Want to run at Walt Disney World without paying runDisney prices?
If you’re looking for an inexpensive yet fun way to stay active on your Disney vacation, then look no further than the resorts! There are plenty of fun runs at the Walt Disney World resorts to choose from… and the good news is that you don’t have to be staying at these specific resorts to participate!
Every fun run is $15 per person (free for kids 3 and under) and includes a cute little medal (nothing as hefty as the runDisney ones, but a cute trinket regardless) and either a free treat or some resort swag. Dates and times are subject to change, so double check with the resort’s cast members to be sure if you’re interested! Some of them offer pre-registration, but you’ll have no problem signing up the day of if you get there 30 minutes early.
Fort Wilderness hosts runs seasonally, so check with the cast members working there to see when and where they’re being hosted, if at all. If you’re there for the Fourth of July and want to run for Dole Whip, check out the PIneapple Dash at the Polynesian Resort! Check with resort cast members for exact times, as it may vary from year to year, but you can expect for it to be around 8:00 a.m., give or take.
The Beignet Dash:
Southernmost Point 3K:
As the name suggests, this Old Key West Resort fun run is a course shy of 2 miles long that starts near the playground closest to Sandcastle Pool. You can enjoy this race every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., with registration happening at 7. To preregister, check with Cast Members in the Community Hall!
All Stars and Icons:
This 1.2 mile fun run happens every other Tuesday at The Reel Spot at All Star Movies. You can register the day of or you can pre-register at All Star Sports’ Surfboard Bay Pool. Registration the day of begins at 7:30 a.m. with the race kicking off at 8.
This Boardwalk Resort course takes you for a 1.4 mile fun run at 8 a.m. every Friday! You can register by Jellyrolls at 7:30 a.m., and the race starts where you register.
The Regatta Run:
Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club hosts this 3K every Thursday at 8:00 a.m., with registration held at 7:30 a.m. the day of. Call the resort if you’re interested in pre-registering. The starting point and registration location is at the marina just outside of the Yacht Club.
Want to run a 3K around Saratoga Springs? You can every Thursday morning at 8:00 a.m., with registration at 7:30. Just head to the Community Hall to sign up and get started!
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Let’s take a trip there - specifically, to Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu, otherwise known as Stars Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. If you’re heading to Disneyland this summer or really excited for this fall at Walt Disney World, then like me, you’re already planning every detail down to the minute to maximize your Galaxy’s Edge experience.
This new theme park expansion is entirely immersive and I can’t wait to visit Batuu on August 17 for my Passholder Preview. Of course, that means dining like a local, too, so let’s take a complete, comprehensive look at the dining options at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge through the lens of a Weight Watchers Lifetime member!
And fair warning… we’re in another galaxy, here. I’ll be sure to let you guys know what you’re in for in case terms like “tip yip” are confusing to earthlings. Also, the offerings look to be the same whether you’re landing on Batuu from California or Florida, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out and make updates if necessary once Hollywood Studios opens up the gates (but based on Disney’s website, I don’t see any differences).
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
This is a quick service location (and mobile ordering is available!) and their lunch and dinner menu is thus mostly the same.
If you are in need of something friendly to a food allergy, their menu is very clear about what is and isn’t allergy friendly. To be safe, though, I’d always clarify when ordering from the residents of Batuu.
For breakfast, here are your options:
Magically Fit’s pick: Personally, I’d go for the Bright Suns Youngling Breakfast! Or, you can pick the overnight oats or the Bright Suns Morning and give the mini roll to someone not counting calories in your party.
Photo courtesy of Disney Parks website
Here’s what we got for lunch:
Magically Fit’s pick: I’d go for the Roasted Endorian Tip-yip salad or the Yobshrimp Noodle Salad if I wasn’t going low-carb for lunch. I’d likely get the kids version of the Yobshrimp Noodle Salad as to not have an overabundance of noodles.
