Race Review: Star Tours Disneyland 5K Fun Run- 2011

Summary: This race is for fun and not time.  It’s a great event for families and first time runners.

Key Information

Race Name The Disneyland 5K
Location Disneyland in Southern California.
Elevation Profile The race is flat and takes place at sea level.
Organization Disney organized
Terrain Through and around Disneyland and California Adventure
Water Stations Two within the 3 miles.
Highlights Running backstage at Disneyland.
Other Events Half Marathon the following day.
Good for Beginners? Awesome race for beginners

At the Disneyland 5K family run the least important thing is your finish time.   This is a fun run through the Disneyland and California adventure parks.  The race runs through and behind the scenes of the two parks.   Run it as quickly or as slowly as you like, but I will say that slower is better.

The Venue
The race starts near the parking structure.   Runners enter Disneyland through a side entrance and proceed through the park.   After that, runners transition backstage and into California Adventure.  It is common to see runners lined up during at various points in the race to take pictures with the characters.  This is one of those races where many people dress up as Disney characters.

This year, construction in the park limited access to some parts of California Adventure, but the run was still wonderful.   Disney staff lined the course and cheered the runners on.

Running Down Main Street towards a photographer

The run ends on the far side of Paradise Pier in California Adventure.   Everyone gets a plastic medal and then can proceed to have pictures taken.      There are many photographers lined up during the race.   There will be a few good pictures of you, so smile!  In 2010, we used our picture for our Christmas card.

After the race, runners are directed towards the Grizzly Peak Recreational Area in California Adventure.  Bananas, Cliff Bars and Dasani water are in ample stock.  It is a peaceful place to meet up with friends and family, and relax after the event.

Race Organization
The race is done in Disney-style. Communication is clear.  Packet pickup is on Friday at the Disneyland Hotel.  I would suggest parking in Downtown Disney, as there is no charge for the first 3 hours.

The Weather
The run starts at 6:45am, so it’s a bit chilly just before the start.   The past two years, I have run back to the car to put my jacket away just before start.  By the end of the short run, the temperature is typically in the 70s.

Running Through New Orleans Square

My Results
My goal for this race was simple, to be able to run the Disneyland Half Marathon the next day.  That meant I had to maintain a slow pace and do more post race stretching than normal.  I had to just take my time and leave lots of fuel in the legs for the next day.  Deemphasizing the time allowed me the luxury of try new shoes and experimenting with doing one minute intervals of alternating slow running and walking.

My finish time was about 50 minutes.  I was in the second corral so who knows what my time really was.  I loved not having the stress of a predetermined time to try to run to.   The unaimed arrow never misses the mark.

How did I do as far as meeting my goal?   Well, I will let you know tomorrow.

Race Review: Star Tours Disneyland 5K Fun Run- 2011

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