I find my lack of training disturbing…a Star Wars racecation report.

We’re back! After experiencing some challenging behavior at the Princess Half marathon weekend last year, my BFF and I decided to branch out and try a different runDisney race in hopes that the participants would be better behaved. After seeing the Dark side medals at the PMH expo last year, we knew that Star Wars would be our next race. So we returned to the happiest place on Earth for the Star Wars Rival run challenge this year. We had 3 day tickets and stayed at POFQ. :RpS_love:

The back story that provides the title of this trip report is that I had a fairly significant muscle strain while training for my first ultra marathon last fall. The injury happened 5.5 weeks before my 50k. Since I seem to be firmly in the do as I say and not as I do camp, I stopped running for 2.5 weeks, ran a marathon, took another 3 weeks off and then ran the 50k. That was mid-November and then I finally decided to do the sensible thing and take some time off to let my body fully recover before starting a very slow return to running plan. I started running again the last week in December with just a few minutes of slow jogging/mostly walking and gradually built my mileage back up. Needless to say, I was NOT in peak condition for these races…:doh:
Friday April 5 Travel Day and Expo

I ended up doing a lot of last minute packing for this trip because I’ve been getting killed at work the last few weeks, but I got everything together and got to the airport right on time… only to find that my flight was delayed. :RpS_mad: I ended up arriving at MCO ~3:30pm - a little over half an hour later than scheduled. I quickly found BFF who had been patiently waiting for me. We grabbed some Frappaccinos and headed for DME. There was a bus waiting for us to board and it left almost immediately after we got on. POFQ was the first stop. :RpS_thumbsup: BFF had gotten the message that our room was ready, so we headed straight to the room.
We quickly dropped our bags before heading to the expo. We made all of the obligatory stops to pick up our bibs, shirts and my wristband for the Kessel run virtual challenge. Then we explored all of the merchandise. BFF found a shiny new star wars themed phone case, but I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without.
We stopped for a few pictures and headed back to POFQ for dinner and early bedtime since we’d be waking up early for the 10k the next morning. We picked up some pasta bowls at the food court. Not the best pasta I’d ever had, but not bad and reasonably priced by disney standards.
:RpS_wink: Carb-loading done, we grabbed some muffins for the next morning and went back to our room to prep for the race and go to sleep early. Unfortunately, the mouse was not supportive of this plan. ~8pm we noticed very LOUD music playing - it turned out to be the movie (Mary Poppins) that POFQ was projecting on a screen in the courtyard DIRECTLY OUTSIDE OUR ROOM :RpS_sad: BFF called the front desk to find out how long the movie would play and was told that it should be over by 10:30. The movie did end eventually, but I just couldn’t get to sleep after that…
Saturday April 6 Part 1 Rival Run 10k

After a whopping 2hrs 16minutes of sleep (according to my Garmin), my alarm went off at 3 am. :RpS_crying: We quickly got dressed, grabbed our muffins and headed to the bus stop. We had incredible luck catching buses the whole trip and were at the start shortly after 4am.


Looking pretty chipper for 4am :RpS_wink:

All of the characters had long wait times listed, and the CMs were warning us that we would have to start walking to the corrals soon, but we decided to risk it and get in line for BB8. The posted wait was 35 minutes, but we only waited 10. Score!


We got our pics and headed to the Corrals. With all of the training I did for my ultra last year, I actually made it into corral A for the first time ever, so I took a pic to commemorate the occasion.


But my less than stellar training and worry about re-aggravating my prior injury made for an easy decision to drop back to corral C so BFF and I could run together at her pace.


Saturday April 6 Part 2 Rival Run 10k

We were there early enough that we were able to walk up pretty close to the front and started with the first wave for our corral. There were so many great photo ops with the 501st legion. :RpS_love:


They had multiple stops close together in the first mile of the race which helped break up the crowds and made the course feel a lot less crowded than it really was. We tried to hit as many photo stops as possible during the 10K because we knew we wouldn’t have as much time during the half the next day.




