I participated in my first Disneyland Race last month: the inaugural Avengers 5k and half marathon. It was fun, but it doesn’t have the same magic that Disney World Races have. I’m not sure I’ll do another Disneyland race anytime soon. I really thought I would love the race, because I love Avengers and super heroes, but it was just so-so.
The Major Differences
I thought the expo at Disney World was bad. The expo at Disneyland was impossible. Lines and lines and more lines. Stuff sold out super quick. I was able to get an Avengers Dooney, but pretty much anything else was sold out.
The characters were a lot sparser at Avengers, possibly because Disney doesn’t own as much of the property so they can’t set characters out. The best characters were some cosplayers that were set-up along the half marathon route. They did have quite a bit of ambiance, like SHIELD and Avengers logos everywhere.
I was a little disappointed that they actually brought characters in before the time limits. My mom and I walked the 5k together and they were bringing Thor in when we stopped (we got a photo with him, but were the last) and our 5k time wasn’t even that bad. They were pulling Thor in before most walkers got a chance to see him. I’ve been pretty at WDW, and never have they pulled the characters in. On the othe hand, the lines at WDW go much faster then they did at Avengers. We waited almost 20 minutes for Thor. I’m not really sure why it was taking so long. There have been some pretty long lines at WDW, longer than then Thor line, and they move more quickly.
My theory is that there were only Cap, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye available, so the character stops were less and piled up more. They should rethink just having Avengers out there.
Running on the public roads in Anaheim isn’t as magic as running the Disney World races. I understand that Disney owns everything, but it just seems more special. Honestly, Avengers just felt like another race.
The Actual Race
Hydra apparently stole a wind machine, because they race was crazy windy. The mile markers and time signs blew over pretty much everywhere by the end of the day. I even saw a mile maker topple on someone (he was fine). A barricade flew across the course. The dust that was kicked up was something of epic, heroic proportions.
I loved the schtick at the beginning of the race. They said Hydra had sprayed a mutagen on the crowd and the only way to keep from mutating was to drink plenty of fluids. One of the announcers said, “Hail hydration!” Now, every time I hear “Hail hydra” on Agents of SHIELD I think about that.
I stopped during the half for almost every character. I dressed as Nick Fury (or Nicole Fury, as Hawkeye called me) for both races. Black Widow thought I was hydra? Ok. Way to get into your character. I was wearing a modified SHIELD symbol with Mickey Mouse ears, but it looked nothing like hydra. I also learned it’s a lot harder to run with an eye patch than you think. I’m impressed that Fury can kick so much ass.
Thor was awesome. He was very into character. He said “Keep thy eye on the road director!” as we left. I already loved Thor, but I loved Disney’s Thor even more. Iron man was in none of the race materials. Apparently, Downey Jr has some sort of contract where he has to be paid anytime Iron Man is mentioned. That probably works out pretty well for him, but it was a little odd not to have the most popular Avenger around. His symbol is on the merchandising for the race.
The wind did make for a cool photo with Cap. My hair is blowing like I just jumped out of a quinjet.
I probably won’t do this race again, but I did accomplish my Coast to Coast. The only way I’d ever do another Disneyland race is to get the pink coast to coast, and I think that will be a while. It’s just not as magical as WDW.