ChEARS to YOU friends & family; runners can’t do it without your support! It’s time for you to get ready to do your part and we have a training plan, if you will: how to cheer the Disney World Marathon. We’ve put together a list of locations for the cheer squad to line the marathon course.
ETA: As of the 2021-2022 race season, this information is no longer accurate. Please visit this post about how to spectate runDisney races for new and accurate information. We’ll leave this post up for historical purposes.
Written by: Sarah Bergman
One of the best parts of runDisney races is the incredible crowd support.
That is probably the biggest perk of running here in my book.
Sure, characters are cool and the medals are definitely awesome but I don’t run in a ton of races with the same level of cheering as I do at Disney.
And it really can make a huge difference.
marathon course at Walt Disney World. Don’t forget your race signs! #marathon #disneyworld #rundisney #cheering #running #cheersquad #disney #marathon”>
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ChEARS to YOU! How to Cheer the Disney World Marathon
My mom and husband were spectators during my very first Disney race, however, I ran right past them without realizing they were there and they didn’t even bother trying to make it over to the finish line.
For the Marathon last year, we were all a little overwhelmed with the options and so I told them to not even bother trying.
Man, did we miss out.
Spectating during the races, specifically the Marathon, doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s actually quite easy to get around and map out a way to catch your runner in several areas of the course!
A quick note: the 2020 Marathon maps are out.
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Option 1 to Cheer the Disney World Marathon: Just Do It
Thanks to runner tracking, you’ll be able to get text alerts when your runner passes the following points during the marathon: 5 miles, 10 miles, half marathon, and 20 miles.
During the half marathon, the alerts are 5K, 10K, and 15K.
The runner tracking link will become available closer to the race start date.
If you know the course map and know how fast your runner runs… you can time out where and when to go.
Option 2 to Cheer the Disney World Marathon: ChEAR Squad
This package for spectators available with runDisney comes complete with a runDisney ChEAR Squad bag, blanket, and cowbell.
There are reserved viewing locations near Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park (but be aware they are first-come, first-served), as well as reserved Finish Line ChEAR Zone seating (including actual seats on the bleachers, beverages, and restrooms).
There is a one-day package for $70 (choose between the half marathon or the full marathon) or you can get a package for both race days for $90.
The Chear Squad Package can be purchased here.
Cheer the Disney World Marathon: Where to Watch Your Runner Option 3
Navigating the marathon course doesn’t have to be more difficult than running the marathon itself.
You can easily get to several different viewing areas to support and cheer on your runner (and all those other strangers, too).
- Start Line. Skip this! There is no viewing your runner as they start the marathon. You can accompany them to the Epcot parking lot and staging area, but once they need to move into the corrals, you won’t see them again until they are on the road!
- TTC/Polynesian Resort/Hollywood Studios option. One suggestion is to take the monorail from Epcot to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC), walk over to the Polynesian Resort, and then take a bus from Polynesian over to Hollywood Studios to see your runner in the final few miles of the race.
- Grand Floridian/Shades of Green location. The event guide is saying the resort options are ONLY for registered guests of that resort. I’m not saying you should ignore that rule- just letting you know that I’d be surprised if that was actually hardcore enforced. Take that for what its worth!
- Magic Kingdom options. Speaking of Magic Kingdom: that’s probably the most popular spectator spot. The actual ChEAR Squad section at the Magic Kingdom is directly in front of the castle. If you do not have a ChEAR Squad Package, you can still find a spot on Main Street or near the castle. It’s important to note that the viewing area near Cinderella Castle (which opens at 5:00 am) does not require a park ticket to enter the Magic Kingdom, however, you will need a ChEAR Zone wristband to enter the ChEAR Zone area.
- Animal Kingdom. Inside the park once it’s open is an option. And yes, you need a park ticket for this! Outside of the park is no longer an option. WhompWhomp. That was our go-go location for signs and snacks, but alas, no longer allowed.
- Hollywood Studios parking/bus area. This is another great place to catch sight of your runner as they move into the final stretches of the race. Take a bus from any resort to Hollywood Studios and watch for runners exiting the park. They run down a path that takes them to the Boardwalk. *I’d think this would still be an option to cheer, but be prepared to move if security doesn’t allow it. Inside the park is definitely still an option.
- The Boardwalk. This is where the “victory lap” of the marathon starts. The general rule of thumb for runners (particularly the ones in the back of the pack) says that if you make it to the Boardwalk, you are clear of the sweep zone. Some of the best friends and family cheer locations can be found here! If you are staying at any of the resorts in this area, it’s a great place to walk out of your hotel, cheer, and head back in for a coffee refill as needed. This is 100% still open to cheering- and you’ll want to arrive early if you plan to find a good spot to cheer the runners here.
- Epcot. Epcot is a great place to cheer as it’s the final mile of the race. You will need a park ticket to cheer inside Epcot.The World Showcase offers food and drink for everyone watching the runners go by. And don’t forget to grab them a big pretzel or margarita for their victory lap if they are into that sort of thing!
- The Finish Line. This is located in the Imagine Parking Lot of Epcot. You can line up along the fence, or on the bleachers, if you have a ChEAR package. Your runner will finish, receive their medal and refreshments, and can meet you back in the staging area parking lot afterward. Protip: the parking at Epcot is free before 7 am; if you arrive afterward, you will be charged the daily parking fee.
And please, please, please… don’t forget to bring a funny sign!
I hope this helps you know how to cheer the Disney World Marathon!
Are you cheering the Disney World Marathon this year? What’s your game plan for locations and signs?
No-Guilt Travel runDisney Packages
**Need to run the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend? No-Guilt Travel has a waitlist for bib and packages for the race weekend.
Fill out this form if you want early entry to the 2021 race weekend.**
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Patty Holliday has been running Disney since 2011. She knows just about every tip, trick, and hack there is to cover the runDisney Magical Miles at Disney World and Disneyland. She knows every mile isn’t *always* magical- but with training, tips, and a little bit of pixie dust, they can be a lot of fun! You can also find her at noguiltlife.com and noguiltfangirl.com