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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Running vs. Spectating a runDisney Race

For many, runDisney races are the chance to run through the parks! No matter the distance, runners can experience the magic of a race complete with characters, music and lots of fun.

However, there is also another great way to experience a runDisney race – as a spectator!

Running vs. Spectating a runDisney Race

Both of us have had the privilege to run many runDisney races. Yet we also have toed the spectator line, offering cheers and encouragement to runners during their magical journey. Here is a look at some of the similarities and differences between running and spectating a runDisney race!

Spectating requires planning, running requires training. When you sign up for a race, you know that training is required. You find the training plan, put it in your calendar and do the work so that on race day, you can enjoy the race! When it comes to spectating, you need to come up with a plan. If it is following a specific runner, decide where on the course you will meet them. Another way to spectate is to find one location, and stay there for all the runners. No matter your choice, make sure that you plan ahead!

Both spectating and running will tire out your legs. While it’s no secret that running many miles will cause fatigue, many don’t realize that the same happens while spectating! Whether you are staying in one location for 4+ hours or trekking around the course to see your runner multiple times, expect tired legs. It doesn’t hurt to bring along your compression gear or even another pair of shoes and socks!

Use your race knowledge when spectating. Runners have a distinct advantage when it comes to spectating, we know what we like to see from spectators. The funny signs, the noise-makers, the candy – the things that brighten our race are what we often bring along to spectate! (On the flip side, we also know what NOT to do – like step out in front of the runners or yell “you’re almost done” at mile 1.)

Just like the running community, the spectators are pretty amazing.  The running community is known for being a great group – encouraging one another, offering help when needed, etc. The truth is, the spectators are pretty fantastic too! Not only are they getting up just as early as the runners, they are cheering when they could be at a park. They are acting as pack-mules for their runners. They are even standing for hours and hours, making sure everyone (from the first to the last) are encouraged during the race.

Running vs. Spectating a runDisney Race

No matter how you choose to experience a runDisney race – as a runner, as a spectator or as a volunteer, you are sure to feel the magic of the event. We encourage everyone to try out a runDisney race in a new way, not only as a runner! And to the spectators in particular, we thank you for your cheers along the way!

 

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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!

The Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a nighttime event that highlights the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This race offers many new experiences for runDisney runners and some great course moments!

runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Course Moments

Animal Kingdom – This course is the only half marathon to include Animal Kingdom, and it happens at night! Since the park usually closes earlier, this is a great opportunity to see the park lit up at night. The course takes you through Africa, into Asia and exits through DinoLand USA! (Be sure to watch your step. Lighting is low and the concrete can be uneven at times.)

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – Without a doubt, this is the most magical moment on the Wine & Dine Half Marathon course! Upon entering Hollywood Studios, the course takes you along Hollywood Boulevard. After a little winding, you begin to see the lights and hear the music. That’s right, the course takes you directly through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights! Take it all in, it truly is a magical experience!

Finish Line Entrance – Since this race is at night, runDisney found ways to enhance the race experience. From lit-up sabre teeth to Main Street Electrical Parade floats, there are a lot of unique entertainment options. However, before the finish line is a laser light show above the runners’ heads! It’s like a disco party as you finish the race!

runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Course Moments

While a nighttime race can be tough to train for, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon continues to be a favorite among many runDisney runners. And the course moments do not disappoint!

 

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Packing Tips for your runDisney Bag Check

As runners, sometimes we have a lot of stuff. Since many runners are utilizing race transportation, there is no where to store their belongings during the race. Have no fear – it’s bag check to the rescue!

When you pick up your race bib, you are directed to a location to get your race shirt. The shirt (or shirts) are inside a large, clear runDisney bag. For those wanting to check a bag before the race, this is the bag you must use! Be sure to affix the sticker that includes your bib number, to the bag before heading tot he race.

runDisney Bag Check Packing Tips

In the Family Reunion area are large tents with letters. Head to the tent that matches the first letter of your last name and that is where you drop off your bag before the race, and pick up afterward. (The only exception is Wine & Dine Half Marathon, as you drop off your bag at the start and it is magically transported to the finish line.)

So what should you put inside this bag? Here are a few ideas!

Post-Race Food – While runDisney does provide bananas and a snack box after the race, you may be used to a certain food after a race. If so, include that food in your bag. (Note: these bags are on tables and will not be refrigerated, etc.) You will also be given bottles of water and Powerade in the finishers chute.

Post-Race Clothing – After a race (particularly a long one), a fresh set of clothes sounds wonderful! Throw in a change of clothes, including socks or even sandals. If the weather has been cold or rainy, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a long sleeve or blanket to warm you up.

Tolietries – There are various items that you may need after a race. Deodorant, lip balm, sunscreen, tissues – the list may go on. Since most of these items are small, they are easy to throw into your bag. Remember, it may be a little while before you get back to your room!

Wipes – Many runners will sweat during a race. (Even Princesses can glisten!) Being able to wipe down your face, arms and legs is a great way to freshen up quickly. Add some baby wipes or even athletic wipes like ShowerPill to your bag.

Purse or Bag – If your plan is to hit the parks after the race (or the party after Wine & Dine Half Marathon), putting a small bag or purse into your bag is a great idea. This way you can stash your belongings and start celebrating right away!

runDisney Bag Check Bag

While there are many items that you can include in your bag, it is HIGHLY recommended that you do NOT include anything valuable. Find a race belt or pocket to hold items like cash, ID, etc. and wear your MagicBand during the race. Also, all bags are subject to search.

 

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