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Feeling Inspired to Run a Walt Disney World Race? Here’s How to Plan a runDisney Weekend

Have you recently taken up running, and are feeling ready to secure your place in a running event? Maybe you’ve got a case of medal envy from all the runDisney runners who have completed races during last weekend’s Springtime Surprise Weekend? Or you’ve always wondered what it would be like to have the chance to run around your favorite Disney Park?

You may have answered ‘yes’ to one or all of those questions! If so, now’s the time for you to plan the perfect runDisney weekend. Get ready to take part in a Disney race around Walt Disney World, and earn an incredible medal to celebrate your achievement!

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Credit: Disney

Here are our top tips for planning a truly incredible running adventure that you will never forget!

Choose the runDisney Weekend

You may be surprised to hear that there are several runDisney weekends that are offered in Walt Disney World throughout the year. Each weekend offers several races for Guests to take part in. 

The first runDisney races of the year take place in January, usually during the weekend following New Year. Known as the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, this event offers 4 races across 4 days for Guests to take part in. Thursday is the first run day with the 5K taking place, followed by the 10K on Friday. The Half Marathon takes place on Saturday, and the Marathon closes the weekend on Sunday. If it’s a Disney Marathon you’re looking to participate in, this is your one chance to take it.

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Credit: Brittany Charboneau

February brings the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, offering runners 3 races and a yoga event to participate in. Disney Princess Sunrise Yoga opens the weekend on a Thursday, followed by the Disney Princess 5K on Friday. Saturday brings the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, and the Disney Princess Half Marathon closes the weekend on Sunday.

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Credit: Disney

The Disney Springtime Surprise Weekend opened for the first time this year, ending in March and beginning in April. The run events offered this weekend included Sunrise Yoga on Thursday, followed by Expedition Everest 5K on a Friday evening. Race for the Taste 10K took place on Saturday, and Sunday brought the final event of the weekend, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler.

If you enjoy the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, then we’re sure that the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November is the runDisney Weekend for you. Take part in the Wine & Dine 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon, taking place from Friday to Sunday, and celebrate your achievements with a Post-Race Party in EPCOT. 

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Credit: Disney

Secure your place in the races

Once you’ve decided on the runDisney Weekend you’re planning on attending, you’ll need to secure your place in your chosen runDisney race(s). Registration generally opens at least 8 months prior to the race weekend. We recommend following runDisney on social media and checking the runDisney website to keep up to date on when registration will open for events.

The runDisney weekend provides details on the dates that each race and event will take place. It is a great idea to join their Mailing List as they do send out details of when registrations will open for events. Be prepared to secure your place as soon as race bibs go on sale, as the runDisney events are incredibly popular, and sell out quickly.

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Credit: Disney Tips

Earn extra medals

Each runDisney weekend offers a Challenge, where Guests can earn additional medals. Each Challenge involves running at least 2 of the races during the weekend. Not only will runners get an additional medal, but will run with a special bib and will receive an additional runDisney shirt.

Challenges include:

  • Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge – runners complete the Half Marathon and Marathon during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
  • Dopey Challenge – runners complete all 4 races during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
  • Disney Fairy Tale Challenge – runners complete the 10K and Half Marathon during the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
  • Springtime Surprise Challenge – runners complete all 3 races during the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend
  • Disney Two Course Challenge – runners complete the 10K and Half-Marathon during the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
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Credit: V Mills

How long to stay for

Each runDisney Weekend features a Health & Fitness Expo, located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. This is where runners collect their bibs and shirts from. You won’t want to miss this event, as there are also photo opportunities, special merchandise to buy, and a chance to see the medals for the weekend events before they become yours. 

A visit to Walt Disney World should always include at least one Disney Park visit too, so we recommend arriving the day before the events of the Weekend begins. Ideally, you’ll want to leave the day after the final event you are participating in. You are sure to be able to fit in everything that you look forward to on a Disney vacation as well as have the true experience of being a Disney runner.

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Credit: Disney

Pick a Disney Resort hotel

Regardless of the Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you choose to stay at, rest assured that you will benefit from complimentary transport to and from the races. Buses generally run from 3:00 a.m. for morning races, and 8:30 p.m. for evening races. Transportation to the runDisney Expo is also available to Guests throughout each day that the Expo is running.

Staying at a Disney Resort will also make it easier for you to travel to and from the Parks during the days following races. Not to forget, that each Disney Resort will offer you a perfect place to relax in the afternoon and evenings, ahead of the longer races.

Of course, you can always stay offsite, and save a little on cost. However, remember that you will require transport during the early hours when taking part in a runDisney event.

Check out the training programs on the runDisney website

Once you’ve secured your place in a runDisney event, expect your training to get serious! Take advantage of the great training programs that have been put together by former olympian, Jeff Galloway, available on the runDisney website. There is a training program to suit every level runner for every length of race offered by runDisney.

Decide on a race outfit

With race places secured, accommodation and travel sorted, and training underway, expect your runDisney weekend to come round quickly. Make sure to plan your race outfits ahead of time. Play it safe and wear running gear inspired by your favorite Disney character, or be a little more adventurous and run in full costume. Whichever you choose, you’ll want to look your best as there are plenty of photo opportunities around each course. Look out for special Disney character appearances too.

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Credit: runDisney

Consider dining reservations

It’s important to eat right in the lead-up to any running event. There are plenty of restaurant choices in Walt Disney World that will help you carb-load the night before race day. What better way to celebrate your achievements too, with a post-race breakfast at your favorite Disney restaurant.

Make sure to secure your dining reservations 60-days ahead of your vacation. Pre-planning dining reservations will allow you to focus on enjoying the weekend and preparing for your exciting run events.

Have the best runDisney weekend

You’ve planned, trained, and arrived. All that’s left to do is have the best and most magical time! Take in every second. The atmosphere of a runDisney event is second-to-none. It can be easy to want to strive for that personal best, but honestly, take just a little time in your race to slow down, even walk, and enjoy your surroundings. It’s not every day you get to run in a Walt Disney World theme park!

Take photos, stop to see Disney characters, pose for the runDisney photographers, and enjoy that moment when you cross the finish line! Cry those happy tears, jump for joy, and wear your medal with pride! Once you’ve taken part in a runDisney event, you truly understand and believe their tag line – “every mile is magic”!

About Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!