RunDisney Races: What To Expect

If you would have told me a year ago that I would become a runner, let alone running my first 10k in Disney World, I would have laughed with disbelief. But alas, this past weekend proved to be hands down one of the best weekends of my life and a turning point in my 20-something life towards new beginnings. 

What is it like to run a race at Disney? Unique, overwhelmingly fun, and crowded. The weekend began with an Expo pickup at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex outside of the parks. Here runners picked up their bib, technical shirt, and gear check bag along with many opportunities to view and purchase items from vendors and official race merchandise. Word of advice for future runners? Get to the expo early to purchase official event merchandise before they sell out! Luckily my friend and I were able to get the official 2016 race jacket, magnet, and baseball cap to sport around the parks after the race. This year's princess theme was Under the Sea in honor of The Little Mermaid!

I was relived the morning of the race to have packed all the necessities; safety pins, Gatorade energy chews, a mobile phone charger, the perfect running playlist, and a jacket to wear while waiting for the race to begin that I could dispose of later (Disney donates left behind clothing). I would have to say that these are some of the most vital items when doing a Disney race. After the rush of the first corral, we waited 35 minutes before our corral was up (thank goodness for that disposable jacket in 5am weather!). The fireworks rang and off we went on the nearby highway, through the back of Epcot, and around the World Showcase Lagoon. It was amazing to see Epcot, a park I had never been to, this way and to have all of the cheering Disney characters alongside the course. 

The course was very crowded on the more narrow sections, such as going through the back of the park. While the timing of when we crossed the finish line and how long it actual took us to run the course was a little off (due to starting in a later corral and waiting in line for photo ops), the experience was worth it. Disney's cutoff times are extended more than most races due to the character magic, making it the perfect first race for those that may need extra time to finish. It was a whirlwind of pure happiness crossing that finish line. We were given a snack pack, Powerade, and of course the anticipated finisher medal. Walking through the parks afterwards with our medals made the experience even more memorable. Passersby and other race participants congratulated us on our 10k accomplishment and I could not be more happy about how far I had come in my running.

Disney is the perfect first, second, fifth, and twentieth race. The moment it ended was the moment I started saving for another RunDisney event to participate in. Interested? Make sure to subscribe to their email list and prepare in advance for registration!


  1. Hi! So glad to have found your blog and this post. I just signed up for my first 10k and it's the RunDisney Wine & Dine 10k. I've been dreaming of doing a RD event and now that they added this event I knew I had to do it. :-) I want to make sure I get to experience some of the pics with characters, but don't want to end up getting swept due to waiting. (My normal pack 10-11 minute mile but of course that's with out characters to visit). Any suggestions on that or tips and did you think the lines where crazy long? Any other tips you have are greatly appreciated! Laura

    1. Hi Laura!

      I'm so glad you found this article helpful :) Congrats on signing up for the Wine & Dine 10k, if my budget allowed it I would have been right back in FL to do it as well! Doing a RunDIsney Race had always been on my bucket list and it honestly was the best first race I could have asked for. So much fun! Along the 10k course I believe I counted 5-6 character stops. My advice to you (and the advice that I applied when doing the Princess Enchanted 10k) is to skip the first couple character stops and wait until you're further along the course to stop so that you don't fall too far back. Now obviously if you come across your favorite character stop to see them! Just plan accordingly for the rest and decide if they are worth the stop and if you will be able to visit them later in the parks. My friend and I stopped a total of 2 times during the course for Tinkerbell & Friends and the Genie and it was about a 8-10 minute wait for each one. A few other lines, however, looked a lot longer. The course can become crowded and harder at certain areas to zip past and catch up so it is important that, while you should enjoy the characters and all the magical views, to keep a steady pace. Also, BRING A MOBILE PHONE CHARGER. This is crucial with all the music listening, Nike+ syncing, and picture taking you will be doing over the course of the morning/day. It's also a good idea to bring a charger outlet for the parks (if you're doing them) to use at the charging stations.

      Overall the 10k course is amazing and you will feel so accomplished crossing the finish line! Good luck on the big day and feel free to contact me with any more questions or concerns!