Reasons Why you Should Participate in a runDisney Weekend

Credit: Disney Tips

Tomorrow, the first runDisney race of 2023 will take place. While the 2022-2023 running season began in November 2022 with the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend, this upcoming weekend welcomes the first runDisney weekend of the new year. Runners will take place in up to four events during the Walt Disney World Half Marathon Weekend.

If you have yet to participate in a Disney race, you are most definitely missing out. Let’s take a look at the reasons why you should take part in future runDisney races.

Running in the Disney Parks

The runDisney events in the Walt Disney World Resort allow you to run through at least one Disney Park. Most races take place in EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with longer races allowing Guests to run in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom Park. The runDisney events generally occur in the early morning hours, usually beginning at 5 a.m. During the races, the Disney Parks are only accessible to runners, Cast Members, and spectators. While Guests of the Disney Resort hotels can run around other parts of the Walt Disney World Resort, the only chance they’ll get to run in the Disney Parks otherwise is when they are late for a Genie+, Lightning Lane, or advance dining reservation!

run disney

Credit: Disney

Race Atmosphere

You will appreciate the race atmosphere if you have participated in any running race before. There’s nothing like waiting for the race to start, sharing the course with other runners, and, most importantly, crossing the finish line. If you love all of these things, then imagine what that must be like in Walt Disney World. Taking part in a runDisney race weekend not only offers all of these things but an extra sprinkling of pixie dust.

Incredible Medals

Completion of a runDisney event will result in a pretty incredible award. Every runner receives a medal for each race that they complete. Each runDisney medal is a work of art celebrating a favorite Disney character or movie. The medal has intricate details and a beautiful strap. Each medal is also dated to commemorate the year of your achievement.


Credit: Disney

Rare Disney Characters

Throughout each runDisney event, favorite and rare Disney characters are stationed around each course. They help to support the runners, especially if they are striving for a personal best and don’t intend to stop. They also give hugs and pose for photos with runners who prefer to pause during the race.


Credit: WDW Magazine

Challenge Yourself

Like any running event, the runDisney races are a way to challenge yourself. It’s great to set yourself goals and achieve them. There are a variety of race lengths offered in the runDisney weekends. Guests can take part in shorter events like the 5k and 10k. There are also longer events including the 10-miler, half marathon and full marathon.

For seasoned runners, why not challenge yourself even more? Several runDisney challenges take place throughout the year, where runners complete two or more races in a race weekend. Completion of the runDisney challenges allows you to earn additional medals. If a challenge sounds good to you, sign up for it rather than multiple races to guarantee the receipt of the challenge medal.

Walt Disney World Marathon Medal

Credit: Disney

Reward Yourself

The Disney Parks, Resorts, and Disney Springs are great places to relax, celebrate and explore after a runDisney race. This means that a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort is the ideal place to make your running trip an entire celebration. Following the completion of the events, you’ll want to get photos of your medals in the Disney Parks. Wear your medals proudly in a theme park following an event, and take in every special moment.

runDisney Health & Fitness Expo

All runners will need to attend the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo at some point during the event, as this is where you collect your bibs and t-shirts. This is also the place to shop for unique merchandise, speak with professionals and meet fellow runners. Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the Expo is easy to travel to and from when staying in a Disney Resort hotel. Complimentary bus transportation is available for runners throughout the weekend, to the Expo and the start line on race day.


Credit: V Mills

Upcoming Events

Are you feeling inspired to take part in a runDisney event? While there are currently no events planned for Disneyland Paris, there are upcoming events in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort. Here are all of the forthcoming events that you can consider participating in:

  • 2023 runDisney Virtual Series – takes place in June, July, and August. Usually, the Virtual Series consists of 3 5k runs. General registration opens on April 25, 2023. 
  • 2023 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – taking place November 2 to 5, 2023; this event coincides with the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Guests can participate in the 5k, 10k, and half marathon and the Two Course Challenge. General registration opens on March 21, 2023.
  • 2024 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – takes place January 3 to 7, 2024. Guests can participate in the 5k, 10k, half marathon, Disney marathon, and the Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge. General registration opens on April 11, 2023.
  • 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend – takes place on January 11 to 14, 2024. Guests can participate in the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and challenge. General registration opens on February 14, 2023.
  • 2024 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – takes place on February 22 to 25, 2024. Guests can participate in the yoga, 5k, 10k, half marathon, and Disney Fairy Tale Challenge. General registration opens on June 20, 2023. Check the runDisney website for openings for the 2023 event that takes place in February.
  • 2024 runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend – takes place on April 18 to 21, 2024. Guests can participate in the 5k, 10k, 10-miler, and Springtime Surprise Challenge. General registration opens on August 22, 2023. Check the runDisney website for openings for the 2023 event that takes place in April.

Credit: Disney

Which event are you planning on taking part in? Check out the training plans by Jeff Galloway that can be found on the runDisney website to help you to prepare for your event. Don’t be surprised if you become hooked, and envision yourself joining the Club runDisney!

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!