Walt Disney World (FL)

Upcoming Walt Disney World Races

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When I finished up last week’s post on the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, I started to think about the runDisney races that I was considering doing between now and Marathon Weekend 2013.  It got me thinking that there are a not only a large number of runners in the Disney community, but there are also a number of people who might be interested in running a race at Walt Disney World.   Between now and next January, there are 5 race weekends, and one or more of them may fit your needs.

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend
February 24 – 26, 2012

$150 per person / $300 per team, limited space remains

In 2011, this was the weekend of my first Disney World race, the Royal Family 5K.  This weekend race was sort of a validation moment for me, and I have nothing but good memories of it.  It’s designed as a family race, and parents are encouraged to run with their kids.  There’s even a stroller division that allows for you to push along a child as you run.  This race starts and finishes in the parking lot of Epcot and travels through backstage areas as well as World Showcase.  Plenty of characters can be found along the way it’s a lot of fun.

The big race of the weekend is the Princess Half Marathon.  Disney presents this as a race for women, but the truth is that anyone can run it, because as with every Disney race the only current requirement is a pace of 16 minutes or less per mile.  What I enjoy most about this race is that it has more costumes than the WDW Half and Full Marathons.  This year I’m looking forward to being able cheer for a number of friends running in this race – the very first Disney race for some of them.  The race follows the same course through Magic Kingdom and Epcot as the WDW Half Marathon.

Hosted at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the Fit for a Princess Expo is a great place to pick up some new running gear, or some last minute items you might need for your race.  The Complex will also be hosting race packet pickup, so why not stop by since you’ll be there.  You could also head out to the Track & Field area to see the Royal Family Kids’ Races complete with a Diaper Dash (yes, racing babies).  And all the big race weekends have a Pasta in the Park Party, this one takes place in the Wonders of Life Pavilion and finishes up with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Expedition Everest Challenge
May 5, 2012

$89 between December 13 – February 26, 2012
$99 between February 27 – April 15, 2012
$109 between April 16 – May 5, 2012

$175 between December 13 – February 26, 2012
$190 between February 27 – April 15, 2012
$205 between April 16 – May 5, 2012

Without a doubt the most fun of the 5K races I’ve run was the Expedition Everest Challenge.  As the name implies, it’s not just a race, it’s a challenge.  Several in fact.  There is of course the race itself, a 5K course that leads individuals and teams of two around the parking lot of Animal Kingdom through the park and out to Conservation Station, and back to the parking lot again.  There’s running through back stage locations, as well as characters along the way.  And don’t forget the obstacles.  While not as bad as they might sound, they are available to try along the way if you want to.

The fun of this race lies in part with its backstory.  You are a member of a expedition team headed up Mount Everest in hopes of capturing a glimpse of and possibly catching the elusive Yeti.  First there is the trek to the base of the mountain itself – the 5K.  Then once you “arrive” you need to solve a few puzzles as part of a scavenger hunt in order to be able to complete the race, and “climb” Everest.

I highly recommend doing this race as a team, it’s the sort of thing you really want to get to experience with someone else.  This year I’m hoping to get to run it with my wife, Cheryl.  Of all the races I’ve run so far, this one has the coolest looking medal, and that alone might be enough to incentivize you to run.  And if it’s not, the race is now held at night and is followed by a post-race party in Animal Kingdom where you can ride Expedition Everest as much as you like.  It brings a whole new perspective to the ride if you’ve never done it before.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend
September 28 – 29, 2012

$150 per person (approximately, cost currently unknown)

This race has me more excited than any other coming up right now.  It’s a new offering from runDisney, that both resurrects and pluses the old Tower of Terror 13K (about 8 miles).  This is a 10 mile race through Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is sure to be a blast.  Based on prior races, it’s very likely that this race will not actually start inside the Studios but will more likely start outside the park.  The most likely starting point would be the ESPN Sports Complex itself, but another spot that has potential is Blizzard Beach.

No matter where it starts though, this race is going to end somewhere in Hollywood Studios.  The most desired finish would be near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – after all the race is named after this attraction.  This race is sure to be a thrill as it’s also going to be dedicated to all the Disney Villains, and they’ll be out all over the race course to delight and maybe even scare the runners.  This race goes on sale February 14, 2012.

