Posts Tagged ‘Epcot’

Disney Hotels For Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Choosing among Disney hotels for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Photo: Kent Phillips/Disney)

I’ve gotten this question a lot and in many varieties: What Disney hotels are best for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend?

There is no “best” hotel for any runDisney race. The best hotel for you for any race depends on many factors: what you want to do while you’re at Walt Disney World, who is in your party, and what your price point is, among other things.

I’ve stayed at eight different Disney hotels (four of which Disney comped for me during runDisney events) and two off property hotels while visiting Walt Disney World. But my hotel recommendations for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend are based on two main factors: Whether or not you have spectators in your group and what you want to do while you’re not running.

If Your Group Includes Runners Only

Choosing among Disney hotels for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Walt Disney World Half Marathon finishers. (Photo: runDisney)

If everyone traveling with you is running a race, all the Disney hotels are great.

All the Walt Disney World Resorts are official “host” hotels for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and offer event buses to shuttle runners to and from the start and finish of each race. The buses are comfortable and efficient, both before and after the race.

Having stayed at Disney hotels on the Monorail loop, on the BoardWalk and elsewhere on property for runDisney events, there’s not much of a difference from a runner’s perspective. The event buses got me where I needed to go and back every time from all those different areas.

Choosing among Disney hotels for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

A Dopey Challenge runner races around the BoardWalk. (Photo: runDisney)

So if all the people in your group are runners, I would pick the hotel that makes your days easiest and meets your price point.

Are you looking for a great pool to rest your legs each day while doing Dopey Challenge? Is there one park in particular where you want to spend most of your time? Do you want to be close to the Expo to stalk runDisney New Balance shoes? Different hotels are better suited for each of those scenarios.

Parks
Chooming among Disney hotels at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

The Wishes Nightime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom. (Photo: Disney)

Magic Kingdom

If it’s Magic Kingdom you’re after, any resort on the Monorail loop is fantastic: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Polynesian Resort, soon to become Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort as it undergoes major renovation.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground also have water taxis to the park.

The perks of each? The Contemporary Resort has my favorite quick-service restaurant, Contempo Cafe, and Magic Kingdom fireworks viewing from the hotel. Plus, it’s the next stop after Magic Kingdom on the Monorail. So at the end of a long day in the park, you’re home in a jiffy. Read the rest of this entry →

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Registration Opens

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Registration Opens

The 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon start. (Photo: Preston Mack/Disney)

It’s no secret that the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is one of my favorite race weeks of the year alongside the TCS New York City Marathon. And registration for the 2015 race opens Tuesday, April 22 at 12 p.m. EST.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Weekend

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Weekend will run from January 7-11 at, you guessed it, Walt Disney World in Florida. The weekend is the largest running festival in the U.S. with 60,000 finishers in five races and two race challenges: Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Disney Family Fun Run 5K, runDisney Kids’ Races, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge and Dopey Challenge. Plus, the 2015 races and challenges will all have new medals.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Registration Opens

The medal haul from the Dopey Challenge. (Photo: runDisney)

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge dares runners to complete the half-marathon and marathon on back-to-back days, and will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2015 with a special 10th anniversary Goofy medal. The Dopey Challenge, in its second year in 2015, asks runners to take on the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon on four consecutive days for a special Dopey-themed medal.

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 weekend also includes the free Disney Health & Fitness Expo, free Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney, ticketed Pasta in the Park Party, ticketed breakfasts after the 5K and 10K, ticketed Race Retreat before the half and full marathons, and Runner’s World Challenge race packages.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Registration Opens

Dopey Challenge runners come into the finish at Epcot. (Photo: Preston Mack/Disney)

If you want to run with Runners World, get in there now. Registration for the Runner’s World Challenge is already open and 99 percent full, as of press time. Registration for all the other events will open Tuesday, April 22 at 12 p.m. ET.

The weekend is usually runners’ first chance to buy the newest edition of the coveted New Balance runDisney running shoes, as well. In both 2013 and 2014, new styles of the shoes went on sale for the first time at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The shoes aren’t available online and can only be purchased at runDisney race expos.

