Deluxe Villas during a runDisney Race Weekend

When it comes to a runDisney race weekend, there are a lot of resort options on Walt Disney World property. However, one option that is often overlooked are the deluxe villas.

Also known as Disney Vacation Club properties, these deluxe villas offer extra space and amenities. Let’s take a look!

Deluxe Villas during a runDisney Race Weekend

Deluxe villas are available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The two resorts that only offer deluxe villa accommodations are Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.

In terms of room types, there are a few options. A deluxe studio is available, however this is very similar to a regular room, with the addition of a kitchenette that includes a microwave and toaster. It’s the villas that start to offer much more! The 1-bedroom villa includes a bedroom, bathroom (with whirlpool tub), living room area (with sleeper sofas) and a fully-equipped kitchen. The 2-bedroom villas include 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room area (with sleeper sofas) and a fully-equipped kitchen. There are even grand villas for those wanting more space and unique layouts! Another great addition is a washer and dryer, allowing for quick cleaning of those running clothes.

Deluxe Villas during a runDisney Race Weekend

As for runDisney race weekends, these deluxe villas can be very useful. With the extra space, it allows everyone to not trip over one another in the room. The ability to close the bedroom door is also helpful, especially if you are traveling with non-runners who will not be getting up at 2:30 am. Of course, the kitchen is extremely convenient for those wanting to cook their own meals!

While the deluxe villas can be more expensive, it may be worth it for many reasons. First of all, if you are traveling with a group, you can split the cost making it more affordable. (Not to mention, you also have more room!) You can also save on meals by stopping at a grocery store and utilizing the kitchen, as opposed to eating all of your meals at the resort or in the parks.

A few things to note when researching these deluxe villas for your next runDisney race weekend:

  • Each resort offers various room sizes. Be sure to check out the square footage to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Check to see what resorts will be offering transportation for your race.
  • If you have family members or friends who will be spectating, be sure to check our resort reviews (or the spectator chapter in the book) to find out if your race course is nearby!
  • Disney Vacation Club members do have “first dibs” on these deluxe villa accommodations. You will not be able to book these accommodations until approximately 7 months from your time of travel, so have a plan B in place.
  • The newest locations – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – will be the most popular and therefore, may not have space available.

 

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Runner’s World Challenge Package Breakdown 2016

This is part 4 of our series on the Runner’s World Challenge during the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. For previous parts, see Runner’s World Challenge Overview, as well as Runner’s World Challenge Issues and Concerns, and Runner’s World Challenge Experience.

UPDATE: Beginning in 2015, Runner’s World Challenge is only available for the Dopey Challenge. It does not include the resort package as it did in 2013.

 

For 2014, runDisney announced a new challenge for Marathon Weekend. The Dopey Challenge incorporates the 5K run, (new) 10K race, half marathon and marathon, resulting in 48.6 miles over a 4 day period. The result? 6 shirts and 6 medals!

The details regarding the 2016 Runner’s World Challenge have also been released. In order to help you decide if the Runner’s World Challenge is the right fit for you we have listed out the pros and cons of our experience accompanied by a price breakdown of the 2016 Runner’s World Package.   To wrap things up, we’ve listed several questions to think about when making your decision and a few of our final thoughts about Runner’s World Challenge.

Details of 2016 Runner’s World Challenge during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend:

