Top 10 Tips to Prepare for Race Day

No matter if it is your first or hundredth race, there are always a bit of race day nerves involved. Add in the excitement of a runDisney race and the butterflies are sure to be flying!

Tips for Race Day

Here are our tips to ensure that you are well prepared for your runDisney race day!

1. Train well. While it may go without saying, you definitely need to train for your race day! No matter what distance you are setting out to conquer, be sure to take a few months to train. Check with your doctor, then choose a training plan. (runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway offers plans for most runDisney races!) runDisney races do have a 16-minute per mile pace requirement, but it is suggested you train for a 14 or 15-minute per mile pace in order to take photos with characters. Remember that a solid training base means you can have even more fun on race day!

2. Plan what you will bring and wear. During your training, pay close attention to what works and what doesn’t. If you are training for a longer distance, what fuel and fluids work best? For a warmer month, what clothes offer the least amount of chafing? By knowing what works, you will have a plan on what to pack for your big race!

3. Take a spin in your race clothes. There is a saying when it comes to races, “Nothing new on race day!” While many choose to create a costume for their runDisney race, it is VERY wise to take your outfit or costume for a spin before race day. Sure, you may look a little funny running through your neighborhood, but at least your costume won’t fall apart or cause irritation while in Disney!

4. Prepare for all race conditions. While we all hope for perfect weather conditions on race day, but the reality is that is usually far from what happens. Take a look at the extended forecast and prepare accordingly. It doesn’t hurt to pack a few extra items in case it is cold, warm, rainy or sunny!

5. Anticipate a VERY early (or VERY late) race day. Since runDisney races include the magic of running through the parks, that also means the races occur very early or very late in the day. During your training and preparation, anticipate some early wake up calls (or late nights for the nighttime races). While a trial run may not work with your schedule, be sure to adjust your activities before race day so you can get the sleep you need!

6. Take a look at the course map. There is something truly exciting about looking at where you will be running during your runDisney race! Be sure to take a peek at the course map so you can prepare for what you will encounter on race day. While the courses are quite flat (with the exception of a few possible overpasses), it does help to know what parks you will be experiencing. This is also a great way to choose where your family and friends can cheer you on from!

7. Expect a lot of fellow runners on the race course. It is possible to be running alongside 25,000 fellow runners during a runDisney race. In other words, these races can be quite crowded. There are many areas (specifically near and inside the theme parks) where the course bottlenecks, causing the pace to slow down and crowding to occur. While the corral placement will put you around others with a similar pace, the crowding still occurs. Knowing this ahead of time may help you prepare mentally.

8. Determine your race plan. There are two ways to experience a runDisney race – to try to set a new personal record or for fun. The majority of runners in the race are in the latter group, they just want to have fun! While it is absolutely possible to get a personal record during a runDisney race (Megan has done so multiple times), the crowding alone can make it a little more difficult. runDisney races are great races to enjoy yourself by taking in the entertainment, taking photos with characters, meeting new runners and enjoying the atmosphere!

9. Remember safety first. As usual, runDisney has many policies in place to ensure runner and spectator safety. However, there are a few things you can do as a runner to help with safety on the course. First of all, fill out the back of your bib. If anything happens, they will know who to contact in case of an emergency. Second, be aware of runners around you. If you need to stop to walk, go to the far side of the course and signal by waving your hand.  And always, listen to your body! You know if things aren’t right, meaning you need to slow down or stop.

10. Enjoy every mile! It doesn’t matter what race you are participating in, there is sure to be a smile on your face! Trust your training and enjoy every magical mile. With fantastic entertainment, the thrill of running through the parks, photo opportunities with your favorite characters and the excitement of the runners around you, your runDisney race experience is sure to be a fun one!

Magic Kingdom runDisney

With proper training and planning ahead, your runDisney race will be full of magical miles!


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Resort Review – Animal Kingdom Lodge

Imagine waking up to the African savannah right outside your window. Sip on coffee as you watch giraffes and zebras roam outside your balcony. Listen to the beat of the drums as you walk through the gorgeous lobby. This, and more, is exactly what Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers!

Animal Kingdom Lodge Review

Located near Animal Kingdom theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is away from the hustle and bustle of the parks. Bus transportation is provided to all theme parks and Downtown Disney. While this means a little more time on the buses, this deluxe resort includes an experience that your family is sure to remember!

Animal Kingdom Lodge

The resort is shaped like a horseshoe, with the lobby being the center. There are two “trails”, each offering the same room layouts and views. Room options include standard view, pool view, savannah view and arusha view, however, it is HIGHLY suggested that you get a savannah or arusha view room to enjoy the animals outside of your balcony! Each room includes 2 queen beds, 1 king bed or 1 queen bed with bunk beds. For those wanting the added benefits of the concierge lounge and service, those rooms include views of the savannah as well as 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom suites. Villas are also available at both the Jambo House, or the villa-exclusive Kidani Village.

