, with one of my beloved Shower Pill wipes, because there’s just no time for showering on a Disney trip, lol), had time to grab a quick ride on Toy Story Mania as soon as the park opened, and we made our breakfast reservations. DSCF0525

And, by special request, we got to sit outside by the water, while all the little kiddies ate inside. (All the princesses still came to visit us, though!)


We spend the rest of the day wandering around California Adventure and hitting all the attractions we missed the first night.


And, that night, I finally got to meet up with Danielle from Live, Run, Grow in Downtown Disney! DSCF0634

It’s always fun meeting bloggy-type friends “in real life,” and I’ve been following her blog for quite some time, so it was awesome to chat for a couple of minutes before our dinner reservations (we were headed to Storytellers Cafe for a nice all-you-can-eat buffet to “carbo load” before the half marathon in the morning). :)


Thought I’d throw in one more character photo…why not…?

Next up (FINALLY)…my recap of the Disneyland Half Marathon!

If you ran this year, what did you think of the 10K?

Do you like “themed” races?




  1. i did dumbo this year as part of my first half marathon (i know, ridiculous, but i honestly figured if you could do dopey as part of your first full, i would be fine) because i knew i didn’t want to stop for characters during the half, so the 10k was my “fun” run. i can’t tell you how disappointed i was at the lack of characters. i’m not really a stitch or cars fan at all, and so the only stop i considered making was the chip and dale, but by that time i was just ready to run through the castle and get reunited with my parents to go to the parks haha
    oh, and that traffic jam was the worst! talk about feeling like herded cattle!

    • That is AWESOME! Aw, I love that I could inspire you to be a “Dumbo.” ;) I figure you’ve already trained for that half or full, what’s one more 10K/half marathon the day before, right? Haha.

      But, yeah, I hear ya. I’m sorry you were disappointed — I felt the same way! It was SO not like last year, where there were tons of characters. I don’t get it; runDisney must know why the majority of us sign up for these races, right?!

  2. totally agree with everything you said! I was so disappointed with the lack of characters especially because we were in corral C (started towards the front) and were some of the people that got turned away. so bummed! and im assuming there was A LOT of people finishing after us too.

    and I actually saw you heading out inthe crowds through downtown disney but you were too far ahead for me to try and come by and say hi :(

    • UGH. Sorry to hear that! That’s what I don’t understand…it’s not like it was so late in the race that they had to remove him from the course, and the line wasn’t really THAT long. NOT COOL!

      Aww, man…sorry we missed each other! Hopefully we can meet up at a race soon! :)

  3. I LOVE your costume. You look absolutely adorable and got some fantastic race photos. However, I can only imagine how hot you were…..wearing gloves? That took fortitude!

    • Aw, thanks, Pam! You could call it fortitude…that’s probably the nice way to put it. Sometimes I think I really have just lost my mind, though… ;)

  4. SOOO glad we finally got to meet!

    And I sure bet you would have liked those Stitch gloves during the Channukah Chalf ; )

  5. I love your costume! Before you even mentioned how hot you were, I was thinking “wow, I can’t believe she wasn’t hot wearing that the entire race”…lol. It’s too bad that they didn’t have more characters out on the course!

  6. This was my second runDisney race weekend. During the Enchanted 10k and Princess Half, I didn’t stop for any character pictures, because really I was so nervous about just finishing my races. This time I knew I’d be alright if I stopped, and I was running the 10k with a friend so we planned to take it slow and have a good time and take lots of pictures and then be serious business during the half. We started in corrall C… And there were just no character photos to be had. Totally disappointing. I did however see your picture with Stitch in the official runDisney photos on Facebook, and I was so jealous haha.

    • Awww, man! That totally stinks. I’ve found that, in general, both the WDW and DL 10ks I’ve run so far have been disappointing. I think they have to step up their game a little bit! I felt the same way about the Enchanted 10K.

      Hahaha, oh, I was beyond excited to get that picture. Maybe a little too excited. LOL. I still hated that so many people were being turned away after I got in line, though!