Runner’s World Challenge participants will receive:*

  • A membership in a 16-20 week training plan designed by The Runner’s World Experts, and Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso, who has coached hundreds of elites, celebs, and everyday runners (celebrity/VIP appearances subject to change or cancellation without notice)**
  • Weekly emails leading up to the Event from Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso with training, nutrition, and health tips for the upcoming weeks workouts “training.”
  • Direct online access to Runner’s World experts on training, nutrition, and injuries for one year during the 16-20 week Event training plan
  • Access to private RW Challenge online training forum to connect with other runners training for Disney and other marathons and half marathons
  • A copy of The Runner’s World Complete Book of Running
  • Runner’s World Challenge tech shirt in time for your training to start
  • A four-month premium membership to Runner’s World Personal Trainer, our interactive training log
  • Private packet pick-up for Runner’s World Challenge participants at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo
  • Pre-race course strategy session with the Runner’s World experts and editors (TBD)
  • Entry to the Pasta in the Park Party on Thursday night at Epcot® where the Runner’s World VIPs & editors will be in attendance (party includes buffet pasta dinner, live DJ, Disney characters and viewing of the fireworks spectacular Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot®)
  • Exclusive pre-race walkout to corrals for Runner’s World Challenge participants.
    o Corral placement will be determined based on proof of time that all runners must submit by October 6, 2015.
  • Entry to the Race Retreat on Saturday and Sunday
    o Pre-race amenities include hot and cold beverages with fruit and bagels, dedicated stretching area, and private portalets & bag check
    o Post-race amenities include a nutritious buffet, massage, private portalet & bag pick up, and live results
  • Entry into the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend Breakfast in the Family Reunion Area after the 5K and 10K

*Note: There is NO Ultimate Runner’s World Challenge for 2016. There is also no shake out run (most likely do to logistics). 


Our Experience

Pros:

  • Shortcut to the race start was amazing. It’s truly hard to put a dollar value on this perk.
  • Runner’s World staff was tremendously knowledgeable and supportive.  There was always a Runner’s World editor or staff member available at each event to answer questions and direct participants. Event staff were extremely organized and prepared throughout the entire weekend.
  • Separate bag check was easy and seamless. Runner’s World team staffed private bag check during entire event.
  • Race Retreat was very nice and definitely worth the extra cost –  especially with the weather conditions. Runner’s World Challenge area inside Race Retreat had private seating and private TV.  Family members who purchased Race Retreat/Platinum ChEAR Squad were also allowed inside private Runner’s World area inside Race Retreat.
  • Opportunity to meet other amazing runners and interact with Runner’s World editors and Bart Yasso throughout the weekend was fabulous!
  • No lines during private packet pickup
  • Course Strategy Session provided useful information to veterans and new runDisney runners since it was adapted to the current extreme weather issues and discussed the new marathon course challenges

Cons:

  • Pasta in the Park was average and we would not purchase separately
  • Didn’t need the training plan due to having a coach or existing training plan in place prior to purchasing
  • Must purchase additional Platinum ChEAR Squad or Pasta in the Park tickets for family members to join you. (You also need to pick up these tickets/packages in the main area of the Health & Fitness Expo.  Since these extras are not part of Runner’s World Challenge, they will NOT be available  in the private packet pickup area for the Challenge.)
  • It is a lot of money to put down months in advance.

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Price Breakdown:

Below we have included the pricing breakdown for the 2016 Runner’s World Challenge. We have priced out the runDisney related events as they could be purchased separately. The price difference includes special experiences that you can not purchase separately such as: Runner’s World Training Plans for Dopey, Course Strategy Session, Private Packet Pick-up at Expo, short-cut to race start, private Runner’s World bag check and seating area inside Race Retreat.

Dopey Challenge:

Runner’s World Challenge Price – $1100

Price of Individual Events (if purchased seperately)
$550 (Race) + $230 (Race Retreat) + $54 (Pasta) + $40 (5K Breakfast) + $40 (10K Breakfast) = $914

Difference - $186 

*Note: All pricing breakdowns are estimates and do not include taxes or Active.com fees.  

The main cost difference is that it includes a Runner’s World Training Plan specific to those events, which cannot be purchased separately. At the time of posting, these training plans are only offered to those participating in Runner’s World Challenge.

