The official start to any Run Disney race weekend is the Expo! This is the place you are going to pick up your race bib, race shirts and do a lot of shopping! The expo is one of my favorite parts of race weekend because you get to shop all things running and you never know who you may run into. If you have never been to a Run Disney expo, you might get a little overwhelmed because there are going to be multiple locations you will need to go and so many vendors! Read below for some tips to navigate the expo!
We have already learned that I can have a few OCD tendencies, so if you are like me, and like to plan ahead, the Run Disney Digital Event Guide is a great place to start. They will have a whole section for the expo that will include hours, vendors and maps of where everything is located. Since Dark Side is this weekend, here is a link to the expo guide. I will break this down so hopefully you aren't overwhelmed when you get there!
Here is what you need to do before the expo:
Print out your race waiver from the Run Disney website before arriving.
Dont worry if you forget to do this before you get there, Run Disney does supply computers you can use to print these out.
Check the expo schedule and hours. There is no bib pickup the morning of the race, so you will need to do this at the expo before your race.
Make sure your credit cards are RFID protected. There have been instances, during the past new races, where people are coming through with scanners and compromising personal information. If you don't have RFID protectors, think about purchasing gift cards. Disney gift cards are accepted at the Run Disney merchandise booth and all of the other booths accept VISA or American Express gift cards.
Bring your ID with you to the expo. You will need this to pick up your race bib.
Here is what you need to do at the expo:
There are two stops you need to make at the expo:
Race Shirt pickup **The bib pickup will be in the HP Field House (for all races) and the race shirt pickup will be in the VISA Athletic Center.
If you are looking for the Official Run Disney Merchandise, they typically have these in two different locations. The largest merchandise booth will be in the VISA Athletic Center and there is also one in the HP Field House. Some of the official Run Disney items will sell out relatively quick. If you are looking to get that one particular item, plan your trip to be at the expo on the day it opens. Sometimes there may be a line to get into the merchandise area, but the line will typically go pretty quickly.
Have a plan. You can look at the expo and vendor map/list in the event guide, so make sure you know what booths you definitely want to hit. The last thing you want to do, the day before a race, is put in extra miles walking around the expo and not knowing where you are going. Here is the map for the Dark Side Vendors:
Have a budget. With all of these vendors you are bound to find a bunch of items you want to purchase. As much fun as it would be to buy everything, let's not go into debt at a race expo. By reviewing the vendor map/list before you go, you can budget what items may interest you. Some vendors, like Sparkle Athletic and Raw Threads, both offer expo pickup where you can place the order, and pay, from the comfort of the home and then pick up when you get there. I have done this several times and it is so easy. If they have something specific you want, this is the best way to guarantee they will have it there and in your size!
Be ready for some photo opportunities. Every race expo will have some race photographs. During princess weekend they will bring out different princesses or other cool princess themed items. During marathon weekend Mickey Mouse came out to take photos with the runners. From what I have seen so far, Star Wars weekend has a few photo ops with different villains.
It doesn't matter if you are only stopping into the expo for the necessities, or making a full day out of it, there is a lot to experience. You have come this far, enjoy it!