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    23 Things I Learned From Running A 5K Through Universal Studios In Florida

    The line to take a photo with a Minion is something I will never have the patience for.

    Hi guys! My name is Arielle, and a couple of weekends ago I ran a 5K (3.1 mile) race at Universal Orlando — land of Harry Potter, the Minions, and Shrek. Here's everything I learned:

    1. This is Universal Orlando's very first character run, called the Epic Character Race, and it is WAY less crowded than any Disney race.

    Arielle Calderon

    Granted, this was the first year, so it might get busier in years to come. But if you don't want to compete with 13,000 runners on a course, this is ideal.

    2. There are two race options: the 5K ($82) and the 10K ($121).

    Arielle Calderon

    Both include a themed medal, race shirt, a drawstring bag, and complimentary parking.

    3. Theme park entry is NOT included, but there are specially priced race registration and 2-Park 2-Day Park-to-Park ticket bundles available **(tbd for future races).

    Arielle Calderon

    This year, the 5K entry plus a 2-Park 2-Day Park-to-Park ticket cost $301.99, and the 10K entry plus a 2-Park 2-Day Park-to-Park ticket cost $340.99.

    If you want to get notifications about future races and prices, you can sign up here.

    4. The 5K and 10K courses go through Islands of Adventure AND Universal Studios — which means you won't be bored.

    Universal

    I forgot my headphones and I wasn't even mad.

    5. For the 5K, there are only three corrals. THREE, I SAY!

    Arielle Calderon

    For context, the Disney Princess Half Marathon has about 15.

    6. Because the parks still open to the public at normal hours, both races have a start time of 6:15 a.m. (corrals open at 5 a.m.).

    Arielle Calderon

    Basically you have to get up early AF, and it's NOT warm outside that early in the morning.

    7. All runners must maintain a minimum pace of 17-minute miles or...you are getting picked up in a golf cart.*

    Universal

    The pace clock will begin when the last participant crosses the start mat.

    *Idk if the golf cart thing is true but it sounds right.

    8. You'll see some DJs on the course.

    Arielle Calderon

    9. As well as some staff holding signs.

    Arielle Calderon

    10. And some pretty epic costumes worn by participants.

    Arielle Calderon

    11. Yes, you can do meet and greets ON THE COURSE WHILE RUNNING! You'll meet characters from Transformers, The Simpsons, Harry Potter, and Shrek.

    Arielle Calderon

    And more!

    12. There are no Minions ON the course, but you can take a photo with one after you cross the finish line.

    Arielle Calderon

    13. But you'll have to wait a while to get your 'gram.

    Arielle Calderon

    14. But in good news, you can upgrade to VIP 5K or 10K registration and get an even BETTER character meet and greet photo opp!

    Arielle Calderon

    It also includes access to the VIP breakfast post-race, which is hosted at a CityWalk restaurant. It actually tastes SO good. This year the 5K VIP cost $142 and the 10K VIP cost $184.

    15. If you're expecting a cup of water to down while running...you might need to wait a bit.

    Arielle Calderon

    Again, this is their very first race. I will give them a pass here. But that table should have been FILLED with water and staff should have been passing them out to runners at all times!!

    16. But the end of race snack box is actually pretty robust for a 5K!

    Arielle Calderon

    It came with a banana and a bottle of water as well.

    17. Spectators are not allowed on the course, but hopefully this changes in the future — this street in Universal Studios is just CRAVING fans.

    Arielle Calderon

    Arguably the best part of the Disney races is having spectators cheer you on in the parks. It's so motivating and fun. Universal NEEDS this.

    18. But you can buy Epic Fan Registration and sit on the bleachers at the finish line for $49.

    Arielle Calderon

    Tbh not many people were there for the 5K or the 10K, so the finish line felt anti-climatic. Again, this is probably just because it was the first year. Hopefully it will get more pumped up as more people learn about this race!

    To be clear, you can also enter the finish line area for free, but you'll have to stand next to the bleachers.

    19. Because this takes place in Florida in the winter, the weather is actually LOVELY.

    Arielle Calderon

    20. Unless it rains — then you'll be soaked and running in a theme park with slippery cobblestones and slightly flooded streets.

    Arielle Calderon

    It rained the entire 5K race. It was so wet and sad. But the 10K had GORGEOUS weather! Around 50–60 degrees and sunny.

    21. Once you earn that sweet victory, you're gifted with a themed medal! This year's 5K had Shrek and Bumblebee.

    Arielle Calderon

    Yes hello add this to my collection.

    22. And then, of course, you can download your race photos!

    Arielle Calderon

    You can choose to buy a pass, just one photo, or more. I bought this one for $9.99.

    23. Overall, Universal Orlando's inaugural 5K and 10K races were pretty freakin' awesome — ESPECIALLY compared to your local race in the park.

    Universal

    You've got music, characters, Florida weather, rides, fun medals, and epic memories. What more could you ask for?

    All I'm sayin' is...SIGN ME THE EFF UP WHEN THAT HARRY POTTER RACE COMES THROUGH!!!!

    Don't forget to check out Bring Me! for all of BuzzFeed's best travel tips and hacks, vacation inspiration, and more!

    Jay Fleckenstein / BuzzFeed