And for dinner:
Magically Fit’s pick: Same as lunch, though the Ithorian Garden Loaf also sounds great and a good option for going meatless.
Photo courtesy of Disney Parks website
Queue up the music, DJ R-3X! Similarly to the cantina on Tatooine, you never know what sort of scum and villainy may show up… but the menu is readily available for us smugglers and travelers heading to Batuu.
Oga provides many a drink, some with and some without alcohol. However, our focus here today is going to be on the food to this hot ticket item of a dining experience. There’s not much, so this article will be fairly short; Oga’s Cantina is a cantina bar, after all, which means that people come here to enjoy some drinks from a galaxy far, far away.
If you’re like me and you’re just in it for the blue milk, you can try that (and green milk from The Last Jedi) at the Milk Stand.
This is where the menu seems to differ a bit more; at the Florida location, looks like lounge covers the overnight oats and lava roll regardless of the time of day with no Batuu Bits to be seen on the menu. However, it’s broken up this way for Disneyland:
Magically Fit’s pick: The Overnight Oats! Also, worth noting that the blue milk comes with a vanilla-butter sugar cookie.
The rest of the menu is a bunch of crazy cool drink concoctions. While it’s impossible to say which of these would be healthier than the others, I can advise that anything with alcohol is likely going to be higher in Weight Watchers points or clock in more calories on your tracker depending on the size and what you get. But otherwise, sit back, relax and enjoy the music and the atmosphere - it’s not every day that you get to travel to a galaxy far, far away!
These menus are identical, which keeps things simple to remember whether you're landing on Batuu from California or Florida!
Lunch & Dinner
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What are you most looking forward to trying at Galaxy's Edge? Let's chat in the comments!
Happy Prime Day! For those of you who don't know, Amazon Prime Day is a day full of deals exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers. So many of the products I use every day and that have helped me on my weight loss and running journeys are available on Amazon, so in honor of the big day, I wanted to share with you some of my favorites - plus, some items that will help you if you're planning your next Disney vacation!
Not an Amazon Prime member? You can take full advantage of the deals with a 30 day free trial! Not a bad deal, right?
Without further ado, here are some of my favorite products, broken down by categories.
Foods and kitchen tools used on ww
Disney Parks must haves
Again, if you don't have Amazon Prime, you can still take major advantage of the Prime Day deals by signing up for a free trial. They last 30 days and you can totally cancel after the fact if you're only in it for Amazon's personal version of Black Friday.
I can hardly believe that the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is already nearly upon us! The festival starts August 29 this year and runs through November 23, which will give you plenty of time to indulge in the smells and tastes that the World Showcase has to offer.
I mention this every year, but in case this is your first Food and Wine Festival, have no fear: none of these menu options are huge enough to derail your efforts on Weight Watchers, My Fitness Pal, etc. So while I would not recommend sampling everything, I do always recommend sampling strategically: this way, you can do so without guilt and really enjoy what you want with no regrets.
There are a few new booths this year, so I’m really excited to see what they all have to offer!
This Father’s Day, we took a trip over to Paradiso 37 for a Taste of the Americas! My dad had been wanting to try this place out for a while but we don’t go out to eat super often, so Father’s Day was the perfect excuse to check it out.
The atmosphere was great with some hints of Central and South American flair, but not too much as to represent all of the countries in the Americas. It was pretty laid back, which felt nice compared to the hustle-and-bustle that Disney Springs provides. Because it covers everywhere from North to South, there are quite a few menu options, many of which I found to be great for dieters. There’s something for everyone here, and as I’ll get more into, they work with you if you want to change something around!
I honestly don’t really have any negative things to say about this restaurant. They were so accommodating that the only thing I could potentially list as a con would be if you struggle to control yourself when faced with tortilla chips at a Mexican restaurant.
Everything was absolutely delicious and I did not feel guilty walking out of this restaurant, which made me so thrilled!