The 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon sold out in August in just under four months, with most of the other races filling more quickly. The Dopey Challenge? Yep, it sold out faster than you can name all seven dwarfs. Expect the 10th anniversary edition of Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge to reach capacity quickly this year too, even though it was the last to fill in 2014. You may have a bit more time to contemplate the 5K, 10K and half-marathon, but not much. Most runDisney races are selling out faster and faster year over year, and I’m sure the Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 will be similar. Read the rest of this entry →

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Registration Opens

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Chef Mickey and Minnie greeted runners at the finish of Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon on Nov. 9, 2013. (Photo: runDisney)

Registration for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend from November 8-9 at Walt Disney World in Florida opens Tuesday, March 4 at 12 p.m. EST.

It’s no secret that the Wine and Dine Half Marathon is my favorite half marathon. I ran the 2013 race as part of a press trip sponsored by New Balance and runDisney. In 2011, the event was my first runDisney race and where my husband proposed. So it will always be a sentimental favorite.

But that’s not the only reason I love this race. Marriage proposals aside, it has the best post-race party I’ve ever been to, at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon starts at 10 p.m. outside the ESPN Wine World of Sports Complex and takes runners through Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, past Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, and finally to the finish at Epcot.

Once there, runners can party until 4 a.m. with Epcot all to themselves. Admission to the Finish Line party is included in race registration, along with a $10 Disney gift card and a complimentary beer, wine or soda at the finish.

wine and dine half marathon

My husband and me with the real Aladdin and Jasmine. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Friends and family can also buy tickets to the Finish Line Party, where select Epcot attractions like Test Track and Soarin’ remain open into the wee hours. The party also includes all the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival kiosks, live bands, DJs, and meet and greets with Disney characters. My husband and I got a photo with Aladdin and Jasmine while we were dressed as Aladdin and Jasmine at the 2013 race. In 2011, we photographed ourselves around the world. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Disney World Half Marathon

Goofy and Donald Duck at the Walt Disney World Half Marathon finish. (Photo: runDisney)

The Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday, January 11 was the third of four races at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon.

Disney World Half Marathon

Done! (Photo: MarathonFoto.com)

runDisney invited me to be their guest at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. I was running the first three of the four races, so the Walt Disney World Half Marathon was the finale to my running weekend.

I’ve never run this race before; I was really looking forward to it. I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2012, which had a nearly identical course but with a slightly different start and finish, and I had a blast at that race.

I had one goal and one goal alone for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon: get a picture with Cinderella while dressed as Cinderella.

It was my sixth Disney race and I had yet to achieve that feat. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: The Inaugural Walt Disney World 10K

Walt Disney World 10K

Minnie Mouse presides over the Walt Disney World 10K. (Photo: runDisney)

The Walt Disney World 10K on Friday, January 10, 2014 was the second of four races at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon.

runDisney invited me to be their guest at the race. Some 7,000 runners were completing all four races as part of the Dopey Challenge. Another 3,000 runners, like me, were just along for the ride.

It was the inaugural Walt Disney World 10K with a brand new race patron and medal: Minnie Mouse.

I can’t believe Minnie is only just now getting her own race. (UPDATE: A few readers have pointed out that Minnie Mouse used to host a Women Run the World 15K, known as the Minnie Marathon, that was eventually replaced by Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in 2009. Glad this isn’t Minnie’s first race!)

Of the three races I was running at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend—the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K, and Walt Disney World Half Marathon—I was most excited to earn that Minnie Mouse medal.

Minnie Mouse medals! (Photo: runDisney)

Minnie Mouse medals! (Photo: runDisney)

Going into the Walt Disney World 10K I had just two letters on my mind: PR. I desperately wanted to break 54 minutes and my personal best of 54:09. I was well trained and ready to run. But I had four things working against me come race day.

  1. Sleep deprivation
  2. Humidity
  3. A blister
  4. Dopey Challenge runners

More on that after a breakdown of the race itself. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Disney Family Fun Run 5K

running streak, Disney Family Fun Run 5K

Pausing for a pic in Epcot with my mom during the Disney Family Fun Run 5K. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

This year, I took the name of the Disney Family Fun Run 5K seriously and did it with my family—my mom to be precise.

runDisney invited me to be their guest at the race. When I asked her if she wanted to join me at Walt Disney World, she jumped at the chance and quickly pronounced her desire to do her first 5K.

The Disney Family Fun Run 5K on Thursday, January 9, 2014 was the first of four races at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon with some runners doing all four for the Dopey Challenge.

The 5K was the first of three races for me. I was doing everything but the marathon, and in costume, of course.

