Inaugural Disneyland Paris 5K Report – Part 8
The next morning was the Inaugural Disneyland Paris 5K (this is part 8 of our full France report; if it were the eighth installment of a 5K report, that would be pretty comprehensive coverage, to say the least). The race started at 7 am, so we left the hotel at around 6 am, thinking that it’d be a quick 20 minute walk to the start line, perhaps with a 15-20 minute delay to get through security or what have you.
Our thinking here was erroneous, as we assumed we’d be able to walk directly from our Val d’Europe hotel to the start line, which was a pretty short walk (probably roughly equidistant Hotel New York and the start line). Unfortunately, this was not possible due to a single security access point being used for the event. We should’ve known or expected this, but it resulted in us entering through Newport Bay Club and walking around the lake.
Fortunately, security and getting through the Expo to the start line was an absolute breeze, with a surplus of helpful Cast Members and bi-lingual volunteers along the way to help. By the time that near 5K was over and I was in my corral, it was still about 15 minutes until race time, so I stood around and watched the pre-race entertainment.
I was a bit nervous about there only being 3 corrals for the 5K, but fortunately, there were sub-corrals within these, and small groups were released every few minutes. This worked out really well, and despite some tight spaces throughout the course, it never felt all that congested to me. (Although someone in the C corral might disagree.)
The race started adjacent to Disney Village before quickly heading into the Fantasia Gardens outside of Disneyland Hotel.
From there, it was immediately into Disneyland Paris for the first (and best) wow moment of the weekend: stepping onto Main Street during blue hour as the searchlights from Disney Dreams illuminated Le ChÃ¢teau de la Belle au Bois Dormant.
Everyone had the same reaction, pausing almost mid-stride and pulling out phones. You could also sense everyone with the same internal struggle: do I stop in the middle of Main Street to take a photo of this?!
The general sentiment by the time people got halfway up Main Street seemed to be: screw it, I’m just going to stop here.
I don’t think anyone really minded the slower pace up Main Street, and around me at least, people were stopping in waves, almost relieved that the people in front of them had stopped because it gave them justification to do the same.
Rather than entering Sleeping Beauty Castle on the approach, the course veered right towards Discoveryland. A stage set up for Halloween was the first of many character meeting locations, this one home to a variety of villains.
Since I’m irrationally obsessed with ‘making good time’ even though I don’t train for these things or even enjoy competitive running, I didn’t stop for this (or any other) character meet.
Around this point, I spotted the first mile marker, and I recall thinking, “I’m making great time!” It took a few seconds for it to click that I was in Europe and that “mile” marker is actually a “km” marker. In my defense, it was still early and I’m not very smart.
The course continued through Discoveryland, then headed backstage where a TRON corridor was set up and there were some backstage facilities, before entering Fantasyland.
This area was pretty character-dense, and I’m sort of kicking myself in retrospect, because there were almost no lines for anyone.
Continuing on through Adventureland and Frontierland, one thing was noticeable: a ton of Cast Members were out, in costume, to cheer on the runners. So many that this had to have been a coordinated effort.
Running through the castle is the magic moment of a lot of runDisney events, and it was certainly special, but didn’t trump the feeling of stepping onto Main Street for me.
The best photo I captured of that ‘moment’ was with my phone (above). It’s ironic that this has become one of my most popular photos ever on Instagram. Goes to show that a fancy camera isn’t really important when you mostly share low resolution photos…
The race headed backstage before entering the Walt Disney Studios Park. I have to say: if there’s a “good” way to experience that park, “on the run” is most definitely it. I highly recommend it whether you’re participating in a runDisney-sanctioned event or otherwise. 😉
It was somewhere around this point that my Canon G7 XII died, so I had to resort to using my iPhone to capture photos of the rest of the run. A few fleeting photos don’t really do it justice, but a lot of effort was put into this course. Both in terms of entertainment and photo backdrops, it was all really well done.
The course was fantastic. Any course you’ve never run has a certain new-ness factor that makes it more appealing than something you’ve run countless times, but even factoring that in, this course ranks as one of best or the best 5K I’ve run. It really benefitted from Disneyland Paris’ compact resort footprint.
I really have no complaints about the Disneyland Paris 5K. The only one I can think of is that there wasn’t a “challenge” medal for doing both races, but I knew that in advance. In hindsight, I partly wish I had only done the Half Marathon, as I think it would’ve packed more of an emotional punch had that been my first experience running through Disneyland Paris and seeing the castle. Hindsight is 20/20, though. Had I not done it, I might be writing a section here expressing regret at not getting the 5K medal, seeing a certain character, or just experiencing race weekend to its fullest.
Thanks for this report Tom, glad to read your take on the weekend. As my first RunDisney experience, I really loved it, and was very impressed with their organisation, and cast member enthusiasm.
The dining situation at DLP is abysmal, and in major need of an overhaul. I’ve got by over the years by just settling for quick service places. However, I’m taking a newbie to the race weekend next September, and I don’t think that’ll wash with her, so I might have to put some effort in to trying to understand DLP’s restaurants and hours- argh!
Love some of your recent photos of DLP and French chateaus. Will these be on your flickr and/or smugmug at some point? Thanks!
