Recap: Tracy’s Excellent Tinker Bell Adventure #TinkHalf #Tink10K

DisneyGroom and I were unable to attend the runDisney Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend this year.  But we have a guest post from the very super Tracy B.  She is a Floridian and a veteran of the Walt Disney World runDisney events.   This was her first trip to California, and of course, her first runDisney event in Disneyland. We loved reading about her whirlwind weekend and we hope you do too!  Her recap makes us all the more eager to add Tink to our race schedule in 2015!  Huge Thank You to Tracy for the guest post! ~DisneyBride

My runDisney Tinker Bell adventure started on July 5th, 2013, my birthday - when I registered my cousin H and myself to run the 10K and Half Marathon. Since this would be my first trip to California, I let H plan the schedule, so long as these two items were on the list: Tiffany and Co. and the Pacific Ocean. Let the money saving begin!

Fast forward to January 17th  and I finally depart. After landing at LAX I see a Disneyland themed airplane! 

How’s that for a welcome? H arrived just before me and was waiting for me at the gate. We head to our hotel via the Disneyland Express shuttle and upon checking in at the hotel, I hear hometown hero Gwen Stefani in the lobby sound system. After getting settled, we’re off to Downtown Disney for lunch at Tortilla Joe’s (enjoyed my first tamale), and then the Expo.  We were prepared for the worst, but we must have arrived at a good time, as our race packets were picked up and expo shopping was done with very little stress. 

That evening we went to Disney's California Adventure Park. First thing on my list was to get a 1st visit button. 

Having lived in Orlando, FL all my life meant no first visit buttons from Walt Disney World, so this button was a huge deal. After getting a few pics of the major rides and Cars Land we ate the required spaghetti dinner (runners gotta carbo-load!) to prepare for Saturday's 10K.

Tinker Bell 10K:
When I run at WDW, I usually stay on property or close to Downtown Disney. RunDisney requires runners to be in their corral a good hour or more before start time. So you can imagine what a treat it was to wake up only 2 hours before the race.  We were able to get dressed and walk to the start line with plenty of time to spare. 

While it was a bit cool for us FL girls, I loved the weather – no humidity! I was dressed in UCF Black and Gold, plus I was armed with Knightro and Peggy the Pegasus for luck. The race started with little fanfare (a video of Tinker Bell and no fireworks) and then we took off. When I run I don’t really pay attention to what’s around me other than scanning from side to side to see the sights or to make sure I don’t trip over anything. I ran the first mile, removed out my outer jacket after first water stop, then ran 2nd 2/:30 intervals. I did not stop for characters but did stop for a pic of Sleeping Beauty Castle since it was my first sighting. 

I had to make a pit stop before leaving California Adventure. The cast members and crowds were encouraging as always. I finished the race in 1:21:59 and if I had not made the pit stop, I might have squeaked in a PR. But I’m still happy with my result, since Disney races are notoriously crowded and not the best races to PR. 

Saturday afternoon was spent at Santa Monica Pier for lunch and a quick dip of the feet in the cold Pacific Ocean. Then we were off to Beverly Hills for Rodeo Drive. I snapped dozens of pics from the car of street signs and famous buildings. We made it to Rodeo Dr and I finally got to shop at Tiffany and Co! We also did a quick tour of Hollywood and saw the sights. Until then, I only knew these landmarks through DHS or on tv/movies. After a mad dash thru Los Angeless traffic to return the rental car we headed back to the hotel and enjoyed delivery pizza for dinner.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon:

I was super nervous about this race. All of my distance races (anything over a 10K) have been either at Disney or at the UCF campus. So I’ve always been in my comfort zone in regards to routes, bathrooms, crowds, and traffic. Even though this course runs thru DisneyLand, a lot of it would also be on the streets of Anaheim. 

I was in Corral D, with 2 corrals behind me so there was a bit of a cushion. But I never take a race for granted. Since I pushed it for the 10K, the plan was to walk the HM so we could enjoy ourselves and save our legs for park visits on Sunday afternoon and Monday (our last day). 

My outfit was Sleeping Beauty inspired but after putting it together I looked more like a bag of Skittles with all of the colors! Definitely was not hard to find me in the pics! The fanfare to start this race definitely had more hoopla and all us runners took off in a flutter of wings. 

This time the castle was beautifully lit, so my cuz and I stopped for pics. After a half-mile run, we power-walked the rest of the course. Again, the crowds in the parks were great and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the marching bands. cheerleaders and dance teams along the roads in Anaheim. 

My favorite sign was “I trained for 6 months to hold this sign” – I found the guy after the race and he let me take a pic of the sign.

I was also very thankful for the group that offered orange slices and twizzlers. Plus I found that I liked the raspberry gel Clif Shots that were offered. I had chocolate GU with me but was reluctant to use it, in case I needed to go the bathroom. 

I was not too crazy about that last stretch of road that led back to the parks, the runners were on one side, drivers on the other side and the noisy freeway above us (wasn’t feeling the Disney magic here). My major concern was if a runner tripped near the cones, it was way too close to the oncoming cars. There was also a stretch in the back area of the park that had no entertainment but plenty of space to offer it.  Plus I missed seeing the Gospel Choir that you always see at WDW Half and Full Marathons to signal the 13 or 26 mile marker.  

Actually I missed seeing the 13 mile marker altogether. My finish time was 3:15:38 which wasn’t too bad, considering we walked most of an unfamiliar course. We got our medals and can now say we earned our Tinker Bell wings!

After a short nap it was finally time to play at the parks where we could ride the rides and eat what we wanted without worrying about upsetting our stomachs and potentially ruining our races. My dinner of dill pickle popcorn and a root beer would probably not have been a good pre-race choice. 

On Monday we enjoyed a lunch of corn dogs in honor of our dads. I only rode rides that we don’t have at WDW: Mr. Toad, Indy, Matterhorn, Fun Wheel, CA Screaming, and Cars Land Racers. I would trade Rocking Roller Coaster and Test Track for Cars Land and CA Screaming any day!!!

Overall it was a great trip, and while I absolutely loved this Tinker Bell race experience at DisneyLand and would absolutely recommend it to other runners,  I realize much I am spoiled by my WDW races. I feel safer knowing the entire race course is on Disney property and you can’t beat them for entertainment throughout the entire race course. And that Gospel Choir at mile 13 or 26 is truly the most heavenly sight and sound you’ll ever experience. 

Back at home, my Tink bling has joined my other runDisney medals!

Leg one of my Tinker Bell/Princess Coast To Coast Challenge is complete!  

Now I’m ready to take on the Glass Slipper Challenge in February!


Great recap! I saw that sign too - trained for 6 mos to hold this sign - I laughed so hard! The spectator support was incredible on this course, and I loved reading all the signs people had while running around Anaheim. Great job on earning your wings!


Thanks for sharing this recap! This really sounds like a great race! I hope to experience it someday! I'm totally loving that Disney airplane!


Glad you like the sign! That was my non-runner of a husband holding it.


Marla, your husband is AWESOME. Funny signs really do help the miles go by.


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