The sun was rising as we ran through Epcot. It was a beautiful morning for a race! We snapped a few more pics and headed to the finish to collect our medals. We originally planned to hit a couple more photo ops after the race, but we were tired and hungry so headed straight back to the hotel instead.


The beignets were calling my name.

Showered and fed, we decided it was time to relax for a bit before we headed to the parks. I sat in the spa for a bit and then read while BFF napped.

Nap time was rudely interrupted when a CM came to do the daily safety check and repeatedly knocked very loudly on the door despite the do not disturb sign. As I was approaching the door, the CM actually used his key to let himself in and almost ran into me! He announced a safety check and insisted that he had to walk all the way into the room even though I told him everything was fine and BFF was clearly still laying in her bed half asleep. While I understand why they do the safety checks, I found the whole process to be a disturbing invasion of privacy and stopped by the front desk later on to voice my displeasure. The CM at the front desk didn’t really seem to know how to respond except to keep repeating that the check was for the safety of all guests….:ohwell:


Well-known member
Now I'm curious about the bad behavior at the princess weekend...

Love the star wars magic bands, where did you get them?

Looks like a fun 10K, can't wait to read more!


Yay! I love a race report.

I feel so bad for you with that movie noise. When I go for a race, I study the resort maps and try my hardest to get a room with little noise. I would have been PISSED.
Now I'm curious about the bad behavior at the princess weekend...

Love the star wars magic bands, where did you get them?

Looks like a fun 10K, can't wait to read more!
The bad behavior at Princess ranged from the usual poor course etiquette from all the newbie runners (coming to a dead stop in middle of course with no warning, walking 4 and 5 people across in narrow areas so runners couldn't pass by, etc) all the way to fights in the corrals with multiple people getting injured. It seemed MUCH worse than the first time we ran. :RpS_thumbdn: Truthfully, we didn't even see the worst of it since the biggest problems were in corrals F-H. :RpS_sad:

The magic band decals were from here:


Thanks for following along!
Yay! I love a race report.

I feel so bad for you with that movie noise. When I go for a race, I study the resort maps and try my hardest to get a room with little noise. I would have been PISSED.
Yeah, I was pretty pissed...and then I was frustrated...and then I just gave up. Luckily, race day magic carried me through :RpS_thumbup:
Saturday April 6 Part 3 DHS

The bus to DHS was waiting for us at the bus stop and we were walking to the entrance 10 minutes later :RpS_biggrin: Our first FP+ of the day was for SDD. I had originally gotten FP+ for TSMM because SDD was not available at 61 days out, but kept checking every day and eventually lucked into SDD just shy of the 30 day mark. Almost better than winning the lottery! :RpS_wink::whoo: The standby line was posted at 95 minutes and I couldn’t help but do a little internal dance of joy as we walked past all of the poor people in line. SDD was really fun. Definitely worth the time spent checking for FP+. We moseyed over to Star Tours for FP+ #2.



It was super hot out and we needed some AC, so we headed to Launch bay to meet Chewy and Kylo Ren.


He was quite menacing :RpS_wink::RpS_laugh:

Then we went to Rockin Roller Coaster for our 3rd FP+ of the day. I hadn’t been on this ride in over 15 years! I forgot how much fun it is. We stopped by to see Mike and Sully on our way to dinner. We ate at 50s Primetime Cafe. I had the fried chicken and BFF had the pork chop. Full and happy, we decided to call it a night in hopes of finally getting some sleep...
I'm gonna need to hear more about those corral fights, please.

Ok, I'll preface this by saying that while I did see plenty of poor etiquette on course, I did NOT actually witness any of the corral fights in person. So...on the bus back to our hotel after the PHM, BFF and I were talking about how the course etiquette seemed so much worse than it had when we ran the first time (2013). We weren't sure if it was really that much worse or if was just because PMH 2013 was our first ever half marathon and we are much more experienced racers now. She and I are both members of a Princess training group on FB, so she decided to see if any of the other members of the group had similar thoughts. As soon as we got on FB, we saw a bunch of posts within the group about people being pushed and even kicked on the course. Then there were posts about people being injured in the corrals. I remember at least 2 of them because they were so outrageous. In one case, a member of our FB group was trying to protect an older runner with a leg brace from being jostled by people pushing to try to get to the front of the corral, so she used her body to block people from shoving into this other runner. Someone was apparently angry that she was preventing them from shoving to the front of the line and grabbed her and threw her down on the ground. She twisted her ankle pretty badly and ended up having to walk the whole race. In another case, a member of the group accidentally bumped into someone as they were pushing up in the corral. The daughter of the lady she bumped into attacked her for "pushing" her mom.

