Runners at the Walt Disney World Marathon (Photo: runDisney)
During my latest visit to Walt Disney World for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, I stayed at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek for two nights to get the scoop on their Marathon Weekends, offered during many runDisney races since 2011. Marathon Weekends at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and the adjacent Waldorf Astoria Orlando offer runners complimentary transportation to runDisney half-marathons and marathon, an included pre-race breakfast and send-off party, discounted rates that include late check-out, a runner’s concierge, and more.
Deluxe Double Queen guest room (Photo: Hilton)
My room was large, comfortable, and clean with a beautiful view of the pool and Walt Disney World beyond. And best of all, it was within the gates of Walt Disney World Resort—a 10-minute drive to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios—with free transportation to the parks. I thoroughly enjoyed the hotel and would stay there again in a heartbeat when visiting or running Walt Disney World. The value and bang-for-your-buck is exceptional.
As a mid-week guest I wasn’t able to experience the Marathon Weekends myself, but chatted with folks in the know, got a look at some of the runner amenities like the welcome bag, and took in much of what the resort had to offer. I ran the property, lounged poolside in a cabana, made use of guests’ 10% discount at the Waldorf Astoria spa, hit the lobby coffee shop—which has some amazing pastries, by the way—and more.
Here’s the low-down on Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Marathon Weekends, early bird Marathon Weekend rates for the 2015 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, and runner-friendly amenities at the resort.Read the rest of this entry →
Charity runner at Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon (Photo: runDisney)
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.
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 →
Running with my Prince Charming at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. (Photo: brightroom)
Although this weekend snuck up on me, I’m incredibly excited. It will be my seventh runDisney race, second time at Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, and the first doing the Glass Slipper Challenge. For a gal who named her dog Cinderella, this is pretty exciting stuff.
But even more important than earning a Cinderella-themed medal is the woman who will be by my side: my sister.
Back in 2012, my husband (then fiancé) and I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon as Cinderella and Prince Charming, where he paced me to a new personal best. I’d been training hard and was really excited for the race.
My sister and her kids came along for vacation too. My niece and nephew ran in the runDisney Kids Race, and Sis was out there early on half-marathon morning cheering me on along the course and at the finish.
She’s long been one of my best supporters, coming out to root for me at the Chicago Marathon, New York City Marathon, and other races, often with a home-made sign in hand. Read the rest of this entry →
The 2015 New Balance runDisney Retro Collection (Photo: Disney)
New Balance and runDisney are at it again! New Balance announced the release of another pair of Disney shoes for the 2015 runDisney Retro Mickey and Minnie collection.
The new 860v5 are a performance shoe meant to compliment the previously released 990v3 recovery Retro Mickey and Minnie shoes. Steamboat Willie, Mickey’s Mouse’s debut character in 1928, was the inspiration for both styles, along with New Balance’s classic styling. Using black, grey, and white like the original black-and-white film, the shoes also feature musical notes and images of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.
The 860v5 is a stability shoe with soft cushioning for runners who overpronate moderately. Two levels of foam make up the midsole with a lightweight TBeam for stability and arch support, along with an asymmetrical heel counter for added stability. The upper is a stretch air mesh with no-sew overlay for lots of wiggle room in the toes. And mono mesh paired with an underlay create a secure mid-foot wrap. Read the rest of this entry →
Angela Brito of Ecuador is the first female at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. (Preston Mack/Disney, photographer)
The Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Weekend presented by Cigna from January 7-11 at Walt Disney World in Florida wraps up Sunday with the title event, a 26.2-mile tour of Mickey Mouse’s realm.
The medal haul from the Dopey Challenge. (Photo: runDisney)
The four-day extravaganza is the largest running festival in the U.S. with 84,150 registrations and an estimated 65,000 finishers in the weekend’s five events: Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World 5K and runDisney Kids Races.
Here’s a look at Mickey Mouse’s favorite race by the numbers.
Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 By The Numbers
209,000—runners who take part in runDisney events each year
84,150—registrations for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
The 2015 Retro Mickey and Minnie shoes (runDisney)
UPDATE 2/14/15: Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
Runners can sign up at nbvirtualqueue.com using their bib numbers starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, February 19 for an early chance to buy the shoes at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Health & Fitness Expo. Everyone else (and runners too) can sign up at 6 a.m. on Friday, February 20 and Saturday, February 21. The queue is first come, first served. Scroll down for more info on buying the New Balance Disney running shoes.
