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runDisney: The Ultimate Guide to Magical Miles

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Are you looking for the ultimate guide to runDisney? You’ve found it! Want to see a race course map? Read a race recap? Looking for basic information? Want to make a perfect running costume? Need a place to stay when you runDisney?  You’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about planning your next trip to run Disney at Disney World or Disneyland. 

The ultimate guide to runDisney princess 10K jumping picture

Fun fact: when I first started this blog in 2013, it was in essence, a runDisney blog. There wasn’t a ton of information (at that time, anyway!) on the internet covering the nitty-gritty details about the famously magical races at Disney World.

And I decided to change all that by starting a blog with my experiences running Disney races.

The Ultimate Guide to runDisney. Everything you need to know about running magical miles on your next racecation at Disney World! #rundisney #running #runchat #disney #disneyworld #disneyland #disneytips #traveltips #princesshalf #marathon #halfmarathon #wineanddine #starwars #starwarshalf

runDisney: The Ultimate Guide to Magical Miles

My first runDisney events happened in 2011 and I soon became hooked.

As a new runner, I quickly learned that the way to keep me running was to distract me with fun race signs, costumes, shiny medals and a castle or two: all things that a Disney race provides.

Hello complete stranger, I'm proud of you too! Peggy Sue runDisney race sign

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years of traveling to Orlando and Walt Disney World for the runDisney events.

(I’ll include some info on the Disneyland California half marathon weekends as well in the hopes that they come back sooner rather than later!).

Want to know how to score the runDisney shoes? Want to know about runDisney corral placements? Want to know the best registration tips for runDisney races? Want to know why a Travel Agent might be a good idea for runDisney bibs? Want to know how to run a Star Wars race and earn the Kessel Run Challenge medal?

Read on!

What is runDisney?

It’s pretty much what you think: road races you run at Disney World. They close the roads down, you run through the parks, and yes- through the castle on some of the race courses. And it’s as magical as you’d think!

runDisney races happen 4 times a year at the Disney World Resort.

To date, there have been 25 years of the runDisney Marathon Weekend held at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

runDisney marathon 2018 25th anniversary medal

That one event weekend has grown to four different runDisney race weekends held throughout the year.

Racers can choose their perfect distance to run: a 5K, 10K, and a Half Marathon are held on all weekends with a full marathon held one time a year during the January race weekend. The Disney Marathon is the ultimate park hopper: you’ll race through all four theme parks!

If you want to run your first half-marathon, a runDisney half marathon is an excellent choice!

Currently, there are no runDisney California half marathon weekends. Here’s why:

Disneyland runDisney Races Cancelled

Who can run Disney? Can Walkers Participate?

Pretty much everyone can run Disney! There’s a division for wheelchair athletes and elites, and military members may compete as well at all runDisney race weekends.

You don’t have to be fast to runDisney: the spokesperson for the race series is Jeff Galloway, the creator of the run/walk/run method of running. Now, don’t get me wrong: he’s fast!

But his racing method has made running a Disney marathon or half marathon attainable for runners at almost all levels of fitness.

Jeff Galloway, creator of the run/walk/run running method and runDisney spokesperson

The runDisney events are extremely walker friendly. The minimum pace requirement must be upheld, however: a 16-minute mile pace is required for all Disney races.

The whole family can runDisney as there are also options for kids races! From the Diaper Dash to the One Mile Run, kids under the age of 13 are welcome to run their own race distance.

Best Hotels When You Run Disney

I made it my goal to run Disney as often as possible! My blog partner Sarah is on board with this sentiment: so much so that she opened her own travel agency with runDisney package focus. And I followed along for the ride, and now own my own agency as well (noguilttravel.com) Let us help you plan where to stay for your next runDisney event.

A few Disney World resorts we love for runners include:

The Yacht Club

Port Orleans French Quarter

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Marathon Weekends at Hilton Orlando

And that’s just a start! There are so many more we love.

We also love to send runners to some of our favorite Disney World restaurants to fuel up before a runDisney race. Be sure to check those out before making your advanced dining reservations!

Disney World character couture packages booked at Disney's Yacht Club Ship and Sail Salon

My Most Important Posts About the runDisney Races

These posts are some of the most important ones I think you’ll find here. Don’t skip them, especially if you are new to runDisney. I promise you will get a lot of your general questions answered and be more prepared to run Disney. And if you aren’t, leave me a comment and I’ll try to help clarify!

