If you haven’t participated in a RunDisney event yet you’re going to want to register ASAP. My friend and I ran our first Disney race this year and I can’t even explain how much fun it was!
As you know, I’m a planning freak so I did a lot of research before this trip. I found it pretty hard to find solid tips and information on these races so I thought I’d go ahead and share these:
11 Tips for Running a Disney Race!
- Wear a Costume!: Dressing up for a Disney race is one of the best parts about them! Nearly everyone dresses up so don’t worry about looking silly, you’ll look silly if you aren’t in a costume!
- Don’t Go for a Time Record: I mean you can…but good luck to you! There are definitely a huge amount of people running these races and there are parts that bottleneck. Near the end of my 10km race, for example, I couldn’t even run if I wanted to. I was weaving through people just trying to find space to break through the crowd!
- Stop for Photos!: The characters you can meet along the way are so much fun…plus it gives you a bit of a break from running! I didn’t realize the characters along the race are “rare”…Marie, for example, hadn’t been seen since a race a year prior to this one!
- Eat Something: I’m not a breakfast eater but my friend forced a banana on me before the race and I’m really thankful for that. Even though you won’t feel like eating at 4am as you stand in the dark your body will thank you and you’ll feel a lot better during the run.
- Stick Around After the Race: We were so excited to get away from the crowds of people that we didn’t realize there were characters you can take photos with after the race! It’s also fun to mingle with other people who are all excited about finishing the race and congratulating each other.
- Do the Parks the Next Day: My friend and I made the mistake of getting so excited about everything we went to Magic Kingdom after a quick hotel pit stop to shower after the race. We quickly burned out and after spending only a few hours at the park used an entire days ticket. Lesson here is accept that you need a bit of a break after the race and instead of heading into the park enjoy a poolside day at the hotel!
- Stay on Site: The shuttles from the Disney resorts are so convenient, everything is well signed and everyone is so friendly you almost forget you are on a shuttle at 3:30am. Plus, you don’t have to worry about race day traffic, parking or getting up even earlier to accommodate for the drive to the park.
- Get to the Expo Early: It’s crazy how quickly things sell out. I wasn’t super keen on buying much from the Expo anyways, but if I had wanted anything I would have been disappointed. Turns out that people buy excess items to resell online for a profit…who knew there were such crazy Disney fans!?…you’ll learn so much at these events!
- Don’t Worry About Getting Swept: My friend and I were paranoid about being too slow because of character photo stops. It’s hard to find information on sweepers and we didn’t fully understand how it worked but after running the race it’s really not that bad! Basically there are a few people who keep a 16 minute mile pace from the last corrals start time. Essentially they end up walking the course and carry balloons so you can see them behind you. We were in corral C and until the end of the race when we had to stop for a photo with Princess Minnie (even though the line was super long and we had already stopped at every other character along the way) that we even saw the sweepers at all. They actually passed us when we were in line and as soon as we had our photo taken we sprinted to catch up and get ahead of them…which was easy to do. Apparently there’s a cart that follows these balloon people that picks people up but we never even saw it!
- Buy the Photo Pass: The photos they take are amazing! It’s so much fun having the memories and not having to worry about using your own camera (and carrying it for the whole race). We used my cellphone for backup photos at the beginning but quickly gave up after realizing the quality was so poor and that it was easier and faster not to worry about it.
- Wear a Sweater: The morning of the race will be chilly…and even if the weather itself isn’t too cold your body will naturally freeze you out at 3:30am no matter what. We went to the local Target and picked up cheap sweaters that we were okay with tossing. The good news is that Disney picks up all the tossed sweaters and donates them so you don’t need to feel wasteful by doing this!