Yay! Your runDisney race weekend is here or almost here! Or, you’re being super proactive and working on planning ahead for the big event. As I’ve trained for various runDisney races, one thing that always seemed to pop into my mind was ‘what in the world am I going to do with my kids on race morning’. RunDisney races start at the crack of dawn (actually, they start before the crack of dawn!) and most of my family usually likes to sleep in past 3am. (Usually is accurate, because sometimes Mr. E. is a party animal in the middle of the night.)
The problem is, whenever I do a runDisney event, it is usually during a family vacation and we like to do a majority of things together on our trips. I want my kids and husband to feel like they are having a good time while I’m off running towards Cinderella’s castle. Yet, everyone want to be involved in the race in some way. What exactly are our options during a runDisney race? Let’s explore 5 things to do with your kids during a runDisney race.
1. Join Along
You know how difficult it is when you try to move around a hotel room without waking anyone up. It doesn’t normally work. Even if you have a larger hotel room, it seems like everyone is super sensitive to any movement or noise. At least this is the case with my kids. Even if I have my alarm on vibrate or stop it at the first ring, they pop out of their beds like springs. It doesn’t matter that it is 3 am in the morning. The fact that they should be sleeping at that hour doesn’t cross their minds. Instead, they figure if mom is up and at ’em, the day must have started!
If you know this is your fate, don’t fight it. Let your family come with you to the start line and then have them hopefully wait for you at the finish line. The logistics of getting from one point to another might be a little challenging, so make sure you look into spectator spots before you agree to let everyone join you. One little tip of advice, if you are bringing everyone with you to the start line, be sure to give yourself extra time in the morning. This might mean setting the alarm for 2 am instead of 2:30 am. Trust me, you’re going to need that extra half hour. You know how time likes to get away from you when you are trying to get a bunch of people out the door.
2. Finish-Line Meetup
If having your family join you at the start just isn’t feasible, but they are up when you leave your hotel room, you might consider having them join you at the finish line. The main advantage to this suggestion? No one needs to rush out the door with you at 3 am. Instead they can take their time eating breakfast and getting dressed before they join you.
In order to make it to the finish-line in time, make sure you have your family check out the race day transportation ahead of time. One year during the Princess 1/2 marathon, my son and husband attempted to meet me at the finish-line. Unfortunately, due to extremely heavy traffic and lots of construction around Walt Disney World rerouting traffic, they never made it to the finish-line. Instead they were stuck on the monorail tracking my race from afar. You don’t want to get everyone ready just to get stuck on some form of Walt Disney World transportation. Look ahead and give yourself extra time to get from point A to point B.
3. FaceTime at the Finish-Line
One creative way to share your joy of crossing the finish line with your family is to FaceTime them from the finish-line. Depending on your cell phone service (and whether or not you want to burn through a lot of data) you could use this option to quickly connect with your loved ones. You might not be able to give them that sweaty hug, but they can see your medal and your ‘I did it’ smile!
4. Plan a Meeting Spot
Let’s say you know your family is going to get up early, but they won’t be able to get moving quick enough to make it to the finish-line of the race. Instead of having them rush and possibly not make it, you could make plans to meet elsewhere. My favorite place to meet is at Disney Springs or in one of the parks at a restaurant. Be sure to make reservations so your plans of meeting don’t get spoiled. Also know, this means you most likely sacrifice your post race shower in order to make your ‘date’. Bring along dry, clean clothes in your gear check bag and this won’t be that big of an issue. You can shower later in the day! Just don’t forget the deodorant!
5. Pool Morning
If your family is like, no way are we getting up to for the start of your runDisney race. Nor do they even want to entertain plans of meeting you at the finish line. There can be a lot of logistics to work out, and with young kids this can be tricky. I say don’t fight it. Odds are if you make your family join you for your race, and they don’t want to, you’re going to have a crabby bunch on your hands. That isn’t going to make for a happy start to your runDisney event or even a happy finish. Although you might have enough endorphins flowing through your body that you just don’t care how anyone else is acting!
Yet, instead of fighting with your family and making them join you, let them have a pool day. Once you sneak out of your hotel at 3 am, they can go back to sleep (hopefully). Then, especially if you are running the Walt Disney World marathon or a longer event, they can eat some breakfast and spend the rest of the morning at the pool. My kids are big on pools and any day that involves a pool is a good day! Plus once you get back, you can jump in the pool and show off your shiny new medal!
There ya go! 5 options to help your kids enjoy your runDisney race. It might not be the perfect experience of having them at all the various spectator spots along the course. The options do provide you with a few suggestions of helping to keep everyone happy and to enjoy a bit of the magic of a runDisney race.