My Mom’s First 5K Read the rest of this entry →

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Schedule

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, runDisney

Goofy high-fives finishers at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)

No Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Meet-Up

I’m attending the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend as press courtesy of runDisney, and I just got word from the folks there that there will be no Meet-Up for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend this year. With four races over the course of four days for the first time in the history of the event, it’s understandable. I’ve interviewed a number of folks on the runDisney team about the logistics of putting on these events. It’s mind-boggling. Don’t believe me? Read the article I wrote about it, Planning Disney Races Takes More Than Magic. But runDisney says they will be doing plenty of Meet-Ups later in the year. So stay tuned for those.

I know that will disappoint many runners who were hoping to get in on a possible Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Meet-Up this year. But there are plenty of other events to keep you busy while you’re not running.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Schedule Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2013

2013 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, 2013 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Minnie jumps for joy at the 2013 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Finish. (Photo: runDisney)

The fourth annual Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon on November 9, 2013 at Walt Disney World in Florida was a record-breaking run. I attended the race on a press trip sponsored by New Balance and runDisney.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the entire race day experience including:

  • Running in Costume
  • The Course
  • The Start
  • The On-Course Entertainment
  • The Finish Line Experience
  • The Finish Line Party
  • My own race experience
  • And a slideshow of photos from the event
2013 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Men’s winner Justin Scheid. (Photo: runDisney)

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Justin Scheid, 27, of Sparta, N.J. was the top man, breaking the course record by more than 90 seconds in 1:11:47. He won the race easily, breaking away from the lead pack near the halfway mark and running solo to the finish.

Kristen Tenaglia, 29, of Seminole, Fla. obliterated the women’s course record by nearly 3 minutes, finishing in 1:23:37. Appropriately, she’s a tech rep for New Balance, runDisney’s official shoe partner.

2013 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Women winner Kristen Tenaglia. (Photo: runDisney)

We mere mortals also helped break a record at the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon too: 12,134 runners finished the race, the most in the event’s four-year history.

The race weekend also included the Health and Fitness Expo, Disney Jingle Jungle 5K and Kids’ Races, all at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

It’s no secret that Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon is a favorite among the 60 races I’ve run. My husband proposed at the Finish Line Party in 2011, and it was my first runDisney race. The Finish Line Party also happens to be the best post-race party, bar none, of any race I’ve done.

So when New Balance and runDisney invited me to be their guest for the race, I returned in 2013 with high expectations, but also trepidation. Would it be as much fun as I remembered? Could 2013 possibly live up to the magic that was 2011? Could I really run a half marathon in harem pants? Yes, yes and yes.

2013 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Running as Aladdin and Jasmine (Photo: Marathon Foto)

Running in Costume

It helped that my husband, Phil, and I dressed as Aladdin and Jasmine. As I learned a few Disney races ago, running in costume is always more fun.

We got cheers the entire race from other runners, Disney employees in the parks, volunteers at fluid stations, spectators along the course, you name it. Barely a minute passed without us hearing shouts like:

“Look! It’s Aladdin and Jasmine!”

“Go Aladdin and Jasmine!”

“Why don’t you just take your magic carpet? That would be a lot faster!”

“You’re in a whole new world now!”

It motivated me to keep going and made the whole experience more fun. As usual, a post on how I put those costumes together is yet to come. Read the rest of this entry →

14

Nov 2013

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Done!

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Twinsies! Seeing double in Morocco at the Finish Line Party in Epcot. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

At Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I ran around the world, not once, but twice with my husband, Phil. First, we tackled a 13.1-mile course through Walt Disney World, then we ate around the World Showcase at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at the Finish Line Party, dressed as Aladdin and Jasmine no less.

Without contest, Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon has the best after party of any race I’ve ever run, and the run is incredibly fun too. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the fun from the course and afterwards. Full race report to come! Read the rest of this entry →

Our Wine & Dine Half Disney Running Costumes Are…

Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Disney running costumes

Cinderella, my dog, models Aladdin’s hat. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Aladdin and Jasmine!

It’s Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon time, and what better way to celebrate than wearing Disney running costumes?

It’s been such a busy fall between running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and reporting from the ING New York City Marathon and all of race week, that I’ve barely had time to anticipate my next race.

But here I am at Walt Disney World, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon MeetUp is already behind me, and I’m ready to run a victory lap around Walt Disney World to close out my 2013 running year.

What better way to do that than with Disney running costumes? You know I love a good running costume.

Thankfully, my husband, Phil, does too. We’ve run four Disney races together, with two of them all gussied up.

