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runDisney 101: Answers to Your runDisney FAQs

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The runDisney weekends are special events held at Disney World every year. A place where you can get your fitness on, along with a healthy dose of pixie dust! If you’ve signed up for the races but need a little help navigating this special type of racecation, look no further. We’ve got a runDisney 101 for you with answers to your runDisney FAQs. 

Captain Marvel Costume and Agents of Shield costume rundisney 101

Table of Contents

Why runDisney?

I’ve been running Disney races since 2011 and they must do doing something right to keep me coming back!

But I was once new and had #allthequestions when it came to these races.

It’s why I started blogging, actually, and there’s no shortage of things to talk about when heading to a runDisney race weekend.

If you want the long version (and I do mean LONG) head over to the Beginner’s Guide to runDisney Race Weekends.

the beginners guide to rundisney race weekends

Inside that post, you’ll find tons of details to run/walk/run you through the actual race weekend- from runDisney packing lists to race day details and beyond.

But if you like short and sweet bullet list kinds of things, then this post is for you.

It will probably also be long, but hopefully in easily digestible chunks of content.

Important note: this information is accurate as of December 6, 2022.

runDisney 101 | runDisney FAQ About the Races At Disney

Okay, race fans, let’s do this!

If you find more questions that aren’t answered here, please let me know in the comments. I’ll get you an answer and update the post as needed.

First I’m going to start with some general Disney World vacation tips and then move into runDisney FAQs.

Disney World monorail at sunset

1. runDisney FAQ: Get Familiar With the My Disney Experience App

On your Disney World vacation, My Disney Experience is your BFF. It’s an app on your phone where you can plan pretty much every part of your Disney World trip.

Be sure to download it in advance, link your resort reservation, and refer to it through the racecation.

What’s on My Disney Experience?

ERRRRYYYYTHING.

Well, most things, anyway.

Your resort information- room and location and recently there’s been an update that allows you to unlock your resort door with your phone.

Mind blown. Technology, amirite?

You can make, modify, and cancel table service dining options on My Disney Experience.

Same for your theme park reservations.

You’ll also use the app to link up your race photos, which are free if you purchased Memory Maker.

2. What’s The Deal With Genie, Genie+ and Lightning Lane?

genie 101 lightning lane

This is a GREAT question.

New for 2021 and beyond, you have planning help from Disney’s Genie, the new FastPass program.

This program is found in the My Disney Experience App and you can check out the Genie 101 details here to learn just what it can do for you.

You have many options so please check out the Genie 101 post to learn more about it!

back of rundisney bib photopass instructions

The instructions for linking runDisney race photos to PhotoPass are found on the back of your race bib.

So be sure to look there first.

You can link multiple race codes under the same Memory Maker account, which is all linked in-you guessed it- My Disney Experience.

4. Where Are My Disney Park Tickets?

For most runners, they will be easy to find: on your wrist!

At Disney World, you can use a Magic Band which is a nifty bracelet that electronically links up to many Disney World systems.

Steps to Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation
runDisney FAQs: What are Magic Bands? A Walt Disney World Resort guest uses a MagicBand to enter Magic Kingdom theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Guests also can use MagicBands to enter their Disney Resort hotel room, buy food and merchandise, enter Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and water parks, access their selected FastPass+ experiences and connect to Disney’s PhotoPass. MagicBands are part of the new MyMagic+, which has the ability to connect nearly all aspects of the guest vacation experience at Walt Disney World Resort. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

You can open your room door with it, scan into your FastPass entrance with it, and enter the Disney Parks with it.

You can even add your credit card information and pay for food and merchandise in official Disney locations with it- including the official merchandise at runDisney’s Expo.

Your Magic Band is your Disney World park ticket!

New Technology Alert: Mobile Magic!

Mobile Magic allows you to use your phone and smartwatch as a Magic Band. We think Magic Bands may be on their way out, so getting familiar with this process would be smart to do.

If you do not want to purchase a Magic Band, you can also ask for hard tickets and use those for theme park and Lightning Lane entry.

You can pick them up at your resort when you check in, at any Guest Service window in the Parks, and at Disney Springs.

disney springs at sunset

5. What Is The Weather Going To Be Like at Disney World? runDisney FAQ

Well… that’s complicated.

