Happy Monday Y’all!
I loved all the feedback I received from my “So you want to start running…” post; I am so glad y’all found it helpful! If you haven’t had a chance to read it, check it out by following the link above. Today’s post is going to be solely dedicated to RunDisney! Obviously, my viewpoint/opinion is SUPER biased because I live and love RunDisney, but I will say I have had negative experiences or opinions about various things involving RunDisney, so my views shouldn’t be all biased. Just a fair warning. My goal for this post is to introduce you to RunDisney especially those who have never been able to participate yet. I hope to give you a general idea and some basic info about RunDisney!
First, I will explain RunDisney to those who may not fully grasp the concept of it yet! RunDisney is a Disney organization that puts on various races throughout the year at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. There are four race weekends in WDW every year: Wine and Dine, Marathon, Princess, and Star Wars weekend. I will discuss the differences in each weekend a little later. Typically, the only distances offered are a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. The marathon distance is exclusive to marathon weekend. Each weekend also offers a challenge of completing the 10k and half marathon. Marathon weekend offers two challenges – the Dopey Challenge, which is running the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon, and the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, which includes the half marathon and the marathon. The races either start in the Epcot or Magic Kingdom parking lot and finish in the Epcot parking lot. The courses for the distances differ by the theme weekend, but they will each go through at least 1 Disney park!
One of the first questions I got was “how to register for a RunDisney race?”
which is a PERFECT place to start. I am going to give you a very basic breakdown of how the registration process works. First, you need to be aware of when the registration days and times are. Disney annual pass holders and vacation club members are able to register usually the Thursday before general registration. There are only a limited number of bibs offered for early registration so don’t fear if you don’t classify under either of these categories you still have 2 options: 1. you can pre-register through a certified Disney travel agent with one of their vacation packages! Side note: I have never used a travel agent before, but I have had so many friends have wonderful experiences with it, so I can definitely endorse it! 2. You can register on general registration day!
Your best bet at registering for the race you want is to be on the site at the time registration opens. I usually get on the website a little bit earlier, but a runDisney cast member told me that the queue to register pulls people randomly i.e. it doesn’t matter if you get on earlier (seems totally fair right…?!) Because of this I recommend you open several different browsers once registration officially opens to see which window will get you in the fastest!
Once you’re in, you will select the race you are interested in and fill out all of the generic information. You can register multiple people for different races, but you need to be careful because races could sell out while you are registering for a different one. An example – you want to run the fairy tale challenge at princess weekend and the 5k. You get all your information put in for the challenge, and you add the 5k and fill out everything with that. Finally, when you go to pay for both; you get a mean error message saying that the Fairy Tale Challenge is sold out. It is possible that nothing will sell out immediately, but I just want yall to be aware!
This is just my very basic information on registration because my great RunDisney friend Devon (@fitfabdisney) dedicated a whole podcast to discussing on how to register for RunDisney events, so I would love for you to check it out for a more detailed and in-depth explanation on registering!
The next topic I want to discuss is the different race weekends!
I could discuss the different race weekend and their pros and cons, but I will keep it short and sweet for length purposes!
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
This event usually happens in early January usually the second weekend. This is the only race weekend that offers all four distances – 5k, 10k, half marathon, and a marathon. Unlike the other weekends, the 5k is on Thursday instead of Friday! The weather is absolutely unpredictable for this time of year. In the matter of one weekend, it can go from cold for the 5k and 10k to the extreme heat for the half and full marathon. True life this happened this year! The theming for this weekend remains the same – it is some variation of the classic Disney characters and Dopey! Classic Disney including – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Oswald, Chip, Dale, and Goofy. This race weekend I would consider a little more serious because people come in just for the marathon, so I feel you see a lot more serious runners this weekend. But don’t be intimidated because there are a lot of first-time marathoners and half-marathoners participating! The course for the half marathon and marathon both go through the Magic Kingdom and because it is so close to Christmas times you can typically catch the Christmas lights on as the sun rises. Talk about true Disney magic!
Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network
I have a love/hate relationship with Princess which usually happens towards the end of February. I personally feel like this is the most crowded RunDisney weekend, but it is such a magical time running with so many women who support and lift each other up. It is truly a weekend of female empowerment while running for a great cause! The themes are a surprise just that it includes some variation of a princess or an important character from a princess movie! They do tend to repeat princesses in different variations because there are only so many Disney princesses that they can cycle through. This half marathon course runs through the Magic Kingdom as well. The weather for this weekend is so unpredictable. It has ranged from hot to freezing rain, so be prepared for anything which I think is just applicable for any time in Florida! This is a great weekend for a girl’s weekend or your first race ever!
Star Wars Rival Run Weekend
Star Wars weekend is the weekend I have participated in the least, so I don’t have a lot of opinions about this weekend. Obviously, the theming is revolved around Star Wars characters and plots. They have recently introduced the concept of Rival Run, which gives you the opportunity to choose your side: Light or Dark as long as you register early enough. Picking a side does not affect anything truly, you just get a different bib based on your side! It’s a fun little extra. The half marathon course for this weekend runs through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot! If you’re not into Star Wars then this probably isn’t the weekend for you. Also, this usually occurs sometime in April, and it is historically HOT and potential rain, so just take that into consideration.
Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend
I love this weekend for several reasons. It was my very first half-marathon, so it is truly special to me. This weekend usually happens the first or second weekend in November, which means the weather is usually cooler than normal. It’s never been super cold as far as I can remember, but it has been a comfortable heat. The theming for this weekend is all over the board, so it’s hard to pin down. They used to revolve around characters who interact with food, but this year will be a villans theme, so stay tuned to see how Disney plays that one out. I am excited to see! The half marathon course is the same as Star Wars through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. The best part about this weekend is registering for the half marathon gets you a free admission to a Post Race party in Epcot. The party occurs Sunday night after Epcot closes to the general public and there are tons of unique and rare characters out for everyone to meet. Also, all of the food and wine festival booths stay open, so you can eat and drink back all those calories you burned in the morning. Even if you don’t run the half marathon but want to attend the party, you can purchase an admission ticket separately and still attend!
I hope this post has given you better insight into the world of RunDisney! If you have any questions about RunDisney, drop them in the comments below, and I would be happy to answer them!