How to Make Your RunDisney Experience Awesome

Mar 3, 2023 | Walt Disney World

If you have ever been interested in learning more about runDisney races, then listen up! Below are 5 things you need to know.

Running down World Drive and into the Magic Kingdom area.

1. There are several different races throughout the year.

The first thing to know is that you have a choice of which race, or races, you want to participate in. Each has its own theme and sponsor and vibe to the event. In January you’ll find the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This weekend offers a full marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K. Marathon weekend is also known for the Dopey Challenge and Goofy Challenge. These challenges are for the (crazy? brave?) folks that sign up to run more than one race that weekend. Dopey Challenge participants run all 4 races in one weekend and Goofy Challenge folks run the full marathon and half marathon.

Next up is Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend which happens near the end of February. This weekend has a half marathon, 10K, and 5K. The Fairy Tale Challenge allows participants to run the half marathon and 10K in the same weekend.

In the Spring you have the option for runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend. This weekend is unique because it offers a 10 Miler, a 10K, and a 5K race.

Finally, the very popular Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend is in early November. This event has a half marathon, 10K, 5K and the Two Course Challenge which is for those running both the half marathon and 10K.

Running through Magic Kingdom at the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

2. The courses vary by race, event, and year.

You won’t always run the same course if you attend each event. Race courses are changed up depending on the length of the race you’re running, the event that you’re participating in, and the year you’re running. Many of the longer races (full marathon and half marathon) take you on a course through multiple theme parks. Shorter races like the 10K or 5K may only take you through one park. The maps for each course are released when you get closer to race day so you can be watching the runDisney website for more information.

3. You will have a VERY early morning.

runDisney races start early in the day. When planning races that have participants running through the theme parks, you need to start early so that you can finish (or, almost finish) by the time the parks open. For that reason, you should expect to be awake and on the bus to the starting line by around 3:30am. Yes, you read that right. 3:30am. Start times for the races are usually 5:00 am and you will need time to get from the bus to the starting line with a potential potty stop on the way before you get to your corral.

Waiting at for the start of the race with thousands of your closest (sleepy) friends.

4. The BLING: runDisney is all about the medals!

People who participate in runDisney races are very proud of their accomplishment and proudly wear the medals around all weekend (and maybe even once they get home!). If you happen to be around someone who has participated in one of the multi race challenges you will hear them coming before you see them because their medals will be clanking together as they walk. These medals are high quality bling! Metal medallions with silky neck ribbons make them a great memento of your time running around the parks.

Princess Half Marathon, Star Wars 5K (no longer offered), Wine & Dine 10K

5. You don’t HAVE to run the whole time.

While some people run these races for time, many/most run these races for the experience. If you are one of the “for the experience” people, you will be in good company. There are “sweepers” that walk at the back of the group to collect anyone who is falling far behind, but as long as you stay in front of those people you can finish the race by walking, running, or even crawling (hopefully that won’t be necessary!).

Most people complete the races with a combination of walking and jogging. There are characters that are along the race path that you can stop and see for photos. You’ll likely need a potty stop at some point. Taking your time is good, but just be aware that if you fall too far back they will make you hop off the course. Be aware of those sweeper people and stay in front of them! Other than that, have a great time walking and jogging and experiencing all that runDisney has to offer!

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