UPDATE 1/14/15: Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend
Runners can sign up at nbvirtualqueue.com using their bib numbers starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, January 15 for an early chance to buy the shoes at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo. Everyone else (and runners too) can sign up at 6 a.m. on Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17. The queue is first come, first served. Scroll down for more info on buying the New Balance Disney running shoes.
2015 Disney Running Shoes Unveiled
The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna from January 7-11 is just around the corner, which means the arrival of the 2015 New Balance Disney running shoes!
2015 Retro Minnie Shoes (runDisney)
New Balance announced they’re releasing a new limited edition runDisney shoe for 2015: Retro Mickey and Retro Minnie 990v3 inspired by Steamboat Willie, the black and white film that introduced the iconic mice to the world in 1928. The new pairs of kicks (above) debut at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo starting January 7.
The black and white shoes in men’s sizes ranging from 7 to 15, and grey and white in women’s sizes ranging from 5.5 to 12, have musical notes on the front sole, images of Mickey and Minnie, character signatures and Mickey heads on the liners. They will sell for $185. Check out a 360 degree view of the shoes and scroll to find out how to buy them.
The 2014 shoes
2014 Disney Running Shoes Return
Didn’t get your hands on any of the 2014 shoes? Not to worry! New Balance is bringing them back to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna in Florida and Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation from January 15-18 at Disneyland in California. That includes the stability 860v4 Sorcerer Mickey & Pink Minnie Disney running shoes and the neutral 890v4 Goofy & Cinderella Disney running shoes.
How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015
Want to snap up a pair of the 2014 or 2015 Disney running shoes? They’re only available at runDisney race expos throughout the year. Your first chance is coming up soon at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
The only way to get a spot to buy the shoes is through NBvirtualqueue.com. At Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, two of the four expo sales days are reserved exclusively for runners, with the general public able to make an appointment to buy shoes during the other two days. Read the rest of this entry →
Here’s what runDisney has planned for 2015, including a Frozen themed 5K and Kids Races with medals to match.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
Disney Princess Half Marathon
Disney Princess Enchanted 10K
Disney Glass Slipper Challenge
Disney Princess 5K themed to Frozen
runDisney Kids Races themed to Frozen
Other race options include:
Coast-to-Coast Race Challenge
Disney Castaway Cay Challenge
The Disney Princess Half Marathon takes runners from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and back, including a run through Cinderella Castle. The 10K, 5K courses and Kids Races go through Epcot.
The weekend also includes the Happily Ever After Party in Downtown Disney—a post-race celebration on Sunday—and the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from Thursday through Saturday. Both events are free and open to the public.
The weekend’s ticketed events include the Pasta in the Park Party on Friday and Saturday nights in Epcot with a buffet pasta dinner, Disney character Meet & Greets, DJ, face painter and a reserved viewing spot for “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” a light, laser, and fireworks show; the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Breakfast on Friday and Saturday after the 5K and 10K, respectively; and VIP Race Retreat Packages, which give runners access to a suite of pre- and post-race amenities. Read the rest of this entry →
It was a record sell-out for the runDisney event. The Dopey Challenge, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K and Disney Family Fun Run 5K all sold out within 24 hours. The Walt Disney World Marathon filled up in 21 days, shattering the nearly 4 months it took the 2014 race to sell out.
Mickey Mouse & Snow White at the Kids Races. (Photo: runDisney)
Entries remain available for the runDisney Kids Races and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, where runners complete both the half marathon and marathon on back-to-back days. For the 10th running of the event, runners will earn a special anniversary Goofy-themed medal. As of press time, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge is 62 percent full and the runDisney Kids Races are 50 percent sold.
But if you really want to run any of the other events at the Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Weekend from January 7-11 in Florida, you still can if you register through a charity or tour group.
Contact the following organizations directly to find out how to register for the races through them. Charities will ask runners to raise a certain amount of money for participating in the race, and tour providers may require purchase of a travel package. Read the rest of this entry →
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
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.
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.
The Wishes Nightime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom. (Photo: Disney)
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 →
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.
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.
