Hawaii Mom Blog: Recap: 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon




January 19, 2024

Recap: 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon

After a 7 year break, runDisney returned to Disneyland in Anaheim in January 2024, and I was one of the lucky ones to get a spot in the Half Marathon! Snagging a spot in these races is like trying to get Taylor Swift concert tickets - you have to go to the registration website right when it opens, get in the queue, and cross your fingers that there are still spots left when you finally get in to the registration portal. 

After securing a spot in the race, I decided to make a family trip out of it, so we booked reservations to the parks, purchased park tickets, airplane tickets, booked a room at the Grand Californian, and did some research on how to navigate a visit to Disneyland.  It's definitely not the same as before - it takes a lot of planning and strategizing! But today I'm here to share with you my runDisney experience!

All participants were required to pick up their race bibs at the runDisney Expo which took place for three days prior to race day.  I went just before closing on Friday night, and it wasn't that crowded at all.  In addition to my race bib, I also got my race shirt, a few stickers, and some GU gels that one of the expo vendors were selling at a special price. 

Fast forward to race morning - I got up at 2:45 am and did my usual morning rituals (I'll spare you the details!), and headed out of my hotel room at 3:30 am. 

It was about 44 degrees that morning - it was COLD! This Hawaii girl is not used to the cold anymore, and I was certainly not used to running in cold weather, so this was going to be interesting. There were a lot of runners heading to the start from our hotel (the Grand Californian), so I felt safe and also knew where to go by just following the crowd.

About 10 minutes later, I arrived at the start/finish area, but first I had to go through the security checkpoint. The line moved pretty quickly.

Before heading to the corrals I took a picture of the finish line. 

Although they had entertainment going on at the stage, I headed to the area where people were lining up to enter the corrals.  

We were allowed to enter the corrals at 4:00 am, on schedule.  Our start group letter was located on our bibs and was based on estimated finish time. We were assigned to group C. I'm not sure how many sections there were in total.

There was a video screen over the start line that showed what was going on on the stage and near the start line. It kept us entertained for an hour. After the Star Spangled Banner and a brief visit by Micky and Minnie, the race started one group at a time. It was around 5:20 am by the time our group started.

First up, California Adventure Park!

We even got to go in areas behind the scenes, where only the cast members have access to.

We crossed over to the Disneyland Park through the Esplanade - there was a large crowd of fans cheering us on here!

Main Street

Star Wars - Galaxy's Edge

After the 4 mile mark, we exited the park and hit the streets of Anaheim for the remainder of the race. There numerous aid stations offering cups of water and Powerade, and some first aid stations handing out vaseline. There were also a few bands and DJs entertaining us along the route, which was primarily commercial/industrial.

Honda Center - home of the Anaheim Ducks!

Santa Ana River Trail

Hot Rod display!

Finishers chute!


Here's a close-up of the hardware - it's quite heavy!

Since I was visiting the park that day and had purchased Genie+, I was able to access and download the photos from the official race photographers that day.  In my opinion, it was hard to see the official photographers on the course - they aren't wearing bright, conspicuous clothes, and so most of my pics are not very flattering, but I'm posting them here for what it's worth!

After participating in my first runDisney race, I'm already looking to see when I can try for another one. It was well organized, safe, and such a unique experience. I highly recommend it!

For more information on runDisney, visit their website at rundisney.com.


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