Questions to Consider: 

  • Am I interested in attending Pasta in the Park, Race Retreat or the 5K and 10K breakfasts for the Dopey Challenge?
  • Am I running with a large group or another runner who is interested in participating in Runner’s World Challenge?
  • Do I need the training plans, or do I already have a coach/training plan in place?
  • Would I need to purchase extra tickets to the breakfasts/Pasta in the Park or Platinum ChEAR Squad for my spouse/family members? If I wouldn’t purchase the separate tickets, would I use each component in the package to justify the full value of the experience included in the package?
  • If I purchase events separately, would I be willing to possibly pay a higher price than the Runner’s World Challenge by paying numerous Active.com fees for each individual event? (At the time of posting, it has not been indicated how participants will register for Runner’s World Challenge.)
  • Am I able to put down the full amount of the Runner’s World Challenge at the time of registration? (Race Retreat and Pasta in the Park usually do not sell out as fast as race registrations.)
  • Would I prefer to make one purchase to insure that I have admission to all events?
  • Is there something special I am celebrating (first race, birthday, anniversary, completion of an event) and would like a VIP/one-of-a-kind experience?

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Final Thoughts
  Would we do this again?  Would we recommend this package?

Many readers who have been following these posts may be looking for a “yes” or “no” answer.  However, this is a very difficult question to answer directly.  Our main issues with the Runner’s World Challenge in 2013 was due to runDisney resort restrictions and not the Runner’s World Challenge portion of the package. This restriction has been eliminated with the option to book your resort separately from the outset of registration this year. Additionally, we both felt that Runner’s World editors and staff were much more familiar with the package offerings and able to provide more guidance during Marathon weekend than the runDisney staff that we encountered during race weekend.  We suspect this will change this year since it’s not the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon and it’s the second time for runDisney to offer this package.  In our experience with most runDisney events, the kinks are almost completely worked out by the second time an event is offered.

Many have inquired about the training plan designed by Runner’s World experts. There are various training plans offered, including plans specific to the Dopey Challenge. Each training plan includes various levels, from beginner to a time goal. These training plans can be uploaded to the Runner’s World Personal Trainer, which allows you to track your training progress. You also have access to forums specific to the Runner’s World Challenge, which include categories such as nutrition, injury prevention and even a category for those participating in Marathon Weekend at Disney. Since we did not utilize these plans, here is a recap from another blogger who did for the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon.

Another consideration, Runner’s World Challenge participants were able to register by calling into Disney Sports Travel last year and were exempt from Active.com fees associated with runDisney registration.  The registration link for 2016 is through Active.com, which means additional fees will most likely be included.

Breakfasts after the 5K and 10K events have been added, which contributes to a higher price. This also creates two additional tickets you will need to purchase for family members if they wish to join you. If you are planning on making this event a family affair, there is extra cost associated with the Runner’s World Challenge for your entire family to enjoy the events together.  We hope that if Runner World Challenge offers a discount for family members this year, it will be offered early in the registration season as opposed to only a week prior as it was last year.

Did we feel that there was value associated with the Runner’s World Challenge?  Absolutely!  We did enjoy the added perks for a special event such as the 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Runner’s World staff is extraordinary.  At this time, we haven’t decided if we will participate in the Runner’s World Challenge in the future, especially since it is only offered for the Dopey Challenge. We do feel that the package has been streamlined for 2016 and all of our issues with the package during our experience have been resolved. Our main hesitation is the steep cost at the time of registration.  While we would definitely purchase Race Retreat for the both races, we can’t decide if it’s worth the coming up with such a high enrollment fee this early in the race season. It’s also unlikely that we would attend Pasta in the Park and we wouldn’t purchase additional breakfast tickets for our spouses for the 5K or 10K  and would be less likely to attend those breakfasts while family members were outside then venue or back at the resort.

Our biggest piece of advice is to really look at the entire package (along with all its components) and determine if the added value is worth it to you. By laying out the price breakdowns, questions to consider and our thoughts, we hope that we have given you plenty of information in order to make an informed decision. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us! We will answer your questions via email, on our Facebook page or even create another post if needed.

Registration for Runner’s World Challenge for 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend opens on Tuesday, April 14.

 

Disclosure: The authors purchased the Ultimate Runner’s World Challenge package and were not compensated for this review. All opinions are our own.

