runDisney Tips

tips for runDisney races

runDisney races are all amazing.  Let me start by saying that.  If you have never ran one and are thinking about it, DO IT!  I’m going to be talking about the races and my experiences and recommendations.  Again, these are my opinions and tips:

1.  runDisney races ALWAYS sell out and some faster than others.  They also usually sell out within days and keep in mind this is MONTHS in advance, so mark your calendar for registration day.  For example, the 2014 Disneyland Dumbo Double Dare Challenge sold out in less than an hour.  If you want to run one go to the runDisney website and register for an email reminder of when registration for the race you want opens and once registration opens, don’t hesitate.

2.  When you register they ask for a projected time.  This is so they can put you in a starting corral with runners (or walkers) with similar pace.  IF YOU WANT TO RUN AND NOT WALK PUT DOWN A TIME!  If you don’t have a race that you completed before you register than run a 10k or longer race and email runDisney your time so you can be placed in a corral accordingly.  If you don’t put down a time you WILL be put in one of the last corrals which do have a lot of walkers.  Nothing wrong with this and so much fun if you plan to walk, but can be very frustrating if you plan to run and you spend the first 4 miles dodging walkers.

3.  If you want to earn the Coast to Coast medal you need to run in one race at Walt Disney World and one race at Disneyland that is a half marathon or longer in a CALENDAR YEAR.  Again, between Janurary-Decemeber in the same year you need to run in one half marathon or longer at Disneyland AND Walt Disney World.  Expediation Everest and the Tower of Terror 10 miler don’t count towards a Coast to Coast medal because they are not a half marathon or longer.

4.  The Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland and the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World are women centric races.  This means that while MEN ARE ALLOWED TO RUN, they will not start in corral A and they will not have awards for placement.  Again, they will get regular finishers medals, but not awards for time.

5.  The Tower of Terror 10 Miler and the Wine and Dine Half Marathon are both races at Walt Disney World and are both NIGHT races starting at 10:00pm.

6.  While races at Walt Disney World are ran entirely on Disney property, races at Disneyland are not.  The first 4-6 miles or so are on Disney property and than you run through streets in Anaheim and than back to Disney property to finish.  The courses for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and the Disneyland Half Marathon are DIFFERENT COURSES.  They are both lots of fun, but the Disneyland Half Marathon course takes you through Angels Stadium and you get to run around the inside of the field, which for me is an added bonus.

7.  The Walt Disney World Half Marathon and the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World are pretty much identical courses.  You will start near Epcot, run to the Magic Kingdom and through it, and than work your way back to Epcot.  If you are thinking of running 2 races at Walt Disney World and would prefer different courses you may consider running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon instead.  It starts near ESPN Wide World of Sports and you run through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and finish through Epcot.

8.  The races never start inside a park and the race registration is not a park ticket.  If you plan to spend time in the park before or after you race YOU WILL NEED TO BUY A PARK TICKET.  The night races do have after parties, but the park is technically closed and only open for racers and friends and family that buy party tickets ahead of time.

9.  The Goofy Challenge is when you run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday.  You get a special goofy medal in addition to the half and full medals.  You must register for the Goofy Challenge to get the medal and not register for each event separately.  This is the same for ALL challenge events! The Dopey Challenge use to not be an unofficial event that some people who ran the Goofy Challenge and also the 5k race called the Dopey.  New in 2014 runDisney made the Dopey Challenge an official event where you run the 5k, 10k, the half marathon and the full marathon.  You earn 6 medals!

10.  The race weekends include kids races and a 5k race.  The finishers get what runDisney calls “medallions”.  These are different from medals because they are not metal.  They are made of a rubberized plastic, but are still very cute.  My daughter loves hers.  I’ve included pictures below. The 10k medals are metal.

11.  During Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend all resort hotels are host hotels. This means that they all offer bus service to the expo and race events.  During other Walt Disney World races not all hotels are host hotels.  You will need to check the website for info on which hotels are hosts, meaning offering bus service, if you want to be able to take the bus to the race events.

12.  As many runners know the lines for port-a-poties are usually very long or along the course they tend to be very gross.  Here is my little hidden gem of advise, listen carefully: STUDY THE COURSE ROUTE AHEAD OF TIME AND KNOW MILEAGE WISE WHEN YOU WILL BE INSIDE THE PARKS.  WHILE RUNNING PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE YOU ARE AND PLAN YOUR BATHROOM BREAKS FOR IN THE PARKS BECAUSE THE NICE CLEAN RESTROOMS INSIDE THE PARKS ALONG THE COURSE WILL BE OPEN!!!

13.  Plan ahead of time with your family where you will meet them or where they want to be along the course.  RunDisney races have anywhere for 10,000-30,000 participants.  Multiply that by at least a couple friends and family for each participant and you have massive amounts of people.  When I have my choice of seeing my family along the course or at the finish line I choose along the course.  The reason for this is the area right at the finish line normally is reserved seating for people who buy cheEAR squad packages.  I have personally never had my family buy the package with reserved seating, but have heard both pros and cons.  Cons, if you have small children they aren’t going to want to sit still for that long so it is better to walk around with them.  Pro is for older family members who have a hard time standing it would be nice to sit.  Once you finish you go through a process that can take you usually from 7 min to 45 min to get through before you exit out to an area where you can meet your friends and family.  This is another reason why it is nice to see my husband and daughter along the course and than they can go back to hotel and I finish and meet them back there instead of having to have them stand around a parking lot waiting for me.  At the end of the race you will get your medal and than wait in line for pictures if you want one, and than wait in line for the snack box if you want one, and than wait in line for bag check if you checked one.

