The inaugural Disneyland Paris Val d’Europe Half Marathon Weekend is coming up on September 23-25, 2016, and the Business Solutions team has been busy preparing the Resort, as well as promoting the event across Europe.
This week they are at the London Marathon Expo, the perfect occasion to stop by and meet some of the Cast Members working on this first edition!
I spoke with Laurent Charbonnier, in charge of Sports Events at Disneyland Paris Business Solutions, about what to expect in September.
ED92: The signing up process went really well, but the events also sold out very quickly. Is it still possible to sign up today ?
Laurent: It’s still possible to sign up today, but the availability we do have is with packages, that include a hotel, park tickets and a bib for the half marathon or the 5K.
We also still have some bibs-only available, and they are going to be on sale on the 23rd of August, but only a couple of hundreds, so they will go very fast once again. Make sure to register to our newsletter on the event’s website to be informed of the exact time it will be on sale !
ED92: There seem to be a lot of interest from the Run Disney community internationally, do you have any statistics about where the participants are coming from ?
Laurent: Roughly half the participants are from foreign countries, a top country being the U.S. They are guests who already know Run Disney, and if you run in the U.S. then come to Paris, you can get a special medal as part of the ‘Castle to Chateau Challenge’. So U.S. guests are really waiting for the first event at Disneyland Paris.
Then the second top international group is the U.K., as U.K. guests are big fans and it is very easy to get to the Resort thanks to the Eurostar.
Finally, half the participants are coming from France, whether near Paris or further away in France.
ED92: A lot of participants are wondering about logistics: packs, t-shirts, and the Run Disney Expo. How is it all going to work ?
Laurent: The Expo will open on Thursday afternoon, where participants can pick up their packs. We will make sure, especially for people coming from the U.K. on the later trains, that we’re gonna close on Friday at 10pm so people can collect their bibs and packs in time.
There will also be two special evenings: one taking place on Friday evening, a private party at the Walt Disney Studios, the second one being an early pasta party (the ‘Rice Party’) organized at the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show on the Saturday evening.
ED92: What will be special about the private party at the Walt Disney Studios ?
Laurent: It will only be open to the runners and their friends and family, and we limit the attendance to 3000 participants, so everybody can enjoy all the attractions for as many times as they want. In terms of food, it will be all you can eat, and we will have the usual options that we make available to guests, but also some specific healthy alternatives.
ED92: Will we see Mickey in his running outfit ?
Laurent: Of course, and many surprises all night !
ED92: The actual course hasn’t been revealed yet, nor has the medal, when will we know about them ?
Laurent: The medal will be revealed late spring, and as for the race course: we are still waiting for some clearance for the course outside the parks.
What I can reveal is that the official ambassador for the event is from the U.K.: Paula Radcliffe! She’s a big Disney fan, an athlete known worldwide, she’s the perfect fit for Run Disney.
She will be at the speaker series, speaking both in French and English, with tips for how to train for a marathon and more. She will also be on the website, and she will be there at all the races starts of the weekend !
The team has just uploaded the first video featuring Paula, you can watch it here :
ED92: And the Disneyland Paris Ambassadors will be there as well ?
Laurent: Definitely, yes.
ED92: Can you reveal anything about the starting line and the finish line ? Will they be inside or outside the parks ?
Laurent: Let’s say… just in the middle, they will be on Resort property. The 5K will take place in the Walt Disney Studios, Disneyland Park and the Resort – not at all outside. The half marathon will take place in the Parks, the Resort and the neighboring towns.
But the course for the 5K and the half marathon will also be different inside the parks, so guests can run both and experience something different.
ED92: Does the course go backstage ?
Laurent: Yes it does… The course will be revealed soon.
ED92: Will there be surprises at the rest stops ?
Laurent: As you can see, at Run Disney, ‘Every Mile is Magic’. Well, for us, ‘Every Kilometer is Magic’, so yes ! There will be surprises all along the course.
ED92: This all sounds very exciting ! What else can you tell us ?
Laurent: Well, the date for 2017 has already been confirmed! The second edition will take place on September 22-24, 2017, and the event will be on sale in the fall of 2016. It’s gonna be the 25th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris, so we have several projects in the works, very special and magical.
Many thanks to Laurent Charbonnier and Audrey Albert, the great Cast Members representing the Resort at the London Marathon Expo ! If you’re headed to the Expo at the ExCel, make sure to stop by and chat with them, they’re at booth number 420 near the Main Stage.
We left the booth with this very cool Disneyland Paris Half Marathon luggage tag, and an extra dose of motivation. See you on the course !