Is a RunDisney Event for you?
Are you a runner? Do you love Disney? A race and a trip to the most magical destination on earth, Walt Disney World, is calling your name. If you haven’t run one of the runDisney races in the past, I beg you to add it to your race calendar this year. You won’t be disapointed. The runDisney race series is made up of several events throughout the year. The recurring schedule is as follows:
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Early January
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – Mid February
- Star Wars Rival Run Weekend – Mid April
- Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Early November
Registration and current dates for each race are available on www.rundisney.com. They will list a date and time that the race is open for registration and if you want to register you will need to be at your computer at that specific listed time. Some races (particularly the challenges, 5Ks, and 10Ks) are exceedingly popular and will sell out quickly. It’s hard to judge just how popular that particular race will be so if you want in, sign in right away and ensure you get a spot. My friend who ran the Princess Half Marathon with me last year didn’t believe me on this and ended up running the half marathon instead of the 10K because the 10K sold out within a few hours.
The races typically fall into times of the year when the Disney crowd calendar predictions are not as high and the weather is not as hot. That being said you can expect the on-site hotels to be completely sold out and at a semi-premium price. You’ll need to book your hotel early (as in right after registration) if one of these races calls your name.
About the RunDisney Races
Each event is made up of several smaller events, each catering to a variety of fitness and interest levels. They all take place in the early morning before the parks open.
- Marathon – The only full marathon (26.2 miles) is during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, all the other events have a half marathon (13.1) as the longest distance
- Half Marathon – 13.1 Miles
- Kids Fun Races (Dashes and 1 Mile Run)
- Challenges- One unique aspect of runDisney events are the challenges to run multiple races in the same weekend
- Dopey Challenge – Complete Walt Disney World Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K and 5K
- Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge – Complete the Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon
- Disney’s Castaway Cay Challenge – Complete any of the Walt Disney World Marathon events and the Castaway Cay 5K on the Disney Cruise Line private island Castaway Cay immediately following race weekend
- Fairy Tale Challenge – Complete the Disney Princess Half Marathon and 10K
- Two-Course Challenge – Complete the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and 10K
- RunDisney Expo – Packet pickup and shopping galore await at the RunDisney Expo at the Wide World of Sports Complex. They have events and character greetings throughout the weekend as well. You may even meet rare characters there. In 2019, we met Moana at the expo which is a rare greeting unless you are at the Halloween or Christmas Parties.
You’ll have to ultimately decide which distance is the best for you. The shorter distances give you the feel of a runDisney event without the wear on your legs for the rest of your vacation, but the longer runs have more entertainment and show you more areas of the park. You’ll feel pretty amazing walking around the parks with a half-marathon or marathon medal around your neck! If you are having trouble deciding a distance, perhaps my Why I Run the Disney Princess Half Marathon post may help.
Where do you run?
The races all take you through various places in the Disney Parks, with the marathon covering the most unique areas. The courses do change a little here and there based on construction projects or Disney’s wishes. There is a mix of roads and off-ramps (in between parks), back of the house areas for employees only, and the showstopper park attractions like Cinderella’s castle. In the less glamorous highway areas, Disney will place entertainment offerings like music, cheering sections, or unique character interactions. The characters pose for quick photos but the lines can be quite long, especially if you start from a back corral. If you are a serious runner in corrals A-C I’d expect the lines would be quite shorter at times should you want to stop because not as many people have passed through.
All runDisney events encourage costumes which is one of the most fun aspects of doing them. You can take it to any extreme you’d like, very casual to full Halloween costume style. It’s really up to you. Each event has a general theme that people typically stick to (but certainly not always).
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Anything goes!
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – Princesses and Princes or characters that go along with that year’s medal designs
- Star Wars Rival Run – Star Wars Characters on the Light or Dark Side
- Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Villains