You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy the most magical place on earth to run. If you have ever
wondered about runDisney events or had no idea this enchanting extra existed, this article is
Ready, set, Go.
runDisney occurs throughout the year at Disney theme parks around the world. Race courses
vary from 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathons. Each event is themed be it Princesses,
Springtime Surprises or Wine and Dine so feel free to get all dressed up and experience Disney
characters, live entertainment, and photo ops all along the course.
Once you cross the finish line you also receive a Disney-themed finisher medal.
REGISTRATION: About eight months before each scheduled event is registration day. Races do
tend to sell out quickly so you will want to be prepared. You will need to create an account on
the runDisney website. Have your profile setup and payment information stored before
You will want to be in front of your computer at least 15 minutes before registration opens to
make sure you click on the green “Register Now” and join the queue. Don’t be surprised if you
enter a “Virtual Waiting Room”. For Registration, you will need your name, address, birthday,
email, shirt size, and emergency contact name and phone number. You can register additional
people but will need that information for them as well. HINT: Bypass the merchandise section
and complete registration as soon as possible. You can go back later and add merchandise to
your cart after you are registered.
You can sign up for multiple races and each event has a “challenge event” where you run two of
the longer distance courses to achieve a special medal.
Remember, race registrations do not include park tickets, park pass reservations, or lodging.
Utilize your friendly Vacation Wizard to help book a package along with your race events. All
Disney hotels provide free bus transportation to the races and to the runDisney EXPO.
runDisney EXPO: The EXPO is where you will check in for your event and pick up your race day
bib and other essentials. It usually runs Thursday to Saturday on every race weekend except the
Walt Disney Marathon Weekend where it runs Wednesday through Saturday.
To pick up your bib, don’t forget a valid photo ID and your signed digital waiver. In that building,
there will be so many additional vendors with gear ranging from accessories, socks, outfits,
water bottles, etc. A favorite of mine is the Sparkly Soul Headbands and the Disney-themed
Corkcicle water bottles.
On the first day of the EXPO, you will want to join the virtual queue to shop for the Official Race
Merchandise. This merchandise is only available at the EXPO and is race specific. The virtual
queue is only required on the first day of each race weekend. HINT: Merchandise does tend to
sell out so you will want to join the virtual queue as soon as you are in range of the EXPO. Use
Merchandise Mobile Checkout via the My Disney Experience App to checkout quickly.
RACE DAY: Races do tend to start super early! Resort buses depart at 3:15 am usually. Make
sure to give yourself enough time to wake up, get dressed, get some fuel and head to the pick-
up spot. The gates do close at 4 am so make sure build in enough time. Also, the buses tend to
fill up toward the later departure times so to avoid being stressed try to catch an earlier bus.
There is also food, water, and bathrooms at the race starting area.
Getting there early will allow you to be towards the front of your corral. Your corral assigned
will be at the upper right-hand corner of your Bib. You can move back corrals but you can’t
move forward. HINT: Stick to the front far left side when you enter the corrals. The gate opens
from left to right so you tend to get bottlenecked on the right. Starting in the front of your
corral, will allow you time to stop for photo ops with characters. Some of the lines can take
upwards of 15 minutes so make sure you have time to make the stop!
All races will have water stands and medical tents along the route if needed. You can also
utilize the portable toilets or park bathrooms along the race. Be on the lookout for the bright
green photo tents as these PhotoPass photographers will take photos throughout the race. You
will be identified using your bib and all photos are included in your purchase of Memory Maker.
I’ve completed my third year of runDisney race events and have turned it into an annual
tradition with my sister-in-law. We personally love the Princess event that occurs in February.
The 5K race events are a great way to get the kids involved (would recommend ages 6+) and
see the parks in a whole new light. Most races run through EPCOT, the Boardwalk, Hollywood
Studios, and even Magic Kingdom.
Do not think you need to be running Olympic speeds to participate either! There are
participants in all shapes, ages, and speeds. You can most definitely walk the races as well if you
are under a 16-minute mile pace. For most of the races, we joined in with others we met in the
corrals that morning!
I would recommend everyone participate in at least one runDisney race! They are a fabulous
way to see the parks, enjoy rare character photo ops, and experience the excitement with
others who love Disney as well.
See you at the finish line!