When we left off, we were entering the Esplanade on our way towards Disneyland.
As you can see, there is not a lot of distance between the two theme parks. The route will have barricades set up to mark the path into Disneyland.
The route leads you to the center of this gate and into Disneyland. What I love about running through the Esplanade is the energy you’ll get from the crowd.
Welcome into Disneyland! Yes, there will be a photographer if you want to veer off course for a picture here.
The route winds you to this entrance to Main Street U.S.A.
While I’m sure it wouldn’t be a good idea to completely stop as you pass underneath. You should know this plaque will be above you.
Right as you get through the tunnel, you’ll see this stand on your right. If you follow it around…
You’ll find another real restroom.
Right around the hub on Main Street U.S.A. is usually another character photo opportunity on your left side. However, running up Main Street U.S.A. is what we paid all the money to do. Right? Unlike the runDisney races at Walt Disney World, to watch the race on Main Street U.S.A. is a paid chEAR squad membership. It’s not free like it is at the Magic Kingdom. Therefore, you’ll have much less people lining the road to watch you run up the street. You’ll also notice that our castle is a not as large as Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom.
At the end of Main Street U.S.A. there will be a line like the one you see behind me from last year to get their picture with the Partner’s Statue and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. You can either choose to wait in it or get a selfie like I did. The race route goes to the left at the hub. So, if you want the selfie, I recommend staying right.
Here is the next part of the course inside of Disneyland.
From the hub, the course goes through Frontierland on its way to the Rivers of America. Right near the Mark Twain Riverboat, last year they had more Green Army Guys on the left side. The course goes to the right from the Mark Twain Riverboat and goes by Big Thunder Mountain. Along this path, you’ll cross the Mile 3 marker! Sorry I don’t have pictures for this part of the course. However, the path you’ll be on as you wind around Big Thunder Mountain is very narrow. Use caution as you run through this part. The path winds its way towards Fantasyland. The course remains narrow all the way through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
You’ll go around King Arthur’s Carousel on your way through Fantasyland. Here comes the part so many folks look forward to…running through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Now, keep in mind that Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is smaller than Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom. So, you’re in the back side and out of it rather quickly. There will be photographers there as you come out. Unlike Cinderella’s Castle, there is only one way back to the hub…straight ahead.
Once you get to the hub, the course will go to the left towards Tomorrowland. Right as you’re entering Tomorrowland on your right (as pictured above) is another restroom.
You’ll head through Tomorrowlad. I believe the course stays to the right side.
On the left side, as you get to the Tomorrowland Terrace, they usually have Darth Vader and two Storm Troopers for pictures. This line can be rather long. So, you might want to consider a selfie instead.
Once you’ve passed Darth Vader, Innoventios is right in front of you. The course will go to the left and run along side the Submarines. In the summer of 2014, you’ll see a wall up like the one in the photo.
Straight ahead is the Matterhorn.
You’ll wrap around the Matterhorn.
And head towards It’s A Small World. Keep in mind that from the time you head towards the Matterhorn, the path will again be pretty narrow. So, expect some slowing.
The course opens up again as you make your way towards It’s A Small World. Although I can’t remember this right now, I do believe there might be Princesses along this part of the route for pictures.
Right before you get to It’s A Small World is this area to the left.
If you need to use the restroom and want to use a real restroom, this is the very last real restroom on the race course.
There is a small downhill portion as you make your way into Mickey’s Toontown. That leads to a small incline as you get inside. As you can see in the slide above, you’ll run through Mickey’s Toontown and exit by Minnie Mouse’s house to go backstage at Disneyland. They usually have at least one float set up for picture taking back stage. I also remember them having some animals backstage for pictures right before you leave Disneyland and right before the Mile 4 marker.
From this point, your time in the theme parks is complete. In some ways, exiting Disneyland’s backstage area and seeing the 4 mile marker is a sad moment because you’re not going to be inside a theme park for the last 9.1 miles. However, it’s also a good thing. Why? Because, after 2 miles of running through sometimes narrow theme park paths, you will be on open roads for most of the rest of your journey. When I prepared for my first Disneyland Half Marathon, I saw a video where someone described the Disneyland Half Marathon course as the perfect one for negate splits. He did so, because of how the rest of this course plays out. The rest of this blog series on the Disneyland Half Marathon Race Course will cover way more ground in each post because there’s less to talk about.
If you like this post, check out the rest of the posts on the Disneyland Half Marathon Course