Princess Half Marathon Start; RunDisney
  • On Mar 4, 2024
    Megan from OH Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    How busy are the parks at the beginning of the week for the Princess Half Marathon? I'm looking to book my family's first trip there in February. And just saw the 2025 dates for the race are at the end of the week we want to go....

    Hi Megan!

    I'm so excited to hear you're planning your family's first Walt Disney World Vacation! February is such a wonderful time to visit, with mild temps and smaller crowds - one of my favorite times to be in Orlando. 
    I've personally participated in nine Princess Marathon weekends, and am happy to share my experience. 

    At the beginning of the week leading up to the Princess Half Marathon, the parks are generally a bit quieter than during the race weekend itself. Many participants and their cheering squads tend to arrive closer to the race events, which kick off with smaller races and an expo before the main half marathon. This means that earlier in the week, you might find the parks easier to navigate, with shorter wait times for attractions and a more relaxed atmosphere. 

    Once the Princess participants arrive (they'll start trickling in on Wednesday), you'll see a bit more traffic in the parks. My advice would be to aim to be at the parks right at opening or take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry if you're staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. Parks tend to be quieter first thing in the morning, giving you a head start before race participants and spectators start to trickle in. Evenings can be a great time to visit the parks, as many runners might be resting after their day's exertion, especially if it is a morning race.

    On race days, certain parks, especially EPCOT (a common start or finish line for the races), can be busier. Opt for parks that aren't directly on the race route, particularly in the morning. For example, if there's a race finishing in EPCOT, you might choose to start your day at Magic Kingdom Park or Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park instead. I'd recommend steering clear of EPCOT on early Sunday morning since the half marathon starts and ends in its parking area. While the runners won't occupy much of the park itself, the necessary security measures and cordoned-off sections for the course could lead to some hold-ups. I also recommend keeping an eye on the race schedule and any associated events, as these can impact crowd levels in certain areas. Even during quieter periods, popular dining locations can get booked up. Make sure to secure your Advance Dining Reservations as soon as your booking window opens to lock down your must-dos.

    Navigating Walt Disney World during a runDisney event can be quite the adventure!  Embrace the race atmosphere! Even if you're not participating, the energy is contagious. Enjoy the themed decorations, and perhaps even cheer on the runners at certain points. Every visit to Walt Disney World is unique, and the added excitement of a race weekend can make for special memories and unexpected magical moments. With a bit of strategic planning, you can have a magical visit while avoiding the bulk of the race crowds. I hope you'll come back and visit us here for tips and advice for your very first family trip to The Most Magical Place on Earth. We're happy to help!

    Diane W. 

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Meet the Panelist: Diane, Alabama

"Dream It! Plan It! Do It!" – that's my motto! If you've always dreamed of a magical visit to Walt Disney World Resort, or sailing away with Captain Mickey on a Disney Cruise, I'd love to help you plan and make the most of your vacation. My favorite getaway is a Land and Sea adventure - from Cinderella Castle to sand castles! Learn More About Diane

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