I hate running and am not really into running events but I kind of want to get into them just to do runDisney?? Irrational but there it is. I loved this post! My husband and I were discussing a trip to Paris in general before you started this epic trip report and when I saw you posting I managed to excite him into a potential Disney Paris trip. Thanks for posting! Onto the last installment!
I don’t really like running and never do it outside of runDisney events; the events are still a lot of fun.
We did not eat at Cafe Hyperion, but I challenge it to be worse than Backlot Cafe!
Thanks for taking some picture while running, even if only with an iPhone. Back when I used to run, I hated carrying anything – even an MP3 player. So I appreciate you taking gear along with you.
Do you know if either Mickey and the Magician or Cinemagique are performed in English during any of the shows? Or are they always in French?
If I recall correctly, Mickey and the Magician is a mix of English and French – most of the characters speak English and Mickey speaks French. It’s odd, but works (and even someone with no French vocabulary can figure out the gist of what Mickey is saying.)
Cinemagique is a mix as well, although I don’t recall much dialog.
As Kevin said, it works. In most cases, each character in a two-person conversation speaks a different language, and the lines of dialogue alternate with one effectively repeating what the other said.
For instance, in response to something Mickey says in French, the Magician might say, “why yes, Mickey, it is a bad idea to feed a Gremlin after midnight.” (Not an actual line from the show, unfortunately.)
By repeating the question in his answer, you understand both sides of the conversation regardless of whether you speak English or French. It’s pretty clever.
Thank you both for the input. Looking forward to it!
Your experience at the Frontierland Train Station reminded me how bizarre I found the operation of the DLP Railroad. When I rode it, the only station that was accepting guests was the Main Street Station, but once the guests were on the train, they could get off at the other stations, some of which were allowing guests to board, but others were not. The beautiful Main Street station was taken up with switchbacks caused by the unnecessarily long wait the train had in the morning (I guess they run much fewer trains?) To add to that, I didn’t care for the seating. It’s not that different from how most of the trains are in California, but I couldn’t help feeling like they complicated the process. So the railroad was one of the biggest disappointments, despite being well-done from a scenery perspective, because it was an operational mess.
But HOW did you get the hat? Did you bribe a cast member? Blackmail a n unsuspecting tourist or just get lucky and find it crammed on the back of a shelf?!?
I never said I got the hat. The photo was of us trying on the hat. Who knows how this saga ends…
Tom….. you can’t “click bait” us by teasing the McDuck hat saga….. lol. Don’t build it up just to let us down, come on man!!!
I’ve loved every installment of this trip report and can’t wait to hear the conclusion of the McDuck hat saga. Your photography on this trip has been breathtaking. The photos from the Loire Valley made my heart race and I’ve never seen Impressions de France. (It’s high on my list of anticipated attractions for my one-day WDW trip)
If you “can’t wait” for the end of the McDuck hat story, I promise that you will be really disappointed by its conclusion. It’s not *that* exciting. 😉
I thought Sarah was going to do the 5K with you? Did she decide not to do it, or did you just leave her behind somewhere along the course in your photographic endeavors? 😉
Darn, I’ve been following this report and I wish I did this RunDisney event. It looks incredible.
Short of extending hours, I think the biggest thing DLP needs to do is publicise the existing hours and allow online reservations via their new(ish) WDPro app. At the moment, every table service restaurant claims that it is “extremely popular” (I can think of only five that legitimately meet that description) and give a French number to place reservations, which is hugely demotivating for international guests at the parks looking to dine at short notice since they assume that they’re already too late for this “extremely popular” restaurant, and they’ll have to deal with roaming charges and a language barrier on the offchance that they’re not.
As an ED S.C.A shareholder (and more than the minimum holding too), it’s almost frustrating to see how poor Paris is at extracting additional guest spending compared to its US counterparts.
My wife and I are taking our first trip to Paris in September, so we’ve really enjoyed reading your trip reports as well as your planning guide. We stumbled across your site a few years ago while planning a trip to Tokyo and Hong Kong, and have been fans ever since. We are huge fans of the entire Duck family, so we can’t wait to hear the rest of the Scrooge hat story!
I’ve been to Disneyland Paris during the half marathon week end and again last week end. The reopening of Frontierland made such a big difference. The whole area looks fantastic now. Also, the Alice walkthrough has been fully repainted (it was in a miserable state in September). Now only Discoveryland is still a mess, but it’s due to be finished in March.
I agree that the main park is going to be back to its original beauty (my first visit was 23 years ago), it really looks pristine almost everywhere and cannot wait to see it fully restored next year. I think I fell in love again with Disneyland Paris.
This comment is to make Tom feel better, since no one ever comments on his international posts. Hang in there little buddy. lol. Huge trip report fan, not a international fan, but keep up the good work. Love the site.
Hahah. Thanks…I guess?
Waiting on pins and needles to hear about the McDuck hat……. Thanks for the news letter update on the comments article. Glad your willing to listen to your readers, not change for them. But at least give us a voice, about our likes and dislikes. Keep up the good work, from a long time reader. PS get some of that disney passion back… stop being so “negative” (lol listen to your wife)