Three Disney Parks, Three Disney Races In 2016

3 Disney Parks, 3 Disney Races

Three Disney castles (Photo: Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris

Three Disney theme parks world-wide offer Disney races—Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California, and Disneyland Paris in France. I’m going to run a half-marathon, or more, at each of them in 2016 (partially as a media guest of runDisney).

I’m a lifelong Disney fan. My dog’s name is Cinderella, after all. And I’ve been a runDisney fan since I tackled the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon for the first time in 2011.

But I’ve only been to Disneyland once and I’ve never been to Disneyland Paris. So I’m incredibly excited to hit all three parks in one year to get the full back-to-back-to-back runDisney experience.

3 Disney Parks, 3 Disney Races

Minnie & Mickey at the Inaugural Disneyland Half Marathon (runDisney)

Which Disney Races To Run?

I really toyed with how I wanted to approach this adventure, and how to choose which three Disney races I’d run.

Did I want to run the three “title” races at each park—Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Disneyland Half Marathon, and Disneyland Paris Half Marathon? That would take me through all three castles and give me the “big picture” experience. I considered it as the most obvious way to experience each theme park as a runner.

But I ruled out that approach for one main reason: I’d be missing out on a themed race. Yes, yes, those events are Disney themed, but not focused on a specific world like the Star Wars races, Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon, Tinker Bell Half Marathon, or Disney Princess Half Marathon. To get the full runDisney experience, I think you need at least one themed race.

Three Disney Parks, Three Disney Races in 2016

Star Wars Half Marathon (runDisney)

I did want at least one park-titled even on my list, though. Disneyland Paris only has one race weekend, so it had to be the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon in September. One title race: check.

I also decided to rule out the events I know really well. I’ve run the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon twice, Princess Half Marathon twice, and Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend twice. So I crossed those off the list. That left one event at Walt Disney World: the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon in April, themed to “The Dark Side.” One themed race: check.

I just had to choose my adventure at Disneyland California. I ruled out Star Wars Disneyland because I’d be running Star Wars Walt Disney World.

I’ve never run the Disneyland Half Marathon, but I’d already be running the title race at the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. That left the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I’ve never run Avengers and I’ve run Tinker Bell once.

3 Disney Parks, 3 Disney Races

Runners at Tinker Bell Half Marathon (runDisney)

I already had a title race and a movie-themed race on my list, but no women’s Disney races. Their female-focused race festivals are among the three largest in the world, alongside Nike Women events. So I decided I wanted a women’s race to be a part of this quest, rather than two movie-franchises. That way I’d have one park titled race, one movie-themed race, and one women-focused race. Three very different worlds for the full scope of Disney races.

So there you have it. The puzzle was complete. The races? Star Wars Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in Florida in April, Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland in California in May, and Disneyland Paris Half Marathon at Disneyland Paris in France in September.

Let The Training Begin

First up is the Star Wars Half Marathon in April in eight weeks. Tinker Bell Half Marathon will be the culmination of my current training cycle in 11 weeks, with Disneyland Paris Half Marathon kicking off the fall.

There will be costumes. There will be high jinks. There will be lots of Disney. Bring it on!

As mentioned above, I’m attending these races, in part, as a media guest of runDisney. As always, all opinions are purely my own. Seriously. For more information read my Disclosure Policy.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


02 2016

20 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. Kate #

    How funny. I’m running the exact same Disney races this year. Love that we get a chance to run at Paris Disneyland this year. I cannot wait!

    • Karla Bruning

      Woo hoo! Looks like I wasn’t the only one with my rationale. I’m incredibly excited for all of them, but Paris will be really unique. See you at Star Wars first!

  2. 3

    Running the Tinkerbell as my first maratho! I hope to see you there!

    • Karla Bruning

      Exciting! Good luck with your training and I’ll see you there!

  3. 5

    Kellie recently posted..I Just Can’t Wait to Go to Disney Tag – Finally!My Profile

  4. 7

    love it! I will be at all 3 of those races (and every other race weekend as well!) so hopefully I will run into you !

    • Karla Bruning

      Amazing! See you there! I’d love to do all the race weekends one year, but just haven’t been able to make it happen with my schedule. Enjoy them all!

  5. 9

    I’m doing the Tink 10k this year as my first Disneyland race. I’m getting pretty excited and I think I have everything I need booked.
    Lesley recently posted..Thinking Out Loud 2/25My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      That’s awesome! I’ll see you there! Last time I did Think, there was only the 5K & half, so I’m excited to do the 10K for the first time. I’m doing Pixie Dust Challenge!

  6. 11

    I’m signed up for the Star Wars Dark Side half, but I’m not 100% sure I’m going to run it. Mostly because I’m tired of travel planning. But I really really love Star Wars and want to actually do the photo ops (BB8!).
    Judith recently posted..Happy Valentine’s DayMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      BB8 is so stinking cute! I hope I see you there! But I totally get travel fatigue. Sometimes it’s nice to stay home, too.

      • 13

        If I do run, I’d love to try to meet up with you pre-race if you’re interested. I’ve started putting together a “Rey” running costume — I’ve never run in a costume before — so I must want to do the race.
        Judith recently posted..Pity PartyMy Profile

        • Karla Bruning

          I’d love that! Let me know if you decide to go for sure. Running in costume is really fun. It adds a whole other element!

  7. 15

    Elle recently posted..Go Run Jersey City! Newport 10K GiveawayMy Profile

  8. Meg #

    Sounds like an exciting line up! I’m also doing the Dark Side- so very excited for some Star Wars running adventures. May the Course be with you! I feel like I’ve been reading your blog forever and always love your Disney recaps. If your mom ever wants to run another 5k with you, the Tink one is great (and it’s over Mothers Day weekend!). The race starts INSIDE Disneyland and Tink flies over the castle at the start and the whole 3 miles are inside the two theme parks. It is hands down the best of ANY of the Disney 5ks. And it get your division of runDisney races this year, keep the possibility of Avengers open in the future. The races themselves are fun with all the “nerd” fellowship and all of the holiday stuff is up at Disneyland by them, so you’d get a chance to see the ride overlays for Small World and Haunted Mansion that are totally unique to Disneyland. And please, I can’t wait for a full trip report for Disneyland Paris. Don’t know when I’ll make the jump to international running, but I will be wholly dependent on the race reports of bloggers like you for tips and lessons learned. Thank you for sharing your adventures!

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks for reading and for the tips! I ran Neverland 5K in 2012 and completely agree–it was spectacular. So much fun to start in the park and stay in the parks the whole time. I definitely want to do Avengers at some point! And, of course, I’ll write a full report about Disneyland Paris. Stay tuned!

  9. 19

    I love reading about your thought process on how you chose your races! I hope to see you at either Tink or Disneyland Paris (or both!).
    Emily recently posted..Snow!!My Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Yes, Emily! I’d love to finally meet you!