New Ways to Celebrate at Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney has been undergoing a large refurbishment for over a year as it transforms into Disney Springs. The good news is that the new aspects are now starting to become a reality!

New Ways to Celebrate at Downtown Disney

The Landing, which is located between the Marketplace and West Side (formerly Pleasure Island) already has a few stores and dining areas open. Take a look at the new ways you can celebrate your runDisney accomplishment!

The Boathouse

Managed by the award-winning Gibsons Restaurant Group, this dining experience is one of the most unique! Not only will you enjoy fantastic surf and turf for lunch or dinner, you can also go on a private cruise in an amphibicar! Your dream boat from the ’30s, ’40s or ’50s will take you on a 20 minute guided tour of Downtown Disney.

Erin McKenna’s Bakery

A sweet treat is a great way to celebrate, especially after a long distance accomplishment! Erin McKenna’s Bakery focuses on all natural ingredients like agave or vegan sugar, along with non-GMO Canola Oil or Coconut Oil. They also do not bake with soy or dairy and offer gluten-free and egg-free options! Choose from cupcakes, cookies, donuts, tea cakes, bagels and more!

Vivoli il Gelateria

This world-famous, family-run gelato shop has been in Florence, Italy for over 85 years and now has opened in Downtown Disney! Enjoy authentic Italian gelati, sorbetti, espresso drinks and more. (We’ve heard from one of our Italian friends that this is the BEST!)

New Ways to Celebrate at Downtown Disney

Meals and desserts aren’t the only way to celebrate in Downtown Disney, although even more restaurants are on the way. Stay tuned as additional stores open in the new Disney Springs including: Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, Pandora, Ugg and much more!


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How to Survive a Whirlwind runDisney Race Weekend

runDisney race weekends are jam-packed with activities. From the expo to the races, the breakfasts to the attractions, the parties to the shopping – there is a lot to experience!

How to Survive a Whirlwind runDisney Weekend

Yet there are times when you can’t take off a few extra days to compliment your runDisney race weekend, meaning you are coming to Walt Disney World or Disneyland for the race weekend only. So how do you survive a whirlwind runDisney race weekend? Let’s take a look!

Decide what is most important. Yes, there are a LOT of things to take in during a runDisney race weekend. However, you do not need to experience them all to have a magical time! Determine what races and extras are most important to you, and plan those first. The last thing you want during your whirlwind weekend is to be so tired, you can’t enjoy the race! (Note: Remember that you MUST go to the expo to pick up your race bib.)

Skip the parks. Go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland and skip the parks? Blasphemy! While going to the parks is definitely a perk to a runDisney race, when you are only in the area for a couple of days – the parks can be skipped. (Especially if you participate in multiple runDisney race weekends or live nearby.) During a quick weekend at Disney, the time getting to the parks, walking from attraction to attraction, etc. can drain you easily – resulting in a less than ideal race weekend.

Rest as much as you can. Everyone begins to feel like a kid again when they step foot onto Disney property! While it is easy to want to spend every moment exploring, make sure you get rest too. Those wake up calls will be early, so don’t waste too much energy doing things other than running your race. That being said, if the sleep is minimal during your whirlwind weekend – you can always make it up later at home!

How to Survive a Whirlwind runDisney Weekend

Plan your travel schedule smartly. When planning your whirlwind trip, make sure that you look at all race times and plan accordingly. If you are flying, pay close attention to the flight times – allowing for ample time to get to and from the airport. This is especially important if you will be flying home the day of your race! You don’t want to be running back to Epcot when your flight is taking off.

Don’t forget to have fun! During these whirlwind weekends, it can be easy to get caught up in the fact that you only have X hours at Disney. You can also easily start to worry about details. In the midst of the lack of sleep and short amount of time – don’t forget to have fun! While the quick runDisney trips may not be ideal, it is a great way to pack a lot of magic into one great weekend.


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Jeff Galloway 13.1 Race Weekend GIVEAWAY

To those who participate in runDisney races, the name Jeff Galloway should be very well known. Not only is he the official training consultant for runDisney, he also is an Olympian, author, running coach and much more. Yet most runDisney runners know him because of his training method – the run/walk/run.

In December 2014, Jeff and his wife Barbara decided to take their running one step farther and held the inaugural Jeff Galloway Race Weekend! The race was held in Jeff’s hometown – Atlanta, Georgia, where he also opened the world’s first specialty running store, Phidippides. With Jeff’s 13.1 half marathon and Barb’s 5K, this race weekend had a stellar debut.

Jeff Galloway 13.1

The second annual Jeff Galloway Race Weekend (December 11-13, 2015) holds even more excitement. Along with the Jeff Galloway 13.1 and Barb’s 5K, there will also be an expo and Fit Kids Run/Walk – ranging from 100 yards to 1 mile. Like the inaugural event, a virtual race component will also be available for those who want to participate but can’t make it to Atlanta. (Yes, the virtual runners get the race shirt and medal as well!) For more information, visit

Jeff and his amazing crew have given us the opportunity to give away a JG 13.1 race entry to one of our wonderful runner friends! This race entry can be for the race in Atlanta or the virtual option.

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Giveaway ends on July 11, 2015 at 11:59 EST. 


Resort Review: Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Enjoy the grandeur of a New England-style lakeside hotel at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort! Bask in the views of Crescent Lake and the Boardwalk at this Epcot resort.

Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Located in between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, this resort is just a walk (or boat ride) away from either park. Bus transportation is available to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney.

In terms of room types, the Yacht Club offers standard, garden or woods and lagoon or pool views. All rooms come with 2 queen beds and a day bed, 1 queen bed and a twin-size sleeper chair or 1 king bed and a day bed. Concierge level rooms offer the same room types, along with a larger deluxe room or various suite options. If possible, ask for a room closer to the lobby as the hallways can be quite long!

Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Connected to the Beach Club, your family can enjoy the amenities both resorts have to offer. The biggest draw is Stormalong Bay! This pool area is almost a mini-water park with a sand-bottomed pool, lazy river, whirlpool spas and water slide. You can also enjoy boat rentals, fishing, tennis, volleyball, a playground and a fantastic running trail around the Epcot resort area. For unique experiences, watch a movie under the stars on the beach or even set sail on a Pirate Adventure Cruise.

Disney's Yacht Club Resort

When it comes to dining, there are many options to enjoy. Yachtsman Steakhouse is a great signature meal. Cape May Cafe offers a character breakfast and a clam bake for dinner. For a fun time, head to Beaches and Cream for the infamous Kitchen Sink! There are also plenty of additional dining options at the nearby Boardwalk.

During a runDisney race weekend, the Yacht Club is a great resort during the Walt Disney World Marathon and Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Both of these courses pass right by the Yacht Club, which is great for spectators! (Note: This location is too close to also see your runner finish.) The Yacht Club is also within walking distance after the Wine & Dine Finish Line Party at Epcot. Bus transportation is available to and from all races, as long as it is a host resort.


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How to Approach a runDisney Health & Fitness Expo

The official start to any runDisney event is the Health & Fitness Expo! This is where you pick up your race bib, race shirts, listen to speakers and do a little shopping.

How to Approach a runDisney Expo

We have compiled tips on how to navigate the expo, but another question may remain – how should you approach it? Here are two ways that we have experienced.

Get In and Get Out

Whether you are short on time or just want to head to the parks instead, this is the option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time at the expo. Our first recommendation is to drive or even take a taxi, if possible. While the host resorts do offer transportation, it may include multiple stops.

Once you arrive at the Wide World of Sports Complex, head straight for the HP Field House. Inside is where you will pick up your bib (don’t forget your ID and waiver!). Here is where you need to do a little research. Each event houses the race shirts in different locations. You may be lucky enough to get your race shirt at the Field House, which makes for your expo trip to be even quicker. However, many times you need to go to the Jostens Center to get your shirt. The shirts are located on the far side, so anticipate extra time to pick it up.

If you plan to do a little shopping or listen to a speaker series, try to map it out ahead of time. That being said, if your plan is to get in and out quickly – bypass both of these and just grab your bib and shirt and go! After all, with the expo occurring on multiple days – you can always head back if you wish.

Take a Leisurely Stroll

If you have the time or it’s your first expo experience, taking the leisurely approach may be just what you need! Set aside a few hours (or even more) and head to the expo. This is where you can just take it all as it comes!

Depending on how many times you want to go back and forth between the Field House and Jostens Center, decide if you want to get your race bib first or shop first. If your plan is to get some of the coveted runDisney merchandise, heading to the Jostens Center first is a must.

While in the Jostens Center, you can explore the vendors row by row. If you have made an appointment for the New Balance shoes, keep an eye on the time so you can be nearby if needed. The vendors offer many deals and some even include fun extras like photo booths, samples and more.

Be sure to take a look at the speaker series schedule as well. These are great opportunities to get information from people like Jeff Galloway, Tara Gidus and even a few celebrities. Not only is it informational, but it also offers a way to rest your legs during your time at the expo. After all, you still have some running ahead of you!

Health & Fitness Expo

No matter your approach, the expo is a must during a runDisney race. We definitely encourage you to take it all in – it is part of your runDisney experience!

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Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

From mid-September to early November, there is a party that you won’t want to miss at Walt Disney World! Mickey has invited his friends, and maybe even a few villains to his not-so-scary Halloween party!

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

This ticketed event occurs multiple evenings each week. Officially beginning at 7 pm, Magic Kingdom is closed to everyone but those attending this party. Tickets begin at $68 each (plus tax) for adults and $63 each (plus tax) for children ages 3-9.

The party encourages everyone to wear their favorite costume as you can trick-or-treat in the park! (And we know runDisney runners have some pretty awesome costumes!) That’s right, your family can trick-or-treat in the park, and those bags often are filled with a great selection of candy. (If you have dietary restrictions, be sure to visit City Hall and ask for specific dietary candy or options.)

Yet there is more in store. The party also includes a special parade and fireworks show! Be sure to check out the Boo To You Parade as the headless horseman makes a very special appearance. The villains also take over the stage in front of Cinderella Castle for a great show. And, of course, additional Disney magic appears throughout the park!

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

To fully enjoy this party, here are a few tips:

  • Even though the party officially begins at 7 pm, in the past you been able to arrive to the park beginning at 4 pm.
  • Be sure to pick up a party-exclusive map. This will show you where you can trick-or-treat, along with the times of the special events and shows.
  • Dress up! This truly is a Halloween party, so get the whole family in their favorite costumes!
  • In the past, this party has been a great addition to the Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend. If that race (or something similar) returns, be sure to secure tickets early.


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