Disneyland and the Neverland 5K

I just love having guest bloggers here on Mousecation.  If you ever want to write for me, please let me know.  I am so excited about this guest blogger!  This is Lois and she runs!  Oh how I wish I had the discipline to actually do this.  I would love to run in a marathon at Disney!  How fun would that be?


IMG_1339RunDisney.  What is it?  It is a mix of two worlds, the running and fitness world, and the Disney world.  What could be better for a runner?  Not a whole lot.

This was my first runDisney race.  While they are known for the longer races, the half marathons (the Donald, the Princess, the Wine and Dine, the Tinkerbell , and the Disneyland half, plus the Tower of Terror 10 miler and of course the Mickey or even the Goofy Challenge, a half marathon on Saturday, plus a full on Sunday), they do smaller races, usually a 5k with each of the bigger races.  I headed out to my first experience at Disneyland for the Neverland 5K, which is part of the Tinkerbell half marathon weekend.  I love running and I love Disney, so I needed to combine the two.

The expo was on Friday and Saturday, which is a great way to check out the latest and greatest running gear as well as get your bib and the necessities for the race.  I was a little disappointed to find that almost all of the gear focused on the bigger and longer half marathon, and not on the 5K.  I was able to find  one trading pin that had the Neverland 5K logo on it, but nothing else.  I would have gladly bought a shirt that said something about the 5K, but didn’t find one available.  I did manage to buy a very cute running skirt though.  The best part of the expo was the chance to meet Jeff Galloway, who is the official running trainer of the runDisney series.  If you aren’t familiar with him, he teaches the run/walk method, whichIMG_1344 emphasizes taking walking breaks throughout your run.  (It’s how I ran my first half marathon.)  He was so nice and truly believes in what he is teaching.  I was thrilled at the chance to meet him.

The 5K started at 5:45 am, which meant leaving the hotel room around 4:45 to walk over to the park.  Entering Disneyland transformed me.  The music was pumping and there were lots of people in costume.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more green at one race, outside of a St. Patrick’s Day run.  With the music pumping, I danced my way down Main Street, and a cast member even joined me at one point. 

The announcers came on, and started trying to get us jazzed up for the race (the music would have been more efficient).  I took some pictures and just decided to have fun with my 5,000 new friends.  Because the 5K took place entirely inside Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, the running path was narrow.  This meant that the hope for a personal record flew down the wire with Tinkerbell, so it was just time for fun and to enjoy the sights of Disneyland in the dark and before it opened.  The run started in front IMG_1353of Sleeping Beauty castle and wound around to It’s a Small world.  We came out of the back somewhere around Toon Town, but it could have been Fantasyland (it was dark and I had never been to Disneyland before).  I stopped  at every character spot for pictures (not what I would do in a regular race).  I posed with Goofy and Pluto, Captain Hook and Mr. Snee, DJ (from Cars), Mater and Lightning McQueen, and Pirate Mickey and Minnie Mouse at mile 3.  Every time I passed a cast member (and there were lots of them), I put up my hand for high fives, sometimes even telling them that I needed a hand.  It’s a great place to have fun.  I loved running on the service roads through Disney and getting a little glimpse of what happens backstage, including the train storage building and some floats. 

As we crossed over to DCA, it was even more magical, as we didn’t really do much of the surface roads.  We ran through a Bugs’ Life and into Radiator Springs.  We then ran onto Paradise Pier, which was awesome.  The sky was getting lighter and the energy just seemed to surge at that point.  It was finally wide enough to get some good running in, but I was having too much fun at this point to even care.  As I finished the race, I had a big smile on my face, put my hands in the air and just let out a big whoop.  The announcers noticed my enthusiastic finish and even mentioned it.  “That one is very excited to finish and she is letting us know she is Powered by Pixie Dust” (which is what my shirt said).  As I crossed the finish line, I was handed my finisher medallion, as well as a Peter Pan bag in which to put my goody box.  This was by far my slowest 5K I have ever done, finishing at about 55 minutes (my normal pace is 30 minutes for a 5K), but it was a fun race.  I wish they would have had Tinkerbell somewhere for photos, as it was part of the Tinkerbell weekend.


The next step of the race weekend was the kids’ run for my daughters who are 6 & 8.  They too were powered by Pixie Dust.  The 6 year old was slated for the 200 meter dash, and the 8 year old was to do 400 m.  I had anticipated the kids’ race finishing by 9:15, but because of some logistical problems (like putting a photo background 5 feet from the finish line, so the finish line became a huge bottleneck with parents taking pictures and it took a long time to clear the field for the next race), we didn’t finish the kids’ race until after 10 am.  There were also some problems with pick-up of the kids, since parents had a claim tag to match their bib numbers, but if a parent didn’t race, it was tough to pick up the kids.  I enjoyed the 5K, but I did not like the kids’ race.  If I were to do it again, my kids will do the 5K with me, and not the separate kids’ race.  I think they would have more fun running through the parks before it opens than running through a parking lot, plus it will allow us to get to the park in time for rope drop.

A little bit about me – my name is Lois.  I am a stay-at home Mom to 2 girls, ages 6 & 8. I love to exercise and love Disney. You can find me over at Running to Disney on Facebook, come check it out. This was my first trip to Disneyland. I live outside of Denver, in Thornton, CO and enjoy hiking, camping and reading when not running or thinking about Disney.