My dad really wanted one of their burgers that has pineapple on it, but with grilled chicken since we don’t eat beef. They were able to make the switch for my dad without any problem or eyebrow raising, and my dad said that his chicken was grilled to absolute perfection. If you’re watching what you eat, his order - the Columbian Bacon-Pineapple Burger - also usually comes with queso, cilantro-crema, and (as the name suggests) bacon, but it made for a good cheat meal with the grilled chicken swapped out for beef. But if beef is your thing, it’s normally cooked with an
8 oz. Angus steak burger.
Anthony got the ribs and also said they were great, so if you or someone you know is curious about these, they sound worth it based on Anthony’s description!
He mentioned that the meat was tender, but still stayed on the bone so it was easy to eat. They came with fries, but if you wanted a different side, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to oblige. Anthony is just lucky and has the metabolism of a Derby race horse, haha!
My mom and I both got the fish tacos, but with a twist. I asked if it was possible to get grilled fish as opposed to battered like it lists on the menu, and again, this was absolutely no problem. The grilled fish was perfect and everything came on the side: corn salsa, a lightly dressed cabbage slaw, and the cilantro-lime crema. There are enough generic options of all of these things to track it with a good guesstimate in My Fitness Pal or Weight Watchers, so I was able to do so with confidence and feel in control of how much food I was eating.
The service was great, the food was wonderful, and I couldn’t recommend this place highly enough! I also wanted to give an honorable mention to their house-made fire-roasted salsa. It comes when you order some tortilla chips, and it was super smooth and mild with a great black bean salsa flavor.
Have you been to Paradiso 37? What did you think?
Ready for some sun salutations?
No matter what your level, there are a ton of free morning yoga classes offered at Walt Disney World resorts for guests! I didn't even know this was a thing until I was resort hopping on Easter morning this year, only to see the sign hanging out near where the White Rabbit and an egg hunt of sorts were going on! I love yoga and Disney can be a pretty stressful vacation, so this is a great chance to unwind and feel some inner balance among the chaos that can often be a Disney vacation!
Resorts that offer yoga
The recreational activities usually change, and there have been times when I have or have not seen something available, so I recommend using this list as more of a guideline than a set-in-stone schedule. Each class is a half hour long unless otherwise noted.
I'll update this list as I see more signs around resorts or as things change! As aforementioned, always check with the cast members at your resort before your stay just in case times or dates have changed.
In the mood for Italian?
I recently went to Tony's Town Square at the Magic Kingdom with my soon to be in-laws and parents! It was the only place I could grab a reservation for as we planned the Disney day with them on a relatively short notice (at least in the world of Disney reservations where things get snagged so far in advance), plus Anthony had been wanting to try this place for a while now.
The atmosphere was very charming once you got past the waiting area (a noisy spot next to the lobby where you go to meet Mickey or Tinkerbell), with cute nods to Lady and the Tramp throughout the restaurant. But I couldn't help but worry about my Weight Watchers points and calories since everything on the menu was looking to be high in carbs and loaded with sauces.
But all hope was not lost! With some mild caution, you too can make it work here without fearing the scale the next day. Here's my full review, keeping a Weight Watchers oriented lens on the whole while.
From a healthy eating standpoint, none of your options are truly healthy. Even the salads are loaded with stuff! That’s not necessarily bad - just head in to the restaurant with the mindset that you’re going to enjoy an Italian meal in a pretty location and track as best as you can.
My mom had the margherita pizza, which wasn’t really a margherita pizza - it was basically your typical thin crust cheese pizza with basil on it, so she was a bit disappointed that it was lacking in plum tomatoes and ricotta cheese. The pizza wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t extraordinary either, so if you’re tracking Weight Watchers points or calories, I’d recommend spending those points or calories on something else.
