The next runDisney weekend is just around the corner, and with the race courses now confirmed, it’ll all be feeling very real for runDisney participants!
Beginning March 31 through April 3, the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend is making its debut in Walt Disney World. It could be said that it has replaced the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend that was inaugurated back in 2016. The final Star Wars runDisney event took place in 2021 and was sadly a virtual event.
The runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend will include three running events and a yoga event. Like with all runDisney events, race places sell out pretty quickly. The yoga event has also proved to be incredibly popular, and it’s easy to see why. Who wouldn’t want to begin the day as an exclusive Guest to Magic Kingdom to watch the sunrise over Cinderella Castle – from a yoga mat?
Guests who were not able to get to Walt Disney World Resort for this race series were welcome to take part virtually. Over the last few years, runDisney has increased the numbers of virtual run events it offers, from Virtual Run Series through to virtual events that run at the same time as a race weekend. This allows for more Guests to get their hands on the spectacular medals that runDisney is known for.
So, here are our tips and tricks for making Springtime Surprise your best runDisney weekend yet!
runDisney Springtime Surprise Sunrise Yoga
This event opens the Springtime Surprise Weekend, taking place on March 31 in front of Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom Park. It is a one-hour event, beginning at 5:30 a.m.
At a price of $95 per person, this event includes complimentary Guest parking at Magic Kingdom, as well as a bottle of water and a yoga mat with carry case. Early arrival is recommended to allow you to get your preferred spot in the Hub in front of Cinderella Castle.
Expedition Everest 5K
Beginning at 10:00 p.m. on March 31, the Expedition Everest 5k takes Guests through Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Whilst taking part in this 3.1-mile run, Guests will also get to enjoy a scavenger hunt as well as see their favorite Disney characters around the course.
Participation in this race comes at a cost of $110 per runner. This price includes an incredible running route, as well as a 5K finisher medal upon completion, personalized bib, and participant shirt.
Starting in Disney’s Animal Kingdom parking lot, the course guides runners to the entrance of the Park and towards the Tree of Life. Runners will turn left to pass through Pandora and Africa, then onto Asia and Dinoland U.S.A. before leaving the Disney Park.
To finish, the course leads runners alongside the back of Expedition Everest, not usually accessed by Disney theme park Guests, and back to the finish line in the parking lot.
This race is perfect for an Expedition Everest attraction lover. The medal is impressively inspired by a compass; in a striking blue, it displays the Expedition Everest logo and is dated 2022.
Race for the Taste 10K
On April 2, this 6.2-mile race takes place, beginning at 5:00 a.m. ahead of sunrise. Participation in this event comes at a slightly higher price than the 5K, at $145 per runner, which is understandable given the increased length of the race. Entry includes the same things included in entry to the Expedition Everest 5K.
The start line for the Race for the Taste 10K is in the EPCOT parking lot. Runners will complete the first 2 miles of the course on surrounding roads to the parking lot, before heading into EPCOT.
The course takes runners around the back of World Nature and alongside Journey to Imagination with Figment. Runners will then be guided around World Showcase to the right, passing Canada and the United Kingdom Pavilions, before exiting via International Gateway. From here, the course loops around Crescent Lake, passing Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, and back to International Gateway, along Disney’s BoardWalk.
Runners will complete the last 2 miles of the race in EPCOT, around World Showcase, and through World Celebration. From here, runners exit the Park alongside Test Track will head to the finish line, located in the EPCOT parking lot.
To fit with the theme of food, the medal for this 10K race features Remy from Ratatouille. The finisher medal ribbon is a striking pink, and will likely match the color of the participant shirt runners will receive from taking part in this event.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler
This race concludes the Springtime Surprise Weekend, on April 3 beginning at 5:00 a.m. Runners who are taking part in this race will have had to submit proof of time to be placed in a start group. As the longest race in this run series, entry cost $200 per runner.
Unlike the other races in this run series, snacks and drinks are offered along the running route to help runners complete the longer distance.
Using the same start and finish line locations as the Race for the Taste 10K, this race begins and ends in the EPCOT parking lot. The course guides runners through EPCOT, entering behind Test Track, around World Showcase to International Gateway.
From there, runners will pass Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and along to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Runners will enter the Disney Park and run in a clockwise direction, via Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, and Animation Courtyard.
Runners will run down Sunset Boulevard towards the star of the race, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, before exiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios using the Fantasmic! walkway. The course guides runners back to EPCOT Park, using roads within the Walt Disney World area. Runners will enter via World Nature, passing through World Celebration before exiting alongside Test Track, towards the finish line.
Participants will receive a finisher medal in the shape of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Goofy is featured in his bellhop costume as though he is dropping in, just like you would whilst crossing over into The Twilight Zone!
runDisney Springtime Surprise Challenge
This is an additional event that was offered to participants upon booking. Runners who are taking part in the Challenge will run in all 3 races of the weekend. Upon completion of the races, runners will also receive an additional Challenge medal. Entry to this event, of $455, covers the cost of the additional medal, as well as an additional participant shirt.
The Challenge medal features Mickey Mouse in his running gear. It is dated and also displays the total mileage of 19.3 miles that runners will have covered from taking part in this Challenge.
All running events that are part of the Springtime Surprise Weekend were available to participants who wished to partake virtually. Prices were discounted compared to participation in the races at Walt Disney World. This is reflective of runners not using the Disney courses, and not taking advantage of refreshments and entertainment that are offered on the courses.