I’m expecting this weekend to not have a race expo, similar to how there is no expo for Expedition Everest.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
November 9 – 10, 2012
* projections based on the Relay and Half Marathon deferral pages

Relay: $230 – $250 per team (projected cost)

Half Marathon: $145 – $165 (projected cost)

While no specific details have been revealed about this years race, we do know that it was moved from the first weekend of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to the last weekend in order to make way for the new Tower of Terror race.  Overall the weekend offerings should be very similar to last year.  This means that there will be a Half Marathon and a Half Marathon Relay.  There is some question as to when the Halloween 5K race will be held – it could potentially remain at the beginning of Food & Wine with the Tower of Terror Race.

One thing I recommend is that if you’re training for the January 2013 races, consider running one of the two parts of the Wine & Dine Relay like I did.  Doing this was a great milestone in my training to get me prepared for what was ahead.  It also helped removed a lot of my fear and doubt about doing a Half Marathon.

Since this is a Half Marathon Weekend, there should still be a race expo to attend.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (still for 2012)
January 10 – 13, 2013 (projected dates)
* projections based on the Half Marathon & Full Marathon and Goofy deferral pages

Full or Half Marathon: $140 to $160 (projected cost)

Goofy: $310 to $330 (projected cost)

It’s hard to think about Marathon Weekend when it just passed less than a month ago, but I chose to include it to complete a look at the year ahead.  You can expect a Full Marathon, a Half Marathon, a return of the Half Marathon Relay, and a 5K as well as the largest of the Health & Fitness Expos put on by Disney during the year.

While no official dates have been announced, I did find the deferral pages for people who were unable to attend the 2012 races.  These pages allow them to use money they had paid toward a 2012 race and apply that payment toward a 2013 race.  From these pages, I was able to determine a set of projected dates for the 2013 Marathon Weekend as well as project the cost of the race packages.  Otherwise there is not much info at this time.

Which race is right for you? Are you a princess? A frog? Perhaps a Sherpa far from home? An undertaker who fancies a midnight run? Like to end your runs with a glass of wine or a beer? Or just a bit Goofy or Dopey?

Interested in learning more about Walt Disney World races from the TouringPlans.com brain trust?  What about resort running?  Favorite running paths?  Tips about running?  Training for the Walt Disney World races? Etc.  What if we took all that knowledge and boiled it down into an eBook that you could download and take with you?  Please let us know in the comments below.  Thanks!


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Todd Perlmutter

Todd is a Central Florida local who just so happens to be a mega geeky Disney, tech, and gaming nerd. Lives or dies by his iPhone - it spending a significant amount of time in his hand while he's at Walt Disney World. In addition to being blogger here at TouringPlans.com he is also a developer working on the Touring Plans Engine, the Chief Technical Officer for The Disney Driven Life, and co-host of the Disney Film Project Podcast. Loves his wife (@cherylp3) and pup (@DisneyDoggie). You can reach Todd via Twitter (@tperlmutter) or Facebook (tperlmutter).

22 thoughts on “Upcoming Walt Disney World Races

  • When I ran the 5k this January they were very emphatic that you are NOT allowed to actually run with a stroller. You must be in the last corral which is for walkers-which you will be doing. I thought it was a little strange that they didn’t put this into the registration anywhere. In fact they have all this stuff about making sure the children are securely strapped in…so maybe this is a recent change.

    • Interesting, but the Feb race is specifically for Families so it might be different. And I can tell you that when we ran it last year people were definitely running with their strollers.

  • Thanks Todd, great summary of what runDisney has to offer. I also am just coming off the January 1/2 marathon. What a great experience. That was the first Disney “race” for my wife and I, and we really enjoyed it. I say race in quotes because I think of these races more as events than races. There are so many people and the course is so tight in many places that it’s hard to race unless you’re up at the front. And then Disney puts such cool things to see along the course, so I don’t know why anyone would not want to slow down or stop and take it in anyway. We carried a small camera. I might even be able to pull off a full marathon at an easier pace and enjoy the scenery along the way. Maybe 2012 is my year? Maybe yours too? Good luck, keep running.

    • Thanks Steve, and good luck to you and your wife too. I completely agree, I’ve intentionally gotten my normal pace down so that I can stop and enjoy stuff along the way. My goal is to finish, not to “win”. 🙂

      • I totally agree too. I trained really hard for my first Disney race to try and get the best time I could. I abandoned that plan about 10 seconds out of the corrals. There were so many people and there was so much to see and do. I felt a lot less stress going into the 2012 half because I went in with the mentality of have fun and finish!

