This post will be about the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo only. I will discuss the 10km & Half Marathon in a later post.
I arrived to California on Wednesday night, around 10:30 pm. My best friend lives about 15 minutes from LAX, in Redondo Beach. We would drive from her place to Anaheim each day of the expo and the races. The drive would roughly take 30-40 minutes, depending on if it was later in the day, or the ass-crack of dawn on race morning.
I couldn’t sleep the first night, so when I woke up at 5:54 am, I naturally decided to sign up for the “virtual queue” for the RunDisney New Balance shoes. The online sign up opened at 6 am, so before I knew it I had a return time of 12:50 pm, which was 50 minutes after the expo opened. RunDisney shoes would be mine!
Ali has a Disneyland Annual Pass + Parking, so parking for all race weekend related activities was a breeze! We arrived to the parking structure around 11:30 am on Thursday, and by the time we made it to the downstairs of the expo, they already had things up and running. Ali literally had no wait for her 10km package pickup. For me, it took around 15-20 minutes to get my Dumbo Double Dare goods, Coast to Coast wristband, pre-purchased pins and my Dooney & Burke bag. We were up to the expo floor by the official noon starting time!!
We wandered to the back by the Offical RunDisney merchandise where a long queue line had already formed. I had read posts online in regards to last year, that the merchandise lines were a disaster. Disorderly, things sold out, etc. I am happy to say I think everything went VERY smooth. Disney employees were stationed amongst the line to assure there was no line-cutting, and that people knew where the line started. We weaved through the line for about 20 minutes before being let into the store area. It was not crowded, as they were paying close attention to the number of guests entering and exiting. Tons of sizes and choices, so we got in and out rather quickly.
The expo space itself it quite smaller than the Wide World of Sports setup in Disney World, however, I never felt claustrophobic or congested as we wandered the aisles. Ali and her boyfriend did some wandering together after the official merchandise, as I headed to my New Balance queue line. I met up with Rick Stiles, a fellow Dopey runner, who was in line for shoes himself. I had reserved a pair of the Cinderella shoes in a 7.5, so after about 8-10 minutes of waiting in line, an associate took me to a bench where she brought my shoes out to try on. It was so quick and easy. Actually everything had been so easy that morning: RunDisney is making it so damn easy for me to spend my money!
I bought a few other things at the expo, including a SportsHook extension for my medal hanger, some cute shoe charms with the Dopey and Dumbo Challenge distances on them, and a second Dr. Cool ice pack. We were starving by then and wandered over to ESPN zone where we were seated immediately in the bar area. Food was great! We headed into the Disneyland hotel where Ali and I got a sweet picture with Goofy, pretended to drive the old Autopia ride vehicle, and got to chat with “Perfectly Goofy” Gail Savidge and the unstoppable Kimberly Markey (who spent a great part of this last year undergoing chemo for breast cancer!)
Overall, our day at the expo was fantastic! I strongly suggest getting to any RunDisney expo a half hour before official opening. You can get through pickup and purchasing much quicker, with a lot less people. It made for a much more enjoyable experience!