I think there a lot of factors that make PHM a magnet for bad behavior. PHM has a MUCH higher proportion of first time racers compared to other runDisney races. They aren't familiar with course etiquette and apparently don't take advantage of all the information out there to educate themselves. Furthermore, many of the people at PHM are not able to meet the 16mm pace requirement, so they list a false expected time to get into a higher corral (to decrease their chances of getting swept from the course) and cause disruptions to the runners that seeded themselves correctly. Finally, runDisney's decision to revert back to the smaller number of corrals with wave start within each corral contributes to the problem of people pushing and shoving to get to the front of the corral because in a very large corral, being in the first wave can give you a 10 minute head start over people who are a few waves behind you in the same corral. It also means that runners with a broad range of paces can all be starting in the same wave which, again, disrupts flow as faster runners are trying to get around the slower runners.

Obviously these problems are not unique to PHM or even Disney races, but they are displayed on a magnitude that I've NEVER seen before at any of the non-Disney races that I've done. :RpS_sad:
Me too. I'm trying to talk my 14 year old daughter into doing the Princess 1/2 next year... Maybe I should leave well enough alone?

While I was sad, disappointed, and angry that there was so much bad behavior at PHM last year, BFF and I still had a great time running the race. We are lucky though that we were somewhat shielded from some of the nonsense by being in one of the corrals that requires proof of time. I still love running Disney and will be back next year for the marathon. But, I have a 9yo daughter that is desperate to run a disney race with me and I just wouldn't feel comfortable letting her run until she is a bit older. If you and your daughter run faster than a 2:45 half marathon and can get into corral A-E, you will probably be fine. If not, I'd consider taking her for a different race. Star Wars was way better than PHM and I'd wager that Marathon weekend and wine and dine would be similar.



I think there a lot of factors that make PHM a magnet for bad behavior. PHM has a MUCH higher proportion of first time racers compared to other runDisney races. They aren't familiar with course etiquette and apparently don't take advantage of all the information out there to educate themselves. Furthermore, many of the people at PHM are not able to meet the 16mm pace requirement, so they list a false expected time to get into a higher corral (to decrease their chances of getting swept from the course) and cause disruptions to the runners that seeded themselves correctly. :RpS_sad:
I agree. A few years ago ran (all said) about 2:45 and were in one of the middle waves (cushion based on a submitted 1/2 time). Nonetheless, I was still looking over my shoulder the whole way.

I think this is compounded by the larger number of Galloway method runners. I'm personally a big fan of the method but if you are new to running and were all packed in like sardines, one may not realize the impact to the people behind you when you transition. You are exactly right that lots don't read all the information available to them.

Having said that, I wonder if rude is the new norm for Disney cattle calls. After our trip this Fed, I've sworn off RDs (with the exception of MK BtMR or Space starts). One morning in HS where I started first in the turn styles and in the front row behind cast members for the hold, I found myself trampled, pushed and prodded. Got me so bent out of shape that I was a crab to my family for the next hour. I have no intention of being grumpy at the Happiest Place on Earth!
Sunday April 7 Rival Run Half Marathon Part 1

Time to get this TR back on track....

The alarm went off at 2:45, but I doubled my sleep from the previous night so I was pretty happy. :RpS_thumbup: We took our time getting dressed, (had to get my Leia buns perfect :RpS_glare:) , grabbed some donuts and water, and headed to the bus stop. It was another quick trip, but the lines for characters were really long this morning so we didn’t bother waiting. We met up with a friend from my local running group and chatted with her and her husband for a while before we got in the corrals.