The Primer on runDisney Races

This one has a lot of early and basic questions answered for you.

Foolish Mortals: Avoid These runDisney Mistakes

Seriously: there’s some good info here! Things you definitely do NOT want to do at a runDisney event.

runDisney Balloon Ladies explained

The runDisney Balloon Ladies are real, but they aren’t scary! You can learn who they are, why they are important, and what you need to know to stay ahead of the runDisney sweepers.

No, those balloons aren't costumes. They are part of the runDisney Balloon Lady equipment and signal that it;s time for runners to move. That means you, Princess! Check out some tips straight from the Balloon Ladies of Walt Disney World. Wine and Dine | Star Wars | Marathon | Goofy | Dopey

What happens after you cross the finish line? You’ll want to read this post to find out!

And if you need #allthereasons to love to run Disney? I’ve got you covered here as well.

The Reasons to Love runDisney

List of runDisney Events

The runDisney Marathon Weekend

The Marathon distance is only run on this race weekend at Disney World. They do not offer 26.2 miles of magic any other time of the year. This weekend is the granddaddy of runDisney races: it’s BIG, y’all!

It typically runs the weekend following New Years Day. Some years that means early January, and some years a little later depending on when the New Year Holiday falls.

The 2019 runDisney Marathon Weekend will take place January 10 to January 13, 2019 at Disney World. 

Here’s everything you need to know: The 2019 Disney World Marathon Corrals, Waivers, Course Maps & Event Guide!

Races offered during Marathon Weekend include:

  • Kids races
  • 5K
  • 10K
  • runDisney Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
  • runDisney Marathon (26.2 miles)
  • The Goofy Challenge (run the half on Saturday and the full on Sunday)
  • The Dopey Challenge (run all four races back to back: 5K, 10K, half, and full)
In front of castle with Dopey runDisney race medals
Sarah KILLED the Dopey Challenge this year!

 

Helpful runDisney Marathon Weekend Posts

The Ultimate Dopey Packing List

The Characters on the Walt Disney World Marathon Course 2019

Running the Dopey Challenge: A Race Recap

How I Got To The Start of My First Marathon

Walt Disney World Marathon Training Tips

2019 Walt Disney World Marathon Medals

The Most Helpful runDisney Marathon Advice

How to Cheer the runDisney Marathon

Characters on the Course: the Marathon

Characters on the Course: the Half Marathon

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

The Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend was my first runDisney event and it holds a special place in my heart. It is traditionally held at the end of February the weekend following the Martin Luther King holiday.

This race is female-centric: think tutus and tiaras!

The 2019 runDisney Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend will take place February 21 – February 24, 2019, at Disney World. 

Races offered during Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend include:

  • Kids races
  • 5K
  • 10K
  • Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
  • The Glass Slipper Challenge (run the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday)
runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge medals 2016

What do you need to know about the Princess Half Marathon? There’s a lot. It’s the race weekend that sells out the quickest and it’s the race weekend that seems to have the most drama.

Do You Really Want to Run The Princess Half? Read This Before You Register

And if you are all in, be sure to download this runDisney ebook. It’s all about traveling to a racecation at Disney World and how you can make the most out of your Princess Half Marathon weekend.

10 Essential Tips for the Princess Half Marathon

Know before you go: these 10 Essential Tips For the Princess Half Marathon will ensure the first time runDisney participant has the knowledge they need to have a royally good time at the races. Running at Disney World is a very different experience- magical and all that; as long as you know what you're in for!

 

Additional runDisney Disney Princess Half Marathon Posts

Princess Half Packing List

2019 Princess Half Marathon Medals

Celebrate Your Princess Half With the Character Couture Makeover

Princess Half Marathon Race Recap Roundup

Etiquette at the Princess Half Marathon

 

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

This is the newest of the runDisney races. You don’t have to go to a galaxy far, far away to run this one: just to Disney World!

This year the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend has been themed the Rival Run, which means you are going to choose if you are running for the Dark Side or the Light Side.

And yes, you can still earn the coveted Millennium Falcon medal, aka, the Kessel Challenge medal.

Kessel Run Challenge race medals runDisney star wars races
Thanks, Tracy Lee! (IG: @TBluvs2rD)

The 2019 runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Rival Run Weekend will take place April 4 – April 7, 2019, at Disney World. 

