A look at my experience running the 2022 Disney Enchanted 10k:
Last month I was back at Disney for the Enchanted 10k, one of the races during Princess weekend and part of the Fairy Tale Challenge! This is a special one for me – I like the 10k distance and in 2014 the Enchanted 10k was my first real race I ever did, and the thing that turned me into a runner. For that reason Princess weekend will always be special to me.
But like any other Disney race weekend, it does require a 2:30am wake-up call! This year it was extra special because my friend Kristin was also running the 10k, and it was her first RunDisney event. We were both excited because the 10k theme this year was Tiana, and she’s our favorite princess (well, mine is a tie between Tiana and Belle). So glad to see Tiana getting some love!
We arrived at Epcot pretty early, so we waited on line to take some photos before getting into the corrals. I just got my picture with the 50th anniversary sign and then headed to my corral to settle in, because I find that helps my anxiety and I can do some stretches and some mental calming (I don’t meditate, but I have a few things I try to do to center myself).
I saw so many great costumes while we were waiting to start, especially some that were themed to Princess and the Frog. There were several Tiana waitress costumes that included a plate of beignets (super glue does amazing things!). Some people dressed up as Ray the lightning bug, complete with glowing butt, or Dr. Facilier with a top hat. I also saw a lot of 1920s Princess and the Frog inspired flapper outfits which I loved. So much creativity!
I tend not to dress according to the theme since so many other people do, and pick a different princess. This time I was Ariel, as she is one of the few “main” princesses I haven’t done for a race weekend yet! While I was waiting to start the 10k the announcers were chatting with some people in the crowd, and they ended up talking to the woman standing right next to me. So inadvertently I was up on the big screen right before starting!
And then we were off! I was in “starting area 2” and started pretty early on, probably around 5:05am. As soon as I started running I knew it wouldn’t be my best race weekend, as I could feel the tightness in my muscles. So I decided to take it easy, especially for the 10k, and stop for character photos when I saw any I liked.
That being said, I still like to actually run a good bit for the races I do, even if it’s at a slower pace – I’ll take walk breaks, but only for 45 seconds or so. Even starting at the front of corral 2, it was almost impossible to really get moving much until about 1.5 miles into the race. I know Disney is a little more relaxed than most races and has a lot of beginners, and I think that’s great, but I just don’t understand starting so far up and then going for a stroll and chatting with friends. If you want to do it that way, that’s cool, but please respect that other people are here to actually run.
I would love to see Disney do a better job and go back to more proof of time, because I honestly think good corral placement is really important. I say this as someone who once participated in a race that had about 4,000 people and did not have corrals, so everyone started wherever they wanted. This meant I was trying to get around a lot of slower people in the beginning, but there were also people faster than me trying to get around me. As a result I ended up tripping over other people’s feet as we all tried to figure that out and I ended up falling hard face first into concrete. That race ended for me at the hospital rather than the finish line, and with 6 stitches in my chin rather than a medal. So it’s not just an inconvenience, it’s a safety issue. And at Disney I often feel like I have to balance wanting to run my pace with a little bit of PTSD about tripping.
Anyway, thanks for listening to my TED talk on corral safety. The good news is I’m still at Disney doing a RunDisney event! I passed on two early character stops – the first was Anna and Elsa, and the second was Tiana. Both were pretty long already and I I feel pretty good in the beginning and don’t usually stop early on. The next character stop was for Joy and Sadness, and although I’ve had pictures with them before Inside Out is one of my favorite movies so I stopped here for a photo. A little bit further I also passed Sleeping Beauty with one of the fairies (my understanding was the exact fairy switched out a few times).
Then it was on to Hollywood Studios, which was a new course for the 10k! I’ve only run through Hollywood Studios a few times (back in 2014 when I did the Tower of Terror 10 miler, and then towards the end of the marathon). This was probably my favorite part of the race. It was exciting to be in Hollywood Studios and see it all lit up and run through it for something a little different. I stopped for some pictures with the Tower too. According to my friend there were some bellhops out for photos by the Tower, but I didn’t see them when I passed.
We ran out of Hollywood Studios and back towards the Boardwalk, where there were a few more character stops. Waits were pretty short so I grabbed a photo with Mickey in his Royalty outfit (King Mickey?). I passed on Goofy, but Chip and Dale were also out with their cute 50th anniversary vests so I stopped for a photo there too.
Then it was on in to Epcot, where there were more characters – Rapunzel, Mr. Incredible, and Clarabelle Cow. I decided to pass and keep going towards the finish line. And then I was finished and got my beautiful Princess and the Frog medal! I ended up with a finish time of 1:07:48.
I headed to get my celebratory post-race beer, and just enjoyeed drinking that and relaxing a little while I got a few more pictures with my medal. As I made my way back toward the finish line to see Kristin finish, I bumped into some other friends who I hadn’t seen in awhile! It was great to chat with them a catch up for a bit, as they are some amazing women. Then I had to get to the finish line to catch Kristin.
And there she was, finishing her first RunDisney event! She had stopped for a number of character photos and I’m so glad she did the full experience and enjoyed it all. RunDisney is great, but it’s even better with friends!
Characters at the 2022 Disney Enchanted 10k (as best as I can remember):
- Anna and Elsa
- Sleeping Beauty (with Fairy)
- Joy and Sadness
- Chip and Dale
- Mr. Incredible
- Tower of Terror Bellhop
- Clarabelle Cow
Did you run the 2022 Disney Enchanted 10k? Would you want to participate in the future?