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The Rundown on runDisney’s Runners Square (Review)

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One of the extras you could add to your runDisney race weekend is the new Runners Square experience. What is Runners Square and how is it different from the previously offered runDisney Race Retreat? And most importantly: is Runners Square worth the cost? Here’s what we know from the 2020 runDisney Marathon Weekend Runners Square review. 

rundisney runners square review photo opp

Runners Square photo opp at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Photo: Tracy Lee

The Rundown on runDisney’s Runners Square (Review)

If you know anything about runDisney, you know this: it’s always changing. 

Just when you think you have the whole thing dialed in, they like to shake it up with new distances or race themes or even new pre and post-race opportunities. 

That’s what happened when Runners Square was announced to take the place of Race Retreat for Marathon and Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

Here’s the first look Runners Square review from Marathon Weekend: running down what worked and what didn’t for runDisney enthusiasts. 

goofy topiary at rundisney runners square marathon weekend

Photo: Tracy Lee

What is Runners Square at runDisney?

This was a “new for 2020” experience that runners could purchase to plus their runDisney race weekend. 

Runners could enjoy an exclusive and separate open-air space before and after the race that came with a few perks. 

This extra option cost $85 for one race morning (half or full) and $160 for both mornings. 

Runners Square was located in the Epcot Wonder Parking Lot.

This replaced the Race Retreat this year and there were mixed reactions to the offering. 

Sign up for Runners Square at Princess Half Marathon here. 

runners square review: entrance sign at runDisney runners square

When Does  Runners Square Open? 

For Marathon Weekend, it was available for the half and full marathon mornings. Runners Square is not offered for 5K and 10K runners. 

Half Marathon

  • 3:00 AM – 5:00 AM (Pre-race)
  • 6:30 AM – 10:30 AM (Post-race)

Marathon

  • 2:30 AM – 4:30 AM (Pre-race)
  • 6:30 AM – 1:30 PM (Post-race)
runners square port a potties

Private port-a-potties at runners square.

What Did You Get For Your Money?

You got a little privacy and some comforts for the cost.

You did not have air conditioning or heating as you once had with Race Retreat and you no longer had race weekend characters inside for special pictures. 

There were Green Army Men marching through the tent, asking runners how many half marathons they had completed before, and then instructing them to do a push up for each one… sooooo… there’s that! (ps- I’d totally lie cause I’m not doing pushups for anyone before I run a full or a half marathon! ha!) 

Runners Square at runDisney offered the following to runners:

runDisney runner's square food: bananas, apples, bagels

  • Special open-air, “finish-chute” location
  • Pre-race continental breakfast consisting of apples, bagels, peanut butter, cream cheese, bananas, coffee, tea & sports drinks.
  • No food after the race, except for the special treats noted below.
  • Stretching green
  • Exclusive starting line walk-out. This benefitted early corrals the most; back corrals still had quite a hike to their start position. Full Marathon started at 5 AM & walkout times were 3:30, 3:45, & 4:00. If you weren’t in Corrals A, B, or C, the walkout meant going all the way back to your corral on the grass.
  • Dedicated “gEAR check” station and Port-O-Lets. (Reports say not nearly enough of these and, yes, they had lines!)
  • Celebratory Photo Moment and a commemorative gift. This year a hand towel was given at the 2020 Marathon weekend.
  • Special treat and beverages: post-race runners were given a rice krispy treat & a fruit smoothie

runner's square runDisney rice krispy treat running mickey in blue

Is runDisney’s Runners Square Worth the Cost?

If you are looking for a place to calm your nerves and to stretch out and maybe the cleanest Port-a-Potties at the race weekend, then paying for Runners Square is worth the cost. I mean, can we really put a price on clean port-a-potties?

But overall feedback has been mixed on the experience. 

Runners that I spoke with said it was “just ok” and they were glad they did it once, but probably won’t be doing it again at the upcoming Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

They had experienced the Race Retreat of previous years and greatly preferred that experience. 

enclosed race retreat at princess half marathon

Enclosed tent at Race Retreat for Princess Half Marathon.

They missed the fully enclosed tent that protected them from the elements, missed the hot breakfast foods (bacon, oatmeal, eggs were offered in the past at Race Retreat), and they missed the special character meet and greet.

More chairs were also requested as seating was at a minimum in the area. 

But some runners felt the lowered cost of Runners Square vs Race Retreat was appropriate for the changes that were made. Plus they got a little extra by way of the early walkout to the corrals.

They also liked the stretching area, the gear check and felt the food was adequate to their needs. 

Did you take advantage of Runners Square? Do you think you’ll sign up for it at Princess Half Marathon Weekend?

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Michelle

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

Thanks for the review. I had already signed up for it for Princess not realizing it was different. This race experience will be a “re-do” for me as I got very sick the last time I ran it. I’m definitely going to have to readjust my expectations. I was really hoping for characters and better food. Also I have food allergies so the “treat” after the race will be useless to me (I was hoping for champagne to be honest) oh well. At least now I know and hopefully will enjoy it better with lower expectations

Patty Holliday

Wednesday 29th of January 2020

Ah- I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news Michelle! When you check-in, be sure to ask about an allergy-friendly option for treats. Disney is usually receptive for that! HAVE A GREAT RACE!