Do You Really Want to Run the Princess Half Marathon? Really? | | My No-Guilt Life

Do You Really Want to Run the Princess Half Marathon? Really?

The Princess Half marathon weekend goes on sale soon! Here’s your gut check: adjust the tiara and decide if the Princess half is really for you. Updated with 2019 runDisney Princess Half registration information.


princess 10K step sisters running costumes

Looking forward to the Princess Half weekend? Read this post first.


So you think you’re a Princess.

Let’s chat.

It takes more than a tiara and a tutu to compete in the runDisney Princess Half marathon annual girl power race… and actually enjoy it.

If you think it’s all magical and crap, well, I’m here to pop that pixie-dusted bubble right now.

It kinda sucks in a lot of ways. Yep. Sucks.


rundisney princess half marathon runners


Do You REALLY Want to Run the Princess Half Marathon? Really?


Look, I’m just gonna be real. You want to know these things BEFORE you plop down (gasp) $199 for a half marathon.

Or $345 if you insist on going for all the bling (which, I totally understand!).

But Wait… WAIT… Shenanigans, you go to the Princess Half weekend every year.  And you say you like it. I’ve read your posts… I’ve seen you smiling on the courses… WTH girl.

Fair enough. I do run this race weekend every year and I do like it.


It’s not my favorite and never ever has been- though that first one wasn’t really the Princess Half’s fault; doing 13.1 miles at 6 months pregnant was all my grand idea.

#OhLucy loved it.  #OhPatty did not.


rundisney princess half marathon finish line with mickey and minnie mouse

Never been so happy to be D-O-N-E!


It is one race I am having a hard time letting go of- if you remember my re-cap from 2014 I said I was pretty sure I was done with the PHM weekend.

But the truth is: Princess Half, I just can’t quit you.  I’ll get to the why on that in a minute.

I’m writing this post because Princesses are about to lose their ever-loving minds over the next week when registration opens…and beyond.


If you are not a fan of listening to women (and the 11 men who run this race) moaning, groaning, fighting and whining over… damn, you name it, it happens… then you will want to stay off Social Media until approximately March 17, 2019.  That’s a good 3 weeks after the race and all the blog recaps have been posted and the highs and lows have started to sluff off a bit.


Why the runDisney Princess Half Weekend Sucks

Here are my reasons why you should NOT run the Princess Half weekend. In no particular order.


It’s Hot. Stupidly, Miserably, Freakishly Hot. Africa Hot.

Except for that one year I didn’t run it. Ahem.

Then it was freeze your bootay off cold.

Really. Florida doesn’t play nice over Princess Weekend. It’s like the state hates women (insert your favorite political joke here.)

More on Disney World weather here.


Walt Disney World hurricane policy: what you need to know if your travel and family vacation is in the way of a category 5 storm.


The Princess Half is THE RACE to avoid if you care about PRing

… and are not in the top 10% of most of your races!

If you are uber-crazy-speedy-legs fast- then you will not notice ANY of the following points and may skip ahead to the registration info.


princess half marathon runDisney balloon ladies selfie

Sarah was a Dead Last Start runner in 2018 at Princess Half Marathon. This means she lined up with the Balloon Ladies on purpose to prove that you can run from the back!


This race probably won’t send you screaming from the many, many uteri that invade Walt Disney World.

If you are a mid-packer… please proceed with caution. You may haaaaattttteeeeee this race and feel really crabby and totally un-princessey about it all when it’s said and done.


Groups walking more than 2 abreast

There’s a lot of this. A ton actually. And it can be very frustrating if you are working your way at a faster pace.

Some of it is intentional, possibly due to unawareness.


Princess Half Marathon runners and course congestion


But there are also the people who are Galloway-ing and end up slowing to a walk right next to another couple who are mid-walk. It gives the appearance of 4 across.

On some of the back roads, this takes up the whole dang course. Just know:  it happens. If this will make you cray cray, maybe you want to skip this race.

There’re 2 major sections of the race where this occurs: going into and out of the Magic Kingdom.  It’s a tight fit.

Leads people to do dumb stuff like this:




Many First Time Runners & Many Walkers at the Princess Half Marathon

Whoa- hold up. Don’t stone me.

I AM A FRIEND OF THE FIRST TIMER and WALKERS. Totally. You are my people!

This is under the “it sucks” section as a warning to many of the traditional runners who find this to be a shocking experience.

Yes, we walk. Many of us choose this as our first half marathon.

Deal with it. Or don’t sign up.

