RECAP: 2017 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Playing the part

Welcome, foolish miles, to the Half Marathon.

We dragged our bodies 13.1 miles across Anaheim.

There’s no turning back now…

Now as they say…look alive.

Okay, so spoiler alert: my sister, Jenni and I ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and zero fun was had 😉 And holy cow, how was this already more than a week ago?

Running this race with Jenni was of special significance, as we had originally planned to run the 2015 Wine and Dine Half Marathon together, but for a few reasons, that plan didn’t pan out. Now, in 2017, our schedules lined up, and we had the opportunity to not only run this race together, but spend some time at Disneyland as Abby’s first trip, too!

Costume inspiration

Of course, we had to come up with fun costumes…while we had done fairies in the past, Jenni’s only request was to be a “little” out of the box, with her suggestions of either attractions or snack inspiration. Since her favorite ride, since childhood, has been the Haunted Mansion, I suggested two characters from the Stretching Gallery, and once that idea was enthusiastically approved, I got to work to creating run-worthy costumes, complete with little props for photo opps 🙂

This trip marked yet another FIRST for me – a stay at the Disneyland Hotel (which I hope to get around posting a review of in the next century, lol) but also, my first runDisney West Coast race post-new security measures. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about it (as I had LOVED the ease of getting to the start line in the past), but thanks to a little airheaded-ness (Jenni, Jillian, or I clearly did not read, as we thought the race started at 5 AM, and we left our room super early, accordingly), it really was no big deal at all, and confirmed to me that logistically speaking, I still prefer the Disneyland races over the Walt Disney World ones.

But – back to the recap.

As mentioned above, we were up early – alarm was set for 3:45 AM and I jumped out of bed, I was so excited (also, didn’t want to unnecessarily wake up Abby). We got ready pretty quickly and were on the en route to the start line by 4:30. We passed through the security checkpoint (as if we were going to Disneyland) then were guided back behind the Earl of Sandwich and off to the corrals.

The corrals were quite empty at this point, so we were able to station ourselves quite close to the front (I had submitted a time that got me into “A” corral, but Jenni and I were running together, so we both were lined up in “B” for this race). Jenni was feeling a little nervous, as she had not gotten in as many runs as she had wanted to (on account of her work schedule being mostly nights recently) but I reassured her that the day was for fun, and we’d be fine! We formulated our “race strategy” of running for the first half of the race (in the parks, to character stops) with a transition to walk/run once we were on the Anaheim portion (she does 3 min run/30 sec walk).

First stop: fairies!

The race went off without a hitch (at 5:30…not 5, haha) and before we knew it, we were running a perimeter road to Disneyland, and then, in the park. The first stop was with a trio of fairies, so of course it was a must!

Running right down the middle of Mainstreet U.S.A.!

The other fun part about being in Corral B was that we “ran into” my friend Sarah! We kept up the pace with her for a while through the parks, so it was fun to have a few fun pictures with her, too.

What I noticed at the beginning of the race was that it was not particularly crowded, which was nice! We had a lot of elbow room, and we weren’t having to wait very long for character photos. Plus, water stops were smooth, and not congested. Jenni had her hydration belt, so our plan to get through aid stations was simple – we’d meet at the end, after I ran to the last water cup and took a few walking steps…repeat, repeat, repeat, until Jenni needed a refill in her bottles, so we could take a little longer.

Also notable? The weather was GORGEOUS! Something in the 50s-60s – a lot cooler than what I had imagined, so we were super comfortable.

Posing with Pirate ‘munks!

The first little bit of the course was a little confusing to me, and definitely different than previous halves I have run at Disneyland. We did a little criss cross action between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure…but of course, we met every character we could in between 🙂

Pluto Pup!
In Cars Land with Mater and Lightning!
Captain Hook and Smee!

Of course, the longest line we had was for the pixie powerhouse herself…we probably waited about 7-8 minutes, but it was well worth the wait.

Tinker Bell!

As we rounded out of the parks, I ditched my shawl somewhere (you’re welcome, citizens of Anaheim) and we were off! Jenni had her intervals going in her headphones, so she’d raise her hand and let me know when to run/walk. I totally thought she was rocking it and we had fun, running and chatting about the sights we were passing. One of our favorite parts? Around Mile 8! Mouse Planet had set up a super cute cheering station, complete with free red vines (CANDY FROM STRANGERS!) and the cutest cameo from the Cosplay Parents (check out their FB here).

Although the course wasn’t as lively as my usual fave, The Disneyland Half, I still enjoyed it – the vibe was still positive, to me. I liked seeing the different neighborhoods we passed, and once we were on the return to the Disneyland Resort area, I just felt really happy! I was sharing one of my favorite things with one of my favorite people…it really doesn’t get much better than that.

RUNDISNEY_DLRMARAFINISHLINE2_20170514_401740204498As we rounded the last few turns around the hotels toward the finish line, I told Jenni that we were gonna run it in, and thankfully, she was all for it, too!

We finished somewhere around the 2:52 mark, which, actually, is a course PR for me (hahah!) Heck yeah, each mile was magical!

Crossing the finish with Jenni was one of the most fun things we have done together, for so many reasons. For one, it marked something really special to me – that I could share running with her and that we were able to spend time together, despite our schedules being so different…but it also made me smile because her hubby Vernon was back in the hotel room with Abby – he flew out for just one day to hang out and help out – that was really cool of him, and I know they had fun, too (full disclosure, he even Facetimed us twice during the race so we got to wave at Abby, haha).

I had a really fun experience at this race – and running “just” the half this time freed up a lot of time for our park adventures!

Did you run the 2017 Tinker Bell Half Marathon? 

Next up…a recap of Abby’s first trip to Disneyland!




  1. […] unforgettable! Abby and I went on our longest flight as we traveled to the West Coast for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, followed by a Disneyland vacation, and a few days in Seattle (and adventures to the Bavarian […]

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