If you are looking to stay active during your stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, there is a lot to do! There are two pools to explore, the Uzima Pool which includes a water slide, as well as the Samawati Springs Pool which includes a water playground. Take a jog around the Jambo House and Kidani Village along the running path or head to the health and fitness center. Need an adults’ night out? Kids up to age 9 can head to Simba’s Cubhouse for fun activities! There is even an exclusive Sunrise Safari available only to concierge guests of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Animal Kingdom Lodge

The restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will not disappoint! Boma – Flavors of Africa offers a buffet for both breakfast and dinner, including an African flare. Sanaa (at Kidani Village) includes slow roasted meats, salads and fantastic vegetarian options. If you would like a fine dining experience, head to Jiko – The Cooking Place. There is also a counter service restaurant, The Mara along with two pool bars.

For a runDisney race weekend, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is often a host resort. While it isn’t near any of the race courses, it is a great way to get away from the parks for a little peace and quiet – which is a great perk before an early morning race.



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Most Unique Counter Service Meals

Many runners only have a few days in Walt Disney World when they visit for a runDisney race weekend. This usually means that a few meals are on the go! The counter service restaurants throughout the theme parks and resorts offer a quick meal. However, they go beyond your normal hamburger and fries. Here are a few of the most unique counter service meals at Walt Disney World!

Unique Counter Service Meals

World Showcase

Travel from country to country in just steps when you go to World Showcase in Epcot! Almost every country has its own counter service restaurant, allowing you to enjoy international cuisine. Head to the Lotus Blossom Cafe in the China Pavilion. Enjoy Sommerfest at the Germany Pavilion. Try the Tangierine Cafe at the Morocco Pavilion. There are many options to experience!

Be Our Guest

The newest restaurant in Magic Kingdom is truly unique in that it is a counter service option for lunch and table service option for dinner! This is definitely a popular location, so there will most likely be a wait (and most likely, a long one) for lunch. However, the experience is truly spectacular! Dine in the West Wing or grand ballroom as you enjoy braised pork, various sandwiches or a tuna nicoise salad. And don’t forget dessert! Various cupcakes and cream puffs are available.

Landscape of Flavors

If you are traveling with your family or a group of your fellow runners, a food court option allows for everyone to choose the food of their choice. One of the best food courts in Walt Disney World is Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort! Salads, stir fry, pizzas and sandwiches are the normal fare, however the options are very unique!

Be Our Guest Restaurant

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Top 5 Tips for runDisney Spectators

While running through the Walt Disney World theme parks during a runDisney event is magical, spectating is fun too! Cheering on your runner will bring a smile to their face, giving them the extra boost they need.

runDisney Spectator Tips

So how do you prepare for a runDisney race as a spectator? Here are our top 5 tips to make your chEAR experience a magical one!

1. Have a plan (and backup plan). Before race day, sit down with your runner and create a plan. This includes where you plan on spectating (so both of you can be on the lookout), how you will communicate during the race, where to meet after the race, etc. When it comes to communication during the race, there are a few options. Runner tracking is available for 10K races and longer. Sign up around a week before the race and text messages will be sent to your phone when your runner crosses certain marks along the race course. You can also have your runner text or call you when they are close to your spectating location. (Runners – step off the race course when calling or texting!) Do note that the large usage of cell phones may delay or even not allow service during the race.

2. Find a great spectating location. When making your plan, you’ll want to pick out the locations where you will be spectating. For the shorter races (5K, 10K and 10-miler), you most likely will only be able to spot your runner once near the finish line. For the half marathon races, usually two locations are possible. Great options for the morning half marathons are the Ticket & Transportation Center, inside Magic Kingdom, behind the Grand Floridian or Polynesian resorts and near the finish line. For the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, options include the start line at ESPN Wide World of Sports, around the Boardwalk/Yacht & Beach Club and the finish line. When it comes to the marathon, depending on traffic, you may be able to see them three times. Options for this race include the same as the morning half marathons, Animal Kingdom, the Boardwalk/Yacht & Beach Club area, Epcot and the finish line. When determining where you will spectate from, give a general area. There may be crowds, so you may need to move a little farther from where you originally planned.

3. Allow plenty of transportation time. runDisney races are unique in that you are able to run through the parks and around Walt Disney World property! That also means that many roads are closed due to the races, making transportation quite slow. If you will be driving or using bus transportation as a spectator, allow yourself ample time to get from location to location. This is even more important during the morning races as there is only one entrance into Epcot, backing up traffic significantly. If possible, use the transportation prior to the race start. (Always allow runners priority when it comes to event transportation!)

