Disney’s Race Weekends: What to Expect for First Time runDisney Runners

Close your eyes. Can you envision some of your Disney goals? With so much to see and do, one could easily think of a few things they would like to try. Some Disney fans might be curious about taking part in a race at Walt Disney World. It can seem daunting to new runners, but it’s so much fun!

Walt Disney World has been hosting annual race events since the first Walt Disney World Marathon in 1994. More races have been added to the calendar year since that time. Today, they offer the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Star Wars Rival Run Weekend, plus the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

There’s a lot of planning that goes into your standard Disney vacation. So it’s no surprise that registering for a runDisney race is quite a big deal. There’s more to do besides training for the race. For those thinking about participating in a runDisney race, this article is intended to help first-timers feel more at ease by knowing what to expect.


The runDisney races are extremely popular these days. It’s best to signup early for races if you’re serious about committing to a race weekend. Some of these races do fill-up and reach capacity within hours, so keeping an eye on the registration dates is vital. You can see open spots for a few weeks when it comes to half marathon registration, but some 5k races and Challenge (half + 10k) races do go quick.


Everyone is different and training for a race is a big deal. Doesn’t matter if this is your first runDisney race or your first race in general. A key point I’d like to emphasize is that running isn’t necessary for every step of the race. Some people do walk these races! You can run, jog, or speed walk. What matters is that you keep up with Disney’s 16 minute per mile pace. If you can manage to do 4 miles in an hour, then you are on track for success. One nice feature of runDisney is how they have training guides online to help newcomers get a rough idea on training. Don’t be intimidated! Disney’s races are welcoming to both experienced runners and beginners. You’ll encounter many first-time runners if you do register.

Race Bib Pick-Up

This might sound funny, but the process of race bib pick-up is a task in itself! You go in advance to ESPN Wide World of Sports to pick up your race bib, shirts, and gEAR bag before the actual race day. The gEAR bag is what you store your possessions in if you want to bring anything on race day. The runDisney crew will store your bag and you can pick it up after you finish your race.

Disney does explain the pick-up process to runners before they arrive. However, do plan on allowing time for yourself to pick up the materials. They also sell runDisney merchandise at the expo and some photo ops are available for guests. Take a good look around and explore the race expo before you leave.

Race Day

The big day has arrived! You hopefully feel well-rested and prepared. It’s important to remember that this race is for fun. You should enjoy the journey and feel confident about being among so many fellow Disney fans. Race day is quite an experience. You have a chance to see some characters before you even cross the starting line. Seeing so many characters is certainly a great perk about these races. I allowed myself time to make a few stops along the way to see some rare characters and take photos. It’s important to keep track of time once you start so you can finish in time. Training helps in knowing what you’re capable of on race day in terms of run time.

The runDisney crew will have stations set up for you along the way, so you can count on their help if you require water or need to stop for any reason. It’s reassuring to know that so many people are nearby to help runners and cheer for them throughout the course.


Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the wonderful race medals. These make a great souvenir and reminder of what runners accomplished. Be proud!

Hopefull, this inspires some readers to give these races a chance. Only register for what you feel comfortable with and take small steps in preparing yourself if you’re a new runner. These races are sure to be a good time!




Kevin Koszola