Posts Tagged ‘Epcot’

Race Report: Star Wars Half Marathon—The Dark Side

Race Report: Star Wars Half Marathon 'Dark Side'

The Star Wars Half Marathon ‘Dark Side’ Finish. (runDisney)

The inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon—The Dark Side at Walt Disney World in Florida had 18,182 finishers on April 17, 2016. I was among them as a media guest of runDisney, with my husband, Phil, running by my side. Another 12,172 runners finished the Star Wars 10K the day before.

I had one goal for the race: run a PR. I wrote about the attempt for Shape.com: Should You Ever Give Up On A Fitness Goal?

“Do. Or do not,” Yoda famously says in Star Wars:The Empire Strikes Back. “There is no try.”

Yoda obviously wasn’t a runner.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I first tried to break two hours in a half-marathon. It was 2010 in Montreal, Canada, and I failed. Six years later, I’m still trying. I’ve run more than 25 half-marathons, gutting out 2:00:30 at my fastest. (What Makes You a Runner?)

At this year’s Star Wars Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in Florida, I channeled the Force for yet another attempt. Dressed as Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with my husband as Chewbacca by my side, I set out on a 13.1-mile—or, you know, 6.83 parsec—quest.

In running and in life, goals and dreams keep pushing us forward. What keeps us chasing them? In a word: Hope. It’s true in Star Wars, running, and in life. But when is it time to say enough is enough? Should we ever let hope fade into resignation?

You can read the entire essay, full of Star Wars wisdom, at Shape.com.

Race Report: Star Wars Half Marathon 'Dark Side'

We did it! (Disney PhotoPass)

I’ll admit: I’m not the world’s biggest Star Wars nerd. Yes, I’ve seen all the movies and enjoy them. I even had an Ewok stuffed animal as a kid in the ’80s and wanted Princess Leia buns in my hair. But I’m not as into it as I am Disney animated films. After all, my dog is named Cinderella, not Princess Leia.

Why? Leia seemed to be the only female in a galaxy entirely populated by men, much like the Smurfs. Weird. As a little girl, it just didn’t speak to me. I didn’t see myself anywhere on screen, except in Leia.

Enter Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I loved it, largely and not-so-subconsciously because women were everywhere. You have your latent Jedi in Rey, your military leader in Leia, your villain in Captain Phasma, your female fighter pilots. Even Rey’s “Yoda”—Maz Kanata—is female. The movie brought me a new love and appreciation for the Star Wars franchise.

So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this race and totally geeked out over all the Star Wars characters. Any time one of them—like Stormtroopers or Captain Phasma—talked to me though a thoroughly convincing voice modulator, I felt giddy as a kid completely transported to another world. Both Phil and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Here’s the scoop, including running in costume, the course, where I stayed, and the race itself. Read the rest of this entry →

Walt Disney World Marathon 2017 Registration Opens

Walt Disney World Marathon 2017 Registration

Walt Disney World Marathon 2017 takes place in January. (Preston Mack/runDisney)

Registration for the Walt Disney World Marathon 2017 Weekend opens Tuesday, April 26 at 12 p.m. ET at runDisney.com. Disney’s original running event kicks off the new year from January 4-8 at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna is one of the largest running festivals in the U.S. with more than 65,000 finishers in five races and three race challenges: Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World 5K, runDisney Kids Races, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Dopey Challenge, and Disney Castaway Cay Challenge.

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2017 weekend also includes the free runDisney Health & Fitness Expo, ticketed Race Retreat for pre- and post-race pampering, and Runner’s World VIP race package, which includes race entry, coaching, welcome party, Race Retreat, and other perks.

Walt Disney World Marathon Registration Opens

Runners in Magic Kingdom (runDisney)

The Walt Disney World Marathon takes runners through all four theme parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Walt Disney World Half Marathon, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017, tours Magic Kingdom and Epcot. And the 10K and 5K run around Epcot and environs. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Run Sold-Out Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

How To Run Sold-Out Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon (runDisney)

Didn’t get into any of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend races? You can still run by registering with a runDisney Charity Group or Travel Provider. Bibs for the half-marathon, Disney Wine & Dine 10K, Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge, and Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K from November 3 to 6, 2016 are available.