There are a few menu options here that are very trackable. My dad enjoyed his gnocchi, which appeared to be about a cup’s worth so he could track that with ease. My spinach and ricotta ravioli, as well, was trackable, especially since I found a generic option for spinach ravioli in my tracking apps. The sauce is what the diet killer here is, but I found that my plate was essentially a pool of it when all was said and done, so you can easily still enjoy the flavor of it without overindulging. Also, both my dad and I found that our plates had a decent amount of vegetables!
Also worth noting that there are some nasty reviews of Tony’s on TripAdvisor, but it appears as if they’ve revamped their menu and tried to make it a more enjoyable experience for guests. If you go into it expecting it to be a step or two above Olive Garden or Carrabba’s, then you definitely won’t be disappointed.
Tips for success
Have you ever eaten out and thought to yourself, "Oh no, this meal was so not worth it?" Let's chat about our restaurant blunders in the comments!
We've got exactly one month to go for the Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World! This is my all time favorite festival because it makes a stroll around Epcot that much more of an experience with the different topiary characters, flowers in full bloom, and butterfly garden! Now, the festival also has food stands that offer seasonal treats for sampling (a la the Food and Wine festival). After strolling around the world a few times, here are my personal recommendations if you want to try to not overdo it as you sample (but, luckily, you can still indulge if you want without guilt, as the sizes are much smaller!).
Arbor at the Gardener’s Terrace
I’d say your best bet here is the Smoked Salmon Stack with Avocados, Tomatoes, Sour Cream, Caviar, and Focaccia Crostino.
Flavor Full Kitchen
Either of the non-dessert options look like they’re on equal footing, depending on if you eat fish or not: Citrus-poached Salmon with Ancient Grain Salad, Roasted Vegetables, and Citrus Greens, or From the Garden: Roasted Beets, Cashew Cheese, and Micro Herbs with Lemon-Oil Dressing. Both are safe if you have a gluten intolerance!
La Isla Fresca
While I’m more prone to reach for shrimp before red meat, the Jamaican-braised Beef with Pigeon Pea Rice and Micro Cilantro is probably the better bet since the shrimp is a sugar cane shrimp.
The Citrus Blossom
Your best bet is one of the seafood options: Lobster Tail with Meyer Lemon Emulsion and Grilled Lemon (gluten free!) or Tuna Tataki with Spicy Yuzu Glaze, Mango, Avocado, and Pappadam Crisp.
Dole Whip is here, my friends!
The Honey Bee-stro
Your best bet is the gluten free and vegetarian friendly option: Roasted Cauliflower with Buckwheat Honey Carrot Purée, Wild Rice Pilaf, Asparagus, Honey-blistered Grapes, Sunflower Brittle, and Coriander Flowers.
Northern Bloom (Canada)
This gluten free option sounds pretty tasty: Seared Scallops with French Green Beans, Butter Potatoes, Brown Butter Vinaigrette, and Applewood Smoked Bacon. Because it’s a sampling size, the brown butter vinaigrette doesn’t worry me as much as it would if it were on a full-sized entree.
Fleur De Lys (France)
Your healthiest option sounds like the Vichyssoise aux Concombres: Chilled Cucumber Vichyssoise Soup (gluten free and vegetarian). There’s also the Canard Confit à la Provençal: Braised Duck Confit with Tomatoes and Olives on Polenta.
Florida Fresh (between France and Morocco)
Neither option sounds super healthy, but these are probably on equal footing: Carne Guisada with Black Bean Cake and Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream, or Spicy Blackened Shrimp and Cheddar Cheese Grits with Brown Gravy and Local Sweet Corn Relish. I personally would go for the shrimp and just be cautious of how much gravy they put on it.
Taste of Marrakesh (Morocco)
The Harissa Chicken Kebab with Dried Fruit Couscous Salad sounds delicious and healthy!
I highly recommend the Frushi: Fresh Pineapple, Strawberry, and Melon rolled with Coconut Rice, sprinkled with Toasted Coconut, Whipped Cream with Raspberry Sauce on the side. It’s lightly sweet and great if, like me, you tend to get a sweet tooth after a meal but don’t want a full blown dessert!
