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Old 02-07-2019, 01:48 PM   #1
DougS
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Default Star Wars Rival Run Weekend in ~ 2 months

Hi everyone! New member here, loving all the help we've been getting since buying, thought I might start a thread where I can actually help others and maybe give a bit back. If I were hard pressed to declare if I were more of a SW or WDW fan, I'd likely have to reply "I saw SW in the theaters w/in months of visiting WDW for the first time, so I don't know!"

We're a big running family, so when the SW races were announced, we were in! I've done every year that they've had them, and the Kessel Run the last few. When we had to calculate points for our contract, we used the SW Race weekend to figure it out.

BUT, this thread isn't to brag, it's to pass on experience from the last few, and help anyone that may have Questions about how it works. Here are key points I'd make, please feel free to throw out any additional info you have, or any questions you might be thinking about.
  • Disney races are EARLY. We all know that the parks open on time, every day, but let's translate that to "race math". The 5k starts at 5:30, which is 30 minutes earlier this year, and the same time for all 3 races now! That means you will be herded from the staging area to your respective corrals at 5:00ish. That means you need to be getting to the security screening lines at 4:30. You can't drive there, you have to shuttle. If you're at a resort, there will be shuttles, similar if you're staying offsite. You're going to want to catch a shuttle by 4 or so. That means (depending on your morning routine), you're getting up some time around 3:30.
  • Gosh, what do I do in the staging area for 30-60 mins?? There will be tons of activities, the SW movies on the big screens, DJ, VJs, and photo dioramas. This is also where you'll find bag drop, medical, and porta-potties.
  • How do I get my bib and race stuff? You'll have to head to Packet Pickup at least the day before, which is at ESPN. you can also buy RunDisney and SW race swag there, in another bldg at ESPN. There will be shuttles from the resorts that run Thurs, Fri, and Sat, if they're the same as last year. You WILL NEED YOUR ID, Magic Band won't work. Ask me how I know this...
  • Can I wear headphones? Officially I believe they are "not recommended", but I have every year.
  • How is the course? Flat, almost pancake flat. Very little climbing or downhill, and what's there is pretty gradual. There's a couple of times when you climb an overpass on the longer races (10k, 1/2), and the bridges in Epcot, but it's a very nice easy run. The longer courses give you more to see around the property, but expect to see a few dioramas set up with actors for photos, so you might want to bring your phone! There's also a TON of CM photographers for the PhotoPass.
  • How many runners? The races are BIG! I think they're all over 10,000 runners, or close, so it's a VERY big crowd. Disney does a great logistical race, so definitely something to be experienced!
  • How important is submitting a Proof of Time? Again: BIG race. Huge. If you're going to run the whole thing, submit one, or you're likely to be running around walkers. There are MANY corrals, and you'll be placed in one appropriate to your time. There will be a full "Runners, get ready, set, GO" with fireworks for each group, separated by a minute or so. I can say that I'm usually up in the first or second corral, and last year I finished the 5k before the final corrals started. Your bib will have 2 things on it that keep you in the right corral: the number on it will tell them a few things (your expected finish place and if you're doing a Challenge), and there will be a corral letter on it. There are Cast Members at the entrance that will check your corral letter before allowing admittance. You can move BACK to a slower corral to run with someone, but not up.