Races offered during Star Wars Rival Run Weekend include:

  • Kids races
  • 5K
  • 10K
  • Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
  • The Rival Run Challenge (run the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday)

We’re talking Storm Troopers and Dark Side villains as far as theming for this race. If you are a “big Star Wars movie fan” then you definitely need to consider making this one part of your runDisney race plans.

Star Wars Dark Side 10K Stormtrooper rundisney star wars races

Helpful Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Posts

Photopass Takes Over Race Photography at runDisney Star Wars Weekend

2019 Star Wars Rival Run Medals

Was the Star Wars Half Weekend a Hit or a Miss?

runDisney Star Wars Races | Choose Your Side

Earn Your Kessel Run Challenge Medal

Star Wars Race Signs

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend is a favorite for runners. It was originally a night race but now follows the traditional Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning race schedules as the other races.

If you love food and wine, this might be the race you enter to run Disney!

This one typically happens the first weekend in November, which is also the last weekend of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival (where it’s fun to Drink Around the World at Epcot!).

Food and Wine Festival: drink around the world

And the additional draw to running this event is the Wine and Dine private party for runners held on Sunday night in Epcot.

Entry is included with the half marathon or challenge bib purchase and you can buy additional tickets for non-runners.

The 2018 runDisney Wine and Dine Half Weekend will take place November 1 – November 4, 2018, at Disney World. 

Races offered during Wine and Dine Half Weekend include:

  • Kids races
  • 5K
  • 10K
  • Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
  • The Two Course Challenge (run the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday)
Wine and Dine Finishers 2013
This photo was taken shortly after we finished the race – obviously long before I became a blogger and photos really mattered… LOL! – Sarah

2018 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Medals

Wine and Dine Challenge Announced

Time for Wine and Dine!

runDisney Virtual Races

And what if you want to run Disney but can’t actually make it to Florida for the races? Welcome to the world of runDisney virtual races.

This year the theme is the Incredibles and it’s not too late to sign up to earn your virtual race medals from runDisney.

2019 runDisney Virtual Race | Marvel Themed 5Ks

runDisney Virtual Racing

runDisney Playlist

2018 rundisney virtual race medals featuring the Incredibles!

runDisney Registration Dates and Tips

Registering for runDisney isn’t hard, but it has changed over the years.

(Edited to add: this information needs to be updated to reflect the new rundisney.com process. I’ll be working on this over the next few days!)

Tips to Register for runDisney Races

Here’s a short video showing what you can expect to see from runDisney on registration day. It seems to be pretty user-friendly and I think the runDisney race registration should be a smooth process- as long as those servers can keep up with the demand. (fingers crossed!)

The current runDisney registration dates are as follows:

  • Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend
    March 19, 2019- General on-sale date
  • Disney Marathon Weekend:
    April 16, 2019 – General on-sale date
  • Virtual Race Series: May 7, 2019
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend:
    June 4, 2019 – General on-sale date
  • Star Wars Half Marathon Rival Run Weekend:
    July 16, 2019 – General on-sale date
  • Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon (Required for Kessel Run Challenge)
    July 16, 2019 – General on-sale date

runDisney race courses, corrals, and event guides

When you are looking for the race course maps or last year’s corrals: come here. I’ve got ’em!

Every race I put together a condensed one-stop shop for all your race weekend details. You’ll find the runDisney course maps, waiver links, corrals, and event guides here. You might be surprised at how often they are referenced when a new race weekend is on the horizon!

2018 Fairy Tale Challenge Corrals

2019 runDisney Marathon Weekend Race Courses, Corrals, and Event Guide

2019 runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Race Courses, Corrals, and Event Guide

2019 runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Weekend Race Courses, Corrals, and Event Guide

2018 runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Race Courses, Corrals, and Event Guide

star wars dark side 5K map 2018

 

runDisney Yesterland: Archived runDisney experiences and races

As Walt always intended, Disneyland and Disney World keep growing and changing. And when that happens, most of the other Disney experiences change too.

Like runDisney.

It’s seen quite the transformation since it’s inception.

There were New Balance runDisney shoes to buy and pre-race meetups to attend. A 10-miler race that featured Villains and of course, all the races at Disneyland.

Here’s some information on the now discontinued Disneyland races: superheroes, Star Wars, Tinker Bell and the Disneyland Half.