The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews (America)
Of all of these, none of them sound good for you, but the lesser of evils would be the Pulled Pig Slider with Coleslaw.
Primavera Kitchen (Italy)
The Pizza Toscona and the Tri-colored Tortellini are probably on equal footing, however you probably get more protein out of the Pizza Toscana’s toppings (Sweet Sausage, Caramelized Onion, Mozzarella, Asiago, and Parmesan Cheeses)!
Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market (Germany)
I’d go for the Potato Pancakes with House-made Apple Sauce (which is also vegetarian!).
Lotus House (China)
The Vegetable Spring Rolls would be my personal pick!
Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico)
These are probably on equal footing!
Trowel and Trellis (near Mexico)
They’re offering Grilled Street Corn with a savory garlic spread that’s gluten free and vegetarian friendly! I’d go that route for sure.
Have you been to the Flower and Garden Festival? Let's chat in the comments about your favorite part of the festival!
For Easter this year, my family and I went to Whispering Canyon Café, where they were serving an all you can eat Easter brunch. This got me thinking: a lot of people ask me what I think of the Disney buffets because they’re worried they’ll completely go off the wagon. Surprisingly, if you play your cards right, they can actually be one of the healthier routes for meals at the parks. Hear me out - you can have your Mickey Waffles and eat them too! - and enjoy some of my best practices for handling the two types of Disney buffet.
Firstly, it’s important to note that there are two types of buffets at Disney World. Some restaurants will bring you a platter or skillet of sorts with multiple food options for the table and serve it family style. From there, if you want more of specific items in your platter, you can let your server know. Others are a more traditional buffet. You’re seated, order your drinks, and then get up and serve yourself from the buffet options. Here’s a list of all the different restaurants on property that offer buffets or family-style meals at Disney World:
And, in case you’re heading to the west coast, here are Disneyland’s buffet and family-style offerings:
And, of course, some of these restaurants will have characters that come to mix and mingle with you, or one of the mealtimes (i.e. breakfast only) will be a character breakfast. These can be a little bit more pricey, but are great for either families with children who want to get a bunch of signatures in a short timeframe, or for the kids at heart who don’t feel like waiting in lines to meet characters!
Because you have control over what goes on your plate, buffets are usually options that can be pretty good for calorie counters, Weight Watchers, etc. You can bulk up on lean proteins, veggies, and fruit but still indulge a little on some special Disney treats you won’t get to enjoy once you’re back home from your vacation or, if you are a local like me, usually refrain from having. But that can also be dangerous if you worry about portions, so here are some of my best practices to follow when you’re enjoying a Disney buffet.
Which Disney buffet is your favorite? Characters or no characters? Let’s chat in the comments!
*Disclaimer: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. However, these are products I genuinely endorse!
The Star Wars Rival Run Weekend was one for the books! Even though this was my fifth half marathon, I faced a few challenges for this race that definitely kept me on my toes. Whenever I get a cold, it starts with a sore throat… which I woke up to on Wednesday morning. Thankfully it never progressed beyond that (thank god for Zicam and cough drops!), but I was also worried about my knee on top of it since I hurt it about a month prior (don’t laugh, but I hurt it doing a BollyX video, which is basically bellydance meets Zumba) to race day. But I took a page out of Han Solo’s book - “Never tell me the odds!” - and pushed through it anyways!
I’m going to do my best to make sure these character locations are accurate; they’ll be approximate, though, as I don’t recall exactly where along the mile they were!
Characters: Rey on a Takodana backdrop
Marker: Kylo Ren
What I remember above all else is how humid it was at the start! I was in Corral F and in the second wave of it, so we started around 5:58 a.m. based on when I started my Garmin (the first corral started at 5:30, so we didn’t wait too terribly long once they started sending them out). The course hasn’t changed from last year, so it was nice going into this half knowing exactly what to expect. You run past the Magic Kingdom sign, which is pretty neat, but it’s a pretty straight forward run. What I do like is seeing the fireworks go off from the other corrals, though - not only because I enjoy viewing them, but it’s nice to get a gauge for how many people I’ll have behind me.