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 →
UPDATE 11/4/2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend:
For the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, runners can sign up with their bib number online at NBvirtualQueue.com, beginning at 6:00 a.m. Friday, November 7 to get an early bird appointment to try on and buy runDisney New Balance shoes. For the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend, runners can sign up beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, November 14. Spectators and other shoppers can buy the runDisney New Balance shoes at the expo on Saturday during each race weekend. For more information and to sign-up, visit NBvirtualQueue.com.
UPDATE 10/2/2014 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend:
For the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend, runners can sign up with their bib number online at NBvirtualQueue.com, beginning at 6:00 a.m. Friday, October 3 to get an appointment to try on and buy runDisney New Balance shoes. Spectators and other shoppers can buy the runDisney New Balance shoes at the expo on Saturday, October 4. For more information and to sign-up, visit NBvirtualQueue.com.
For the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, runners can sign up with their bib number online at NBvirtualQueue.com, beginning at 6:00 a.m. PDT each morning that the race expo is open to get an appointment to try on and buy runDisney New Balance shoes. Spectators and other shoppers can buy the runDisney New Balance shoes at the expo on Saturday, August 30. For more information and to sign-up, visit NBvirtualQueue.com.
I attended the 2013 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend as part of a press trip sponsored by New Balance and runDisney, where they gave runners a first glimpse of the new New Balance Disney shoes. I’ve subsequently gotten a lot of questions about how to buy them. Here’s the scoop on how to get your hands on them at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
First, the New Balance Disney shoes are only available at runDisney race expos. Unfortunately, they are not sold online. Though I’m sure some enterprising individuals will hawk them for obscene amounts of money on eBay, as happened last year, or offer their services as virtual personal shoppers.
But New Balance is now offering runners with bibs at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend a way to register early to buy the shoes before all those non-runners, who are merely trying to capitalize on the craze.
How To Buy New Balance Disney Shoes For Runners With Bibs
Starting at 6 a.m. each day of Disney’s Fit For a Princess Expo from Thursday, February 20 through Saturday, February 22 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, runners can visit www.nbvirtualqueue.com to enter their bib number and sign up early for a reservation at the New Balance expo booth. There, they can try on and purchase the New Balance Disney shoes.
Runners can reserve one style in a specific size ahead of time, and can buy three additional pairs in any style and size from the non-reserved inventory. Once registered, New Balance will send you a confirmation text with your group number, confirmation number, return time and requested style and size.
The start of the 2013 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler. (Photo: runDisney)
I already reminded you that registration for the 7 Mile Bridge Run in the Florida Keys opens Tuesday, February 11 at 6 a.m. EST. But another popular Florida race opens registration the same day: the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler.
I’ve never run either race, but have run other races at Walt Disney World as media courtesy of runDisney.
Registration for the 2014 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend from October 3-4, 2014 at Walt Disney World opens Tuesday, February 11 at 12 p.m. EST.
This race doesn’t sell out as quickly as, say, the Disneyland Half Marathon or the 7 Mile Bridge Run, but it will sell out.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend is dedicated to the villains as the Disney baddies come out in the dark with a nighttime race that starts at 10 p.m.
At the 2013 race, 9,480 runners finished the 10-mile course that starts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, heads to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Champion Stadium, and finishes at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror back at Hollywood Studios.
Runners disguised as Cinderella’s step sisters pose with Snow White’s evil queen disguised as an old woman. (Photo: runDisney)
But what I imagine is the best part of the race comes after the finish at the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash at Hollywood Studios, where rides like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Star Tours and Toy Story Mania stay open just for runners and their guests. Admission to the party is included in race registration for runners. Friends and family can buy tickets too.
Other races at the weekend include the Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run and runDisney Kids’ Races, including a Diaper Dash for babies and 1-mile run for older kids. Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo will be in full swing too. All those events take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend benefits Autism Speaks, a charity that funds research for treatments, causes, prevention and a cure for autism, raises awareness of autism, and advocates for autistic individuals and their families. Read the rest of this entry →
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.
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!)
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.
I’m not the fastest runner and I’m not the slowest, but I am a running nerd. A journalist by trade, I love to research, read, learn and cogitate. So stick with me. Like all good nerds, I’ll do the homework and share it. But the running is up to you!