  • I’m a DVC member, and gave been planning to attend the WDW Marathon Weekend again in 2013. Ideally I’ll set resort reservations 11 months prior (i.e., within the next two weeks). I sent an email to runDisney two Weeks ago inquiring about 2013 dates. Their response was it was likely to be the weekend of Jan 10, 2013 but would not be finalized until registration opened. Typically registration opens mid-March. Since they hedged a bit in their answer, I think I will wait to register with the resort. But I found the same info as was mentioned above about the 2013 dates.

  • I ran the Wine and Dine in 2011 and the Half in Jan 2012. I am totally hooked on Disney races. I have signed up for Expedition Everest and have the TOT registration day marked on my calendar. Can anyone tell me if they have ever had a FULL marathon that was not scheduled for a Sunday? I really want to do a full Disney marathon but I dont run on Sundays.

    • Awesome.

      I have no idea, I only started running them last year. I do know that the Half and Full Marathon’s in January used to occur on the same day, but not sure if that was a Saturday or Sunday thing.

      Is “no Sundays” for religious reasons?

      • Yes. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) so I prefer not to run on Sundays in order to observe the sabbath. Lucky for me there are lots of Disney races on Saturday and I plan on running all of them. I am especially looking forward to the TOT race in September. I hope they have LOTS of Villians to take pictures with. I would love to see the Evil Queen (the non-Hag version) and Maleficent. Ooh – and Mother Gothel from Tangled. I cant wait to see all the runners costumes too.

      • Yes, costumes will be awesome I imagine.

        I completely understand the religious issues involved. I went so far as to talk with my Rabbi about running on Saturdays. His feeling was that as long as it was for personal reasons that did lie in the realm of personal gain it was acceptable. That it’s for charity in the end also makes it a mitzvah.

  • I was trying to decide between the Tower of Terror 10 Miler or the Wine and Dine 1/2…maybe I’ll just do them both 🙂 They would be my first and second Run Disney events. Anyone have any predictions as to when the TOT race will sell out? Wine and dine?

    • Most of the races don’t 100% sell out until a few weeks before. As I indicated above you can even still sign up for the Princess Half or the Royal Family 5K which is in about 3 weeks from now.

      I suspect that ToT will be very popular, but it’s not on sale until the 14th either. Last year I signed up for the Wine & Dine Relay in March, but it didn’t sell out until September iirc.

  • I am registered for the Everest Challenge and I am excited! I am doing it solo as I could not find someone to run it with me…hopefully will find some nice folks along the way!
    Always fun to run through Disney!

    • Well should you find someone between now and the race, you can amend two individual registrations into a Team registration. As an FYI.

  • I’m registered for the Everest Challenge and it’s my first 5k ever! I’m excited but pretty darn nervous. I’ll see you there, Todd!

    • Kristen-don’t be nervous, you’ll do great! I ran my 1st 5k at the 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend and if this race is anything like the 5k Family Fiesta you have nothing to worry about! Enjoy the experience!

  • While there has been no update on the RunDisney website about the dates of Marathon 2013, the latest news letter had the dates posted as Jan 10-13, 2013. Once again TouringPlans gets it right. Nice post. I am trying to convince my family to let me run the Goofy Challenge, especially since this is the 20th anniversary of the Disney Marathon. Hopefully there will be another special metal, like the 15th ann.

    • Yeah, while a Full Marathon really scares me right now, a Mickey Medal is something I feel I need. I suspect you’re right on their being a special Medal.

  • not so patiently waiting for more informatoin on Tower of Terror 10 mile! Have to say, I’d be kind of bummed if there is no Expo before that race…….I didn’t get to expereince much of last year’s Wine and Dine expo because the kids were grumpy. This year my husband and I are leaving the kids at home for this trip. I can’t wait to run this!! It sounds like a great race……..now to figure out when I can make it back for Princess!!

    • While the January expo is the best in terms of coverage, Wine & Dine was neat because it had some food & nutrition sessions. For example Emily from BabyCakes did some lectures.

      There very well could be an expo during ToT because its a “Weekend”, but the dates are a Fri/Sat not the whole weekend. Which is why I suspect there’s no Expo.


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