The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is typically runDisney’s fastest selling race weekend. The 2016 races sold out in under 3 hours when registration opened Tuesday, March 29. The 10K and half-marathon filled within 30 minutes. The 5K and challenge weren’t far behind. Registration is still available for the runDisney Kids’ Races as of post time. Visit rundisney.com for more info or to register.

The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon welcomes in 2016 a new Ratatouille-themed 10K and two-day race challenge, along with a new half-marathon route and start time for the main event. The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is moving from Saturday night to Sunday morning due to ongoing construction and new hours at the theme parks. The race’s signature Post Race Party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will still take place under the stars from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday night, when Epcot stays open late solely for runners and party ticket holders.

If you want to be among them, register to run with a charity or travel agent.

How To Run Sold-Out Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

The 2015 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Medal (runDisney)

2016 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Charity Groups Program

runDisney Charity Groups offer guaranteed entries, discounted Walt Disney World Resort hotel rates, specially-priced Walt Disney World theme park tickets, and discounts on other race amenities. Check with each group individually for their requirements and benefits. To register, contact each group below. Read the rest of this entry →

Disney Wine & Dine Half Adds 10K, Challenge, New Time

Disney Wine & Dine Half Gets New 10K, Challenge

Minnie greets finishers at Disney Wine & Dine Half (runDisney)

The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is getting a new menu of events, following in the footsteps of every other runDisney race in the U.S. The race weekend at Walt Disney World from November 3 to 6, 2016 will debut the new Disney Wine & Dine 10K, Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge, and a new half-marathon course and start time. Registration for the 2016 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon opens March 29, 2016 at 12 p.m. Eastern at runDisney.com.

The Disney Wine & Dine 10K, with a Ratatouille theme, will take place Saturday, November 5 as the first course in Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge. The second course is the title half-marathon on Sunday, November 6. The new 13.1-mile route will take runners through Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and forgo Disney’s Hollywood Studios due to ongoing construction at that park.

Traditionally a nighttime race, the half-marathon is moving to morning. Why? Walt Disney World is planning to open all four of its theme parks during nighttime hours, limiting when races and race set-up can take place. (Read about the behind-the-scenes process in Planning Disney Races Takes More Than Magic.)

Disney Wine & Dine Half Gets 10K, Challenge

“Rivers of Light” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Disney Parks)

New attractions expected to open by race day in November include the nighttime Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Frozen Ever After experience at the Norway pavilion in Epcot.

But don’t worry runners: the race’s signature Post Race Party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will still take place under the stars from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, when Epcot stays open late solely for runners and party ticket holders. Now you’ve got time to shower and relax before partying the night away with Festival food booths, Disney characters, musical performances, and special access to Epcot attractions. Read the rest of this entry →

10

Mar 2016

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Lauren Passell wins the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon (runDisney)

The Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 Weekend kicked off February 18 and runs, literally, through the title event on February 21 at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The three-day extravaganza is the largest women’s running festival in the U.S. with 37,000 runners across multiple events: Disney Princess Half Marathon, Disney Glass Slipper Challenge, Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, Disney Princess 5K and runDisney Kids Races.

Take a look at the numbers behind the princesses.

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Runners at Princess Half (runDisney)

Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

285,900—combined miles adult runners will complete over the course of Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

250,000—runners who take part in runDisney events each year

99,178—number of Cinderella’s Glass Slippers, lined up heel to toe, it takes to cover the 13.1 miles of the Disney Princess Half Marathon

37,000—registered runners for the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2016 Weekend Read the rest of this entry →

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Mickey Mouse and friends (runDisney)

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Weekend presented by Cigna kicked off January 6 and runs, literally, through the title event on January 10 at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The four-day extravaganza is one of the two largest running festivals in the U.S. with five main events: Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World 5K and runDisney Kids Races. That includes runners doubling, tripling, or quadrupling their fun with the Dopey Challenge, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Castaway Cay Challenge, and Runner’s World Challenge.

