Wednesday, August 3, 2016

runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Course Changes

This past spring I ran the Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Challenge (10K + Half).

My race recaps are still coming, but as I said in my post from April, there were definitely some things that needed to be improved - number 1 being transportation after the race. Getting to the race was easy - it was Epcot so same as usual. But after, getting out of ESPN World Wide of Sports was another story... The area for buses was so small, only a few buses could load at a time. I didn't have issues after the 10K, but after the half I waited close to 1.5 hours to get on a bus to my resort. It was hot and humid, and just not ideal. In addition to the small loading area, the buses kept getting stuck in the mud (they were basically on a muddy field). Not good all around. We actually spoke briefly (as we were waiting at the front of the line to board) to the director of transportation for the event and he was super annoyed at the whole situation. He told us that when they shared the course with him, he said this (the bus situation) was going to be a problem, but they assured him it would be fine. Guess who was right?

Also, because WWOS is in a different county, they couldn't sell beer in the post race area like they do at Epcot (county regulations prohibit selling alcohol before 11a or noon). I personally always like to have a beer while hanging out after the races (and I think other people do too, as I heard lots of people complaining). This might not have bothered some people, but it definitely changes the post race atmosphere. Plus I have to image they loss some money from not having beer sales.

Even with the issues, I am doing the Challenge again in 2017. And my sister-in-law wants to do the half (her first!). I'm so excited for her and it should be a good time! I personally didn't notice this on the runDisney website, but some eagle eyed folks on some of the Facebook groups I'm in did: they've changed the start/end dates for both course. I repeat, they learned from their mistakes and changed the courses.

Both races now list the start as Floridian Way and the finish at Epcot (yay for post race beer!). We don't have official course maps yet, but Floridian Way is near the monorail resorts outside the Magic Kingdom.

For the 10K, I am guessing it will be similar to either the second half of the WDW/Princess Half courses or a modified version of part of the marathon course? Should be interesting to see.

For the half, I am wondering if they are using the original Princess half course. When they first announced Princess and the course, it started outside of the Magic Kingdom and ran towards Hollywood Studios, finishing at Epcot. It did not go through MK or the Castle. People freaked out. I mean, I understand not wanting to repeat the same course, but I also want the Princess race to go through the castle. So they changed it to be the same as the WDW Half in January. My guess for this, is they are finally going to use that course.

I'm excited that they learned from the problems this year and are making changes.

Anyone else planning on running Star Wars Dark Side this year? What to you think of the changes?

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