 

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Best runDisney Course Moments: The True Magic

Throughout a runDisney race, there is sure to be a lot of excitement. With character photo stops and DJs pumping music, there are many magical moments. However, each race course also brings a unique experience along with it. This is our series on the best runDisney course moments!

The past few weeks, we have highlighted some of the best moments during various runDisney race courses. While it may be hard to top the feeling you get running down Main Street USA, there are some other moments throughout a runDisney race that are absolutely spectacular!

When it comes to the true magic of a runDisney race, it actually has nothing to do with the race course. That’s right – it’s the people that make a runDisney race magical. Take a look!

Best runDisney Course Moments: The True Magic

Spectators – Getting up early to run is one thing. Getting up early to spectate is amazing! The spectators that line the various parts of a course, cheering for every runner for hours make the experience unbelievable. Not only do they cheer loudly, they also bring along fun signs, hand out snacks and give runners that extra boost as they run by. To all the spectators – we THANK you!

VoluntEARs – Let’s have a little lesson in race logistics. During a runDisney half marathon, there are people directing you to your corral, approximately 9 water stations, a fuel station, various aid stations, people handing out your medal, food and drink after the race, and much more. Every single one of these people is a voluntEAR, spending their day celebrating the runners! There is always a smile on their face as they take care of each runner and clean up afterward. To all the voluntEARs – we THANK you!

Fellow Runners – During a runDisney race, you may be running with anywhere from 5000 to 25000 other runners. While this could be a little chaotic, the running community tends to make it a special experience. From encouraging one another to offering to take a photo, your fellow runners can truly make your race a wonderful one. When you are on the course, remember that we are all there for the same reason – to have a fun time. To all our fellow runners – we THANK you!

Best runDisney Course Moments: The True Magic

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the various aspects of a runDisney race that make it unique – from running through the parks to character photos. During your next runDisney race, remember the PEOPLE that make your experience a magical one! Offer up your gratitude and encourage one another on your journey!

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Enter the world of the 1800s in New York at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, highlighting relaxation with the muted theme of horse racing. Located near Downtown Disney and nestled between golf courses and lakes, this resort is expansive and offers a room type for every family.

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort Review

This deluxe villa resort is just a short boat ride away from Downtown Disney. Bus transportation is available to all of the theme parks.

Saratoga Springs is quite large, with five separate room areas keeping with the theme: The Springs, The Paddock, Congress Park, The Carousel and The Grandstand. While this resort is a Disney Vacation Club property, any guest can reserve a room.

The room types are what set this villa property apart. Room options include a deluxe studio (similar to a regular guest room), 1-bedroom villa, 2-bedroom villa and the large treehouse villa. These spacious offerings also include extra amenities such as microwaves, kitchens and multiple bathrooms – perfect for a runDisney race weekend!

When it comes to recreation, there is a lot to explore! Your family can enjoy tennis, fishing, basketball and even rent bikes to roam the large resort area. There is also a community hall that includes board games, ping-pong, foosball, video games, crafts and more. The resort offers multiple pools as well as jogging trails for those who need to squeeze in some extra training.

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort Review

Along with a few quick-service options, The Turf Club Bar & Grill offers casual dining. Looking for more restaurant options? Take a boat to Downtown Disney for many wonderful choices!

During a runDisney race weekend, Disney’s Saratoga Springs is a great option for those families wanting extra space. The multi-bedroom options offer a place for the runner to get ready without waking up everyone and the kitchen option allows for flexibility in terms of meals. Spectators will need to take race transportation as no courses pass by this resort. A tip from Krista & Megan: ask for a room in The Springs for the closest walk to the restaurants, main pool and race transportation!

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Best runDisney Course Moments: Disneyland Edition

Throughout a runDisney race, there is sure to be a lot of excitement. With character photo stopsspectators and DJs pumping music, there are many magical moments. However, each race course also brings a unique experience along with it. This is our series on the best runDisney course moments!

Our west coast friend Carlee was kind enough to assist with our Disneyland edition of our series. Here is a look at her thoughts of the best moments during the Disneyland races – including Star Wars Half Marathon, Tinker Bell Half Marathon, Disneyland Half Marathon and Avengers Half Marathon!

