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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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:
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.
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:
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!
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!
This one has a lot of early and basic questions answered for you.
Seriously: there’s some good info here! Things you definitely do NOT want to do at a runDisney event.
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.
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.
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
- 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)
Helpful runDisney Marathon Weekend Posts
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
- Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
- The Glass Slipper Challenge (run the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday)
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.
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.
Additional runDisney Disney Princess Half Marathon Posts
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.
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
- 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.
Helpful Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Posts
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!).
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
- Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
- The Two Course Challenge (run the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday)
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.
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!)
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
This is what you need to know for your next Disney World vacation!
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 most of them are pretty full of pixie dust at Disney!