Weather in Disney World can pretty crazy to predict. Even hurricanes can be hard to predict with accuracy in the area.

It’s Florida and things can change wildly, even on the same day!

Best response here is to check the weather right before you plan to pack. Not weeks before, but days before. Because it will change on you.

For race weekends, the weather is usually mild (for Florida). But we have had plenty of rain and cold come through as well (looking at you, Wine and Dine weekend!).

Wine and Dine Weather Information

6. runDisney FAQs: Is My Resort a runDisney Host Resort?

At this time, all official Disney World Resorts are host resorts for the runDisney race weekends.

Okay, let’s get running!

runDisney running Mickey

7. runDisney FAQ: I have a Question About My Hotel/Tickets/Bib. Who Do I call?

If you’ve used the services of a runDisney travel agent, then please, PLEASE contact them FIRST.

In almost all cases, the travel agent can address and correct the issue for you.

I repeat: CONTACT YOUR TRAVEL AGENT FIRST.

That’s what they are there for!

If you did not book with a runDisney travel agent like No-Guilt Travel, then any bib-specific questions should be sent to runDisney directly.

You can reach them at (407) 939-iRUN or (407) 939-4786 or on their contact page at runDisney.com/contact

8. Transportation to the Expo: runDisney 101

You can drive to ESPN Wide World of Sports and park for free.

You can also use Uber and Lyft in Orlando as well.

Or you can take a specially marked runDisney Expo bus from your Disney World Resort- which is also free and lessens any chance you might get lost!

rundisney bus transportation

If you are staying offsite, then you will need to use Uber/Lyft or rent a car.

Check the Event Guide for your race at specific times for the buses, but they generally run all day to get you back and forth as needed.

The event guides are great resources for specific race-related runDisney FAQs.

The Expo buses will NOT take you to the parks. The Expo buses will not pick you up at a park.

If you want to go to Magic Kingdom from the expo, you can take an expo bus to the Contemporary Resort and walk or Monorail to the Magic Kingdom from there.

The same technique can be used for Epcot or Hollywood Studios: bus to Beach Club, Boardwalk, or Yacht Club.

From there you can walk to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

rundisney expo bus

9. How Do I Pick Up my runDisney Race Bib?

Every runner needs to head over to the runDisney race expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Here you will pick up your bib, race shirts, and do any shopping that might strike your fancy.

Check the Event Guide for bib pick-up locations.

They have changed over the years, so each race may be different.

But the general location for bibs is in the HP Field House.

rundisney bib pickup expo

Can I Pick Up Someone Else’s Bib?

No! But also yes.

All adults must visit the Expo to get their bibs.

Children, however, do not have to be at the expo in person. A parent may pick up a minor’s bib on their behalf.

This leads to another important note in the runDisney FAQ…

No Strollers Allowed in runDisney Expo Areas

rundisney 101 expo no strollers sign

Kids are totally welcome, but their strollers are going to be parked right outside of all buildings.

There is a Cast Member to direct you to the best stroller parking, and I’d suggest not leaving those bibs or shopping bags on the strollers.

I’d love to say that no one steals at Disney, but sadly… people.

rundisney expo stroller parking

10. runDisney FAQ: What Do I Need For Bib Pick Up?

Check out this guide to picking up your race bib at the runDisney Expo.

You’ll need a photo ID (driver’s license or passport) and make sure you signed your digital waiver.

All waivers can be found in your runDisney account about 2 weeks before the race- but don’t sweat it if you forget it!

There are computers located at the Expo where you can quickly and efficiently print out your waiver if you have problems signing digitally.

rundisney waiver computers for bib pick up

11. When is the Best Time To Visit the runDisney Expo?

If you are the kind of person that LOVES Black Friday kinds of crowds and madness, then you’ll want to show up early on the first day that the expo opens.

A new virtual queue system may be in place for the first day of expo. This was first used in the Wine and Dine expo and we expect it to continue through the 2023 races.

For the folks who love to get in, pick up the things you must pick up, and get out, consider waiting until mid-afternoon or an hour before the Expo closes.

