In January I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and last week I ran the Disneyland. I've decided to discuss the pro's and con's of both in case anyone is trying to decide between the two.
I decided the most important factor is probably the course itself. So lets talk about WDW first.
The Walt Disney World course starts (basically) in the EPCOT Parking lot. You meet in the parking lot then walk about a mile to the starting line. The course itself is very close to the route you take when riding the monorail from EPCOT to the Magic Kingdom. You run from EPCOT through the Magic Kingdom parking lot then veer right and go past the Contemporary and past the Magic Kingdom entrance. Then you make a U-turn and head into the Magic Kingdom through a cast parking entrance then onto Main Street for a trip around the park. Next you run down the Grand Floridian side of the lagoon then head back to EPCOT. Run towards the World Showcase, make a u-turn and back to the parking lot for the finish.
Running through the parks is obviously the best part but Disney does a good job of having characters all over the place to cheer you on. If you feel like stopping you can wait in line to take a picture with them too. Plus through almost the whole 13.1 miles there are people cheering you on. So the non park stretches are not too bad.
Now for Disneyland:
I'm sure the first thing you'll notice here is "Wow, that map does not look nearly as fun..." Do not get discouraged yet though because the Disneyland Half Marathon has it's perks too. You start off by waiting in a cast member lot then walking to the starting line. When the race starts you run down Disney Way and hang a left on Katella, then a left on Harbor and into backstage DCA. Running through DCA is fun and leads you into Disneyland which is even better. By the time you reach the carousel you've already done over 3 miles. After leaving Disneyland though the course loses it's charm. You run through a warehouse district of Anaheim, luckily some business owners (and rehab facility workers) were outside to cheer us on. Then you head into a rock quarry type area where passing people is not really an option unless you want to fall 20 feet into a ditch. After that danger you get to run through Angel Stadium! Once again though after that the last few miles are nothing to brag about, and since this is through the city there are no characters cheering you on outside the park. The home stretch leads you back behind DCA and to the finish.
The course is better and you have support from characters and spectators for almost the entire run.
Next time we'll look at The Expo, Medals, and Weather.