Princess Week 2013: The Race Retreat


For many Princess Half Marathon participants, the race weekend is a perfect opportunity for a girls getaway. With the female focus at the Expo, to the luxurious options for spa packages and more while staying on Walt Disney World property, there are definitely an abundance of options for participants to customize their weekend.

One such race add-on is the popular Race Retreat package – a $99 option available for both runners and spectators. Open before, during and after the race, the retreat offers an abundance of amenities, including refreshment, a temperature-controlled environment, a padded stretching area, private restrooms and bag check, changing tents, Internet access to check live race results, commemorative giveaway items, Disney character greetings and more…but don’t take my word for it…here’s Lisa with her take on this plush ‘plus’!

What more could a princess possibly want beyond running with 26, 000 of her closest friends? A weekend full of world class shopping? The opportunity to run through Cinderella’s castle in the quest for some gorgeous bling? Maybe another way of feeling just a little bit more like royalty? – The Race Retreat.


Since this was my first race at Walt Disney World, and I was running on my own I decided while registering for the Princess ½ Marathon to splurge and purchase the Race Retreat. The cost of this “VIP treatment” was $99 and in my opinion worth every penny.


Waking up at 2:15 is no easy task.  However my nerves were quickly settled by knowing that some of those oh so early hours were going to be spent in a warm (or cool as it applied to our very hot weekend) space, where I could sit, relax and have a few light refreshments before I embarked on my big adventure. So I got my ears on, and off I went.



 One of the main reasons I runDisney, besides the amazing energy & fantastic bling, is the character photo ops! The Race Retreat did not disappoint!  Before the race I was able to get a quick pic with a childhood favorite, Perla the mouse from Cinderella. (I mean who would not want a personal mouse/seamstress?)


 After the race, I got my beautiful 5th anniversary bling and returned to the Race Retreat.  I was greeted with a glass of champagne, Princess Flip Flops, a Princess towel –which is perfect for my race bag, and a few AMAZING samples from H2O+.


 I was eager to return to take a few minutes to relax, call my family, watch the other runners cross the finish line on the big screen T.V.’s in the viewing area and soak it all in. I was very pleased to see that the Three Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty had returned- and better yet there was NO line!

 My overall impression of the Race Retreat was there were some major PRO’s including:

  • A convenient Bag Check- it only took me one minute to check my bag upon arrival and even less time after I was done the race
  • Having private port o potties was a blessing. It is basic math, with 26,000 runners it simply is a better ratio 🙂
  • Both before and after the race there was food and refreshments. I personally do not eat much before an early race like this, but I saw many people enjoying a bagel and peanut butter, bananas and water. After the race there was a nice buffet of breakfast foods including bacon, eggs, muffins, oatmeal, fruit, tea and coffee.
  • Having a place to meet someone after the race, I was racing alone but was able to connect with some of the great online running community I have met over the past few years.
  • There was a padded stretching area, as well for $10 you could get a massage

 Would I purchase the Race Retreat again? I think the circumstances would determine this. If I were running in Disneyland* I would probably save the money and spend even more at the Expo (I LOVE Expos). If I was running in Walt Disney World, I would buy it in a magic minute- knowing that I had a comfortable place to wait and recover before and after the race truly helped me have the most fun I have ever had during a race. A BIG thanks to runDisney for treating me like a Princess! 

Thanks for your take on this fabulous race amenity, Lisa! I am sure lots of prospective runDisney participants are appreciative of your candid review 🙂

Would you consider adding the Race Retreat to your next race weekend?

* At time of posting (March 2013) the Race Retreat packages are only available at the Walt Disney World Resort during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend.


  1. You had me at private port-o-potty area!! That is the reason I’ve gotten the race retreat the last two times I’ve run Princess. It is pricey – but having a calm space before (and after) the race is worth it. Great review Lisa!!

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Emily! It definitely is a great perk and I love Lisa’s review, too 🙂

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