New Balance Running Trails at Walt Disney World

Even though most of us head down to Walt Disney World for a runDisney race (or four), there may be a time when you visit and a race is not involved. There also may be the need for a quick shakeout run before or after your big race. Thankfully, Walt Disney World has many fantastic running trails for you to use!

Walt Disney World Running Trails

New Balance teamed up with Walt Disney World to create running trails for visitors to enjoy during their vacation. Located at most Walt Disney World Resort hotels, you can enjoy a few miles before hitting the parks for the day. Be sure to look for the signage, which will direct you in the paths to take. Let’s take a look at a few of these trails!

Walt Disney World Boardwalk Running Trail

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Beach Club & Disney’s Yacht Club

A portion of this trail will be quite familiar to those who have run the Walt Disney World Marathon or Wine & Dine Half Marathon courses! The path takes you around Crescent Lake, as well as toward Hollywood Studios. Once around the lake is just under a mile, as is the path to Hollywood Studios and back. For those wanting to add more mileage, run along the path of Epcot Resorts Boulevard and Buena Vista Drive.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

If you are looking for a more trail-like experience, then head to the wilderness! This 2.5 mile path is nestled in the wooded area between Fort Wilderness and Wilderness Lodge. It is sure to be nice and quiet, which can be a wonderful reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the parks. Need more mileage? Take a detour and run around the campground.

Disney’s Grand Floridian and Disney’s Polynesian Village

Take the path that connects these two resorts for a great one mile run, while enjoying views of the Seven Seas Lagoon. If you time it right, you may even get a wonderful sunrise view as well! If you need to add more mileage, you can run around the various buildings at each resort.

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside and Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

Run along the Sassagoula River between these two resorts for a nice mile-long journey. The paths are quite peaceful in the morning, and you can always add on some mileage by exploring the paths around the buildings as well. (Not to mention, you can stop by the quick service restaurant for a beignet to enjoy post-run!)

Walt Disney World Polynesian Running Trail

These are just a few of the great trails available throughout Walt Disney World. (Bad weather? All deluxe resorts have a fitness center that includes a treadmill.) Be sure to ask the front desk or concierge for a map of the running trail at your hotel while staying on Disney property!

 

Magical Miles Buy Now 2016

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New 10K race, new half marathon course and new Challenge event being served up as part of extended race weekend; Registration opens March 29

Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Photo: © Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 10, 2016) – The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is getting some new flavor this year.

The November runDisney race weekend is expanding to a three-day event that includes a new 10K race, a new half marathon course and a new challenge event. The Disney Wine & Dine 10K will debut on Saturday, Nov. 5. The new challenge – the Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge – will involve runners completing the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. The new half marathon course will now involve a 13.1-mile route that takes runners through ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot.

And the half marathon will be a morning race instead of a traditional night event, giving runners more free time in the evenings to experience new Walt Disney World Resort nighttime entertainment such as “Rivers of Light’’ coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in April.

The race weekend, set for Nov. 3-6, kicks off with the Health & Fitness Expo on Thursday, Nov. 3 followed by the Mickey’s Holiday 5K on Friday, Nov. 4, the 10K on Saturday, Nov. 5 and the half marathon on Sunday morning, Nov. 6. There will also be runDisney Kids’ Races on Friday and Saturday.

The Finish Line Party (8 pm to 1 am on Sunday, Nov. 6), which is part of the popular Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, will once again be the perfect nightcap for runners who will have access to more than 30 festival marketplaces offering fine cuisine and wine, plus Disney characters, musical performances and the opportunity to ride signature Epcot attractions.

Registration opens March 29 at www.rundisney.com. Last year the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon was the fastest-selling race within the runDisney series. More than 20,000 runners participated during the two-day event.

 

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Splitsville Luxury Lanes

A few months ago, Megan and her husband enjoyed a week-long vacation in Walt Disney World. One of the restaurants they went to was Splitsville Luxury Lanes. Out of all of the restaurants they ate at, this was one they couldn’t stop talking about.

Fast-forward to Megan & Krista’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend trip and they both agreed to add this restaurant to their list. After all, Megan couldn’t stop talking about the amazing gluten free pizza!

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

Splitsville graciously offered to pay for our bowling and meal. As always, our opinions are our own – and we can honestly say that we would have paid for this meal regardless! (Our only regret is that we should have made this a celebration meal after a race, so we could really enjoy every course.)