  7. My niece is in love with Lilo & Stitch, so I’m going to have to show her your outfit. She may be copying you for Halloween : )

    • Haha, thanks, Stacie! Hey, if you need any costume tips for her, let me know. Lilo has to be one of the easier costumes, that’s for sure! :)

  8. You’re costume is awesome! And I can’t believe you were able to wear that hat the whole time! Last year I ran the 10K in mouse ears and I was DYING! Go you!

    And wow, I can’t believe that Disney had Stitch leave so early…it’s crazy that they wouldn’t keep him (whether the same person or not) out there until everyone was done. Not cool. Not cool at all.

    • Hahaha, oh, tell me about it. It was NOT my best decision.

      Exactly. I saw no reason to pull him off the course so early, and especially when he was, like, the only character anybody seemed to care about. No clue what that was all about.

  9. I loved the costume and knew it was you in the rD 10k album.

    I am surprised there weren’t that many characters on the course, but then I did notice the lack of characters during the half in January.

    • Haha, thanks, Lesley! And thanks for pointing it out to me — appreciate it!

      Yep, I agree. Seems they’re cutting back a bit on the “magic,” and I can’t say I particularly care for it. Especially since the registration fees continue to increase!

  10. I would have been bummed by the lack of characters since that was one of my favorite parts of the Enchanted 10K this year. It looks like you still had a great race though. I have no idea how you always manage to look so cute in your race photos. I always look like I’m about to die. ;)

    • I still had a great time, but yeah, it was definitely disappointing!

      Haha, I appreciate that…I certainly FEEL like I’m dying, trust me!

  11. 1. I totally agree with what you said about the lack of characters. I was super excited based on your recap from last year and “booked” it so that I wouldn’t lose too much time during character stops. Fail.
    2. Did you buy the picture CD?! I want to get the CD with photos from the whole weekend but I dont want the video clips… Which did you get (if you dont mind me asking)?
    3. I totally saw you and Todd in line for the expo merchandise, but you guys looked in the zone and I didn’t want to interrupt. Maybe next disney race :)

    • Boo. If it makes you feel any better, I did the same thing — I always try to push it a little bit through the boring parts of the race to get to those character lines a little faster!

      So, I pretty much always buy the Marathonfoto CD. And I usually am a sucker and go for the pre-purchase deal where you get, say, a $75 gift certificate code for $50. To me, it’s worth it, so I just get the premium download so I can have all the pictures to download and then edit them and print them as I choose. I usually don’t go for the video clips either, because they’re really not anything special…although, I did opt for the full package with video after Dopey. Gotta have a video of me crossing THAT finish line. ;) Hope that helps! Any other questions, just lemme know!

      Awww, man! DEFINITELY say “hi” next time, you wouldn’t have been interrupting at all! Especially not at the expo, where I’m probably desperate for the distraction because I hate waiting in lines, hahaha.

  12. You look so cute in your costume! I can’t imagine running with anything on my hands though! My husband wants to run in Mickey gloves for one of the races during Dopey week and I told him it could be really warm so we just got the $3 cheap-o ones from Party City for him (no need to feel bad if he wants to throw them away lol)!

    So glad you got to Stitch in time for a pic!! I can’t believe how early they took him off the course though…wowza!

    Ariel’s Grotto is SO yummy! We went there for dinner during Tink weekend and loved it!

    • Aw, thanks, Lauren! I think that was an EXCELLENT idea. It’s amazing how ridiculously hot you can get when your hands are covered! This way, at least he has an option to throw them out…I wasn’t about to throw away my Stitch mitts when they cost some ridiculous 20-something bucks. lol

      I did like Ariel’s Grotto, but was surprised they changed the menu so much from last year, when it was an all-you-can-eat scrambled eggs and sausage type of deal. The breakfast was much fancier this time around (and, sadly, not all-you-can-eat, which we really appreciate, haha).

  13. It was really interesting reading your comments about the lack of characters. This was my first Disney run (well, first run of any description!), so I had no idea what to expect. We were in the last corral, and the characters that were out had such massive lines that we wouldn’t have stopped anyway. There was a Lilo near the Rivers of America. Perhaps they brought her out to replace Stitch for the slower runners? I was a little surprised not to see more characters, but I had no idea whether it was normal or not. FWIW everyone in my party had an absolute BLAST and are already seeing if we can make the trip work for next year!

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