  • What if I'm not an Olympian, should I sign up? There's a LOT of walkers, just having fun, participating, and enjoying themselves; so absolutely! I can tell you that a couple of years ago I ran a local 1/2 the week after SW 1/2, and had almost the exact same time. My area is known for a solid, competitive running community, so the following makes sense: At SW I finished in the top 1%, at home I finished around the 30% mark, running the same speed. That doesn't mean that I'm fast, it means "There's a lot of folks there for the experience, so come and walk if you want to!"
  • I'm not running, how can I meet my family/friends at the end? Again, Disney is great with the logistics. If they just want to meet you at the end, there's a good "family meetup area", even down to different sections by last name. The dioramas should be there too, so it can be a cool photo op. The shuttles to/from will stop during the race, but startup as it's ending. DW didn't run the year DS was born, so she just shuttled over, met me @ the finish, we took a couple of pictures w/Jabba, and took the shuttle back.
  • Post race support: There will be lots of water, bananas, gatorade, misc food, medical, etc at the end.
  • Bag drop: I know it's there, I've never used it
  • Water / facilities along course: IIRC, there's water and port-a-potties every mile or so, and medical in a few places
  • What parts of the parks will I see: Varies by course, but check the race maps online to be sure. I can say the 1/2 hit AK, HS, Epcot last year. I think all of the finishes are ESPN.
  • When will I be done? This is a tough one, breakfast plans can be tricky. If you're training, you have an idea of your running time. I'd say to add 45 mins to the end of that, and that's when you can hope to be back @ your resort. My math: half starts @ 5:30, I'll go at 5:35 in my corral. 2 hrs for the half (safe buffer), I'm done @ 7:35. Medals, food, porta-potty, diorama, on shuttle bus by 7:50. Back at the resort by 8. The faster you are, the less the "end activities" take, the slower, the longer. Porta-potty, diorama, shuttle bus lines start to grow if you're finishing with a lot more folks.
  • I'm from MD, so FL in April is HOT. I think it was 60 degrees with 1253% humidity race morning? Plan for more hydration, plan for sodium if you sweat a lot like me. If you chafe, something like BodyGlide is helpful even for the 5k. Run SLOWER, most of us aren't ready for the heat this early in the year. I highly recommend planning to run a day or two before, to acclimatize to FL. Don't forget that you're likely to be walking the parks before & after your races, so plan accordingly and HYDRATE.
Those are the major things I'd point out off the top of my head. If I think of anything else I'll add it. Thanks for reading, and LMK if there's anything I can add that would be helpful.
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(ME, Doug) (DW, Analeen) (DS 20, Daniel) (DD 5, Alyssa) (DS 3, Drew)
1978 - First Trip - Contemporary
1988 - WDL Offsite
1989 - Caribbean
2013 - Disney Cruise Line
2015 - Grand Floridian
2016 - Caribbean Beach Club
2017 - All Star Movies
2018 - CCV
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:14 PM   #2
Brian5581
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Thanks for sharing. Wow on top 1% finishes! Very impressive.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DougS View Post
Hi everyone! New member here, loving all the help we've been getting since buying, thought I might start a thread where I can actually help others and maybe give a bit back. If I were hard pressed to declare if I were more of a SW or WDW fan, I'd likely have to reply "I saw SW in the theaters w/in months of visiting WDW for the first time, so I don't know!"