Characters: None, but you could pose in Emperor Palpatine’s throne!
Marker: Darth Sidious/Palpatine
I actually always have to give runDisney kudos for how interesting they make this stretch. Running down Bear Island Road to get from Transportation and Ticket Center to Animal Kingdom could very easily be a 2 mile boring run through the woods down a service road, but instead they totally jazz it up. You start with red lights (in the nearly pitch black dark, otherwise) and a recording of Vader’s breathing and some taunts from the Sith Lord, so it gives the illusion of you running from Darth Vader. Combined with other light effects it is pretty cool! Plus as you go further down, there are more lights plus some fire and explosions with the sounds of Ewoks and blaster fire to make you feel like you’re running through the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi.
Characters: Ewok, plus a trash compactor photo op
Marker: Boba Fett
Towards the end of this Bear Island Road stretch is the Ewok photo op plus where you turn to start moving into the back of Animal Kingdom. As you get closer, you start to see some greenhouses and also where they keep the elephants and rhinos when they aren’t roaming the park and need some care! This part is always exciting, too, because you know you’re getting closer to Animal Kingdom.
It was around this point that the knee injury I had started flaring up, but nothing serious. On top of it, my cough drop that I took at around 5 a.m. before we started had worn off… but my Clif block, however, held me over until I wanted to use the other cough drop I had in one of my pants pockets! Don’t try that at home, kids; I do intervals of running 30 seconds and walking for 60 seconds when I do a half marathon, so I only did so for my 60 second walk break to avoid accidentally choking on it!
Characters: First Order stormtroopers and Resistance Fighters in Animal Kingdom
Marker: Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover, not Billy Dee Williams)
Jambo! This is where you end up entering near Harambe and move through there, to Pandora (always super pretty to run through, especially if you’re speedy and catch it while the sun is still down; I catch it during the sun rise which is breathtaking) and then past the front of the Tree of Life. This year, they had some Resistance fighters encouraging you to keep running so you could get them some intel on the First Order, which was pretty neat!
Characters: 501st Legion stationed as you went behind Everest, plus a Wampa photo op in the Animal Kingdom parking lot
You hit the fifth mile marker in the back of Animal Kingdom, where you are then greeted by the 501st and Rebel Legions! Of course, I always stop for these guys - they’re my friends! - and they’re always so excited to be there. After a quick hello and gently teasing the handlers (“Hey, so like, are you guys with Disney?”), I moved through to proceed to the Animal Kingdom parking lot, where it wraps the mile up with the Wampa photo op (to recreate the scene from Empire Strikes Back where Luke snatches his lightsaber from the snow).
Marker: General Grievous
This mile is largely uneventful; you have to go uphill to get to Osceola Parkway, which is a fairly boring stretch of highway but at least it’s not super long. The sun was rising and I was cursing myself for forgetting to bring sunglasses, but all was well! Overall, though, a rather uneventful mile. Since I was starting to get kind of hungry and really needed a cough drop again, I took the time to munch on some Goldfish and then soothe my sore throat to prevent both from becoming an issue.
Marker: Count Dooku
Not long after the Mile 7 marker is a photo stop with Chewbacca, which makes the highway stretch a little more interesting! Along the long stretches, they’ll have big screens up playing the Star Wars movies, so at least there’s that for entertainment along the way!
Characters: none, but you could pose on a speeder bike!
Characters: Maul right before you entered Hollywood Studios
Marker: Darth Maul
I have never been more excited to to see the giant Tower of Terror ad that looks like the elevator dropping on the highway than I was to see it partnered with the Darth Maul sign. Even though my watch was still saying I had run about a quarter mile longer than the posted distance (which felt like a cruel joke), I felt like I could see the light at the end of the tunnel! My knee was really starting to hurt again now, so I took advantage of the medical tents offering some Biofreeze… only for a majority of the glob I grabbed to fall into the asphalt (my own fault for trying to rush). RIP, little blob of Biofreeze. But I had enough to know that it would hold me over for a while.
