Dress Rehearsal Training Run at Disneyland

Yesterday, I completed week 14 of 18 in training for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. Saturday, featured a wonderful 4 mile run around my home. It was a good solid training run in preparation for the inaugural Disneyland 10K. For Sunday (because the 10K and Half Marathon happen on back to back days), I had 12.5 miles on the agenda. With the release of the official race courses for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, I thought it would be fun to run as much of the half marathon course as I could and find a way to make it a 12.5 mile journey. After all, several miles of the half marathon include running through Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and the warning track at Angels Stadium. With those places closed off to the general public, I created an alternative plan. Here’s the Disneyland Half Marathon Course…


So, since I couldn’t figure out where the exact start line is located, I started off at the corner of Disneyland Drive and Magic Way…


The view down the street…


As I went a little further, I thought that the start might actually happen on the other side of this…


On race day, there will probably be video screens on the walkway that the street goes underneath. The start line will probably be a little further up the road beyond that walk way. All of that is fine with me. One less incline to deal with. Although, this incline wasn’t that difficult to deal with at all. I continued on Disneyland Drive towards Katella Avenue and made a left turn…


A little up Katella, you pass by the Anaheim Convention Center…


I continued up Katella Avenue to Harbor Blvd and turned left. The cool thing about running here at the somewhere between 7:30am and 8:00am is that I had to share the sidewalk with those who were walking to Disneyland for their fun-filled day at the park. So, not only did I get to run over the area where I’d be running 4 weeks later, but I got the fun-filled experience of weaving in and out of walkers…just like I will at the start of the half marathon! SCORE!


From Harbor Blvd, I eventually turned in towards the Disneyland Resort where the busses pull in on my way to the Esplanade. I passed by the place where we will turn to go into DCA. I almost took a picture, but the gate that we run through was not visible (to what I remember from the Tinker Bell Half Marathon)

Once I got to the end of what is in the picture, I had to go through the security check point before entering the theme parks. This is something I was sort of prepared for beforehand. I knew they wouldn’t allow opened bottles with liquid in them to pass by the check point. You know? Like water bottles used on long runs? So, I left the fuel belt in my car and parked around the corner of Ball Road and West (where I would come away from Disney Property) and planned on picking them up later. What I didn’t plan on was how much going through the check point would slow me down. Not only did I have to wait for those in front of me to have their bags checked, but I felt like running through the Esplanade wouldn’t be appropriate. Also, seeing the Disney Security around contributed toward that feeling. I didn’t want to get yelled at. So, I chose the path of least resistance and took a few pics while walking through.





After getting through the second security check point, I went into Downtown Disney. I LOVE this store…


After walking from one security check point to the other, I did run a little in Downtown Disney. However, I still felt a little apprehensive about that. I would run when it didn’t look crowded and walk whenever I saw security or it got a little crowded. Going through Downtown Disney is not part of the DL Half Marathon course. It was part of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon course earlier this year. I did think about that as I made my way through.

If you ran in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon this year, you will know the path I followed in getting off property and on to West. I turned right on West and headed towards Ball Road (where I would make a quick stop to get my fuel belt). There are no pictures of this part because I knew it will not be apart of the DL Half Marathon. However, I headed up Ball Road and eventually would join back up with the DL Half Marathon course. We will have this freeway overpass to go over…


It looks harder than it is. One thing I hoped to gain by running over the actual course was confidence on the few climbs. Mission accomplished! Starting on West and onto Ball Road, I was able to get back into the normal run/walk intervals. This overpass did nothing to stop those intervals.

When I set out on this course, I intended to capture lots of pictures to share with all of you and remind myself of what I will come across. However, once I was on the streets of Anaheim, I found myself focussing on keeping to my run/walk intervals. Since I chose to walk through the Esplanade and a lot of Downtown Disney and had 3 red lights with one minute waits each, my overall time was slower than I wanted. So, I focussed on getting as much time back as I could. After all, this was a dress rehearsal.

I continued up Ball Road to Anaheim Blvd and turned right…just like the DL Half race course and followed that exactly as it is until I reached Ball Road and State College Blvd. Something I did not anticipate very well was the lack of sidewalks along the route. Most of the time the sidewalks ended, there was very uneven landscaping in its place. This was yet another cause for me to leave the run/walk intervals and just walk. I didn’t want to injure myself. So, walking those uneven places seemed to be what I should do. When those of you who are running the DL Half go down Ball Road, you might notice the places where the sidewalk stops and begins again. By the end of this training run, I was really frustrated by this.

Anyways, I made it to Ball Road and State College Blvd still holding onto a little over a 12 minute per mile pace (good for me). Once I reached State College, I couldn’t remember if the course turned there or went up over the 57 freeway before heading towards the Honda Center. So, I chose to keep on Ball Road. Now that I Iook at the map, I took the harder route as, I think, Cerritos Avenue goes under the freeway and Ball Road goes over the freeway. Oh well, the overpass wasn’t all that difficult. Much like the overpass earlier, I made it over and to the other side without abandoning my run/walk ratio.

