runDisney – the Basics

Have you been to Disney and seen people in running gear with medals? Or overheard someone talk about running a race at Disney? If you are asking yourself what is going on or what is runDisney, then you’ve come to the right place.

I finished my third runDisney race recently. And they have all been a complete blast.

Before you think, you must be an insane runner to think that a race is fun. A) I am so not a runner, and B) everyone was having a blast.

This post covers the runDisney basics, so you can decide if a runDisney race is for you.

So, What is runDisney?

In short, runDisney is the name the part of Disney that organizes running races. These special races feature behind the scenes views, parks after hours, and of course Disney characters.

What is runDisney

runDisney Expo

Where in World…

runDisney races happen in Disney World and Disneyland Paris. Disney World has several race weekends throughout the year. But Disney isn’t masochistic, so there are no runs in the Florida summer heat.

And all you Disney cruisers, you lucky devils, who are headed to the Caribbean, can participate in the Castaway Cay 5k.

Unfortunately for west coasters, Disneyland recently had the last of its runDisney races for the foreseeable future. All future California races have been cancelled indefinitely.

As per usual, Disney has not been super forthcoming with the reasons behind this, but one can assume it is a combination of logistics (there isn’t as much room to run in Anaheim as at Disney World), construction (hello Star Wars Land, new hotel, and parking structure), and local politics (I’ll leave that discussion to the experts).

runDisney Nerd Tip (DNT): runDisney races are held once a year at Disneyland Paris, and several times a year at Disney World

Running Through the Parks?

Yes, all of the races go through the parks.

At Disney World, which park you run through depends on the length of the race you run and changes by weekend. But no matter what, you will be running through at least one park for at least some of the race.

For example, the recent 10ks have gone through Epcot and/or Hollywood Studios. And this year, the Food and Wine 5k went through Animal Kingdom.

What is runDisney

Wine and Dine 10k Map

DNT: runDisney races give you an opportunity to run (and not just from ride to ride) through the parks before the parks open

The Runs are Themed?

Yes and no. The Paris weekend is not themed beyond general Disney magic. Same with the Disney World Marathon Weekend. However, the 3 other race weekends at Disney World are – Food and Wine (in November, during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival naturally), Princess (in February), and Star Wars (in April).

And each finisher gets a themed medal. And each race length has its own special medal. Those that complete more than one race in a weekend get another medal, as well.

What is runDisney

runDisney Medals

How Far Do I Have to Run?

Fret not, there is a runDisney race for every kind of runner. Each weekend there is a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. And there are challenges involving running more than one race a weekend. There is even a challenge (and accompanying special medal) for running every race in a weekend. And once a year during the Disney World Marathon weekend there is, well, a ,marathon.

What is runDisney

So Many Race Options

There are also fun runs for the kiddos.

DNT: There are a variety of race lengths available during runDisney weekends

But What If I’m Not a “Runner”?

Join the club. I am definitely not a runner. I only started running because I had to in order to get some exercise in while working crazy hours. I still don’t like it. And fast I am not.

But runDisney races are perfect for that. As discussed above, there are a variety of lengths.  So you can find a race that works for you. 10k is plenty for me (and its on a Saturday to boot).

And these are definitely fun runs. The minimum pace is a 16-minute mile. People of all ages participate in the races. During my first race, an 80-year-old great-grandmother was walking with her granddaughters. If she can do it so can you.

And if you are worried about running straight through, these are still the races for you. Each of the races has opportunities for character meets, not to mention plenty of photo ops in the parks. If stopping and starting is for you, these are the races are too.

DNT: Anyone can do a runDisney race, even non-runners

Did You Say Characters?

You read that right; there are character meet and greets during runDisney races. And not just during, but before and after.

Some are common characters. Before and after the Wine and Dine 10k this year, you could meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Chip and Dale. There was a bit of a unique element because you got to meet Mickey and Minnie together. And at the end of the morning, before they headed in, Donald and Goofy were meeting people together.

What is runDisney

Mickey & Minnie, and Goody & Donald

Throughout the course though there are often much more unique characters. This year I met Oswald (I hear it was his first east coast appearance) and Genie has been at the 10k for the last 2 years.

What is runDisney


There are Photopass photographers to take your pictures and, as usual at Disney, a castmember to take photos with your own camera or phone if you like. The photos are linked to your bib number, so no need to have a Magicband with you.

