Today my family participated in Disney’s Royal Family 5k. This is an untimed “fun run” and not a race. I decided to register for the stroller division because I didn’t think Zachary could walk 3.1 miles. Jessica, Nathaniel, and Tom were going to have to manage on foot.
I was a little nervous going into today’s event. For starters nobody in my family had trained AT ALL. I wasn’t sure that anyone, except maybe Tom, could finish 3.1 miles on their own 2 feet. Secondly, we needed to leave our hotel around 5am this morning. This required a very early morning wake-up call. And finally I was worried that nobody (except me, of course) would enjoy the experience of participating in a Disney race.
Last night I prepared all of the running clothes. Bibs were pinned on shirts. Outfits were laid out from the shirt to shoes. And snacks were packed as well. I woke up by 4:20am (before my alarm went off). I took a shower and got dressed before waking anyone else. Once I was ready to walk out the door, I woke my husband followed by the 3 children. Zachary was upset that he didn’t get a race bib but we managed to get over that problem quickly. By 5:15am we were in the car and on our way (only a little bit later than my hoped-for 5am!). The drive to Epcot was pretty easy and we were parked before we knew it.
Once in the Epcot parking lot it was a short walk to the starting corrals. We stopped and used the port-a-potties on the way. Tom and the big kids were assigned to Corral D but got permission to start with us in Corral E. Corral E is the designated stroller division and runDisney holds a banner at the front of the corral that prevents any stroller participants from going faster than their 15 min/mile pace. No running with the strollers! Thankfully before we started the race, I reviewed a meeting spot in case we got separated during the race. I told Jessica and Nathaniel to find letter “R” in the family reunion area. I highly recommend having a meeting spot!
While waiting for the race to start we all enjoyed the DJ and had fun dancing and taking pictures. We ran into one of my Team Studios Central buddies who was walking the 5k with his family. And then we waited. And waited some more. Corral A finally started and then B, C, and D. Somehow there was then a LONG delay before they sent us off. Many people finished the 5k before we started. Although we were at Epcot by 5:15-5:30am, we didn’t start until well after 7am (maybe 7:20am?). Obviously the stroller division was full of children who were none to happy with the long wait.
When the fireworks went off for Corral E, we started walking. Jessica immediately announced that we were walking WAY too fast and asked us to slow down. And Nathaniel took off at a run, never to be seen again. I was torn between making this a “family event” and trying to keep Nathaniel within view. Ultimately I accomplished neither. Tom went slowly with Jessica. Zachary and I were somewhere in the middle. And Nathaniel eventually ran in front of the Corral E banner and ran to the finish well ahead of the rest of us.
The first mile of the race was quite uninteresting. We walked through the Epcot parking lot to a Cast Member parking area and backstage area. There was absolutely no entertainment and not much in the way of visuals. After the 1st mile marker we entered Epcot next to the Mexico Pavilion. Soon thereafter was a water stop. Zachary and I each took a cup of water. Mulan was hanging out in China. We then saw Snow White in Germany (and stopped to take advantage of indoor plumbing). There were several topiaries out in preparation for the upcoming Flower and Garden Festival. Jasmine was in Morocco and Belle in France. Marie was also in France. We exited the International Gateway and turned right to re-enter Epcot via a backstage area. We re-entered in England and saw some amazing Peter Pan topiaries. The course headed into Future World and we made a loop around the front of Epcot. Finally we made a left to exit the park back into the parking lot where we found the finish line. Zachary was thrilled to get his medal. We grabbed some PowerAde and snack boxes. I especially loved that they had Jake and the Neverland Pirate fruit snacks for the kids.
I was super nervous about finding Nathaniel and things were very crowded. We headed to the Family Reunion area and the letter R. There was Nathaniel just hanging out. A runDisney representative was waiting with him. Apparently she had tried to call me (I didn’t hear my phone) and managed to reach Tom to let us know that Nathaniel was safe. When Nathaniel finished he asked one of the volunteers where to find the Letter R. The guy didn’t know but got this runDisney person to help him. Amazingly enough she waited with him until I arrived. I must say that I was very impressed.
Jessica struggled with finishing the race but Tom got her across the finish line. Nathaniel, Zachary, and I were there waiting from Jessica and Tom but we cheered for them! Nathaniel immediately announced that he would happily do this again. Jessica was a little more skeptical but willing – with more training – and Zachary was perfectly happy in the stroller.
Overall I truly enjoyed finishing a 5k with my husband and 3 kids. Having never done a runDisney 5k, I was a teeny bit disappointed in a few things. It took way too long to start the 5k, especially considering the number of children involved. The first mile of the course was blah. I thought there would be more fanfare with the character stops. Things I liked about it: It definitely was a fun race. A relaxed pace with no pressure to go fast. It’s fun to see the park before it opens. And I love World Showcase. I love that this was a great way to introduce the kids to the love of running. The race was far enough to be a challenge but short enough to be manageable.
In short I think we would do it again!