April 14-17 event in Florida joins Star Wars-themed race at Disneyland Resort and features new Kessel Run Challenge and Dark Side Challenge

2015 Star Wars Half Marathon

Photo: © Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL (Aug. 25, 2015) – runDisney is summoning the Force today to announce another Star Wars-inspired intergalactic journey, this time to the dark side.

The “Star Wars Half Marathon – the Dark Side” enters the galaxy April 14-17, 2016, at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and pays homage to the dark side forces of the Star Wars universe. This new race follows the debut of the popular Star Wars-themed race at Disneyland Resort, which will return in January as the “Star Wars Half Marathon – the Light Side”.

“Ever since we launched the Star Wars race at Disneyland Resort, runners have been clamoring for more, so we’re thrilled to bring the Star Wars franchise together with the runDisney brand to Walt Disney World Resort,’’ said Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. “If the inaugural Star Wars race at Disneyland Resort is any indication, this new running adventure to the dark side is sure to be the out-of-this-world experience that runners have come to expect at runDisney events.’’

The new Star Wars race at Walt Disney World Resort will be a journey of personal achievement all its own, involving kids’ races, a 5K and a 10K in addition to the half marathon, plus a variety of Star Wars experiences, medals, events and merchandise inspired by a galaxy far, far away. Among its many features will be a unique 13.1-mile course that propels runners through Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and finishes at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. There will also be a Star Wars Dark Side Challenge — running the 10K and the half marathon on consecutive days – that offers each finisher a Death Star-themed medal.

Jedi and Sith Lords who dare to experience both Star Wars races will have the chance to take on the Kessel Run Challenge — completing the Star Wars half marathon missions on both coasts. Kessel Run Challenge runners can earn a commemorative “Coast to Coast” medal inspired by the Millennium Falcon starship. Race registration opens Sept. 22 at www.runDisney.com.

The addition of this second Star Wars race continues the recent wave of significant growth and popularity of runDisney events domestically and internationally. This is the second new runDisney race announced for 2016, joining the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend (Sept. 23-25 at Disneyland Paris), and the fourth addition to the runDisney series in the last two years (Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland Jan. 2015 and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend Nov. 2014).

Each year more than 200,000 runners sign up for runDisney events, which often sell out in record time.

“We are committed to creating extraordinary experiences and events that appeal to runners of all ages and attract even more fans of our various brands and franchises to the sport of running, creating opportunities for them to live a healthier and more active lifestyle,’’ said Bisienere.

 

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Recreational Fun at Walt Disney World

As runners, we enjoy staying active. Thankfully, there are many ways to do just that at Walt Disney World! And for those who want to include the entire family, or do something other than run, there are plenty of options throughout the resort hotels.

Recreational Fun at Walt Disney World

Running Trails – For those who need to get in a shake out run, there are running trails at every Walt Disney World resort. Disney has partnered with New Balance, so be on the lookout for signage that will help direct your path. Legs feeling a little tired? Bike rentals are also an option at some resorts!

Pools – After a runDisney race weekend, you may be ready to put your feet up and relax! Each resort has a uniquely themed pool area (or two) that is sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated. The kids can enjoy play areas and water slides, while the adults may choose to sip on a delicious beverage. For a luxurious experience, rent a cabana at select resorts!

Watersports – Feeling adventurous? Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre is located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Try out parasailing, wakeboarding, waterskiing or tubing with your family and friends!

Boat Rentals – Explore the various lakes around Walt Disney World by driving your own watercraft! Choose from jetskis, SeaRaycers, pontoon boats, canoes, sailboats and more. Favorite locations are on the Seven Seas Lagoon, Bay Lake or Crescent Lake.

Fishing, Golf, Volleyball, Tennis – Bring out your competitive side by participating in various sports. Grab a cane pole or go on a fishing excursion on Bay Lake. Tee off on one of the beautiful golf courses on property. Round up some friends for a game of volleyball or tennis at one of the deluxe resorts. There are even two great miniature golf options to try.

Movies under the Stars – While the fireworks and nighttime shows in the parks are fantastic, sometimes a relaxing night at your resort is what you need. Head outside to watch your favorite Disney movies under the stars! Check with the front desk for times and movies.

Recreational Fun at Walt Disney World

Whether it’s a break from the parks or just something new to enjoy with your friends and family, there are many ways to enjoy recreational fun during your Walt Disney World vacation. If possible, take a few extra days after your runDisney race weekend and continue to add to the magic!

 

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runDisney Training: Fueling for Long Runs

As you start to ramp up your mileage, a new aspect of training begins to emerge. How do you fuel? For those training for a half marathon or marathon distance, this can be a very difficult thing to manage or even know where to start!

runDisney Training: Fueling for Long Runs

First and foremost, remember that everyone is different. What works for one runner, may not work for another. This is why it is very important to use your training runs to try out various fueling methods to find the right fit for you!

