When registering for a runDisney event, there are many aspects to look at. The first is deciding which race (or races) to sign up for. Then there are commemorative items such as pins and necklaces to consider. Next are the Kids Races for your little runners. And there are also meals such as Pasta in the Park or the after race breakfasts. (Note: The meals are only available for certain events.)
Yet for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend, there is an extra special item to consider – Race Retreat.
With a $100+ price tag for one event (or $200 for those participating in the Goofy or Dopey Challenge), this isn’t a cheap option, especially when tacked on to race registration, hotel, meals and other travel expenses.
So the question remains, what is Race Retreat and is it worth it?
Race Retreat is available for the half marathon or full marathon races during Walt Disney World Marathon and Princess Half Marathon Weekends. It is a separate tent in the Family Reunion area that requires a wristband to enter.
According to the runDisney website, the following is included:
- Pre-race bagels and fruit, plus coffee, water and PowerAde
- Temperature-controlled tent with lounges
- Private restrooms and bag check
- Padded stretching area
- Internet access to check live results
- Brunch with hot and cold beverages
- Changing tents
- Self-treatment and First Aid station
- 10-minute massage for only $10 (based on availability)
- Designated location to meet friends and family to celebrate your accomplishment!*
- Signature post-race celebratory cocktail (Princess Half only)
- 2014 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend commemorative socks and towel OR 2013 Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend commemorative flip flops and chill towel
- Disney Character meet & greets
- Live video feed from the Finish Line
- Information Station
Race Retreat Package Pricing
- Walt Disney World® Marathon – $120
- Walt Disney World® Half Marathon – $120
- Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge or Dopey Challenge – $200
- Disney’s Princess Half Marathon – $99 (2013 Pricing)
Race Retreat opens at 3:00 AM for runners. It is open until 10:30 AM for the half marathon races, and 1:30 PM for the full marathon. Spectators and family members can join in the Race Retreat tent after 5:30 AM, but MUST purchase the Platinum ChEAR Squad package to enter.
For the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, we experienced Race Retreat as part of the Runner’s World Challenge package. We were excited to scout it out!
Prior to the race, we were welcomed into the tent, which was full of round tables and chairs. Having a place to rest your legs while enjoying food such as bagels and fruit along with coffee and water was a nice touch. Since Megan is gluten free, she stuck with her normal pre-race routine of a gluten free granola bar an hour before the race, so did not partake in the food. There are gluten free food options such as fruit.
Race Retreat also offered a separate bag check area and port-o-potties. Although the regular bag check at runDisney events is very well organized, it is nice knowing your bag never leaves the tent area and is supervised at all times. The separate port-o-potties are also a nice perk as those lines can get VERY long before a race! However, we did notice the lines became longer in Race Retreat around 4:00 AM, right before we were to head to our corrals, but the line appeared to move fairly quickly.
Another plus to Race Retreat is that the tent is temperature controlled. Since it was quite hot and humid during Marathon Weekend, it was nice to go inside a cooler location (both before and after the race). Knowing that the weather can always be a factor, having a location to keep warm, cool or dry does give peace of mind!
After the race, runners can enjoy the Race Retreat area! It was nice to walk into a cool area and have a place to sit down and take off our shoes. It was easy to get our bags from bag check and grab some post-race food such as eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, fruit, bagels, coffee, water, Powerade and soft drinks. (We also purchased the Platinum ChEAR Squad so that our spouses could enjoy Race Retreat while we were running the marathon as well as when we were finished.)
We were also given a commemorative towel and socks, which we still use regularly! There were areas to self-treat or get first aid, as well as a massage station. TVs also streamed the finish line area, and it was neat to see the smiles as runners crossed the finish line! And as an added bonus, there were Disney characters available to take photos with – and in our experience, they were unique characters! Inside the tent was never crowded and it was a great opportunity to talk with other runners.
So is Race Retreat worth the cost? It ultimately depends on what you want your runDisney race experience to be. Can you still enjoy a runDisney event without being in Race Retreat? Absolutely! We have run many runDisney events and this was our first Race Retreat experience, so we know the races are fun without the addition of Race Retreat. However if you would like to have a pampering experience where you don’t need to worry about bag check, port-o-potties, weather conditions and food before or after the race, Race Retreat is highly recommended. For the 2014 Marathon Weekend, we personally will be purchasing Race Retreat again!