Your choice, but for farks sake… quit moaning about us being on the course. Or make sure you have a kick-ass 10K time to put you WELL ahead of us- and DON’T stop for pictures.


Pictures on the runDisney Princess Half course

Let’s talk about that.

Stopping for pictures is kinda the whole point of running Disney. Have you seen my recaps? I LOVE the picture stops!

But if you stop, the lines WILL be long.

That WILL put your well earned bad-ass corral placement in jeopardy.

You WILL fall back with the slower and more congested corrals.

It seems to be a shock to people who started off in A-D that by the time they hit the Magic Kingdom they are swamped with other runners and walkers.


minie and mickey line at the Princess Half Marathon

Yep.  That’s what happens when you hang with Captain Jack or chit-chat with Cruella.  You play, you pay!  Are the pictures worth it?  I say YES, clearly!  But YOU may want to reassess this.


EDITED: Guys Won’t Start in Corral A

ETA: in 2018, men were actually seeded in corral A this year. Thanks for letting me know! So if you are running the Princess, guys, go ahead and submit that A corral time. What follows is what the runDisney policy was for the first 10 years of the race. 

You are going to start farther back than you normally should.

Deal with it. Or don’t sign up. (I think that’s the mantra to this post actually.)

This has been discussed for YEARS and Disney don’t care. They aren’t letting you start in A corral like you probably should be based on time.

It ain’t happening and if you want to know why it should be obvious:  it’s a women’s focused event. They are letting the girls get the glory.

Please don’t whine;  we get it. You don’t like it. But it’s not changing.

Except that it did… soo… move along! 😉


Corral Drama Llamas Come to Play at the Princess Half

There is great speculation and interest in corral assignments.

It’s fun to play guess the cutoff number & do the start line math based on your placement time. It’s an exciting time!

Until the actual assignments come out.  #WhompWhomp

Then there are all these accusations about who cheated or who got screwed over or who is running under someone else’s bib blah blah blah blah.

Seriously y’all, just #WorryBoutYoSelf



So if it sucks so badly, Shenanigans, why do you insist on running it every year?


Why the Princess Half Rocks

I said I couldn’t let this one go. Here’s why:  it was my first half marathon.

It was the first time I wo-manned up and showed my Brave.



13.1 miles seemed impossible to me. Twice as impossible when I discovered I was pregnant.

Impossible turned into I’m Possible. (Cliche, cliche… but true.)

That first year I just didn’t want to get swept.

The second year I felt accomplished, but still knew there was more out there for me.

The third year I met Julie and Amy. I fell in love with the FUN and let go of the fear.

Then I felt like I was home. I finally found my happy pace at my happy place with my ‘Ohana.


princess half marathon runners dressed in costume


And then again in 2016 with these fun friends:

Running the Princess Half Marathon- do it with friends!


These ladies mean the world to me.

I found them all through the Princess Half in one way or another and so… I keep going back. As long as one or more of them are willing to play at Disney World that weekend and dress up in a ridiculous costume, I’m down for it.

How else can you have memories like this?


Princess 10K rundisney costumes and characters

On-course shenanigans with the Princess 10K Move It Shake It crew.


Disney World Move It Shake It Dance and Play It Street Party costumes

After the race we took our costumes to the Move It Shake It Dance and Play It Street Party on Main Street. It was an absolute BLAST!


How to Register for the Princess Half Marathon

runDisney recently changed the registration process- and it’s mostly for the better.

The runDisney Princess Half is the second race to experience this new process, so hopefully, the kinks have been worked out from the Marathon weekend registration.

If you need tips on how to register for runDisney races, be sure to check this post out!

And ALL our runDisney posts can be found here.

Want an adult Disney makeover? Check out the Character Couture packages!


Bottom Line on the Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Is there crap and drama along the way? Yep.

Is there magic and pixie dust? Yep.

I hope this helps you go into the Princess Half weekend with patience and pixie dust on your mind.  It’s a ton of fun… if you are willing to make like Elsa and Let some things Gooooo!


10 Essential Tips For the Princess Half Weekend

Know before you go: these 10 Essential Tips For the Princess Half Marathon will ensure the first time runDisney participant has the knowledge they need to have a royally good time at the races. Running at Disney World is a very different experience- magical and all that; as long as you know what you're in for!

Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)


  • Cara says:

    Hey Patty! I’m with you, princess was the first half marathon I ever ran back in 2009. And I did the next two years for tradition (1 while preggo) and swore the crowds were so bad I would never return. Then my bestie from college calls and asks me to do it with her to help her achieve her goal post knee surgery so now I’m all in and thinking of doing GSC. Now I’m excited to come back!