Fewer people, the merchandise is restocked, parking is easier, and I can cruise through without any lines.

I’m an in-and-out kind of girl, so this is always my choice.

marathon-weekend-2022-espn

12. runDisney FAQ: Where Should I Start at the Expo?

Go ahead and pick up the bib first. There are two reasons for this.

  1. This is the one item you MUST have to run your race! 
  2. You can’t pick up your race shirts without the race bib in hand. 

After you get the bib, follow the signage to the Visa Athletic Center for your shirt pick-up and shopping enjoyment.

rundisney expo signage for race shirt pickup

13. Let’s Talk runDisney Expo Shopping: Virtual Queque Sign Up

If you’re running a big event, you’ll want to make sure the whole world knows about it.  One of the biggest runDisney FAQs is about what you can find at the expo.

Disney knows this, and they know that this might be one way to pick up a unique souvenir from your Disney World vacation.

The expo will have all kinds of things to shop for: gels, shoes, shirts, skirts, socks, coffee mugs, magnets, “I Did It” t-shirts and so much more.

rundisney expo merchandise

The official runDisney merchandise has been housed in a 3rd building for the past few races; it’s located on the way to the parking lot and buses, so you won’t miss it!

Here you can get an AP discount and can use your Magic Band to pay for things.

The Expo floor (different from the official merchandise building) will have vendor booths for you to shop. Pretty much anything you might have forgotten at home can be found at the expo.

You cannot get an AP discount or use your magic band here, however.

rundisney expo sign Visa Center

NEW! Virtual Queue for runDisney Merch Shop For 2022-2023

This was a new process for the official merchandise purchases at the Wine and Dine 2022 expo.

We expect to see this come back for the 2023 races as well.

This year, rather than waiting in a standby line, you can access the first day of the runDisney Merchandise Shop from the comfort of your Walt Disney World® Resort Hotel or home* by joining our virtual queue! Keep in mind, the virtual queue will be the only way to access the shop on the first day of the Expo.

runDisney expo Virtual queue wine and dine

How To Join the runDisney Merchandise Virtual Queue

  1. Download My Disney Experience and make sure you have location services on. You can only join the queue if you are within 45 miles of Walt Disney World.
  2. Make sure you have everyone who wants to shop loaded on your Family and Friends list in the app.
  3. Go to the Virtual Queue section of the application and find the ESPN section.
  4. Tap “Join the Virtual Queue”. It will be open at 7:30 am (and may reopen throughout the day so keep an eye on it!).
  5. Select your party guests (can have up to 6 people on one pass).
  6. Tap Join the Virtual Queue again. You will be given an estimated timeframe for return (ex: 125 minutes).
  7. You’ll get a push notification when your return time comes around. You’ll have one hour to get to the expo and enter the official line.
How to join the runDisney expo Virtual queue

14. Cool. But What If I Miss the Expo? Can I Still Get My Bib?

Officially: no, you need to make plans to be at the Expo. However…

Historically speaking, there has been a day-of emergency bib pick-up.

And there was a day-of bib pick-up at the 2022 Wine and Dine, so this appears to be a continuing option.

I can’t say if this will still be available on-site for each race so I would make every effort to visit the expo to pick up the bibs you need.

rundisney information tent bib pickup

15. runDisney FAQ: Race morning transportation

Again, you have options!

Park for free in the Epcot parking lot. You can leave your car there all day if you desire.

Uber/Lyft over.

Or take the Disney World runDisney buses to the start.

Important note: arrive EARLY. All options are great options— if you plan to be at the race early. If you decide to sleep in a little extra, you might end up stuck in traffic.

rundisney FAQs and runDisney 101 tips

16. Gear Check at runDisney

That plastic bag you’ll get with your t-shirts doubles as your Gear Check bag at the race.

There will be either tents or trucks available for you to check your gear bag at the start of the race.

17. runDisney FAQ: What Characters Will Be On The Course?

The official list is not published in advance as runDisney does not want to spoil the magic.

But we can report that the Wine and Dine 2021 races, the first since runDisney returned after the pandemic closures, had characters, DJs, and some bands on the course!

You can get a general idea of what characters may be out by looking at past race recaps.