These are a few tips that we have learned during our running experience. Again, use these as a starting point until you find the right combination for your running and fueling needs.

Eat before you run. While this may appear easy for those who run later in the day, it is extremely important for those who run in the morning! Yes, it may require getting up a little earlier, but your body needs the fuel even for a short run. Choose a food that is easily digested and contains carbohydrates along with a little protein. Great examples are a banana, bagel or oatmeal with peanut butter, yogurt or even a few handfuls of cereal. Make sure you give your body enough time to digest and settle before running. Don’t have a lot of time? Take a gel (or similar fuel) 5-10 minutes before your run.

Keep your fueling consistent. Especially when you first start to increase your mileage, it can be hard to know when to add fuel to your runs. A great rule of thumb is to fuel every hour of exercise. (You may find that some runs require fueling more often, however make sure you fuel at least every hour.) The most important piece of advice is NOT to wait until you are hungry – at that point, it is too late! In terms of fuel sources, there are many on the market. Gels and chews are the most common, however some runners even use dried fruit or applesauce. (Always take fuel with a little water.) Another option is powder that is mixed into water – a great option for those who would rather take in liquid. Do some experimenting to find what works best for you!

If you tend to have a sensitive stomach (as Megan does), it may be worthwhile to try more natural products. Megan uses Hammer Nutrition (which has very little sugar, focusing more on complex carbohydrates) and it has helped tremendously. There are various options such as gels and powder for during your runs, as well as many other products for before and after your run. **Click on this link and get 15% off your first order!**

Don’t forget electrolytes. When training for races in Florida and California, it’s no secret that the races may be warm. Hydrating and fueling are definitely important, but don’t forget electrolytes as well! During your training runs or races, be sure to take in some sports drink or use electrolyte tabs in your water. This will help replenish the minerals you have been losing while running. And if the weather is particularly hot and/or humid, make sure you are replenishing more often.

Fuel after your run too. After a long run or race, you may have your eyes set on a celebration meal. Even though you do have some calories to enjoy, there are very specific tanks that need to be refilled right away. Within 30-60 minutes of finishing your run, make sure you consume complex carbohydrates and protein (ideal ratio is 3:1). While there are various ways to get these carbs and protein, many runners find that a drink is the easiest route. Chocolate milk is an easy option, as are the many recovery mixes available at a local running store.

runDisney Training: Fueling for Long Runs

When the mileage increases, make sure that you are fueling your body in a way that can keep you on track for that next runDisney race! Once you find what works for you, be sure to bring those items along to your runDisney race. It will help you cross that finish line with a smile!

 

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Resort Review: Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Located just steps away from Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is one of the most unique at Walt Disney World! Watch as the monorail breezes through the iconic A-frame design.

Disney's Contemporary Resort

Nestled on Bay Lake, this deluxe resort offers the best views of Cinderella Castle and Space Mountain. Magic Kingdom is a short walk, boat ride or monorail ride away. You can also visit Epcot via monorail (with a transfer at the Transportation & Ticket Center).  Bus transportation is available to Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney.

Various room types are available, including rooms in both the tower (A-frame) and the Garden Wing, located near the pool. The Garden Wing offers standard and garden views, along with a deluxe room that is larger, offering a sitting area. The Tower offers a view of Bay Lake or a spectacular view of Magic Kingdom. All rooms include 2 queen beds and a day bed or 1 king bed and a day bed. Club level rooms are also available in the Tower, as well as suites in both the Garden Wing and Tower.

Bay Lake Tower connects to the Contemporary Resort via a walkway and offers Disney Vacation Club villas. Choose from a deluxe studio, 1 bedroom villa, 2 bedroom villa or even a Grand Villa! All offer Bay Lake or Theme Park views.

Disney's Contemporary Resort

The main pool area is located near Bay Lake and includes a 17-foot high waterslide and 2 whirlpool spas. There is also a water play area for the little ones. For a luxurious experience, your family can rent a cabana which includes a shaded area, lounge chairs, a television, ceiling fan and even a mini refrigerator (stocked with sodas and water).

Additional amenities include movies under the stars, an arcade, volleyball, tennis and fishing. For those needing to train, a running trail loops around the resort. For the adventurous, head to Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre where you can parasail, wakeboard, waterski, tube or even rent a personal watercraft!

Disney's Contemporary Resort

Dining options are plentiful at the Contemporary Resort. A quick service restaurant, Contempo Cafe, is available for those needing a speedy meal. The Wave…of American Flavors offers a great meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Chef Mickey’s is a very popular restaurant as Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Donald visit during your meal. For a great celebration meal, make a reservation at California Grill, located at the top of the resort. Along with fantastic cuisine, your view is amazing – and you can even time it to watch Wishes from above!

During a runDisney race weekend, the Contemporary is a great resort during the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World Marathon or Princess Half Marathon. All three of these courses pass by this resort (however as a spectator, you will need to walk through the parking lot area to see your runner). The monorail also offers transportation for the early morning races.

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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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