Have you thought about running Disney marathon but have a lot of questions and not sure how to get started? We can’t help you with a training program, or force you out the door every morning to run, but we can answer your questions about how to get registered, what’s the best resort to stay at, and more! Be sure to check out Episode 87 for details.
When are the events available? RunDisney has four events per year:
Walt Disney World Marathon weekend takes place the first weekend in January. This weekend consists of a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon. This is the only event that includes a full marathon.
Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend takes place the last weekend in February, and consists of a 5K, 10K, and half marathon.
runDisney Springtime Surprise weekend takes place the last weekend of March/first weekend of April, consists of a 5K, 10K, and half marathon.
Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend takes place the first weekend of November, and consists of a 5K, 10K, and half marathon.
You can sign up for individual races, or “challenges” which consist of more than one race. For example, during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend you can sign up for the Dopey Challenge which means you’ll be running the 5K, 10K, half and full marathons.
Each Disney marathon weekend is themed, with medals, shirts, and character meets that match each theme. The one you should choose depends on several factors – which weekend works best for your travel plans, which theme are you most interested in, and weather should also be a factor in your decision. Remember this is Florida we’re talking about, and even November can still be warm.
When should you book your room, and why you should stay at a Disney resort for your race weekend
You should book your room as soon as you know which Disney marathon weekend you are interested in running, even before you purchase your race bib. Resort rooms can sell out for these weekends. You’re able to cancel your room if you don’t get the race bib you want on registration day, but you’re not as likely to find a room closer to the race date. You’ll want to stay at a Disney resort for ease of transportation. Disney supplies buses to all of their resorts to transport runners to the starting area of the races. If you stay off property and drive, that’s extra time you will need to plan for in the morning, and you may not be able to park near the race start.
Which Disney resort is best for the marathon weekends?
That really depends on preference and budget, as all of them will provide transportation to the race start. Keep in mind that even if you pick a resort that’s close to say, Epcot, to be able to walk to the race start area, walking paths may not be available, and the parks won’t be open that early to walk through to get to the start area.
How do you sign up for the race, and why is it called “purchasing a bib”?
Registrations are on the runDisney website, and open about six months before the race weekend. You are actually purchasing your race bib to wear during the race, with a number that’s been assigned to you.
Will the races sell out?
Yes, especially the 5K will sell out quickly. The longer the race the longer it will be before they sell out, but they still will.
Where is the race course? Will you actually run through a theme park?
Each Disney marathon weekend will have a different course and that will be released about 5-6 weeks before the race, and yes, you will run through some of the theme parks!
What characters will you see along the way?
Disney characters will be along the race course ready for pictures with the runners. Characters will vary of course, and will stick pretty close to the theme of the race. Marathon Weekend will have more of the classic characters, especially the Fab 5. Princess weekend will have Disney princesses and princes, while the Wine and Dine weekend usually features the more villainous side of Disney characters.
Photopass photographers will be on hand at each character stop, and your Memory Maker package will work to store all of your photos.
You want to run but your family isn’t interested?
That’s ok too! Your family has a couple of options here: Stay at the resort, sleep in, have breakfast and meet up with you later either at your resort or in a park. Or they can get up early too and head to one of the parks to cheer you on as you run by. There’s also a link through runDisney where they can track your progress throughout the race.
What do you do after the race?
Most runners will head to a park – though we do suggest going back to your resort first for a shower and maybe a nap! Magic Kingdom is especially popular for Marathon and Disney Princess weekends for photos of your medals with the castle in the background. Epcot is popular after the Wine and Dine for getting Spaceship Earth in the pictures.
Can’t make it to a Disney marathon weekend? There are several alternatives! Disneyland Paris has a race weekend coming back in September 2022 (no details have been released at this time). If you’re on a Disney cruise you can sign up for the Castaway Cay 5K around the island. Or if you just need to stay home but still want to join in the fun, Disney also has a virtual option for all of their races. Disneyland in California has yet to restart their race weekends after being shut down in 2018 for construction.
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