14.  To pick up your race bib you will need your waiver printed and signed.  At the expos they have computers there for you to do this, but the lines can be quite long.  If you have the opportunity to print it before you come than do that to save yourself time.

15.  runDisney does not allow bib transfer, meaning you can NOT sell your race entry to another person and if caught you will be banned from races.  They do however usually allow you to defer for a future race if you contact them by a certain date.  This means if you are injured or for some reason know you will not be able to race don’t just flush the money down the toilet, contact runDisney and ask to defer.

16.  Standing in a starting corral can get chilly.  Unless you plan to run in something warm or don’t mind carrying clothing with you while running, plan according.  I sometimes use a large trash bag and tear holes in top and sides for my head and arms.  This isn’t super warm, but warm enough that I’m not shivering and than once I start running and warm up it is easy to take off and throw to the side.  Another option is wearing an old sweatshirt you don’t want anymore or hitting up a Good Will and buying a cheap one.  All clothing that runners discard is donated to the needy.  Meaning if you wear something you don’t want, you can throw to the side of the course and it will be donated.

17.  Be courteous of runners around you. If you are running with 6 of your best friends, try not to run all in a row because this makes it hard for faster runners to get around you.  Also if you need to walk just check behind you real quick to make sure there isn’t a runner on your heels that will trip on you and cause a domino effect causing injury.  Just slow your pace and carefully move to the right side of the course.  RunDisney races have lots of participants and the course can be crowded so it helps that everyone is courteous.

18.  Here is another helpful tip: IF IT IS ON A STICK DON’T EAT IT!  At a lot of the medical tents hand out vaseline on tongue depressors to rub on areas for anti chaffing.  This is not an energy goo or gel.  I have heard people joking about this to new runners…but I have also witnessed it.

19.  If you want to run for a personal best time Disney courses are usually very flat and can be good courses to do that on; HOWEVER consider why you pay the higher race fees.  Part of the fun is taking pictures with the characters along the way. Also, unless you are starting at the front in corral A or B it gets really congested on the courses.

20. While photographers are periodically along the course and are stationed with some of the characters, not all have professional photographers.  These photographers are also NOT Disney photographers and don’t use photopass.  They are a separate company and the race photo prices are a little pricey.  Consider running with a camera or camera phone if you want pictures.

21.  runDisney races have 16 min pace requirement.  This is because they will need to open the roads that are closed for the race.  The 16 min pace requirement is based off the last starting corral.  Meaning if you are in a corral that ins’t the last one that buys you a little bit of extra time.  Sweepers are not horrible people that will just throw you on a bus.  If you are lagging a little behind pace you get a little warning of the impending sweep so you can pick up your pace.

22.  Most importantly, HAVE A REALLY GOOD TIME AND ENJOY YOURSELF.  Every mile is magic!

Below are pictures of the 2012 runDisney medals from the races.  Keep in mind that runDisney changes medals somewhat regularly, so for a couple years the medals with be relatively the same and then change for an anniversary or when they feel like it.

Some of the  runDisney kids’ races medallions

photo 1

Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Full Marathon, and Goofy Challenge 2012

photo 2

Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World 2012

photo 3

Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland 2012

photo 4

Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World 2012

photo 5

Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

photo 1

The Tower of Terror 10 miler at Walt Disney World 2012

photo 3

The Coast to Coast Medal for completely one race at Disneyland and Disney World in the same calendar year

photo 2

21 COMMENTS

  1. Jennifer | 10th Dec 12

    Love tip #12 about using restrooms in the park – I never would’ve even thought of that! Genius! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. thisprincessruns | 11th Mar 13

    Great tips! I thought I’d done lots of research, but I didn’t realize that they have Vaseline at some aid stations, nor did I realize that Wine & Dine goes through Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom. Maybe I’ll put that on my list after running the Princess half. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • thehalfcrazymama | 11th Mar 13

      Glad you enjoyed! Wine and Dine is a great half to do after Princess since the course is totally different and it’s a night race. So much fun! Good luck!

      • thisprincessruns | 11th Mar 13

        Thanks! I would love to put together a race calendar like yours, but I’ve got some training to do before I’m at that level! Good luck with your upcoming races!

  3. Jessie Emeric | 19th Aug 13

    Great info! I’m running my first half marathon but I’m already thinking of my next one & would love to do a disney run. Thanks for tip #12 😉

    • Half Crazy Mama | 20th Aug 13

      Tip #12 is probably the best tip of them all in my opinion 😉

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  5. Vettes | 22nd Dec 13

    Great information! I am running in the 2014 Tinkerbell 10 next month… Out of shape and started with my daughter who just bailed on me… Scared to death to say the least and not sure what to expect… All I can do is try at this point! Wish me luck!