We're a big running family, so when the SW races were announced, we were in! I've done every year that they've had them, and the Kessel Run the last few. When we had to calculate points for our contract, we used the SW Race weekend to figure it out.

BUT, this thread isn't to brag, it's to pass on experience from the last few, and help anyone that may have Questions about how it works. Here are key points I'd make, please feel free to throw out any additional info you have, or any questions you might be thinking about.
  • Disney races are EARLY. We all know that the parks open on time, every day, but let's translate that to "race math". The 5k starts at 5:30, which is 30 minutes earlier this year, and the same time for all 3 races now! That means you will be herded from the staging area to your respective corrals at 5:00ish. That means you need to be getting to the security screening lines at 4:30. You can't drive there, you have to shuttle. If you're at a resort, there will be shuttles, similar if you're staying offsite. You're going to want to catch a shuttle by 4 or so. That means (depending on your morning routine), you're getting up some time around 3:30.
  • Gosh, what do I do in the staging area for 30-60 mins?? There will be tons of activities, the SW movies on the big screens, DJ, VJs, and photo dioramas. This is also where you'll find bag drop, medical, and porta-potties.
  • How do I get my bib and race stuff? You'll have to head to Packet Pickup at least the day before, which is at ESPN. you can also buy RunDisney and SW race swag there, in another bldg at ESPN. There will be shuttles from the resorts that run Thurs, Fri, and Sat, if they're the same as last year. You WILL NEED YOUR ID, Magic Band won't work. Ask me how I know this...
  • Can I wear headphones? Officially I believe they are "not recommended", but I have every year.
  • How is the course? Flat, almost pancake flat. Very little climbing or downhill, and what's there is pretty gradual. There's a couple of times when you climb an overpass on the longer races (10k, 1/2), and the bridges in Epcot, but it's a very nice easy run. The longer courses give you more to see around the property, but expect to see a few dioramas set up with actors for photos, so you might want to bring your phone! There's also a TON of CM photographers for the PhotoPass.
  • How many runners? The races are BIG! I think they're all over 10,000 runners, or close, so it's a VERY big crowd. Disney does a great logistical race, so definitely something to be experienced!
  • How important is submitting a Proof of Time? Again: BIG race. Huge. If you're going to run the whole thing, submit one, or you're likely to be running around walkers. There are MANY corrals, and you'll be placed in one appropriate to your time. There will be a full "Runners, get ready, set, GO" with fireworks for each group, separated by a minute or so. I can say that I'm usually up in the first or second corral, and last year I finished the 5k before the final corrals started. Your bib will have 2 things on it that keep you in the right corral: the number on it will tell them a few things (your expected finish place and if you're doing a Challenge), and there will be a corral letter on it. There are Cast Members at the entrance that will check your corral letter before allowing admittance. You can move BACK to a slower corral to run with someone, but not up.
  • What if I'm not an Olympian, should I sign up? There's a LOT of walkers, just having fun, participating, and enjoying themselves; so absolutely! I can tell you that a couple of years ago I ran a local 1/2 the week after SW 1/2, and had almost the exact same time. My area is known for a solid, competitive running community, so the following makes sense: At SW I finished in the top 1%, at home I finished around the 30% mark, running the same speed. That doesn't mean that I'm fast, it means "There's a lot of folks there for the experience, so come and walk if you want to!"
  • I'm not running, how can I meet my family/friends at the end? Again, Disney is great with the logistics. If they just want to meet you at the end, there's a good "family meetup area", even down to different sections by last name. The dioramas should be there too, so it can be a cool photo op. The shuttles to/from will stop during the race, but startup as it's ending. DW didn't run the year DS was born, so she just shuttled over, met me @ the finish, we took a couple of pictures w/Jabba, and took the shuttle back.
  • Post race support: There will be lots of water, bananas, gatorade, misc food, medical, etc at the end.
  • Bag drop: I know it's there, I've never used it
  • Water / facilities along course: IIRC, there's water and port-a-potties every mile or so, and medical in a few places
  • What parts of the parks will I see: Varies by course, but check the race maps online to be sure. I can say the 1/2 hit AK, HS, Epcot last year. I think all of the finishes are ESPN.
  • When will I be done? This is a tough one, breakfast plans can be tricky. If you're training, you have an idea of your running time. I'd say to add 45 mins to the end of that, and that's when you can hope to be back @ your resort. My math: half starts @ 5:30, I'll go at 5:35 in my corral. 2 hrs for the half (safe buffer), I'm done @ 7:35. Medals, food, porta-potty, diorama, on shuttle bus by 7:50. Back at the resort by 8. The faster you are, the less the "end activities" take, the slower, the longer. Porta-potty, diorama, shuttle bus lines start to grow if you're finishing with a lot more folks.
  • I'm from MD, so FL in April is HOT. I think it was 60 degrees with 1253% humidity race morning? Plan for more hydration, plan for sodium if you sweat a lot like me. If you chafe, something like BodyGlide is helpful even for the 5k. Run SLOWER, most of us aren't ready for the heat this early in the year. I highly recommend planning to run a day or two before, to acclimatize to FL. Don't forget that you're likely to be walking the parks before & after your races, so plan accordingly and HYDRATE.
Those are the major things I'd point out off the top of my head. If I think of anything else I'll add it. Thanks for reading, and LMK if there's anything I can add that would be helpful.
Thanks for this great info and your time !!
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:26 PM   #4
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  • What if I'm not an Olympian, should I sign up? There's a LOT of walkers, just having fun, participating, and enjoying themselves; so absolutely! I can tell you that a couple of years ago I ran a local 1/2 the week after SW 1/2, and had almost the exact same time. My area is known for a solid, competitive running community, so the following makes sense: At SW I finished in the top 1%, at home I finished around the 30% mark, running the same speed. That doesn't mean that I'm fast, it means "There's a lot of folks there for the experience, so come and walk if you want to!"
Great list. This one struck me and I went to look back at the details of my last Disney race- rain-shortened Wine & Dine 2015. Top 3% finisher, and in most races I can generally crack top 20-25%. So I definitely agree with what you're saying.