4. Bring a supply bag. Spectating is a sport too! It is very possible there will be quite a bit of time between when you arrive at your location and when you actually see your runner. Bring along a small bag with food, extra clothes, sunscreen or even activities for the kids. (Your bag will be checked at security prior to entering a park or the family reunion area.) It also never hurts to have a little something for the runners – a fun sign, clappers or even candy!

5. Know your runner and make yourself known. runDisney races include upwards of 25,000 runners. Trying to spot your runner in a sea of bright colors isn’t always so easy! Prior to the race, be sure to get a look at what your runner will be wearing. Also have an idea of their pace, so you know when to start looking for them a little more carefully. (The runner tracking will allow you to know their actual pace on race day.) Having made a plan in advance, your runner will also know what side of the course you will be on!

Not only are you looking for your runner, they are looking for you too! A bright colored shirt, balloon or sign is a great way to help yourself stand out from the crowd. That way, even if you have to move a little farther away from your original plan from earlier, your runner may still be able to spot you. Finding each other in the sea of runners and spectators takes both of you being on the lookout!


Spectators bring an extra round of magic to runDisney races! Cheer loud, smile big and give those runners the boost they need. Your efforts are not unnoticed!


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One of the unique aspects to the Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend and Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is that they are during holiday seasons! There is a lot of fun holiday spirit to enjoy and experience, making your runDisney race weekend even more magical!

runDisney Holiday Magic

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party*

During select nights in September and October, Mickey invites everyone to join a party in Magic Kingdom! Put on your costume and trick or treat your way through the park. Watch the Boo to You parade and special fireworks appropriately called, HalloWishes! It’s a great way to begin, or end, your Tower of Terror 10-Miler weekend fun!

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

One of the most spectacular displays of Christmas spirit is in Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Watch as millions of LED lights dance a choreographed routine to your favorite holiday songs. This fun light display begins the weekend of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and is from dusk until park closing. You won’t want to miss it!

Holidays at Walt Disney World

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party*

Join Mickey, his friends, the toy soldiers and many more of your holiday favorites select nights in November and December at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in Magic Kingdom! Enjoy the Christmas Parade, dance with your favorite characters, watch a holiday edition of Wishes and even enjoy some hot cocoa and cookies. It is a great addition to your Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend!

Touring the Resorts & Parks

When it comes to holiday magic, even the parks and resorts get in on the fun! Take a little tour and see how they have transformed overnight. From pumpkins to Christmas trees stories high, you are sure to get into the holiday spirit!

Holidays at Walt Disney World

*Separate party tickets are required. Be sure to purchase them in advance since the parties will most likely sell out during race weekend.

The holiday magic is alive throughout Walt Disney World, so be sure to experience it during your fall runDisney race!


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Resort Review – Wilderness Lodge

Be transported to the serenity of America’s Great Northwest at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

Wilderness Lodge Review

Surrounded by pine trees, this deluxe resort is hidden from the hustle and bustle of the parks. Located on Bay Lake, the views are full of nature’s beauty! The lobby alone is worth visiting as it towers multiple floors, showcasing hand-carved totem poles! While considered a Magic Kingdom resort, transportation is primarily via bus, with boat transportation available to Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Fort Wilderness Campground.

The resort is quite compact which is nice after a race or long day on your feet in the parks. Room options include standard, woods or courtyard views. Each room has 2 queen beds, 1 king bed or a queen bed with bunk beds. Keep in mind these rooms are small, especially for a deluxe resort. If you would like the added benefit of concierge level, choose from a standard room, deluxe room (which offers much more space!) or the Yosemite or Yellowstone suites. (Concierge level includes access to the Old Faithful Club lounge for food and beverages throughout the day, as well as personalized services throughout your stay.)

There are various recreational options available at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge! Take a swim in the Silver Creek Springs pool or relax in one of the nearby whirlpool spas. Rent a bike and take a spin around the trails. Rent a boat for a relaxing trip around Bay Lake or even try your hand at fishing! The kids can enjoy the Cub’s Den (ages 3-12) while the adults have a date night. There is even a campfire at night to enjoy!

Wilderness Lodge Review

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge offers various restaurants to keep the hunger at bay. Enjoy a hootin’ and hollerin’ time at Whispering Canyon Cafe. For a quick meal, head to Roaring Forks Cafe. If you are looking for a fine dining experience, be sure to make a reservation at Artist Point.

When it comes to a race weekend, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a great way to experience a deluxe resort at a lower cost! Runners and spectators will need to take race transportation to the race start, as no other transportation options are available.

For a resort that allows you to relax surrounded by nature when you are not in the parks or running a race, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a great experience!

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