    • Half Crazy Mama | 22nd Dec 13

      Good luck! You will have tons of fun! If you aren’t already try the Galloway method for run/walk/run. You will do great 🙂

  6. Leslee | 2nd Jan 14

    Another great post! Loved all the tips… I think #17 should be followed for ALL races

  7. Dawn Cullo | 4th Jan 14

    Thank you for posting this, it is full of great information.

    • Half Crazy Mama | 5th Jan 14

      Thank you Dawn 🙂

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  9. lara jane | 18th Mar 14

    I found your blog when searching for registration tips — and found a WHOLE LOT MORE useful info! This is awesome!

    Can i bother you with a couple of questions? You say the races sell out within hours… but if registration opens at noon pacific and I am ready to sign up when the clock strikes 12, I should have no problem? (I saw your post about the W&D 1/2 selling out in less than a day, so it seems like we should be okay…) I am actually going to be registering two people, how does that work, do you know? This leads me to my next question…

    My son isn’t 14 until June, so will I be able to register him for a half (which takes place after his 14th birthday)? I can’t find this info online!

    Last one, I promise! Neither of us have run any official races and won’t be able to until after the registration. It’s okay to submit proof of time later? Or do we only need to do that if we’re SUPA FAST to get in one of the first corrals? I don’t want to end up in the last ones! Uh… no offense to the walkers, because ANYONE who finishes a race — regardless of time — is awesome in my book, but we’re way faster than 16:00/mile! I’m guessing we’d be right in the middle if we’re going by current pace.

    Oh, wait, I thought of one more thing! You mention bringing a camera/phone to take pics… I am grinning ear-to-ear looking at your previous race photos, seriously! I feel giddy! You are my new hero! Your costumes — all of them — are fabulous!!! Mary Poppins might be my favorite, but you & your sis are incredible, too! Did you just hand off your phone to someone to take pics of you with the characters?

    We’re “super” excited! Avengers, assemble!!!

    (I’m getting distracted by your blog so I’m going to hit “post” before I forget!)

    • Half Crazy Mama | 19th Mar 14

      Ok, first, the Disneyland races sell out WAY faster than Disney World races. We were actually all pretty surprised that Wine and Dine sold out in 2 days since it is a Disney World race, but to put it into perspective the Disneyland half sold out in just an hour or so. If you are on your computer right at 9am (registration starts at noon eastern) you should be good. I would expect the Avengers race to sell out quickly. If you happen to have an Disney Annual Pass or DVC you can register early starting tomorrow. When registering 2 people you have to do each one individually and go through all the motions and steps each time.

      Second, yes as long as your son will be 14 race day you can register him.

      Third, thank you sooo much about the costume compliments. It is soo much fun. Yes, I just hand my iPhone to a cast member with the character and they take the pics for me. MarathonFoto is also at most character stops, but not all, and you have to pay a pretty penny for their photos. There are always lines and everyone else is doing the same thing too 🙂

      And yes, you can submit proof of time at a later point by emailing it to runDisney. They will post a deadline time when you have to submit proof of times by as well as the email address.

      I hope this all helps and good luck!!! If you have anymore questions let me know 🙂

  10. Sammie | 12th Jul 14

    Such great info – especially love number 13. I’m travelling from Australia for the Disneyland Half and this is my first Disney race. Secretly, I hope it won’t be my last. I really want hubby to see me somewhere around the course, where do you think is best for a first time spectator?

  11. Dave | 4th Aug 14

    Thank you so much! I have a buddy that runs in 4 of the races (2 at DL and 2 at WDW,) and it never occured to me to actually join in on the fun beacuse I just figured it was all athetes. After reading your tips (which is 20 more than I ever got from him lol,) I decided I want to participate. I’m going to train since it’ll be probably a year before ican sign up for one at WDW that I was want (W&D is where we’re going to watch him, so I’ll be able to see everything from the spectator-side first.) It’s disappointing that they sell out so fast since we’re not far-ahead planners, but if we like what we see in November 2014, you can bet we’ll be signing up for November 2015 as soon as registration opens!

    • Half Crazy Mama | 5th Aug 14

      Wine and Dine is so fun. The after party is awesome and the course itself is one of my favorite’s. If you pick it to be your first you can’t go wrong! Good luck and have fun! Keep me posted 🙂

  12. littlebeastling | 5th Jun 15

    Dig it! There’s one bathroom in California Adventure that my friend and I have dubbed “my” bathroom — it’s both where I stopped during at least one half marathon, and the same bathroom I stopped in and said “Oh I’ll catch you later” during the 10K of the first Dumbo Double Dare. Clearly I didn’t think about how hard it’d be to find “my” Alice in a sea of Alices!

  13. Amanda | 18th Jan 16

    Does Disneyland have an equivalent of a dopey? I do the dumbo double dare and the rebel challenge, but is there also one if I choose to do 5k, 10k and the half?

    • Half Crazy Mama | 19th Jan 16

      No, currently the only “challenges” at Disneyland are the 10k/half marathon ones.

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