Everything You Need to Know About a runDisney Event
Hi everyone! I’m Kat’s sister Lauren! I like to consider myself an honorary Sister of Disney because just like Kat I am a Disney fanatic! In fact there has only been one Disney experience that I can name that none of the Sisters have done yet!
Have you ever dreamed of being able to run through your favorite Disney parks when they are completely empty?! Well consider me your fairy Godmother because I am here to make your dream come true and give you the scoop on how to make the most of your runDisney experience.
Back in 2017, my parents and I decided to sign up for a 5K race at Disneyland. We had always wanted to do one but had no idea what we were doing and none of us are really runners. However, the entire experience was magical and enjoyable in every sense! Whether you consider yourself a runner or just want to try it for the experience, runDisney definitely caters to whatever you are looking for. Before we get into all of the details about how to take advantage of your race, I’ll explain a little bit about what runDisney is.
Disney puts on a half marathon or marathon weekend a few times a year in two of their parks: Disney World and Disneyland Paris. Unfortunately, 2017 was the last year of races being hosted in Disneyland until further notice. But there are still many races that are available year round at the other parks. Something that makes these races so special is the theme of each event. For our race it was centered on Pixar with the 5k specifically having an Incredibles theme. Other themes that have been done in past years include Marvel, Wine & Dine (which coincides with Disney World’s Wine & Dine celebration), Star Wars, Princess, and the classic Disney themed race that has become somewhat of a tradition. Kids races, virtual races, and various challenges (like the Dopey challenge were you win a special medal for completing the 5K, 10K, Half-marathon, and Full marathon all in the same weekend!!) are also offered so that you are able to find the right one for you. If you have never raced before like we hadn’t, I would recommend starting off with a virtual race, which you do in the comfort of your own neighborhood, or the 5K if you are wanting the full experience within the park!
Like every great Disney trip or event, a bit of preparation is required. Here is my list of the absolute must-haves when doing a runDisney race:
We all love finding ways to incorporate our favorite characters into our outfits for park visits, and Disney races should be no exception! Since this was our first race, we weren’t too sure how much we should dress up. If you see any pictures from runDisney races, there are so many creative and extravagant costumes but we decided to take the more subtle route with matching Incredibles shirts. However, no matter how dressed up you decide to be, it definitely adds to the fun if you are!
A good night sleep and rest the day before
Whether you are running a 5k or a marathon, it is SO important that you don’t overexert yourself the day before a race. I know that this can be hard, especially when you are at the happiest place on Earth and are dying to ride Space Mountain as many times as possible. However, I HIGHLY recommend saving that planned day of Disney fun in the parks for the day or a few hours after your race. We only did 3.1 miles and we were absolutely exhausted when we went into the parks later in the day!
In the beginning, I didn’t think that I would need my phone at all so I only brought an armband in the rare case that I would need my phone. But boy was I wrong! It was an absolute lifesaver to have my phone accessible without constantly having to hold it while I ran. There are so many places to take pictures before and during the race that I was grateful to have my phone handy!
Staying in a close hotel
When we did our 5k we were able to stay at the Paradise Pier hotel which was perfect because it gave us only a short walk to the parking lot by Disneyland hotel and Downtown Disney. I list hotel location as an essential because waking up early, EARLY in the morning (I’m talking 4am), you don’t want to have to deal with making sure you wake up even earlier to walk to the start of the race and being even more tired. Those few extra steps can make a difference especially if you will be going into the parks later in the day!
In addition to must-haves, here are also some things to take advantage of to ensure that you are getting the most out of your race:
Throughout each race, there are checkpoints to tell you how far you’ve gone. But these are no ordinary checkmarks of course! These stops include fun backdrops, props, and even characters that you can get a quick picture with! Since our race theme was Incredibles, we got to have Mr. and Mrs. Incredible cheering us on towards the end!
Along with the photo checkpoints there are also Photopass cast members that take your picture! But they don’t just take your picture that the checkpoints though, they are also scattered throughout the race to get those glorious action shots of you so you don’t have to stop! To access these photos all you have to do is enter your RaceID and bib number into your Disney app and those pictures are yours!
Oh the beautiful and wonderful expo! At every runDisney event there is an expo the days before full of so, so many things to buy! It has literally everything you can imagine including basic running gear, exclusive merchandise for your race, themed food and drinks, and even free samples. Two of my favorite finds in the expo was the custom Disney running shoes that are different each year and the Dooney and Bourke runDisney purses designed specially for that race weekend!!
Before race fun
Before the race began and we were supposed to find our spot in the corral, there is an entire area of fun to wake you up and make sure you are race ready! This area included a stage with a DJ, tents of running essentials (Goo packs baby!), an area for annual passholders, photo backdrops, and so much more! At our race we got to see the real life pizza planet delivery truck in this area!!
Despite the fact that it involves running, runDisney races are one of the most magical and unforgettable experiences you can have at a Disney park! So if you are looking to switch up your next planned parks visit, head to the runDIsney website to sign up! You won’t regret it!! Happy running!