Training for the Disney Marathon - Part 16- Expo Strategy

Join Trey Brush on a 20 part weekly journey as he previews one of the best marathon's in the world, the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 11th, 2015!  He will share his current training as well as his past experience from the great event.  To find all his past posts please click here!

For this week, I had to call in a little help from the bullpen!  Here is the deal, each year I say to myself that I really want to see everything in the expo and shop.  I don’t “love” crowds or shopping, so usually after about 10 minutes I retreat to my quiet place!

My mom on the other hand, is a professional of the expo and at shopping.  I decided to get the thoughts and feedback from an expert.  I learned a lot and hopefully it is helpful for you as well.

What to expect at the expo

The Disney expo is as good as any expo out there.  The variety of things you will find is fantastic.  From shoes, apparel, gadgets and brands you should find whatever you are looking for.  Some of the top items and the things you should concentrate your effort on is the area right after you pick up your race shirt.  This is the RunDisney official themed merchandise area.  You will find all of the specific weekend event themed merchandise in this location.  You will have your pick from shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats and plenty other to choose from.  Specific weekend themed merchandise is especially popular and will likely be very crowded in this area.  You typically get a long sleeve shirt with your race registration so many runners will pick up additional merchandise like a short sleeve shirt.

All along the rest of the expo floor you will continue to find a large variety of unique merchandise and stuff you might need.  You will find things like your Gu, gels and bodyglide that you might want for that weekend and as well good deals on other items.  Not everything is at a great deal, but you can certainly find some really good deals if you are looking.

A good strategy is to first pick up your shirt, hit the Disney commemorative items and then begin to tackle the expo floor.  Hitting one aisle up and down and then moving on to the next. 

Here is Trey’s thought on this.  My only problem is the crowd.  I wish it could be more spread out and not quite as crowded.  It would help encourage me to see more as it just gets packed in and it does not really matter when you go.  It always seems crowded at the expo.

Another suggestion I got was to be prepared.  She told me each year she has a specific item or 2 she is looking for.  She goes in with a plan ahead of time. You also need to allow some time. Give yourself a couple of hours and don’t rush.  It is big and it is crowded.  I would not plan to see a theme park this day.  It is a good day to sleep in and go to the expo.  Many times we arrive in town around lunch and hit the expo in the afternoon.  That is another tip.  Eat first!  You could spend a lot of time at the expo so make sure you eat before heading over. 

Another Trey thought…as little as I do get into the expo I will say it is all a part of the race day experience.  I enjoy the electricity and the excitement.  If this is your first time, take it all in.  There is nothing quite like it.

Another great part of the day is the expert speakers and panels.  Check out the speaker schedule and keep up to date with the weather.  Back in 2010 is when we first heard them talking about snow and sleet for the race and my dad and I thought they were crazy.  They were not!  It was also the first time we experienced and heard of the precipitation type called graupel.  Yep, graupel!  It is a real thing!  Who knew?!

A couple of other nice things to be aware of it is cold, rainy or throw away clothes and gloves.  You will usually find vendors with that specialty in the expo.

So my final thoughts are, take in the expo.  It is worth it.  I usually get more excited and it feels real once I go to the expo.  Trust me; you don’t want to miss the expo.  It is worth the trip and worth the crowds.

It is at the expo where the race and race weekend begins to get real!  Runner’s, we are getting close!

Next up...Packet Pick-up