Beginner's Guide to runDisney

Beginner’s Guide to runDisney

Thinking of completing a runDisney race in 2017? Then this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop is for you. Today we are sharing some tips for your runDisney race.


I love runDisney races. Having a number of them under my belt at this point, I can tell you from experience that they are a lot of fun. All of it can be a bit overwhelming at times, though, especially for a newbie so I thought I’d share a few tips to make it as easy as possible.

Tips for runDisney BeginnersKnow when registration begins for the race you want to participate in.  While some races aren’t selling out as quickly as they used to, many races do still sell out shortly after registration opens. Months prior to the race, runDisney will have the registration date listed on the events page on the runDisney website. For example, they currently have the registration date of December 13, 2016 listed for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend that begins August 31, 2017. Mark the registration date on your calendar. Also on the event page is a button for email sign-up. Do that as well so that you will receive reminders and updates from runDisney.

If you don’t already have one, sign up for an Active.com account. This is the site runDisney uses for race registrations and having an account will save time on registration day.

Login to Active.com prior to registration opening. Again, this is to save time so that as soon as registration opens, you can be one of the first in line. Once logged in, go to the event page on the runDisney website (in the same browser) and keep refreshing it until registration opens. Be sure that each person registering is doing it on their own on different computers. I have seen it happen where someone was registering two people and since only one runner can be registered at a time, by the time they got to the registration for the second person, the race was sold out.

If the registration date has passed, don’t despair. Check to see if spots are still available. The races are selling out less than they used to. I remember a time where getting into one of the Star Wars races was nearly impossible. As of this writing, there are still spots open for all of the 2017 Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend races in April. If the one you want is sold out, check out the charity groups. One can receive a registration for a runDisney race by doing fundraising for one of the charity groups. They each have their own individual registration and fundraising requirements so it’s best to go to the link from the charity groups listed under the registration tab for each particular event.

Plan your costume well in advance and train in it. Costumes are not required but many people do wear them. Be sure to understand the costume guidelines and make sure your costume adheres to them. In addition, complete at least one or two training runs in your costume to make sure it’s comfortable for long distances. There are many discarded tutus and costume pieces along the race route from runners who found out during the race that their costume was uncomfortable.

Don’t forget to submit your proof of time if running a Half or Full Marathon. Runners are placed in corrals by time with faster runners placed in the early corrals and slower runners placed in the later corrals. It’s usually due about 90 days prior to the race. The proof of time is important for safety reasons (so that runners are going at nearly the same pace when bunched together). I also think it is important because in my experience, an earlier corral makes for a better race. They seem (and usually are) less crowded, and because the official 16-minute mile pace clock doesn’t begin until the last runner crosses the starting line, earlier runners have more time to complete the race so they have time to stop and take photos with the characters or backdrops along the way making the race even more fun. I mean, what’s the point of a runDisney race if you’re not going to enjoy those Disney extras along the way?

What You Should Know Before Your First runDisney RaceMake plans to travel at least a couple of days before the race. Prior to the race, all runners need to turn in their waivers and pick up their bibs at the Expo. In all likelihood, this will require a visit to the Expo at least the day before the race. Why not just travel in that day? If you’re close, that’s probably OK, but what if your car breaks down or your flight is canceled or delayed? It’s best to build in a cushion. Yes, it is possible to pick up one’s bib the morning of the race, but it is problematic and stressful plus you’ve missed out on some good photo opportunities and gear that can be purchased at the Expo (like those cute runDisney shoes from New Balance). In addition, if changing time zones, especially from west to east, I especially think it’s a good idea to arrive early to give your body a chance to adjust to the change. Getting up at 3:30am for a race is hard enough. It’s even harder if your body still thinks it’s 2:30am or 1:30am or earlier.

As soon as it’s available, read the Official Event Guide. It’s really not that long and contains everything you need to know from how the event transportation will work to the time you need to be in your corral for the race (and where the corrals are located) to the race course map to where to park if you have a car and more.

Bring your printed waiver and a photo ID to the Expo. If you forget your waiver, it’s no big deal. There are printers available at the Expo. I just prefer to avoid the lines. It is a big deal, though, if you don’t have your ID. Every runner must pick up their own bib at the Expo and they will ask for a photo ID. To my knowledge, there are no exceptions.

Tips for a runDisney BeginnerBe patient the morning of the race. There is a lot of waiting. There will be long lines for the bathrooms. You will feel like you’re standing in your corral forever waiting for the race to start, especially if you’re in a later corral. Keep stretching, find people to talk to, and enjoy the pre-race show. After the race, there will be more waiting. There may be a line to get your medal. There are lines to get photos and if using race transportation at Walt Disney World, it is likely that there will be a line and a wait for your bus (at Disneyland, the finish line is right by the Disneyland Resorts so it’s only a walk away to hotels and parking lots… yay!).

Beginner's Guide to runDisneyMost importantly, have fun!!!  You’re at Disney! runDisney races go so much faster for me than other races. Depending on the race, part or nearly all of the course will be in a Disney Park or two or three. At Disneyland, many of the races take runners right through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. At Walt Disney World, I especially love the race courses that take runners around World Showcase at Epcot. In addition, there are characters and props along the way. I remember one particular race at Disneyland where Maleficent was standing on the bridge over the Pirates of the Caribbean entrance telling runners to “Run” in a very evil voice as they went by on the path below. I have also seen photo opportunities with so many characters – Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Jack Skellington and Sally, Lumiere, Remy, Lightning McQueen, Mater, and so many more I couldn’t possibly name them all… and, of course when it’s done, enjoy your new bling. You’ve earned it!

For more runDisney tips,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | runDisney Loop:

5 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to runDisney

  1. Pingback: runDisney | Tips and Advice from the Blogorail

  2. Emma

    Thanks for you tips!
    A friend and I have registered for the Disneyland 10k in September 2017 and are coming all the way from Melbourne Australia! (Total Dis-nerds living on the wrong continent!) Are there any further tips or advice you can give us? It’s kind of overwhelming at the moment, not only being away from home but i didn’t realise how much of a thing this is!! We’re really looking forward to it but at the same time have no idea what to expect.

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    1. kim051172 Post author

      How exciting for you!!!! Since I’m assuming you are training, I won’t add anything there. To me, your biggest challenge will be the time change. I have noticed that even when going to Florida, which is only a 3-hour difference for me, it is very difficult for me to even want to run when I’m so sleepy and jet-lagged. Do what you can to adjust to the time change, perhaps changing your sleeping some before you leave home.

      What to expect? You’ll need to go to the race Expo, which will be held at the Disneyland Hotel. Follow the signs and if you still can’t figure out where to go, ask any Cast Member. They are fantastic. Once in the Expo, there will be signs and Cast Members directing you where to go to get your stuff. Be patient as lines can be long at times (although sometimes I have found it almost empty), but they do make it easy to navigate.

      On race day, it is easy to find your corral. Again, they have signs and Cast Members directing you. They say to be in your corral an hour before the race. I try to do that because I like to be near the front of the corral, but I have arrived only 30 minutes prior and had no issues.

      Other than that, read the materials they email you in advance. It’ll tell you everything you need to know and it’s not that long. runDisney has been doing this a long time so they are usually well-organized.

      In any case, be sure to have fun!!!

      If you have any specific questions or just want to reach out, feel free to send me an email at mmwtmouse@gmail.com. I ran the 5K, 10K and Half in September 2015 (among lots of other races) so would be happy to do what I can to make it less overwhelming for you.

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  3. Pingback: Everything You Need To Pack For A Successful RunDisney Experience Plus Our Ultimate runDisney Packing List - Running on Disney

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