    • patty says:

      LOL I know, I know… I’m hoping I can get some of my besties on board! I know one is coming (Wendy) and my friend and Travel Agent Jenn is running for the first time- I want to be there for that!

  • Tania says:

    Have you convinced any of us to run PHM next year? 😉 While definitely my least favorite race, it will hold a special place in my heart, too. The heat hasn’t really ever bothered me until ‘ol Sister Suffragette costume, but the crowds. Oh the crowds.

  • Mallory says:

    I still can’t decide if I am doing it. I’ve done it every year since 2011 but it has lost some luster with me and like you, it is not my favorite race. But the thought of not doing it next year is weird. I really have to sit down and decide.

    • patty says:

      Exactly Mallory. My mind was made up in Feb but as time marches on, she calls my name! It seems weird NOT to sign up, even though there’s all kinds of dislike there for me.

  • This was good. Really good. I’ve run it the past 4 years and although I do love it, sitting it out this time (so that I can afford to do the WDW Marathon and then the #starwarshalf is actually Okidokey with me. And yes, why does Florida hate women?!?! LOL!

    • patty says:

      I know! I *should* sit it out because I am also trying to work WDW Marathon weekend in AND Star Wars Half. But… I am 90% sure I’m signing up next week. I think my heart would hurt too much if I sat it out for some very odd reason. I’m a sap I suppose!

  • Emelia says:

    I agree with all of this. It is my least favorite (with the exception of TOT) I do have one favorite part, which is the female character picture stops on the course. There are more female characters our that aren’t usually out for other races. I think the reason it is my least favorite though is the course is deja vu from WDW Half and WDW Full the month before. I always have such a blast running the WDW Marathon weekend that a month later I go back and run that course for a 3rd time and it is boring…and hot and humid…and crowded…and not that I don’t love women, but there are a TON of big groups of women having fun at the race together (awesome) walking 8 across (not awesome). Great pros and cons Patty! 🙂

    • patty says:

      I do love the female characters on the course! And good point about doing it for a 3rd time after Goofy/Dopey. Hmmmm… now I’m thinking again!

  • Shannon says:

    Ummm, hello, where was this post approximately 368 days ago? You were all, “come it’s awesome, it’s so great. Yay.” Yea, ahem… well. Saying walkers walk 4 across is conservative. It’s more than that, but I agree, they aren’t all together, it just appears so. It’s so walkety walk the girls who want to follow race polite protocol and more right CAN’T. It’s is one crowwwddded course! People, heed this warning! Well…, okay, I give it to you, I wouldn’t have found you ladies without it so it did make it all worth it but this girl is far too tom-boy to take on the princess again! See you at other races *ahem* Avengers *ahem* soon!

    • patty says:

      LOL! Exactly. There’s TONS of great runDisney options out there— this just might not be “the one” for you. Sorry Shannon but I had to see you SOMEHOW after 7 years!

  • For me to do both Marathon and PHM is the HARD sell to the family…Oh I am trying to convince them to come for one of those races….but its not flying. This race was crazy crowded last year…oh the nutty character lines too…..but still a blast. A dream is a wish for me…… maybe my dreams will come true. I never get all the drama…really, its just a race and hey you don’t like it…plenty of others! Oh and thanks for the potty shout out!

  • Disney_Bride says:

    Not this time. I will be running Gasparilla with a merry band of rogue Princesses turned Pirates. I can deal with all of the above… Even merchandise/expo drama. We just want more bang for our buck. four races for the price of one rD half, race jacket and pirate bling. The tiara will be there next year.
    Disney_Bride recently posted…What’s on my grill? healthy vegan meals (and a giveaway)My Profile

  • Audrey says:

    I am dying laughing right now. Seriously. Just what I needed after my kid threw dinner on the floor twice tonight. Can’t decide if I’m running PHM. Still laughing.

    • patty says:

      Oh- I’m sorry about the dinner on the floor- BTDT. But glad there was something that could cheer you up a bit. 😉 As Anna would say… Hang in there, Joan!