The Wine & Dine Half Marathon won’t be any different. Read the rest of this entry →

08

Nov 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon 2014: Run the Marathon, Half, 10K or Dopey Challenge for Charity

runDisney, Walt Disney World Marathon 2014, charity

Runners pass a Mickey Mouse hot air balloon at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon in Florida. (Photo: Todd Anderson/runDisney)

Want to run the Walt Disney World Marathon 2014 presented by Cigna or even the Dopey Challenge? You still can. The races may be sold out, but a limited number of charity and tour group entries are still available for runDisney fans who want to toe the line in Walt Disney World in Florida from January 8-12.

I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2013, courtesy of runDisney, and had the most fun I’ve ever had at a marathon. And I’ve run six of them including “bucket list” races like the ING New York City Marathon and Bank of America Chicago Marathon. My husband and I got in the runDisney spirit and ran the race in costume as Cinderella in Rags and Jacques the Mouse. It was like a 26.2-mile roving street party with Disney characters, music, and more. Read the rest of this entry →

Friday Foto: Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Redux

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The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon start. (Photo: runDisney)

This Friday Foto is not just one picture, but an entire slideshow in honor of an exciting announcement.

I’m running the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on November 9!

It’s a very special race for me. It was my first runDisney race, and the place where my husband, Phil, popped the question in 2011. It happened after the race during the Finish Line Party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. You can read the whole story here.

Two years later, we’re returning to the scene of the crime as newlyweds.

We plan to run the 10 p.m. start race—in costume, of course—and then party the night away wining, dining, and Epcot attraction riding.

In 2011, we stayed until the party closed at 3 a.m. to celebrate our engagement. We were so giddy we took a silly photo in every single country around the World Showcase. Here is the slideshow to prove it. Read the rest of this entry →

Walt Disney World Marathon Course Guide

run Disney, runDisney, Disney running, Walt Disney World Marathon course

The Walt Disney World Marathon finish. (Photo: runDisney)

Tribesports asked me to create a guide to the Walt Disney World Marathon course for their social networking site for active minded folks. “Whether you’re a novice or a pro, we think seeing your friends sports activity, and sharing yours will make you want to be more active and do more sports,” their website states. Seems like a good premise to me, since that’s what the blogging community does in a different way.

So I thought I’d share my Walt Disney World Marathon Guide here as well since it highlights the race in a different way than my race report. If you’re thinking of signing up for the Walt Disney World Marathon—registration is still open for the 2014 race—here’s a play by play of what you can expect on the course.

Guide to the Walt Disney World Marathon Course

runDisney, Walt Disney World Marathon course, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Cinderella Castle

Runners fill Magic Kingdom. (Photo: runDisney)

The Walt Disney World Marathon is the crown jewel in the runDisney series of races. Nearly 25,000 runners tackle the 26.2-miles around “the World,” many dressed in costume in homage to their favorite Disney characters. The vibe on-course is as much party as road race with Disney’s signature entertainment lining the way: marching bands, DJ’s, cheerleaders, acrobats, rock bands, and, of course, those famous Disney characters. Read the rest of this entry →

13

May 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon Changes For 2014 Race

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The 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend featuresmany changes to improve runners’ experience. (Photo: runDisney)

Registration opens today at noon EST for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna from January 8-12, 2014.

Last month, runDisney announced the addition of the Dopey Challenge and the Walt Disney World 10K.

Now, Disney’s running branch has announced Walt Disney World Marathon changes for the 2014 edition of the race, and a video to explain it all. Read the rest of this entry →

09

Apr 2013

Dopey Challenge Comes to 2014 Disney World Marathon

Walt Disney World Marathon, run Disney, Disney running, Disney marathon, Dopey Challenge

Run, Karla, Run goes Dopey at the Walt Disney World Marathon (Photo: Marathon Foto)

The folks at runDisney are at it again. After rolling out the biggest Walt Disney World Marathon yet—complete with a new race course and new post-race party—for the race’s 20th anniversary in January 2013, runDisney seems intent to top themselves once more with the introduction of the Dopey Challenge for the 2014 event from January 8-12.

If you think Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, where runners tackle both the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon on consecutive days, was a lot of running then think again. The Dopey Challenge dares runners to conquer four races on four successive days: the Family Fun Run 5K on Thursday, a new Walt Disney World 10K on Friday, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday and the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday. Runners who complete the Dopey Challenge will earn a whopping six medals—one for each race, one for Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge and one for the Dopey Challenge for running a total of 48.6 miles in four days. Read the rest of this entry →

22

Mar 2013

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