We hope they come back- or at least some of them do! But time will tell.

runDisney California Races: What happened?

runDisney Tinker Bell Half Meetup

Princess Half Meetup

Wine and Dine Half Meetup

runDisney shoes: New Balance

runDisney Race Maps- Disneyland Events

2013 Tower of Terror 10-Miler Information 

Disney World vs Disneyland Racing

runDisney race recaps

If reading how the races went down is your thing, then this section is for you!

There are quite a few race recaps about the run Disney experience, so settle in! Fair warning: most are by a decidedly non-runner runner… which means I was there for the costumes & shenanigans more than the actual running.

A “serious” runner I am not.

Margarita at the runDisney marathon
Margaritas at mile 25 of the runDisney Marathon. Cheers!

2012 Wine and Dine Half Re-Cap

2013 Tinker Bell Half Re-Cap

2013 Princess Half Marathon Re-Cap

2013 Expedition Everest Challenge Re-Cap

2013 Dumbo Double Dare 10K Re-Cap

2013 Disneyland Kids Races Re-Cap

disneyland kids races

2013 Dumbo Double Dare Disneyland Half Re-Cap

2013 Wine and Dine Half  Re-Cap

2014 Tinker Bell 10K Re-Cap

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Re-Cap

2014 Royal Family 5K Re-Cap

2014 Enchanted 10K Re-Cap

2014 Princess Half Marathon Re-Cap

Princess Half race signs

2014 Princess Half Marathon Race Re-Caps: We Stormed the Castle

The Deferral and Transfer Question

The runDisney Corral Question 

Castaway Cay Challenge

runDisney Paris Race Recap

The runDisney running Costume Experience

Reminder from up above: I don’t take this running thing too seriously! Just in case you forgot and mistook me for Des or someone. (Ha!)

One of the draws to me of runDisney is, in fact, the running costumes. Dressing up somehow helps ease the pain of running 13.1 miles.

Kinda.

runDisney running costumes

Yup, I know, it’s totally ridiculous. But I love running in costumes- and that’s really all that matters in the end.

If you want to have the full runDisney experience, I highly recommend jumping on the running in costume bandwagon for a race or two. It’s a ton of fun, and the race pictures will have you giggling forever!

Trust me: you will NOT be alone and sometimes it’s fun to get that extra encouragement on the course that only a running costume can provide.

Spider Man 5K Disneyland castle
runDisney Spider-Man race: this 5K was so much fun!

4 Rules to Running in Costume

runDisney Costume Policy Update

Donald Duck Hat Tutorial Race Costume

runDisney Avengers Half Running Costume Reveal: Captain America and Scott Lang, Baskin Robbins Worker

Captain America running costume
My favorite race picture EVER! Captain America running costume.

Princess Half Running Costume Reveal: Disney VIP Plaid Cast Member and Provencial Belle

Star Wars Half Running Costume Reveal: Endor Princess Leia, Jar-Jar Binks and X-Wing Pilot

Running Costume: Sadness and Bing Bong from Inside Out

Finding Dory Running Costume

Dark Side Running Costumes: Sorry I Killed Your Son Card

Nemo and Haunted Mansion Maid Running Costume

runDisney parade costume in Magic Kingdom
We ran the 10K in these parade cast member running costumes, then hit up the Magic Kingdom to watch the parade afterward! We ended up IN the parade, thanks to Disney Magic!

runDisney Dooney and Bourke Disney Purses

There have been some beauties released by Dooney and Bourke for the race weekends! I might have a few of these myself (okay- I totally do!)

People are legit obsessed with these Dooney and Bourke Disney purses, and I can’t say I blame them for the most part. Here are a few of the Dooney and Bourke runDisney bags from years past.

captain-america-dooney

Superhero Dooney and Bourke

2018 Princess Half Dooney and Bourke

2018 Marathon Weekend Dooney and Bourke

Princess Half Dooney and Bourke Magic Bands

Need more runDisney merchandise? Here’s where you can find the pre-order jackets for the 2019 Marathon and Princess Half weekends.

General Tips to Disney World for the runDisney Race Weekends

Taking the kids? Need some tips for Disney World with toddlers?

How does the transportation work- what’s the Magical Express Bus or the Disney Minnie Vans?

This is what you need to know for your next Disney World vacation!

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Oswald Are You Serious?! 2019 Walt Disney World Marathon Medals
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Kerrie Mendoza

Tuesday 7th of August 2018

Love the idea of running and doing a race with your kids. What a fantastic way to promote fitness and travel.

Patty

Thursday 4th of October 2018

It's a blast, Kerrie!