I think I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw Darth Maul’s photo op with Tower of Terror in the distance, because that meant I was finally in the park!
Characters: The 501st Legion in the Fantasmic courtyard (where you enter the park), First Order stormtroopers in the park
Marker: Darth Vader
Right after Maul’s photo op was the mile 10 marker, and then when you enter the park via the Fantasmic courtyard, the 501st and Rebel Legions have more troopers there to take photos with! I stopped to see Kylo and Hux (especially since I troop with Kylo often [she’s fantastic and has every single variation of Kylo!], and have with Hux before!) and I was super excited to see Ahsoka there (she’s my favorite light side character, you guys, so I ran over!). Not only was it nice to say hi to some familiar faces, but it gave my knee a bit of a break that it definitely needed. It was a total bummer with how much it hurt, but I just kept run/walking as best as I could.
After that, it was down past Tower of Terror I went! This threw my plan of just taking it easy from there on out right on out the window, because Photopass gets pictures of you as you run through the parks… and I didn’t want to be pictured walking for some reason (probably my sheer determination to not give up).
As you headed to the main drag of Studios, they had four stormtroopers - two to take a photo with, and two others patrolling the area. We also got to run by the newly renovated parking area and where the Skyliner stops are going to be, and it looks really nice!
Characters: Sabine Wren and Ezra Bridger at the end of the Boardwalk
Characters: The 501st Legion as you exit the park
Marker: Luke Skywalker
(The road to mile 12 felt rough… especially because I hit mile 12 on my Garmin .36 miles before the marker (again, likely due to weaving through so many people). But thankfully, it was just through Epcot, and since my knee was yelling at me for not taking it easier in Hollywood Studios or along the Boardwalk, I made the decision to only run if there was a Photopass photographer and to just enjoy the scenery of Epcot. What’s nice is that with Flower and Garden going on during this race, you get to see a lot of the topiaries! It’s also cool to see the cast members from different countries cheering you on as they wave flags from their home countries. There was a really cute moment passing the China pavilion when a guy yelled, “Ni hao!” to the three women working there and they got all excited, yelled “Ni hao!” back, and then it was just a chorus of people yelling “Ni hao!”
Characters: First Order stormtroopers as you finish!
I had long forgotten about my sore throat thanks to my knee pain, and medical was awesome at wrapping some ice around it very tightly at the end of the course. After grabbing my cooling towel, water, and snack box, I met up with my dad and fiance - who crushed his goal of a sub-2 hour half - while we waited for my mom to cross the finish line not long after I did (we ran the first four miles together, but we parted for her to stop at the bathroom; we finished within minutes of each other but could never find each other after that because of how crowded these races are!). Despite my knee pain and sore throat, I felt pretty good and otherwise strong. I listened to my body while out there, and it paid off!
After the race, we treated ourselves to a breakfast feast at Port Orleans! Even with a massive Mickey waffle, bacon, and some beignets, I still had a pretty good calorie deficit at the end of the day and that’s the beauty of a long run, haha!
All in all, regardless of pain, I had a total blast on this course. Star Wars Half has such a chill vibe despite the crowd size, especially compared to a race like Princess Half Marathon, that I will always recommend it first and foremost. Sure, it was humid, but when I ran Princess it was hot and humid, too! That’s just Florida and something you need to be aware of so you don't push yourself too much if you aren't used to it. Plus, if you’re worried about not being able to stop for characters due to time, the 501st Legion is a great option to not sacrifice a lot of time waiting in a long line.
Have you run any of the Star Wars races? What did you think? Let’s chat!
Jessica is a huge Disney and Star Wars nerd who channeled that love into motivation to lose 75 lbs.