Every year Disney puts out a Florida residents pass in the spring: 3 days to any of the 4 parks for $99. It’s a pretty great deal considering one day at Disney is almost $90 just for a single day/park ticket! As a student we got a little extra discount on top of that, which is pretty awesome! So yesterday Alex and I ventured over to EPCOT for a day of fun (it’s been at least 10 years since I was at this particular park).
It was an amazing day spent with him and his parents. I was busy soaking in every moment and memory without worrying about snapping a bunch of blog worthy pictures. Needless to say this post isn’t about recapping yesterday’s visit to EPCOT.
Going into yesterday I knew it was race morning at Disney. I was well aware that is was the Princess Half Marathon weekend. What I wasn’t prepared for was the end of the race. It never dawned on me to think about the race route or the finish line location.
As we entered Disney property there was traffic everywhere. A sheriff on every street corner, cones blocking off lanes, and signs for rerouting of non-race traffic. Luckily Alex’s parents are seasoned pros when it comes to Disney so they quickly navigated us through side roads and right into EPCOT parking. EPCOT had its own sort of rush hour traffic jam happening in the parking lot; cars were coming and going in every direction. And then I saw it, off to the far side off the parking lot, the Finish Line!
There were runners everywhere with golden medals around their necks and sparkly tiaras resting perfectly atop of their heads. I got really emotional seeing them in their post-race glow. Congratulating every finisher as I passed them by was the least I could do.
The last .25 miles of the race took the runners straight through EPCOT and to the finish line just outside the main gate. I was lucky enough to see the last of the runners. I stood in awe as we cheered them on. I cried with them as course workers told them the finish line was just outside the gate. Other park goers stopped to cheer on this final waver of runners too; it was the most motivating and inspiring moment of the day.
In the distance I could hear the announcer call out the final runners and call the 2012 Princess Half Marathon a wrap. I knew that I also wanted to cross that finish line and receive my Disney medal. The day went on and everywhere we looked there was another princess (or prince – they opened it to guys too!) proudly wearing her/his medal. I had race envy.
I learned something yesterday. Runners of all ages, shapes, sizes, genders, nationalities, and speeds ran that half marathon yesterday (15,783 women and 1,108 men). No one was excluded and no one was discriminated against. To the women (and men) that received a new PR and especially to the women I cheered for at the end of the race; thank you for instilling motivation and hope in me.
For a long time I had this fear about registering for a Disney race because I was filled with so much self-doubt (mostly about my size and the weight I need to lose) but I am not any more. Sure it’s going to be hard and I need to keep on training, but I am no different than any of those other runners. They all had to start somewhere.
I too can be a Disney race finisher!