The official kick-off to a runDisney race weekend is the Health & Fitness Expo! The Expos have grown substantially in size, bringing crowds of runners to experience all they have to offer. So how do you navigate the Expo and make the most of your time? Here are a few tips!
1. Have a plan. A few weeks prior to the race, runDisney releases the official race program. Inside, there is a map of the Expo as well as a list of the vendors and speaker series. Look it over and decide what you want to see! This will help determine when you should go to the Expo. Is race merchandise most important? Going earlier on the first day (with the crowds) may be the best for you. Have a certain speaker you want to listen to? Plan your Expo time around that. You also can make a list of vendors you don’t want to miss!
2. Leave your kids behind. While there are a few things for the kids to do (specifically the Inspiration Station), the Expo can be quite crowded, which means you need to keep an eye on those you are with. If you plan on spending a lot of time at the Expo, it may be best to have someone else take your kids to the pool or parks while you enjoy the Expo!
3. Take your time. There is a LOT to see and experience at a runDisney Expo! Photo opportunities, vendors, speaker series, Inspiration Station – the list goes on and on. If you are short on time, the most important thing to do is get your race packet. If you have the time, plan on at least an hour or two inside the Expo to see all there is to offer. (Keep in mind that there is also transportation to and from the Expo.) The good news is the Expo goes on for multiple days – so you can always go back!
4. Have a budget. The vendors are plentiful which means there is a lot of running gear and clothes that will catch your eye. By going in with a budget ahead of time, you can bypass certain booths and head to the ones you are the most interested in. Some vendors will have discounts, which helps with the cost as well. (Note: You can use your annual pass or Disney Visa card for discounts at the official runDisney merchandise booth.) There are some items that can only be purchased at the Expos – that will help focus the budget as well!
5. Bring your patience. The rumors are true – the Expo can be very crowded. The runDisney merchandise and New Balance shoe areas can be insane. Be sure to bring your patience along! Stay positive, encourage each other and set an example.
IMPORTANT POLICY – You MUST pick up your own race packet at the Expo. Bring your signed waiver and photo ID.
No matter if you are taking a quick trip to pick up your packet or making a full day of it, there is a lot to see and experience. Let the energy of the Expo take over and enjoy it!