runDisney for Adults
runDisney for Adults
runDisney races are organized runs that take place on Disney property. For us, the best part of runDisney events is that the course typically includes at least one Disney theme park. For adults, the events range from 5ks to marathons, so there is something for everyone. Even if you are not a fan of running, you can have fun at a runDisney event.
Jeff has never liked running. But, he loves runDisney events. Why does he love them? Because of the the unique park experience and the distractions that keep you from thinking about running. We have done several runDisney events including races during Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend, Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, and the Star Wars Run Weekend. For 2019, we are doing the 5k at the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend. While we prefer 5ks and 10ks, we have completed two half marathons at Disney World.
Disclaimer: We Are NOT Runners
The only running events that we do are runDisney events. We do not participate in local or national runs. Why? Because we are not huge fans of running haha. We do, however, enjoy fitness and exercise a couple of times a week. Why then do we do runDisney events? We do them because they are such a unique experience.
The runDisney race environment is a very friendly and fun one. The race includes Disney distractions to help get you through the race. These distractions include: cast members cheering, music, characters to take pictures with, and of course all of the beauty of the theme parks. If you sign up for a 5k, know that many of the participants walk – so there is no pressure to run. Even with 10ks, half marathons and marathons, many runners do a walk and jogging combination. If you are not a runner, do not let that stop you from signing up for a runDisney event.
If you are not a runner, we recommend starting with a 5k. There are two main benefits to doing a 5k first. One, it is cheaper than the other events (more on the cost below). Second, there is a good chance you can walk the course and still finish. The 5k gives a preview of how runDisney events work. If you like the 5k and want to put in some additional training, you can look into some of the longer runs.
A Unique Park Experience
The runDisney events give participants the opportunity to see the parks and Disney grounds in a completely different way. The race typically includes at least one theme park. With the longer runs, you typically get to go through more parks. Running through the Disney parks is our favorite parts of the race. The course generally includes just the runners and people cheering you along. The overall positivity and support from everyone makes the atmosphere really magical.
While we love the runDisney atmosphere, be warned that there are decent crowds at the start and bottlenecks with a lot of runners. While we are generally competitive people, we do not do runDisney events for the competition. The best part of the event for us is taking in the experience. We stop and take photos of us in the park before dawn. There are also character stops along the way. Some people will be tired and frustrated with the crowds. There are usually not many of them, but these are the people that will not have fun. We have found that if you go to have fun, support other runners, and be positive, the experience is awesome!
runDisney events are not free. The registration fee for the event coincides with the length of the event. 5ks are the least expensive and generally cost $85-$90. The half marathon and marathons usually cost around $200. Even though you run through the theme parks, you do not need a theme park ticket to do a runDisney race.
The registration cost covers the run event, a participation shirt (themed for that event), drinks during the run (and on course snacks for the longer run), snacks and drinks after the run, and a medal. You only get the medal after you complete the race. In the past, we have really enjoyed the shirts and medals. They are great souvenirs and a fun way to remember the event.
If you stay at a Disney World resort hotel that is considered a host resort, transportation is provided to and from all race related activities. For the 2019 Star Wars Race Weekend, transportation is provided for all Walt Disney World Resorts, Shades of Green, and the Swan and Dolphin Resorts.
What to expect
runDisney events usually start very early in the morning. At least one day prior to race start, all runners are required to check-in to the event and get your race bib. Check-in for the race normally is at the Expo located at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. There are special runDisney buses the provide transportation from Disney host hotels to the Expo. Required check-in means that you must arrive and check-in at the Expo at least one day prior to the race.
Day of the Race
On the day of the race, runners get up very early and, if staying on Disney property, take a bus to the race start location – usually around 3am or 4am. When you arrive at the race start location, there tends to be some standing around. However, Disney does a pretty good job of keeping you distracted, characters and music help keep you occupied until race start. Many participants wear costumes, so it is also fun to see what everyone has on. If you plan on wearing a costume, be sure to check the Disney guidelines to make sure your costume falls within the Disney rules.
Disney puts runners into groups based on pace times. If you do not have a pace time, they will default you into a certain group. This isn’t a big deal for shorter races, but if you’re running a half or full marathon, we recommend getting a pace time in prior to your race. While the group will be a bit crowded at first, it will spread out some as the race continues. You then complete the race course, with some extra Disney magic sprinkled throughout. We had had times where the race bottlenecks and gets crowded again, but if you are just running for fun, it is not a big deal.
When you cross the finish line, you will receive a medal, drinks, and snacks. Disney will then transport you back to your Disney resort hotel.
You Should Do A runDisney Event If
You want a unique Disney experience. The first time we ran through Epcot’s World Showcase during a runDisney event it was magical. It was still dark, the lights were on, and it was just us and the other runners. We have done races through all four of the parks, and each time is an amazing experience.
If you are a runner, we highly recommend doing at least one Disney race. If you are a serious runner, you may also want to look into the Dopey Challenge or Goofy Challenge during the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend. These challenges include completing multiple or all of the race weekend events. While we will never be at that level, it an awesome opportunity for people ready for the challenge. More information about these challenges can be found here: https://www.rundisney.com/disneyworld-marathon/
Things To Be Aware Of
Registration for some of the runDisney events is very competitive. If you want to register, you will need an account and be ready to sign up right when registration opens. If you have an annual pass, you often can register early. Even with this early registration, we still recommend being ready to register as soon as it is open to annual passholders.
You will get up very early for most of the runDisney events. Most of the Disney World runs start at 5:30am, but the buses pick you up for the race a couple hours before (3am – 4am). You also check in to the Expo one day early, so make sure your travel arrangements accommodate this.
Even though we are not runners, when we signed up for our half marathons, we did some training. Do not sign up for a race that you are unsure if you will be able to complete. While the environment of the event is very positive, Disney does use pacing requirements. On the runDisney website under Pacing Requirements it states that “16-minute-per-mile pace for all athletes in the Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K. Runners unable to maintain the pace may be picked up at any point along the course and transported to the finish line.”
We highly recommend adult Disney fans participate in a runDisney race. Unless you consider yourself a runner, we suggest starting with a 5k. There are only a few runDisney events a year, but if you have considered doing one and your travel allows you to be there when an event is taking place, we recommend that you go for it! If you have any questions, or if you want to share any of your experiences with runDisney, please leave us comments below!
Information about booking and prices can be found here:
runDisney to get more info about runDisney events!
Disney Extras to get more info about the our favorite extra things to do in Disney!
Adults in Disney to get back home!
Disney for Adults to get more info about our blog!