How To Buy New Balance runDisney Shoes in 2016

New Balance Ariel shoes (New Balance)

New Balance debuted their 2016 Limited Edition runDisney Collection of shoes at the Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Weekend, with designs that pay homage to The Little Mermaid Ariel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Minnie Mouse, and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

Plus, runDisney brought together 100 race directors, media execs, and former Olympians for the first State of the Sport forum at the new runDisney Race Director Series on January 7, held at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Highlighting the event was a panel discussion with race directors from all of the World Marathon Majors, including Peter Ciaccia (TCS New York City Marathon), Tom Grilk (B.A.A. Boston Marathon), Tad Hayano (Tokyo Marathon), Hugh Brasher (Virgin Money London Marathon), Carey Pinkowski (Bank of America Chicago Marathon) and Juergen Lock (BMW Berlin Marathon), and moderated by Runner’s World editor-in-chief David Willey.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Walt Disney World Marathon medals (runDisney)

The State of the Sport forum kicked off runDisney’s new Race Director Series, which brings race directors from around the U.S. to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend for special access and insight into the operations of the four-day event. And it wouldn’t be runDisney without a challenge thrown in—the Race Director Challenge, a friendly competition during the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

Next year, Walt Disney World Resort will host the 2017 Running USA Industry Conference during the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, hosting sessions on best practices, panel discussions, industry awards, and more.

That’s not all. Special guest Paula Radcliffe, women’s marathon world record-holder and four-time Olympian, is running the 5K, 10K and half marathon at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend this year.

It all adds up to one big event. So take a look at Mickey Mouse’s favorite race weekend by the numbers.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

Walt Disney World Marathon (runDisney)

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 By The Numbers

1,100,000—combined miles adults will run at Walt Disney World Marathon races this weekend (like running around the Earth 46 times)

209,000—runners who take part in runDisney events each year

100,000—medals that will be distributed throughout the weekend including race and challenge medals

100,000—runners (many tackling multiple events) and spectators expected at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

82,000—registrations for the Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Weekend Read the rest of this entry →

Walt Disney World Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 Opens

Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 The Dark Side Registration Opens

The Star Wars Half Marathon start at Disneyland (Photo: runDisney)

Registration for the Star Wars Half Marathon 2016—The Dark Side opens Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 12 p.m. Eastern. The race will storm Walt Disney World in Florida from April 14-17, 2016. The race weekend follows the original Star Wars Half Marathon—The Light Side at Disneyland in California from January 14-17, 2016.

Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 Dark Side Registration Opens

Light Side or Dark Side? (Photo: runDisney)

The new Star Wars Half Marathon 2016 Weekend will include a 5K, 10K, Kids Races, multi-day race challenges, and a three-day runDisney Health & Fitness Expo.

Runners who complete the inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Challenge, by running the 10K and half marathon on consecutive days, will earn a Death Star-themed medal. Runners must register for the challenge and not each race individually.

And if you complete both Star Wars Half Marathons at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, also known as the Kessel Run Challenge? Fans take home a Millennium Falcon starship “Coast-to-Coast” medal.

The Star Wars Half Marathon will get a new 13.1-mile course through Walt Disney World. Runners will fly through Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and finish at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Read the rest of this entry →

21

Sep 2015

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

My sis high-fives Mickey at the finish. (Photo: MarathonFoto)

How much fun did my sister and I have at the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon? Her Mickey Mouse high-five at the finish line pretty much says it all.

When my sister decided to run her first half-marathon, there was no doubt which race it would be. She’d run her first 5K with me at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in 2012. As a family, we did everything there was to do at the time: Pasta in the Park Party, Kids Races, 5K, and my husband and I ran the Half Marathon.

So naturally, we decided to return for my sister’s 13.1 debut in 2015. I attended the race as a media guest of runDisney to write a story for Shape.com about our experience. You can read it here: Why I’d Rather Run With Women.

First, we tackled the Disney Princess Frozen 5K dressed as Disney’s most infamous sisters, Cinderella’s stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella Tremaine. We had too much fun, despite wearing tank tops in a 33-degree race.

Race Report: Frozen Disney Princess 5K

Anastasia and Drizella (Photo: runDisney)

Then, I ran the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K on my own, dressed as Cinderella in tatters, just so I could earn that beautiful Glass Slipper Challenge medal.

Finally, for the half-marathon, our choice was obvious. My sister and I are totally Elsa and Anna. Right down to our birth order, hair, coloring, and temperaments, she’s definitely an Elsa and I’m completely an Anna. We’re a match made in runDisney heaven.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Elsa & Anna! (Photo: MarathonFoto)

Yup, we learned to love team costumes from an early age.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Twinsies! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Disney Princess Half Marathon: The Course

The Disney Princess Half Marathon takes runners from just outside Epcot to the Magic Kingdom and back.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

The Course

The first five miles are a long, and sometimes lonely, stretch of road on the way to Magic Kingdom. Disney lines this section of the course with bands, DJs, and character stops, but at other parts you’ll simply hear the sound of 20,000 pairs of feet pattering away.