Virtual participants will still receive the medals for the races that they take part in, as well as the participant shirts.
Our top tips for the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend
If you’re a runner at the Springtime Surprise Weekend, with less than 2 weeks to go, you’ll likely have all of your transport and accommodation sorted. Excitement will be building and training going well.
Here are the things that we recommend planning now so that your weekend in Walt Disney World as a runDisney runner is the best one yet!
Spend time at the Expo
The Expo is where you will collect your personalized bibs and participant shirts from. Make sure you have your Expo Check-In Pass available and ready to present upon entry to the Expo.
Your Pass can be a print-out or digital copy and will be available on your runDisney Account from March 28. If you are taking part in multiple races, but not the Challenge, you will need an Expo Check-In Pass for each race. Photo ID will also be required to collect your race bib(s).
Be sure to stop by the photo opportunities that are within the Expo, featuring backgrounds that match each of the races that will take place over the weekend. You’ll also get to see the medals you will receive upon completion of the races. This certainly makes the race feel real, and helps with excitement – if you aren’t already excited enough!
Treat yourself to runDisney merchandise
runDisney events are known to feature limited-edition merchandise that is available for purchase at the Expo. Located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the Expo will also feature displays from local exhibitors.
Be sure to allow time in your schedule to browse the stands within the Expo as you never know what treasures you may find. Transport is available to the Expo from each of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels throughout the day, from March 31 to April 2.
Grab a last-minute reservation
It’s not too late to find a reservation in your favorite Walt Disney World restaurant. Now’s the time to score that advanced dining reservation to help with the carb-loading ahead of the Race for the Taste 10K and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler.
If you already have those reservations sorted, why not treat yourself to a celebration breakfast after one of the races. Enjoy french toast at the Grand Floridian Cafe, or indulge in a breakfast buffet and Ale & Compass in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Breakfast in Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom would be a perfect location to celebrate completing the Expedition Everest 5K.
Get an early bus to the start lines
Buses to the start line for each race are available from all Walt Disney World Resorts. We recommend getting the earliest bus you can. This will allow you plenty of time to arrive at the start corrals, visit restrooms, enjoy refreshments, and use the gEAR Bag check.
For the Expedition Everest 5K, buses will begin running at 8:30 p.m., whilst for the 10K and 10-Miler events, buses will run from 3:00 a.m.
Take breakfast with you
It’s worth packing some breakfast bars or picking up some cereal from your Resort shop so that you can fuel up ahead of the race. Although there are refreshments available pre-race, remember to factor in the time needed to visit the restroom, check your gEAR Bag, and find your starting corral. There’s nothing worse than fasted cardio when you weren’t expecting to have to do that!
Get to know other runners in your corral
Don’t worry about participating as a solo runner. There’ll be plenty of other runners who are in the same position as you! Chat to them, and get to know them, whilst waiting in your start corral!
You’ll likely get to know someone who runs around the same pace as you, so you can look out for one another on the course. You may even make a friend for life, and we all know that Disney friends are the best!
Stop for a character photo
One of the great things about races is the atmosphere. From fellow runners showing support for one another, to Cast Members showing their appreciation for runners along the course. If this is your first time taking part in a running event, you may be feeling a little nervous, but those nerves will soon vanish once you begin.
The runDisney races are known for the entertainment and character viewings along each course, not to mention the incredible sights you will be surrounded by. You are, after all, running in a Disney Park!
Go ahead and stop for that photo with your favorite Disney character or attraction. Remember, when taking part in the 5K and 10K, there is no time limit (within reason of course!), so you absolutely have time to take those photo opportunities that will add to the memories of the incredible weekend you’ll experience!
Pose for a runDisney photographer
Look out for runDisney photographers that are stationed around each course! They can help to take a snapshot of those memories that you will have from running past a beloved Disney attraction! Remember to smile, even if you’re experiencing a particularly tough moment in the race (we all have those times when running).
Wear your medals with pride
You’ve worked hard to earn your medals, so take every opportunity to show them off following the race. And yes, that does include wearing it all day whilst exploring the Disney Parks!
Get a photo displaying your medals
Each medal really is a work of art, and so it’s only right that you take photos of them around Walt Disney World! Take a photo wearing it, hold it in front of a Disney Park icon, hang it on a railing in front of Cinderella Castle, the list goes on… But get those medal photos, and don’t worry about anyone judging you!
Take time to relax before the long runs
It can be easy to want to fit in everything during a runDisney weekend but remember the reason you’re visiting. Give yourself time to rest ahead of the longer races. Make use of your Resort pool or find a quiet place to stop and watch the (Disney) World go by!
Take a bath to help ease aching muscles if you are taking part in multiple races. Also, get an early night if you can – you’ll have some early starts!
Why not dress up?
With less than 2 weeks to go, now is the perfect time to sort running outfits. It’s absolutely fine to wear your participant shirts for each race. But if you enjoy dressing up, then why not run in costume!
You can even put together a running outfit that will help you Disney Bound as a Disney character. Think of the photos – you’ll be adding that extra bit of magic to them!
Now all that’s left to do is get ready for your runDisney experience. You really are in for a special one! Enjoy every moment, take every photo opportunity, and keep smiling. One foot in front of the other is all you have to do! Remember, every mile is magic!