I have a summary of the characters found on the Marathon Weekend Course here and characters found on the Marathon Weekend Half Marathon Course here.

For example, the Haunted Mansion Gravediggers are always on the Marathon course.

Characters on the course: rundisney FAQs. I wasn’t sure I was getting back up after this one. That lie down was most welcome!

Here are a couple of updated posts on where to find characters on the Marathon weekend racecourses and where to find characters on the Princess half racecourse.

18. How Do the runDisney Corrals/Start Groups Work?

This one needs a bit more explaining since it’s one of the most talked-about of the runDisney FAQs.

Start Groups are the new terminology for Corrals for 2021.

But for 2022, it looks like we are back to using Corrals and letters. So instead of an S1 or S2, you’ll see A or B, etc on your race bib to tell you what corral you are starting in.

rundisney corral proof of time dates and deadlines

Best we can tell, they are THE SAME THING so consider these to be interchangeable terms.

To sum up: you will be seeded as a runner into a start section according to how fast you expect to finish a race.

You cannot move up into another corral if you think you will finish faster.

You can move back if you wish, and some do to join friends or family who are in different corrals.

You just can’t move up.

The early corrals take 2-3 minutes to release; the later ones are more like 5-6 minutes. Typically it takes 1 hour between the first person starting and the last person starting.

For more corral info, check out this post on runDisney corrals.

Disney World Dopey 2019 Corral Chart

19. What Time Do I Need For XYZ Corral? runDisney FAQ

That is going to vary race by race, but there seems to be a trend based on historical information.

You can look at the following posts to see where the corral breakdowns end up.

But we also have seen a more variety of placement since the races came back in 2021. So really… there’s no telling.

Walt Disney World Marathon

Princess Half Marathon

Star Wars Rival Run

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

The 10K and 5K corrals are not released in advance but based on your bib number you can get a general idea of where you will land.

wine and dine 5k start fireworks
  • 5k
    40000-42000 Corral A
    42001-44000 Corral B
    44001-46000 Corral C
    46001-48000 Corral D
    48001-50000 Corral E
    50001-52000 Corral F
  • 10k Challenge Bibs (two letters on the bibs A/B means A corral for 10K and B corral for the half)
    30000-30800 Corral A
    30801-31600 Corral B
    31601-32400 Corral C
    32401-33200 Corral D
    33201-34000 Corral E
    34001-34500 Corral F
  • 10K 
    20000-21360 Corral A
    21361-22720 Corral B
    22721-24080 Corral C
    24081-25440 Corral D
    25441-26800 Corral E
    26801-28070 Corral F

20. Are Strollers Allowed in runDisney Races?

No, they are not. There may be exceptions made by runDisney officials, but unless there is a medical exception, strollers are not allowed on the course.

Babywearing is also prohibited for safety on the course.

rundisney balloon ladies marathon weekend

21. Who Are the runDisney Balloon Ladies?

They are a visual sign that you are falling behind pace during the 10K, half or full marathons.

They do not run the 5Ks as they are untimed events and sweeping from the course generally does not occur.

All the great info about the runDisney Balloon ladies can be found here.

Walt Disney World runDisney Balloon Ladies
#1 question new runners have on my rundisney FAQs list: Who are the Balloon Ladies?

22. Do I Get My Medal if I Don’t Finish (Get Swept) at a runDisney Event?

Yes, you do.

If you are swept, runDisney will still give you the participation medal.

You can also finish slower than the 16-minute mile pace and still earn your medal, including a challenge medal.

You will not get the challenger medal, however, if you are swept from one of the races.

Here’s what you need to know about claiming that medal- and everything that happens after you cross the runDisney finish line!

23. runDisney FAQ: Why Doesn’t runDisney Race at Disneyland?

There were runDisney Disneyland races once upon a time.

But runDisney had to put the races on hiatus in 2017.

Will runDisney Return to Disneyland?

Announced at the D23 Expo: runDisney races will be returning to Disneyland in 2024.

Trust me, when more plans are announced, we’ll make sure to keep this space updated with all the details.

We simply cannot wait to run in Anaheim again!

Thor and Loki with Thor 10K medal at Disneyland

24. runDisney FAQs: Do I have to wear a costume at a runDisney race?