  • Wendy says:

    Awwwww, it was so good to be there this year with y’all. So much fun and every time I see the pictures it makes me smile. And I will definitely be there for PHM 2015. PHM will always have a place in my heart since it was my first half in 2013. I think you just have to go in with the main set of some parts of the course will suck

  • Anne says:

    I’m 99% in the camp that’s not running it in 2015 — mainly because my spring is already over-run with long travel races (Paris? Yeah…there’s that!) Right now #Dopey15 is the only runDisney event on my radar, but we’ll see…I hear it’s an anniversary year in Anaheim 😉

    • Anne says:

      I guess, I’m actually 100% sure I’m not doing it…but leaving room for a slow SLOW sellout or major contest win!! 😉

  • I appreciate the candid review of the race and it’s process. I personally would never run any DIsney race b/c of cost/crowd but I love reading about everyone who does enjoy these races. I say that but the Princess Half has yet to be removed from my Race Bucket List haha

  • Julie says:

    This is my favorite race. I ignore the drama and enjoy the bling and the fun. I don’t find Princess to be any worse than WDW marathon weekend. I hope your negative assessment will make it easier for me to get registered!

  • Amy Albers says:

    Girl, I do have quite the soft spot for the PHM. Like you, it was my first half. And my Broads play a huge part in my affection for this race since at least one is in my memories (and pics) of every single one of them. Swearsies, if I come into a buttload of money, I’ll do it with you!
    Amy Albers recently posted…The Back of the Pack Gets Hosed… AgainMy Profile

  • cynthia says:

    I thought this was a really fair view of what it’s like to run the Princess Half Marathon. I remember when you had months to sign up now if you don’t sign up within minutes you might not get in. I would rather see Disney had corrals and include more people than keep raising the price and having to stress about getting in.

    Oh the price to be a princess!

  • Kellie says:

    I’m exactly the same way! This is not my favorite race (admittedly, that’s the W&D) but I keep wanting to go back to it every year for 2 big reasons, 1 – it was also my very first half marathon. Me, the girl who would lie about what lap I was on in gym class did 13.1! And 2 – with my teacher husband, this is the one race that we can go, together, and for longer than a quick weekend. I really want to register for the Glass Slipper Challenge again (despite last year’s nightmare) but doing Goofy a month before…I sadly need to wait until 2016. But I’ll be here jealous reading all the recaps even though I’m not that crazy about the race.

  • Jennifer says:

    LOVED THIS!!! I ran PHM last year for the 1st time…….went in to excited to be all princessed up and surrounded by girl power. While I do count it as my WORST ever time running time wise, it still ranks up there as my most fun race (2nd only to Tink…..cause Tink is awesome and CA knows how to control their weather!!) OMG the weather……UGH! Unless you live that weather 365 days a year, there is no way to prepare for it. And the crowds! Wall to wall sweaty cranky women 90% of the course. I’m in the 1 and done camp for PHM……until my mini-me is 14. Then I’ll do it again, this time with her! <3 PHM 2018 is our year! LOL
    Jennifer recently posted…Volunteering at the Girls on the Run 5KMy Profile

  • Laura says:

    Although I loved my roomies this year and had a great time, I will not be adding this one to my calender this next year. The call of Pirate Plunder is to much, on to Gasparilla and all those wonderful Pirate medals.
    See you all at other Disney races.

  • Jennifer says:

    I am so, so, so torn about doing this race. Thank you for putting it all on the line, here, it will help with my decision for sure.

  • Lesley says:

    Florida never seems to cooperate. This past January it was beyond humid and I got sausage fingers, and yet my parents made it through the ice-marathon. I just think Florida doesn’t like runners.

  • Good points. I expect them all to be true, and I dare even say I might try for a PR. This will be my first, and likely last for a while at least. Now…let the stalking begin to get in!!!!

  • Karen says:

    Once upon a time, when my daughter was 4, I began my “adult onset running.” When I crossed the finish line of a 5k, she said, “Mommy, you are just like a Princess!” That’s the 4-year old’s vocab for “something special,” right? Fast forward 14 years, and I was resuming running after a major hip injury, and heard about the PMH. WOW! I *had* to do this. So I laid down the miles, and worked through a local 13.1 to be sure I could do the distance.

    Stuff got real, and I’m SO grateful for blogs like yours that dish the dirt as well as the pixie dust. Though it made me a bit sad to not close the loop on that running princess image my daughter had planted, it became crystal clear that the PMH is not for me. The “girls just gotta shop” thing is not for me, and the Mean Girls horror stories outweighed anything that sounded as strong as “girl power” or as classy as “princess.”

    Though it’s just as crowded, I’m really looking forward to the WDW in January instead, where the estrogen factor seems to be diluted, and– bonus!– I won’t have to put in the long runs in the bitter cold of January. And my lil (now 20 year old!) princess will be with me. 🙂

  • This post is everything! I was convinced last year I would not do it again mainly for the reasons you listed above especially since i’m doing wine and dine and Dopey. However I sat down last week and wrote out a budget and saw that I could definitely swing this so I am back into the crazy for 2015 princess! I figure I can’t run this many races for much longer so might as well do it while I can! Having the Premiere pass is so great but encourages me to go to WDW more!

