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Disney Run for Kids

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For the past 2 years I’ve been watching my friends run marathons.  From the Mud Run to the Color Run they wake up early, run and have a blast.  This year I told my husband that I really wanted to run and also thought it would fun if the kids participated too so we decided to check out Run Disney to see which runs were coming up.  We lucked out and saw that Disney was having their annual ½ Marathon and Disney Run for kids during Labor Day weekend, only problem was that we have one kid who was too young to run/walk the 5k.

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My desire to run was put on hold for another two years, so naturally we opted out but decided that the kids should still participate in the Disney’s Kids Run.  I’ve never ran or have gone to cheer on someone who was running which meant that I was completely clueless when it came the madness that I so lovingly call race weekend.

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For those of you who have never run Disney, here is the low down.  The Thursday before the run you can pick up your running packet at a designated time, this is when the party starts for the runners who were smart enough to book a room.  By party I mean Downtown Disney goes off and there are thousands of runner eating, dancing, enjoying the park and schmoozing with each other.

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All runs, minus the kids, runs start at 5:30 am which means you should be up and at the run at about 5.  If you live close and like to wake up at 3 all the power to you but for people like me who love that extra hour and forty minutes of sleep BOOK A ROOM!

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Luckily we weren’t doing the 5:30 run so this won’t pertain to me until next year when my husband and son do the 5k.  My daughter still won’t be able to run/walk the 5k without one of us carrying her halfway through so I’m staying in the room with her while the men run, at least that’s the plan for next year.

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We couldn’t make the pick-up time for Thursday which meant Friday night was the absolute last time we could pick up the running packets for the kids.  After an hour of bumper to bumper traffic on the 5 (oh joyous 5 o’clock traffic on Labor Day weekend you don’t fail me ever) we finally made it to Disneyland Drive.

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Due to the high capacity of visitors, they opened up the seasonal parking lot behind Paradise Pier which was a score since the Health & Fitness Expo was right next door at the Disneyland Hotel.  As we walked to the hotel I could hear the music from Downtown Disney.  People were screaming and laughing in the distance but still I had no clue as to what to expect.  We walked into the expo hall and found out that we needed to go down to the parking lot below to pick up our packets and then we could head up.

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Down the ramp we went to what was valet parking just a few days early to one of the most organized experiences I’ve ever had.  10 minutes later we were upstairs at the expo looking at New Balance Disney inspired running shoes, running clothes and medal holders.

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I was looking at pictures from previous races and realized how ill prepared we were for the run.  Did you know that ever year people dress up to run?  I’m not talking tutu’s, I’m talking full on Star Wars Storm Trooper gear.

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My kids would have to make due with the commemorative T-shirt and Mickey Mouse ears; I had no time to make my daughter a matching tutu but next year she will be out of control!  The expo is great for runners to pick up their chap guard or any last minute item they forgot to purchase before the run but wasn’t really a factor for our little 200 and 400 meter runners and with Disneyland being right there we left to hit the park.

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We walked to the monorail and the line was insane, then I noticed how packed Downtown Disney was.  There was no way we would be able to enjoy the park, have dinner and make it back to the car by 9pm being that it was already 7 which meant skip the park and head over to Goofy’s Kitchen.

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After dinner we headed home only to be back 10 hours later.  The races start at 9am in Downtown Disney, I recommend getting there 45 minutes early to find parking as well as your child’s corral.

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 I was pretty confused as to wear to go and what to do, thankfully the Disney Cast teams are there to guide you and answer all your questions.  When you reach the corrals you have to make a choice either go in with your child and run alongside them or go to the stands and cheer them on.   I went in with my daughter but once the run began, I was able to get out.

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Here’s the thing don’t get out, the best pictures you can take is while you run with them so next year I’m going to wear my running shoes and stay in.  Here’s another tidbit that I didn’t know about, only one parent is allowed to run per registered child, and if you have multiple children in different age groups you can choose 1 race for everyone to run together.

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Your child’s race number has a detachable parent’s claim ticket and cannot be removed from the corral without that claim ticket so don’t lose it.  The race began with the 1-3 years old running the 100 meter dash and ended with the diaper dash.  Watching the toddlers toddle across the finish line was the cutest thing I had ever seen, I totally regret not doing this sooner so that my little Tinker Belle and Captain Hook could have run.  If you have a little one and don’t know if it’s going to be fun, just do it, it’s so worth the experience.

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Once the race begins the Disney announcer releases groups of kids. It took a while, but the kids were very patient and everyone was having a great time. A few kids fell along the way but luckily they had their parent to pick them up, hug them and continue the run alongside with them (another reason you should stay on the run with your child – total foul on my end).  Once they make it to the finish line they run another 100 yards and receive a finisher medal, water bottles and bananas.

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They also had a finisher photo section so that you can capture that moment either with your own camera or with a cast member.  Once marathon weekend is over you will be emailed a link that corresponds to the race you attended.

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Once you are done with pictures you need to show your parent claim as well as your child in order to leave, DO NOT LOSE YOUR CLAIM NUMBER!  Overall, the runDisney races for kids are an amazing value especially compared to the entry fee for the big races. They are well organized, well-staffed and most of all  fun.

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It’s a great way to get kids out of the house and exercising and spend time together as a family.  Next year I will be better prepared for the race and am so excited to have had this experience.  For more information please visit www.rundisney.com .

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I’m an OC mom of two and photographer. I love living in Southern California and want to expose my children to all that it offers. I love taking my kids on adventures and capturing their every moment so much so that my kids find it odd if I don’t take their pictures. You can see my work on facebook.com/photosbynaz.

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