Best runDisney Course Moments - Disneyland

I would have to say, my main focus for a runDisney race is NOT the course. The PEOPLE are what make it so magical to me (and the bling isn’t half bad either). With that being said, there are still some amazing features that come along with running a Disneyland runDisney course!

THE PARKS! Nothing beats running down Main Street with friends, family, spectators, and complete strangers cheering you on. Running through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, racing through the neon lit CarsLand, circling World of Color, it is pretty PERFECT! Depending on the race, the amount of park time will vary, but whatever the distance, make sure to soak up every moment! This is also where all of the photo ops for character pictures can be found, so jump in line and make friends with fellow runners while you wait.

Angel Stadium. Even if you don’t like baseball, running through a major league field is pretty amazing. Personally I like it best during the Disneyland Half when it is filled with screaming Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, but even during Avengers it is spectacular! And don’t forget to check your self out on the JUMBOTRON in the outfield!

The Entertainment. Recently runDisney has been reaching out to local CosPlay groups to help add some additional fun and excitement to the courses (and truth be told, I have heard a lot of runners saying they like these characters better than the ones in the park… their costumes are top notch and there is hardly ever a line for a photo) {CosPlay participants have been on both the Avengers and StarWars courses and hopefully they will continue to be involved in the races.}. Whether or not you enjoy the characters, there will be something along the courses to aid in your entertainment (anything to help keep your mind off the severity of the task at hand is WELCOMED, at least in my book). The courses have marching bands playing, cheer teams cheering, dance groups dancing, classic cars honking, running groups passing out candy, tissues, and even popsicles, and so much more. AND THE SIGNS! How can I forget the spectator signs?! Every once in a while make sure to read a few as you zoom pass (and remember not to spit out your water on the runners near by if the signs are funny).

runDisney Course Moments - Disneyland

Photo Credit: Carlee

If you have never run a Disneyland runDisney race, I would strongly urge you to sign up (but you MUST sign up early as they are growing in popularity and sometimes can sell out within minutes of opening registration). And if you do come run, make sure you say HI!

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runDisney Training: The Importance of Sleep

Disclosure: Megan was sent a Garmin Vivofit to review from Verizon Wireless. It will be returned upon her review completion. As always, all opinions are her own.

When it comes to training for a runDisney race, we focus on a training plan. We work on mileage. We figure out our fueling. We may even work on pace.

Yet sometimes, we forget about sleep.
runDisney Training: The Importance of Sleep

Along with a training plan and proper nutrition, sleep is important to runners! It allows the body, mind and muscles to rest. Here are a few tips on getting those extra hours of sleep each night.

Start to “shut down” earlier. In our world of technology, it’s easy to work on the computer, watch TV or check social media right up until we go to sleep. Do your best to turn off your devices 15-30 minutes prior to heading to bed. This will allow your body (specifically your eyes and brain) to start to shut down before your head hits the pillow!

Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep each night. While the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, do your best to get a decent amount of sleep each evening. Yes, it may change depending on the season in your life (for example, busy time at work or the holidays). Fitness trackers like the Garmin Vivofit can monitor your sleep each night, which is a great way to check how much sleep you are getting. (Note: some movement throughout the night is normal!)

runDisney Training: The Importance of Sleep

Listen to your body. During training, common advice is to listen to your body. The same goes for sleep! If you are feeling extra worn down, your runs seem tough and/or it feels like you may be coming down with something – take a break! Even if it isn’t extra sleep, try to rest a little more so your body gets back to normal and you can get back out on the road.

When it comes to training, make sure you are focusing on all aspects of your body. By including quality sleep in your training plan, you’ll be ready to run your race with a big smile!

 

Throughout these blog posts, we will cover all aspects of training from our own personal experience. Please note that we are not medical doctors, personal trainers, registered dietitians or in any way qualified to give individualized recommendations. If you have something you would like us to address, please send an email to info@runnersguidetowdw.com!

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