We were in corral E this time and again managed to walk up pretty close to the front of the corral. The feeling of this race was so different than Princess. It was much more relaxed. We had a great time dancing and chatting with people in the corral while we waited for our turn to start.


A little before 6am, it was finally our turn! We took off in the dark and were soon running through the battle of Endor! Just like the 10k, there were tons of photo ops with folks from the 501st legion and since they were often clustered together, the lines at any given stop were pretty short. This was a good thing since we had a 10:55 brunch ADR and didn’t want to be late. We skipped a bunch of characters that we had seen on the 10k course and kept moving pretty steadily for the first 4 miles. Then we came upon one of the few “official” photo stops - the infamous trash compactor scene. We couldn’t skip that one, so we waited even thought the line was fairly long. We waited about 7-8 minutes, but…


worth it for this gem :RpS_laugh:

We got back on track and soon were entering Animal Kingdom. So cool to see the park waking up and all the cast members prepping for opening.



We stopped for a few quick pics and headed out towards Hollywood Studios
Sunday April 7 Rival Run Half Marathon Part 2

A little bit later we came to the 2nd big official photo stop - the ice cave on Hoth. This line was even longer (12-13 minutes), but who could pass on this?


BFF was tryin to look like she was hanging there unconscious, but I think she forgot that she was upside down :doh:

We got back on the road and made good time getting into Hollywood Studios.


A quick pic with the storm troopers on Sunset Boulevard and we were on our way to Epcot! So many people cheering on the boardwalk! We entered Epcot and grabbed a few more pics before finally crossing the finish.


We got a ton of great photopass pics, but I haven’t downloaded yet since my SIL has a trip coming up soon and I’m linked to her memory maker
:RpS_thumbsup:. This one is my favorite:


Such a fun race, but we didn’t have time to enjoy the atmosphere afterward because it was time to EAT…

Sunday April 7 Brunch and AK

Ok, going to try to finish this report before I go back to Disney...only 14 days left :RpS_biggrin:

We had a 10:55 ADR at Boma, so we headed straight back to POFQ for a quick shower and change of clothes. We caught a Lyft to AKL. The ride was quick and we arrived 10-15 minutes early. When we checked in, they warned us that they were running a bit behind and that we wouldn’t be seated until after our reserved time. Since there were a LOT of people waiting to be seated, we decided to take advantage of the wait by exploring AKL a little bit. This was the first time that either of us had been there. It was really cool to see all of the animals roaming around the grounds.

About 30 minutes later we got the text that our table was ready…



I don’t think I got enough food ;)

Everything looked so yummy that I really wanted to keep eating, but I was stuffed. We very slowly made our way over to the fitness center where we had appointments for massages. I got a custom massage and my masseuse really paid attention to exactly what I wanted instead of just doing a general massage. It was easily one of the best massages I’ve ever had!

We took the bus to AK, saw the parrots, and took some obligatory pics of our medals in the park.



We caught the new UP bird show, conquered Everest, saw a bugs life, went on a Safari and had a yummy dinner at Satuli Canteen.


Then we grabbed a celebratory adult beverage and hung out in Pandora until it was time for our FOP FP+ Love that ride!

We slowly walked back to the bus stop catching a bit of the Tree of Life awakening as we walked out. We went to bed early and finally had a good nights sleep.

Monday April 8 Epcot Part 1

We finished packing up and dropped our bags at bell services. A quick bus ride later, we walked into line for our first FP+ - Living with the land.



This is always one of my favorite rides

BFF wanted to ride Nemo so we walked over, but it was unexpectedly showing a standby wait of 30 minutes. We decided to skip it and come back later. We walked over to Test track and got in the single rider line. The wait was short and we were soon on our way to Mission Space green. I hadn’t been on Mission Space in over 15 years and I must have ridden the orange side last time because this was much tamer than my memory ;)


Our last FP+ was for FEA so we started making our way around world showcase, stopping here and there along the way to admire the topiaries and check out all of the new merch for the F&G festival.


We made it to FEA right around noon. This was BFFs first ever ride on FEA and she was suitably impressed ;) I was super excited to see that Kringla Bakeri was open (it was closed last time I was in Epcot), so we stopped for some school bread.