After a walk through Disney Springs for a little shopping, we made our way to Splitsville for lunch. Upon arrival, we were asked what size shoes we wore. That’s right – you can bowl and eat your meal! (Keep in mind that when you make reservations, you need to reserve a lane as well as a meal time.) We were led to the second floor of this massive restaurant, and were seated at a booth right next to our bowling lane.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

We quickly put on our shoes and laughed over the fact that it had been years since we bowled! (This was confirmed as Megan bowled a gutterball within the first frame or two.) While we bowled, our server, Diggie, stopped by to take our drink order and explain the menu.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

Believe it or not, the menu is quite extensive! We had a hard time choosing what to order, aside from the obvious gluten free pizza. Diggie was fantastic as he offered his choices, claiming they have an amazing staff of chefs. (After our meal, we absolutely agree!) In fact, their sushi is actually one of their top choices. We started with a gluten free version of the buffalo wings, which we enjoyed so much – we actually asked for the buffalo sauce recipe!

While our main courses were being made, we continued to bowl. The good news is that we did get a little better as the game went on, but we actually found it fun to watch the games around us. Families were laughing as they bowled together. For the littlest bowlers, bumpers were put up in the gutters and there was even a ball “slide” they could use to get the ball down the lane.

Soon our meals arrived, including the gluten free pizza that Megan continually talks about at length! Krista ordered the Grilled Salmon with Mango Chutney and it was perfectly cooked. (Note: Megan’s husband got a rice bowl during their trip and it was very good as well.)

Splitsville GF Pizza

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

After our entrees, Diggie told us that we had to try the gluten free cupcake. Now, we both have tried many gluten free bakery options. While they hit the spot, they are never quite as good as their gluten-filled counterparts. When this cupcake was brought out, we couldn’t believe it was gluten free. In fact, it may be the best cupcake we have ever had! It was extremely moist, with a strawberry mousse topping. Even though we were full from our main meal, we couldn’t stop eating it!

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

While we let our food settle, we talked some more with Diggie. He gave some great tips, including that you can purchase one of their exclusive Splitsville bowling pin drink holders, and receive unlimited use the Coke Freestyle machine! This is a great idea if your family is planning on making a day of it at Disney Springs (or if you plan to watch a movie at the AMC theater across from Splitsville).

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

Even better news, the owners of Splitsville will be building a new restaurant in the Marketplace at Disney Springs, that will feature homestyle cooking! We can’t wait to try that one out as well.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

Overall, we absolutely enjoyed our meal at Splitsville and would dare to say it is one of the top restaurants at Disney Springs. It is a great location for families who want to have a little fun with their meal, or even couples who want excellent food choices.

 

Magical Miles Buy Now 2016

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Former soccer player Shannon Crawford from Bronxville, NY notches first half marathon title; More than 24,000 mostly-women runners participate in 13.1-mile race through Walt Disney World Resort

2016 Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Photo: © Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – (Feb. 21, 2016) – If soccer had any chance of staying near and dear to Shannon Crawford’s heart, those hopes likely disappeared in a cloud of pixie dust Sunday at the Disney Princess Half Marathon presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

An avid soccer player since her childhood days in suburban New York City, the University of Virginia senior recently took up distance running and, in just her third 13.1-mile race ever, she won the popular Disney Princess Half Marathon title at Walt Disney World Resort.

To Crawford, who isn’t even on her school’s cross country team, it was…well, magical.

“Disney is probably my second favorite thing in the world besides my family and friends, so I just decided to run this race,’’ she said. “It was the most incredible feeling ever. I’m still in shock.’’

Crawford, 21, easily won the race through Magic Kingdom and Epcot, covering the entertainment-filled course in 1:24:49. That was nearly two minutes ahead of second-place finisher Brooke Adams of Randolph, New York (1:26:10). Heather Schulz of Orlando, Florida was third (1:27:06).

Needless to say, after winning her first half marathon, Crawford is totally hooked on running. As for soccer’s place in her life, it’s in a deeper slumber than Sleeping Beauty.

“I don’t really play soccer anymore,’’ she said. “I just run.’’

The Princess Half Marathon capped the four-day race weekend that featured various races and events all geared toward women, including the Disney Princess 5K, the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, runDisney Kids Races and the Glass Slipper Challenge, which involved runners completing the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. In all, more than 44,000 mostly-women runners participated.

The weekend event also included a health and fitness expo which featured the latest running apparel and equipment, plus a speaker series involving running experts such as runDisney’s official training consultant Jeff Galloway. And there were several family-oriented events such as the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Breakfast, the Pasta in the Park Party and the Happily Ever After Party.