Highlights of the first five miles include the car entrance to the Magic Kingdom near Mile 3, which makes for a great photo opp.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Friends Tara and Lesa are runDisney photo superstars! (Photo: runDisney)

Throngs of spectators and Taiko drummers at the Ticket & Transportation Center near Mile 4 always give me a boost.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Drummers! (Photo: runDisney)

And a dancing DJ pumping tunes at the overpass leading to the Contemporary Resort near Mile 5 is also a fave of mine.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

Dancing DJ at the overpass (Photo: runDisney)

Mile 5 to 6 is by far the most exciting of the course: the run through Magic Kingdom. No matter how many times I do it, it never gets old.

From the Mile 5 marker, the course is lined with Disney cast members and spectators cheering you on. You’ll hear them before you see them—the roar of the crowds waiting on Main Street USA as you run toward Cinderella Castle. I get so pumped every time.

But before the castle, you’ll turn into Tomorrowland, run through the back of Fantasyland, then through Cinderella Castle from the carousel side and out the front. There are tons of characters, photo opps, and course photographers along the way in Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, before the castle, through the castle, and in front of the castle.

Race Report: Disney Princess Half Marathon

We nailed our Cinderella Castle shot! (Photo: MarathonFoto)

Then you’ll turn into Liberty Square before exiting the park through Frontierland. You’ll find a few more characters awaiting you in this section as you pass the Mile 6 marker and again once you exit the park. Read the rest of this entry →

Race Report: Frozen Disney Princess 5K

Race Report: Frozen Disney Princess 5K

Goofin’ with Pluto (Photo: MarathonFoto)

What happens when two Disney-loving sisters take on the Disney Princess 5K together? Costumes, cold-weather, and lots of laughs.

My sister ran her first 5K with me at the 2012 Disney Princess Tangled 5K. Three years later, we headed back to the race weekend to tackle her first half-marathon. I attended the race as a media guest of runDisney to write a story for Shape.com.

Race Report: Frozen Disney Princess 5KRace Report: Frozen Disney Princess 5KBut before we laced up for 13.1, we made our triumphant return to the Disney Princess 5K—this time clad in costume.

Drizella and Anastasia Tremaine are ready to run #Princess5K! Thank you @sparkleathletic for the inspiration & gear!

A photo posted by Karla Bruning (@runkarlarun) on

Running Costumes

We stayed up way too late the night before the race, huddled in my hotel room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, finishing our running costumes. My sister was staying at the Walt Disney World Dolphin, but decided to have a sleepover so we could head to the race together.

For the half-marathon, we planned to run as Disney’s most famous sisters—Frozen’s Elsa and Anna.

So for the 5K, we chose to run as Disney’s most infamous sisters—Cinderella‘s wicked stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella Tremaine.

Race Report: Frozen Disney Princess 5K

Anastasia and Drizella (Photo: runDisney)

Read the rest of this entry →

13

Jul 2015

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Registration Opens

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Registration Opens

Minnie cheers runners at the Wat Disney World Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)

Registration for the Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Weekend opens Tuesday, April 28 at 12 p.m. ET. Disney’s signature running event kicks off the new year from January 6-10 at Walt Disney World in Florida. The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna is the largest running festival in the U.S. with more than 65,000 finishers in five races and three race challenges: Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World 5K, runDisney Kids’ Races, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Dopey Challenge, and Disney Castaway Cay Challenge.

Race Report: Walt Disney World Marathon 2016

Runners dash through Cinderella Castle. (Photo: Todd Anderson/runDisney)

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge dares runners to complete the half-marathon and marathon on back-to-back days in order to earn a Goofy designed medal. The Dopey Challenge asks runners to take on the 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon on four consecutive days for a special Dopey-themed medal. The Castaway Cay Challenge is for runners who opt to add on a 4-night Bahamas cruise from January 11-15, run a 5K race or longer at the Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 weekend, and complete the Castaway Cay 5K on Disney Cruise Line’s private island.

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 weekend also includes the free runDisney 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.

Registration for the Runner’s World Challenge is already open and 50 percent full as of press time. Registration for all the other events will open Tuesday, April 28 at 12 p.m. ET.