DNT: runDisney races are a great opportunity to see characters that aren’t usually around

I am a Runner, What About Me?

Have no fear corral A is here. Racers are separated into corrals based on pace time. So if you want to set a personal record, you can easily do that at runDisney races.

Do I Need a Park Ticket?

No, you don’t need a park ticket. Running through the park is included in your race admission. But, sadly this doesn’t include riding any rides. The races are all before the parks open and you are very well guided, so no going off the beaten path.

DNT: Park tickets are not required for runDisney races

Anything Else?

The most important thing to know about runDisney races is that they are a blast. Whether you are a seasoned runner, a newbie, a walker, or somewhere in between, you will have fun at runDisney races.

Have you gotten to do a runDisney race, or are you planning on doing one? Leave a comment and let us all know. As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or send me an email. Follow along with more adventures on Twitter and Instagram.


Epcot 35 Recap and Tips for Future Disney Special Events

Epcot 35th Anniversary Celebration Recap – And Tips for your Future Disney Celebration Adventures

I am so lucky because on Sunday October 1, 2017, I got to attend the Epcot 35th Anniversary Celebration. As all the merchandise says – I was there!

For those who don’t know, Epcot was founded (as EPCOT Center) on October 1, 1982 making Sunday, October 1, 2017 the 35th Anniversary of Epcot’s grand opening.

I really feel privileged to have been able to go to the celebration. I’ve never been to a special event or celebration at Disney before. Luckily this one was on a Sunday, so I didn’t even have to take off work.

To be clear the anniversary celebration was open to all those with tickets, including Annual Passholders; it was not a hard ticket event or anything like that. Still, I’m so glad I was able to go.

This post is a recap of the Epcot 35th Anniversary celebration, including all the little touches that Disney added to make the day at Epcot special. I’ve also included tips, tricks, and hints I picked up for what I hope will be my, and your, next Disney celebration adventure. Continue reading

2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Canada Marketplace Review

Canada O’Canada – 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Canada Review

Canada O’Canada…there can be only one reason for this former Michigander to be humming that particular tune – the Canada Marketplace during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is back! I got to try the Canada Marketplace this year during opening weekend. As it is every year, this is a hit. It is easily one of the most popular marketplaces, and deservingly so. For more information on the basics of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and some strategies and tips, look here.

Disney Nerd Tip (DNT): the Canada Marketplace is a must do at the Food and Wine Festival

The Food

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2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Strategies and Tips

Strategies and Tips for Making the Most of the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival – Planning is Part of the Fun

Mickey and I were lucky enough to get to go to the 2017 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival for opening weekend. We were invited to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and lucky for us, he chose to celebrate at Food and Wine. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I went to Disney World without pre-planning. I didn’t research; I didn’t book fastpasses or ADRs (advanced dining reservations). I was just along for the birthday ride. We had a blast without planning, but it got me thinking about whether I would recommend planning or winging it for the Food and Wine Festival. My resounding answer is – yes. It is important to have a plan or strategy going into the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival to fully appreciate it.

The 2017 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is already in full swing, having started on August 31. Hopefully you will get to experience the festival during its historic 75 day run, and if you do, I highly recommend having a plan. Going into the Food and Wine Festival without a plan of attack is like going to the mall, pulling the first thing you see off the rack, and buying it, without checking the size or if something that suits you better is right around the corner. With a whopping 35 marketplaces this year, it can be overwhelming, not to mention needlessly expensive, unless prep work is done.

Disney Nerd Tip (DNT): Have a plan for conquering the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

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Goodbye Great Movie Ride – Hello Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Goodbye Great Movie Ride – Hello Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

On August 13, 2017, the Great Movie Ride ended its run at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mickey and I were fortunate enough to get to take a last minute Disney trip to get in one last ride before it’s doors closed forever. Into its place we will get Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Personally I’m sad a a bit disappointed the Great Movie Ride was closed, but I am excited for this new Mickey Mouse ride.

Out With the Old…

Goodbye Great Movie Ride – Hello Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

TCM presents The Great Movie Ride

I can fully admit I will miss the Great Movie Ride. I’m a sucker for sentimentality and old movies are chock full of it. But even Mickey was a fan (and he’s not really into sentimentality or slow moving rides). He was even willing wait in a 60 minute line, when 40 minutes is almost always his limit. I am sure the adult beverages I plied him with helped, but I didn’t get any complaints even in the August heat. The Great Movie Ride had something for everyone. Continue reading