Looking at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Course – The Start through Disney California Adventure

As I mentioned yesterday, this past weekend, I had the opportunity to run over as much of the 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon course as I could. Of course, I can’t go backstage. Also, I took the time to go over the parts of the course inside of Disney California Adventure and the first part of Disneyland. Then, my battery died. So, I didn’t get everything I wanted. Much like I’ve done with other runDisney races at Disneyland, this coverage will be done in several parts. Today, I’d like to cover the start of the race all the way through entering Disneyland. Tomorrow, we’ll pick it up at Disneyland. Sound good? Ok. Let’s go. IMG_6356 Just like the Star Wars Half Marathon, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon heads towards Ball Road (as opposed to the Disneyland Half Marathon and the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon that heads towards Katella Avenue). The corrals will be lined up facing the direction in the picture above. Don’t worry about the incline on the other side. The start line isn’t until the top of the small incline. IMG_6357 If memory serves me correct, the start line will be somewhere around this spot. As you can see off in the distance is the first little uphill portion of the course. Don’t worry, it’s not much of an incline. Plus, with all that built up energy you have before the start, you will likely not even notice it. At least that was my experience at the Star Wars Half Marathon and the Star Wars 10K which started on the same path. IMG_6358 Here’s a little more close up of that incline. If you’ve run the Disneyland Half Marathon or the Avengers Half, this is where the back corrals are lined up heading the opposite way. IMG_6359 On the other side, you largely head downhill and flatten out on your way to Ball Road. IMG_6361 You turn right at Ball Road and you’ll see some of this. The good news is that, if you want to avoid some of the crowding at the start of the race, you can always choose to hop up on the side walk here. The crowds were pretty sparse here for the Star Wars Half Marathon. IMG_6362 This hill is somewhere around a half mile into the race. It’s actually a freeway overpass. This overpass is part of the 5th mile in the Disneyland Half Marathon. The good news for those who have run that race is that it’s so early. This way, you don’t have to worry about the crazy sun like you do at the Disneyland Half Marathon. I’m a slow runner and it has taken me a minute to run from the bottom to the top. So, it’s not too bad of a climb. IMG_6363 The good news? Once you get to the top, you get to head downhill! The Hotel Menage is at the bottom where you’ll turn. The intersection of Ball Road and Harbor Blvd. is one you’ll come back to in the 10th mile. IMG_6364 The bad news? Once you get onto Harbor Blvd., you get another overpass to climb. In all honesty, I kind of feel bad for the Pixie Dust Challenge runners. You get to run this same path two days in a row. IMG_6365 At the top of the overpass, you’ll see the Matterhorn in the distance to the right side. Somewhere on this second overpass, you’ll cross the 1 mile marker! Whew! You know how they say you should hold back on the first few miles of a half marathon and not go out too fast? Well, I think the Tinker Bell Half Marathon course really helps you do just that without even trying. The good news, though, is that your two toughest climbs are all in the first mile of the race. So, if the excitement of starting the race doesn’t get you through this and you feel tired, tell yourself that it gets easier. IMG_6366 What goes up must come down. What I like about freeway overpasses is that the downhill portion comes rather quickly. IMG_6367 At the bottom, the excitement should really be building up. You’re almost inside the theme parks! This part is flat and you’ll see others ahead of you turning. IMG_6368 When I ran, the park was open. So, I got to see the monorail. You probably won’t. IMG_6369 You’ll turn to the right here and head backstage! image Get ready for your first time (of two) through the tunnel that connects backstage Disneyland and backstage Disney California Adventure. Be careful when you go down into the tunnel. It’s a rather steep decline. When we ran this during the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon, I saw someone lose control on the way down and nearly face planted. So, enjoy the downhill, but be careful. IMG_3807 Running through the tunnel is kind of fun. At the end of the race, you’ll appreciate the various times they blow some awesome air conditioning your way! At the start of the race this won’t matter as much. IMG_3809 On the other side, you have to climb out. When I ran Tink in 2013, this climb was intimidating. As I’ve learned in subsequent races, this climb isn’t as bad as it looks. So, don’t let it psych you out. I think I could run up the entire thing in 30 seconds. So, if a run interval is in the cards, don’t back off. You can totally beat the hill! The best news is that, after this uphill, you won’t have to worry about another one until the end of the race. Also, you’re really close to entering DCA! IMG_6463 You’ll enter Disney California Adventure through this gate. IMG_6464 This is the view straight ahead. IMG_6465 To the left will be the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. In previous races, I’ve seen plenty of people stop for a selfie here. It’s not a bad idea. IMG_6466 Very quickly after you enter DCA, you’ll be turning to the right to head into Hollywood Land. IMG_6468 Watch out for the Red Car Trolley tracks. They go from here all the way up to the end of Hollywood Land. IMG_6469 You’ll pass by the Hyperion Theater (where the Aladdin show plays). IMG_6470 Right across from the Hyperion Theater is this fun sign. It’s one of the original logos for the Walt Disney Disney Studios. IMG_6472 