New Balance Releases New Disney Shoes For Princess Half

The 2015 New Balance runDisney Retro Collection

The weekend is usually runners’ first chance to buy the newest edition of the coveted New Balance runDisney running shoes, as well. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 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.

For more information about the races, pricing, or to register for the Walt Disney World Marathon 2016, visit runDisney.com.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Weekend Sell-Out Times?
Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Registration Opens

The Magic Kingdom archway (Photo: runDisney)

The 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend broke all of the event’s previous sell-out records. The Dopey Challenge, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K and Walt Disney World 5K all sold out within 24 hours. The Walt Disney World Marathon filled up in 21 days, shattering the nearly four months it took the 2014 race to sell out.

Only Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge and runDisney kids races had availabilities lingering longer. Read the rest of this entry →

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015 Charity Bibs

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Charity Bibs

Charity runner at Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon (Photo: runDisney)

2016 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Charity Information Is Here! How To Run Sold-Out 2016 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

* * *

The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015 Weekend of races sold out in an unprecedented 30 minutes when registration opened Tuesday, March 17, with both the half-marathon and Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K getting snapped up within a half hour. But you can still run the November 6-7 races at Walt Disney World by registering via the runDisney Charity Groups or Travel Providers Programs.

Registration is still available for the runDisney Kids’ Races and Wine & Dine Pre-Race Taste. But don’t dawdle. The Kids Races were 90 percent full and Pre-Race Taste 85 percent full as of press time. Visit rundisney.com for more info or to register.

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015

Cheer! Runners get a complimentary drink at the finish. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com

No doubt the race weekend received a popularity boost as the only fall event at Walt Disney World in 2015. Previous years saw the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler in October, another nighttime race that may have split the pool of interest among runDisney fans. But with no Tower of Terror in 2015 and Expedition Everest Challenge making its final bow in May 2015, Wine & Dine becomes the only nighttime race in runDisney’s repertoire and the only fall offering at Walt Disney World.

It doesn’t hurt that the race also has the best post-race festival known to runner kind, in the form of the Finish Line Party at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which keeps Epcot open until 4 a.m.

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015 Charity Groups Program

runDisney Charity Groups offer guaranteed entries, discounted Walt Disney World Resort hotel rates, specially-prices Walt Disney World theme park tickets, and discounts on other race weekend amenities. Check with each group individually for their requirements and benefits. To register, contact each group below. Read the rest of this entry →

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Registration Opens

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Registration Opens

Runners at the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)

Looking for 2016 info? Look here: Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Registration Opens With New Races
UPDATE 3/17/15
The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K sold out in 30 minutes! If you want to run, you can still register with a charity or tour provider: Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015 Charity and Tour Bibs

Registration for the 2015 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World from November 6-7 opens Tuesday, March 17 at 12 p.m. EST. The race celebrates its sixth year.

How To Make Aladdin & Jasmine Running Costume

Bling! (Photo: Marathon Foto)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this might be my all-time favorite half-marathon. I ran Disney Wine and Dine in 2011 and 2013, as part of press trip courtesy of runDisney and New Balance, and loved every minute. I hope to keep running it for years to come. My husband proposed at the Finish Line Party after the race in 2011, so it’s our anniversary race of sorts.

But the proposal isn’t the only reason I love Disney Wine and Dine Half. The night-time race means dazzling Disney park lights and one killer after party that bumps all night long. This race is the best bang for your buck of all of runDisney’s half-marathons.

The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon starts at 10 p.m. outside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and traditionally takes runners through Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, past Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, and finally to the finish at Epcot. It’s a route runners won’t find at any other half-marathon. The Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Disney Princess Half Marathon share the same course. But Disney Wine and Dine is truly unique.

Plus, the race finishes with the best post-race party I’ve found—at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which stays open until 4 a.m. just for runners. Admission to the Finish Line party is included in race registration, along with a $15 Disney gift card and a complimentary beer or wine at the finish. Read the rest of this entry →

16

Mar 2015

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 three 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.

The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando also offer free race transportation for marathoners and half-marathoners staying with them as part of their Marathon Weekends packages. The hotels are inside the Disney gates, have complimentary park transportation for their guests, and offer another great option for racers booking a Disney runcation. Check out my full post about their offerings.

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

wine run, Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

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 →

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