We've done a couple of Disney races but have found them overpriced and quite poorly-organized compared to other races. Despite that, we might still be doing Wine & Dine if had remained at night. With a morning start, it's just another typical Disney race.

Cheers.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for sharing. Wow on top 1% finishes! Very impressive.
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Great list. This one struck me and I went to look back at the details of my last Disney race- rain-shortened Wine & Dine 2015. Top 3% finisher, and in most races I can generally crack top 20-25%. So I definitely agree with what you're saying.
Lol, thanks! I'm not really that fast tho. I think my Disney PR is about 1:52:30, which is only "Ok" for a half. The point I was trying to make is that most folks don't take these races as super competitive. I saw a few folks that I know that are faster than I who stopped in photo lines at dioramas, something that probably takes 5 minutes. It's more of an "event" than a "race".

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We've done a couple of Disney races but have found them overpriced and quite poorly-organized compared to other races. Despite that, we might still be doing Wine & Dine if had remained at night. With a morning start, it's just another typical Disney race.

Cheers.
I agree, they are definitely not cheap for a race. I'd say that they're roughly 2x the entry fee of similar distance races, but I'd also say they give 3x the swag and support of similar races. That's why I find your "poorly-organized" comment interesting. I can't think of another 5k or 10k of their size, or really many halves either, so what are you comparing it to? My personal "A race" most years is the Marine Corps Marathon, which is roughly 2x the size of the SW half. It arguably sets the standard for logistics, and is among the cheapest for world-class races. I'd say that while there are definitely differences b/w the two, I'd not say that SW is "substantially worse" What did you not like about how Disney runs races?

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Thanks for this great info and your time !!
Lol, thanks! Just trying to give a tiny bit back!
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1978 - First Trip - Contemporary
1988 - WDL Offsite
1989 - Caribbean
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2015 - Grand Floridian
2016 - Caribbean Beach Club
2017 - All Star Movies
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:09 PM   #6
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Lol, thanks! I'm not really that fast tho. I think my Disney PR is about 1:52:30, which is only "Ok" for a half. The point I was trying to make is that most folks don't take these races as super competitive. I saw a few folks that I know that are faster than I who stopped in photo lines at dioramas, something that probably takes 5 minutes. It's more of an "event" than a "race".
Agreed. My overall PR is 1:49:43, so definitely "in the pack" (albeit in the front half by a bit ). But Disney is really about the event. And I'm pretty serious about my running so, in some ways, it's not an ideal fit.


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I agree, they are definitely not cheap for a race. I'd say that they're roughly 2x the entry fee of similar distance races, but I'd also say they give 3x the swag and support of similar races. That's why I find your "poorly-organized" comment interesting. I can't think of another 5k or 10k of their size, or really many halves either, so what are you comparing it to? My personal "A race" most years is the Marine Corps Marathon, which is roughly 2x the size of the SW half. It arguably sets the standard for logistics, and is among the cheapest for world-class races. I'd say that while there are definitely differences b/w the two, I'd not say that SW is "substantially worse" What did you not like about how Disney runs races?
These are a few of my (not) favorite things:
  • The ridiculously early arrival, as you mention. I think the folks running the W&D in November are supposed to be getting there now
  • The cattle-like process of getting from where buses drop to parking
  • While I like the courses overall, they are very narrow in places and hard to run
  • The overly cattle-chute exit that they seem to have. Very "move, mover move."
  • The logistics of having a marathon going through open parks. I've not run a marathon there (just half), but have been a park patron while the marathon is going through, and it's chaotic
  • OK, this is not Disney's fault or an organizational thing, but the groups of people who walk or run slowly abreast blocking the path and have also decided that it's OK to scam into lower corrals rather then the back corrals where they belong