The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is one of nine annual runDisney events and one of two women-focused events taking place in 2016. The other women-focused event is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry, which takes place in May at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.  Both events are designed to celebrate and promote women’s empowerment, women’s health and an active lifestyle. And both are among the nation’s largest race weekends geared towards women.

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runDisney Speaker Series

Every runDisney race weekend begins with the Health & Fitness Expo. We have discussed our top tips for navigating the expo, as well as the various ways to approach the expo. However, if possible, there is one item you definitely should experience – the runDisney Speaker Series.

runDisney Speaker Series

Inside the expo are many places to explore. Picking up your race bib, looking through the official race merchandise, visiting your favorite vendors and much more. However, during the Speaker Series, you can get insight on the race course, nutrition and maybe even a celebrity visit or two.

During the Walt Disney World races, the Speaker Series can be found in the Jostens Center. The speaker area is located on the second (or ground level) floor. When you enter the Jostens Center, go to the right (as if you are getting ready to exit) and you will see the Speaker Series set up, prior to entering the restaurant area.

During the Disneyland races, the Speaker Series can be found in the Disneyland Hotel Ballroom (where the vendors are). It usually is straight ahead when you enter, between the official race merchandise and vendor area.

The schedule of speakers can often be found in the official race guide, however there are signs outside of the Speaker Series area as well. During every race weekend, Tara Gidus, the official nutritionist for runDisney and Jeff Galloway, the official training consultant for runDisney, will speak. Along with their tips and tricks, they usually leave time for the audience to ask questions. Definitely take advantage of this!

runDisney Speaker Series

The additional speakers will vary from race to race. Past speakers have included Ali Vincent (Biggest Loser), Paula Radcliffe (women’s marathon record holder), John Hughes (race director for the runDisney events), Sean Astin (actor) and many more. There has even been a fashion show by Champion!

Taking a break to listen to the Speaker Series is a great option for the new or veteran runDisney runner. There is always more to learn!

 

Magical Miles Buy Now 2016

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Second Star Wars Half Marathon victory for Arciniaga; Fellow Olympics hopeful Annie Bersagel is female winner; Event was first of four runDisney events at Disneyland Resort this year; More than 30,000 runners started races during the four-day event weekend

 

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Light Side 2016

Photo: © Disney

ANAHEIM, Calif. (January 17, 2016) – The Force was with Fountain Valley, Calif., native Nick Arciniaga once again in the Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort Sunday. After winning the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon in 2015, he followed up with second-straight victory in a record-setting time of 1:05:49.

Arciniaga, 32, who now lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., blasted past First Order stormtroopers to break the tape at the finish line. Adam Roach of Pebble Beach, Calif., was second (1:12:29) and Hunter Sapienza of Seattle, Wash., was third (1:12:38).

“This is a race that means a lot to me,” Arciniaga said of the victory. “I’ve been a Star Wars fan ever since I can remember.” Arciniaga goes on to compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon in the upcoming weeks.

Annie Bersagel, 32, of Colorado, also flew at lightspeed across the finish line Sunday as the female winner with a time of 1:15:09. Bersagel is also set to compete in the upcoming U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon. Second-place female finisher was 2015 Star Wars Half Marathon female winner, Jennifer Berry, of Denver, Colo. (1:21:11) and third-place finisher was Kendal Sager of Los Altos, Calif. (1:25:05).

“I was the fastest stormtrooper out here today,’’ Bersagel joked after her win, clad in Star Wars-inspired running gear. “So that’s all you can really ask for, right?”

Arciniaga and Bersagel jumped to hyperspace to outrun more than 13,000 athletes in the 13.1-mile intergalactic journey through Disneyland Resort and Anaheim area streets, where a variety of Disney entertainment, including Star Wars characters, cheered on runners at every mile.

The Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend included several family-friendly events, including a three-day Health and Fitness Expo with the latest in fitness apparel, running gear and high tech gadgets. It was the second runDisney race weekend of 2016 and the first this year at Disneyland Resort. The event offered athletes a variety of race experiences for all levels, from Padawans to Jedi Masters – the runDisney Kids Races, the Star Wars 5K, the Star Wars 10K and the Star Wars Half Marathon. The ultimate test for Star Wars rebels was the Star Wars Rebel Challenge – a two-race challenge that combined the Star Wars 10K on Saturday with the Star Wars Half Marathon on Sunday. Jedi runners who finished the 19.3-mile challenge earned a special Star Wars Rebel Challenge finisher medal in addition to medals for the 10K and half marathon.

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