  • Karen says:

    Maybe the fact that the travel is far for me, making this an expensive trip, is a factor in my decision too. The race + vacation will cost in the thousands– definitely not something I could do a few times/year. So if I’m choosing one big running celebration, I’m pretty choosey. 🙂

  • Joanne Williams says:

    Thank you SO much for this! I have only heard negatives about running Princess Half. It has been on my “Bucket List” since the very first day I started running 3 years ago. Wednesday has been marked on my Calendar since the date was announced. I can’t wait!

  • Jenn Greene says:

    I am ignoring all your crap Patty, clearly. This will be my 1st half, and If I want to kill people then I wont do it again there are other races. BUT I am fully committed to get my PHM Bling 2015!

  • Andrea says:

    Thanks for the heads UP! No seriously! This is great info for the novice PHM runner/walker. Be very prepared! I ran PHM 2013 & GSC 2014 and that was enough for me to come to the understanding that I’m not running PHM/GSC 2015.

  • I deferred this year’s GSC so 2015 will be my first PHM. I’m from Oregon and not a fan of running in the heat and huge crowds but darn it, I have to do PHM weekend at least once 🙂
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  • Perfect! I love this: “Deal with it. Or don’t sign up.” There is crowding, there is diva behavior, the lines for characters are LONG, but it is a lot of fun and is a great race for a first half marathon or a girl’s get together. I’m abandoning it for Gasparilla this year (giving being a pirate instead of a princess a try!) but PHM will always hold a special place in my heart. Hope you have a great time next year!
    April at RunTheGreatWideSomewhere recently posted…Disney FP+: Main Street Electrical Parade ViewingMy Profile

  • Heather says:

    I love this post, it was honest and hits the nail on the head in SO many ways. GSC 2014 was my first Disney race ever – and I was skeptical at first. I had read the reviews of the race, I read about the over crowding, the four-people across walkers, everything. Mind you, that was after I dropped nearly $300 to go run on the happiest place on earth. And I will say, the weather does suck. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU GO FROM RUNNING IN DELAWARE WITH SNOW TO RUNNING IN FLORIDA WHERE IT IS 90 DEGREES. Goodness gracious, I wanted to die. And while there were things I disliked about runDisney? I signed up for Tower of Terror on the bus after Princess Half back to the hotel. Yep. I was hooked.

    Now I’m signed up for Star Wars (through a charity race) and plan on Wine and Dine next year too. 🙂

    But yeah – I’m rambling.
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  • Jen says:

    My young daughter wants to run this as her first 5K? Will it be magical?

  • Tonia says:

    Hi my name is Tonia and I will be a first timer in 2015… (You all reply Hi Tonia, lol) okay, so I’m joining you running addicts! The PHM is my motivation to start running again 🙂 my goal will be to finish 🙂 I have trolled lots of blogs and websites… Do you really get a tiara?!?? 😀

  • Tammy says:

    Thank you so much for your tips and hints.

    This will be my first disney event (2017), if I’m fortunate enough to get in. I am just excited about the prospect of running it and will deal with all the ‘issues’.

  • I just can’t quit it either. I told myself I wasn’t going to sign up again this year because I’m doing the full in January – and running aside, I really shouldn’t financially go to Disney a month later. But i probably will because it was my first half as well and I just love it. Plus I love they change the theme to match a different princess every year. And I’m sure the one year I don’t do it will be the year they choose Beauty and the Beast.
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  • I do love Princess (it was my first half marathon too!) but I agree with your points. Sooo much corral drama. And I always tell people who haven’t run a Disney race before that it’s not going to be the best vacation – you have to wake up at 2:30-3 in the morning, which means no late nights the night before and you’ll probably need a nap the next day… and if you’re doing 2 or even 3 of the races that weekend you cut into your vacation time quite a lot!

  • Patty says:

    Oh my gosh- yes! The early wake ups are killer. I’ve dialed my race weekends back to one or two wake ups. And naps. lol

  • I enjoyed running the Disney Princess 10K with my sister, who also ran the 5K. It’s just a really cool experience worth trying at least once!

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Patty Holliday

Patty is a 40-ish mother of four living in Virginia. A bit geeky, sometimes sarcastic, lover of a candid confession. She's trying to love running, she swears. But much like her marathon, it’s taking a very long time. Ahem. She's searching for the perfect way to balance family, work, travel, and fitness. Perfect defined as high on fun, low on guilt.

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