On the other side of the freeway, I would make the first right (not sure what the street was). That street would take me into the parking lot of the Honda Center…


It was great to hit the next major landmark…


The Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus must be in town. I saw their trailers set up. As I got closer to the arena, I saw the parking crew and security set up for this. Much like going through the Esplanade and Downtown Disney, I decided to walk because I was unsure of the reaction I’d get for running. Ugh…more slowdowns…

As I navigated my way across the parking lot of the Honda Center, I looked for how to get into the Santa Ana River Trail. I’m sure that on race day, there will be some other entrance (at least that’s what the map seems to indicate). However, for me, I just made my way to Katella Avenue and entered from there. Free from the security presence, I went back to my run/walk ratios. Although, I ran a bit further once I got under Katella Avenue because I noticed a few homeless people who were camped out there.

I kept going on the river trail, just like the DL Half map indicates. Again, there might be some differences once race day happens. Once I got close enough to Angels Stadium, I began looking for places they might open up on race day. I did see one place that might be open for us to enter the stadium parking lot. However, until that day, I just won’t know. For me, on this run, I kept on the trail until Orangewood Avenue and exited.

I ran into the parking lot. It was great to see my favorite baseball stadium! On race day, I’ll go here..


To get here…


However, with this closed to the public, I just ran through the parking lot to the front of the stadium. Once I saw this, I just had to stop for a pic…



Running through the parking lot, I had that first feeling of wanting to be done. Mike Trout encouraged to keep on going..


So, I kept on going up and out of the parking lot onto Gene Autry Way (just like the DL Half race course). I followed along the race course, just like we will September 1st until I got to Disney Way and Katella Avenue. From Lewis Street up until Katella Avenue, both sides of Disney Way were grass and uneven. It was also at this point that the sun finally came out from behind the clouds and I was again frustrated. I had to walk because I was worried that running on such uneven ground might cause an injury. Also, Disney Way was far too busy of a street to run on the assfault.

Once I got to Disney Way and Katella Avenue, I faced a 2 minute wait at the red light. Still frustrated…more delays…I crossed to the other side of Katella Avenue and noticed that there were no side walks again. So, I decided to head up Katella Avenue and ditch the rest of the DL Half race course. This decision meant waiting another minute for the next red light to turn green. So, in three minutes and 10 seconds, I went a total of 0.01 miles. Frustrating.

I continued along Katella Avenue until I met up with Disney Way again (on the other side of the theme parks). From there I turned right and made my way back to where I started. I finished the 12.5 miles in 2 hours 43 minutes…13:03 per mile average. It’s not a bad time, not a great time. It’s 3 minutes slower than I want to finish the DL Half Marathon. However, considering the delays I faced, it’s not that bad.


The walk back to my car was a slow one. I was pretty tired by the end and very hungry. However, I did make it all 12.5 miles. Also, at the end, I gained a lot of confidence about finishing the DL Half Marathon. The course is relatively flat. I’m glad that I had the chance to check out one of the overpasses I’ll face because I might have conceded that I couldn’t run up it during the race without even trying. However, now that I’ve run up it, I know that I can. When I see it on race day, this incline will not be something I give up my run/walk ratios to complete. Another confidence booster for me? I completed 12.5 miles 3 minutes slower than my goal for the entire 13.1. However, even if that time remains consistent with race day, I should still finish the DL Half Marathon faster than I did the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. So, I’m still looking at a Half Marathon PR! I’m also still looking at a sub 3 hour half marathon. As I have been training, ALL of my training runs have come in with average paces quicker than what I did at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon back in January.

There are just under 4 weeks to go until the DL Half Marathon. I have a high degree of confidence that the DL Half Marathon will be a Half Marathon PR for me. The only question going forward is how fast I will go and how much time I will take off my previous half marathon time.

18 thoughts on “Dress Rehearsal Training Run at Disneyland

    1. I hope that you totally enjoy your first visit to the original Disney theme park. I’ve only been to the Disney theme parks in the US. However, I think that Disneyland is the best.

    1. I know! Running by the parks and over some of the half marathon course was very fun and only got me more excited. I can’t wait!

    1. You’re going to love the runDisney races. I’ve run in several other races myself and have found the Disney ones to be very well put together. I noticed that you ran the Giants Half Marathon this past weekend. I love the medal! My wife and I were just up in San Francisco two weekends ago.

    1. The Galloway run/walk/run method is working for me pretty well. I noticed that when I found my happy intervals, my times got quicker and I found myself with more energy at the finish. For the Disneyland races, I’ll be using a 1:1 (1 minute run: 1 minute walk) interval. In training, I’ve found that I can keep this going for around 10 miles. Then, I change it up to 30 second run: 30 second walk. After a few of those intervals, I can sometimes come back to the 1:1 interval. My recent long runs have given me a lot of time to test some things out. I’m still such a work in progress.

    1. I hope you enjoy your time out here in California at Walt Disney’s original theme park! This will be my first time in the DL Half Marathon. I ran in the Tinker Bell Half back in January. They have different courses. So, I wanted to see the differences (or as much as I could). I’m glad that others enjoyed this post.

  1. What a wonderful post! Been training for this! My first half….so neat to see the pictures. We are flying in from the East Coast…..hot and humid here….as I know it is there….
    So ready to do this! Great job and your so kind!

    1. The Disneyland Half is going to be your first? Awesome! I hope you enjoy every magical mile. Not sure what race day weather will be like yet. Lately, we’ve been experiencing below normal temps. However, that’s supposed to change this weekend. You should enjoy the fact that this race will have low levels of humidity. It doesn’t get too humid in Southern California. I hope the rest of your training goes well.

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