At the end of this little stretch, you’ll turn to the left. If you want a fun picture, you could stop to the right and grab this fun shot. IMG_6473 Or, you could just turn up Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood Land. image This is what it will look like on race day! image Sometimes the folks from Marathonfoto are out here for pictures. Sometimes they are not. I like this spot for a selfie. Too bad this picture came out blurry. IMG_6475 If you need to use the restroom, look for this building to the left. Just past the Art of Animation building is the first real restroom of the course! IMG_6477 Go around here… IMG_6479 The restroom is back in this area. image At the end of Hollywood Land, on the right side, is the Storyteller’s Statue. I always forget where it is until I pass it. With the Tink course, I think you’ll have two opportunities to get a picture here if you so desire. The first is at the end of Hollywood Land and the second is on the way out. IMG_6481 If you see the Carthay Circle Restaurant, you’ve gone too far to get the picture. This is where the course turns again. IMG_6482 From here, you head off towards Cars Land. IMG_6484 If I’m reading the course map correctly, you’ll go through this area twice. So, there may be two-way traffic and you may see runners coming up towards you. IMG_6485 Here the part of the course, I’m making some guesses about. I think you’ll turn to run down Route 66 here. Although, after looking at the map later, I realize that you could be running through It’s A Bugs’s Land instead. So, forgive me if I’m wrong about this part. IMG_6486 Heading down Route 66 (aka Cars Land) is really fun! It’s like you’ve run into Radiator Springs! IMG_6487 Everything is arranged just like the movie Cars! This is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree! IMG_6489 Sarge’s Surplus will be off to the right, just past Mater’s. The next opportunity for a real restroom is just past Sarge’s. IMG_6491 Follow the path here to get to your second real restrooms on the course. IMG_6492 From there, you head towards Flo’s V-8 Cafe. IMG_6494 The course appears to turn to the right just past Flo’s. image At the Disneyland Half Marathon, they had Lightning McQueen and Mater here at the turn. Although, they don’t always reside here for the races. IMG_6495 As you head on along the course, you’re coming up to some really great spots for race photos. I love running through this part of DCA! IMG_6496 It’s simply picturesque! IMG_6500 There can be some really cool shots along this part! IMG_6502 Again, I’m guessing here. However, one you’re out of Cars Land, I believe you’ll head through these gates backstage. The course map looks like you’ll wind back behind attractions like California Screemin‘ and the Paradise Pier. IMG_6517 You’ll re-enter the theme park at this gate. IMG_6518 This is what you’ll see as you enter DCA again. IMG_6519 You’ll run by smaller attractions like Goofy’s Sky School. IMG_6520 The course has some natural turns like this one as you make your way towards The Little Mermaid attraction. IMG_6522 As you get closer to the Little Mermaid attraction, you’ll also start to see people venture off to the right to get a picture with Mickey’s Fun Wheel. IMG_6523 The course continues up to the Little Mermaid attraction. IMG_6524 Just past the entrance to the Little Mermaid attraction is San Francisco Street. There is another real restroom just a little bit down San Francisco Street. Since it’s not as close to the course as other real restrooms, I don’t recommend this one. However, when you see people wandering off the course, you’ll know why. IMG_6525 The course continues up past San Francisco Street and makes its way back to the front of Disney California Adventure. IMG_6526 As you get around this corner, you’ll probably see some runners going the other way as they head where you’ve already been. I envision two-way traffic. IMG_6483 You’ll notice this waterfall on your way to Cars Land. If you want to snap a picture of it, I’d suggest that you wait until you’re heading out of DCA as it will be easier to get a good picture. IMG_6535 As you approach the Carthay Circle Restaurant for a second time, you’ll have a second chance for a photo with the Storyteller’s Statue on your way out. This picture is on Buena Vista Street. When you get here, you’re almost out of Disney California Adventure. IMG_6537 Almost to the front gates. It does look like you’ll be running through them. IMG_6538 There are more real restrooms here on your left side. This is just before you leave DCA. So, it’s another chance to use the real restrooms. IMG_6539 From there, you’ll head from the front gates of Disney California Adventure, across the Esplanade, to Disneyland! image Running through the Esplanade is always fun. Every time I’ve run across the Esplanade, there are always a lot of people out to cheer you on. As a matter of fact, this is a good spot to advise your supporters to come and watch. Let’s just say that, no matter how tired you may feel, running through the Esplanade will give you some energy. If that doesn’t do it, the knowledge that you’ll be entering the Happiest Place on Earth…aka Disneyland, should do the trick. I always feel an extra boost of energy here. I’m sure that you will, too. That’s all for this installment. Come back tomorrow as we head into Disneyland! See you tomorrow!

6 thoughts on “Looking at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Course – The Start through Disney California Adventure

  1. so excited for this course and it is crazy how I can’t remember how we came in the park! I went back and looked at the recap and we headed from buena vista, to carsland and to the pier so i think your guesses are correct!

    1. When someone runs as many races as you do, I’m surprised that you’d remember very much about any course. Don’t they all get jumbled up? I think they would for me.

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