Absolutely not! I’d say most runners aren’t dressing in costume unless their costume is being an awesome runner.

But you can, and it’s a lot of fun. Here are some DIY running costume ideas.

Here are my tips on running in costume if you decide to give it a go!

Vanellope running costume
Costumes are high on the rundisney FAQ list!

25. What’s at the Finish Line of a runDisney Race?

When you cross the finish line, you’ll have an amazing feeling of accomplishment.

And a shiny new medal. You can read this post for a more complete walkthrough of what happens at the finish line of a runDisney race.

And this one if you want to know what we WISH was at the finish of a runDisney race.

Volunteers will direct you to the medal area and you’ll continue down the finishers chute.

You’ll also be offered Powerade (usually in different flavors), bottles of water, bananas, snack boxes, and maybe a mylar blanket if it’s cold.

After you receive all the goods, you can take a finisher picture with your medal and reunite with your family in the reunion area.

There are also characters meeting in the finish line area- and be warned, these lines are LONG.

rundisney FAQ: at the finish line you'll find 5k medal and banana

Still have runDisney questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer them for you!

Happy running!

More runDisney Posts You'll Love

If you need all things runDisney, you've come to the right place! Here you'll find a list of important runDisney posts that will help you run the next Disney World race- where every mile is magic! All the tips you need for the expo, corrals, bibs, costumes and more.

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Heather Barrier

Friday 6th of October 2023

What about my family? My husband and 5 year old daughter will be traveling with me for the 2024 1/2 marathon. Are they able to take bussing to the finish? How are they able to bounce around to the different family spots? They are definitely not waking up as early as I am lol…. However I would like them to at least be at the finish line if nothing else. Thank you!!

Patty Holliday

Friday 6th of October 2023

They absolutely are allowed to use the runDisney buses to get to the finish. Here's some info on spectating:

https://noguiltdisney.com/rundisney-spectator-guide-how-to-cheer-at-disney-world-race-weekends/

Kara Eisenga

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

You mentioned parking in the Epcot lot. Do all races start and end at/near that park? The Springtime Surprise 10-Miler says it's location is Hollywood Studios. This is my first, what would that mean then - park at HS? stay near HS? Thanks!

Patty Holliday

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

For almost all the races at Disney World, the finish has been at Epcot. There have been some races that started in the Magic Kingdom parking lot, but you still parked at Epcot and bussed over. We won't know for sure what the 10-miler route may be until about 2 weeks before the race, but you can look at previous years to get an idea of where the races are run from. Most likely it will be the same route or similar, with Hollywood Studios getting a lot of park time. https://noguiltdisney.com/2023-rundisney-springtime-surprise-course-maps-event-guide-corrals/

Nadia

Thursday 18th of May 2023

Hi there! thanks for all the information. Do you perhaps know what the process would be for international unaccompanied minors? I am bringing over a group of students next year, aged 12-14. Will I be able to pick up their bibs as the adult in charge of the group, and hand in their waivers? Or would they need to collect and hand in their own? Their parents will not be accompanying us on the trip. Thanks

Patty Holliday

Monday 22nd of May 2023

An adult will have to sign the waivers for the kids, when an adult will go and pick up the bibs. The kids do not have to be present. So as long as the waiver is signed and you have access to their account to show that waiver to the volunteers, you should be fine. I'd probably bring the kids with you just in case, but I imagine people have situations like this come up often. Maybe best to contact runDisney via email to ensure you have the right person signing the waiver though.

Mollie Baker

Tuesday 21st of February 2023

Hi! Running the 10k this weekend! Any idea on if we can wear fanny packs while we run/are bags allowed on the course?

Patty Holliday

Tuesday 21st of February 2023

You can have a fanny pack or hydration vest with you on the course- no problem!

Jason Grist

Saturday 19th of March 2022

Roughly how far apart are character stops during the 10K? Just trying to mentally prepare for how far to run before getting a short break.

Patty Holliday

Saturday 19th of March 2022

Typically there are 6-8 character or entertainment stops on the 10K course. And it will depend on the course layout how close they are to each other. But in general, it's safe to assume every mile you should get a little line break!