From an overall course (barring the narrow areas) and theming aspect they are nice. But the negatives outweigh the positives.

Cheers.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:32 PM   #7
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Agreed. My overall PR is 1:49:43, so definitely "in the pack" (albeit in the front half by a bit ). But Disney is really about the event. And I'm pretty serious about my running so, in some ways, it's not an ideal fit.
Yeah, I hear you about having a hard time running Disney events when you're a serious runner. I think that's the main reason that I don't do the Mickey Full: I have a much easier time taking it easy on a half, enjoying it, stopping for pictures, etc; than I would during a full!

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These are a few of my (not) favorite things:
  • The ridiculously early arrival, as you mention. I think the folks running the W&D in November are supposed to be getting there now
  • The cattle-like process of getting from where buses drop to parking
  • While I like the courses overall, they are very narrow in places and hard to run
  • The overly cattle-chute exit that they seem to have. Very "move, mover move."
  • The logistics of having a marathon going through open parks. I've not run a marathon there (just half), but have been a park patron while the marathon is going through, and it's chaotic
  • OK, this is not Disney's fault or an organizational thing, but the groups of people who walk or run slowly abreast blocking the path and have also decided that it's OK to scam into lower corrals rather then the back corrals where they belong

From an overall course (barring the narrow areas) and theming aspect they are nice. But the negatives outweigh the positives.

Cheers.
I've never done the marathon thru the parks, so I can't really speak to that, and I definitely agree that there's a lot more "walking in groups across the path" and other race faux-pas at Disney. OTOH, with their LARGE number of corrals (and multiple starts within each), and very generous finishing requirements I think they do a "decent" job of keeping that stuff in the back.

A few of your other comments make me wonder what your largest races are? "Ridiculously early arrival, cattle-like busing process and exit chute" are fairly standard for most "big" races. Boston, NY, Marine Corps; they're all WORSE than anything I've seen at Disney. As a matter of fact, I've hung out in the finish area for 20-30 mins @ the SW 1/2 before, something that I could NEVER do at any of those, and I AM a Marine.
I don't disagree that those things are challenging, but I just think that they're par for the course with any major event. Actually, at any race larger than 5000 participants.
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1978 - First Trip - Contemporary
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:46 PM   #8
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Y

A few of your other comments make me wonder what your largest races are? "Ridiculously early arrival, cattle-like busing process and exit chute" are fairly standard for most "big" races. Boston, NY, Marine Corps; they're all WORSE than anything I've seen at Disney. As a matter of fact, I've hung out in the finish area for 20-30 mins @ the SW 1/2 before, something that I could NEVER do at any of those, and I AM a Marine.
I don't disagree that those things are challenging, but I just think that they're par for the course with any major event. Actually, at any race larger than 5000 participants.
Ours go from maybe a few thousand to maybe 30K, 10K-15K on average. Some are worse, but generally better, IME.

Cheers.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:51 PM   #9
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Ours go from maybe a few thousand to maybe 30K, 10K-15K on average. Some are worse, but generally better, IME.

Cheers.
Yeah, that covers the size of all 3 I mentioned, as well as all the SW ones. Sorry to hear that they're not your favorite, but hopefully we'll get to share a course some day!
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Old 04-01-2019, 12:27 AM   #10
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Thanks for taking the time to post all of the info on the runDisney races. I've been looking for any info I can find to prep for what to expect.
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