Club Level During a runDisney Race Weekend

As runners, we can be very particular regarding our eating habits during a race weekend. During our training, we have learned what foods are best and what to stay away from. Even during a Disney trip, we tend to eat a little lighter before the race. (After the race is a whole other situation!)

The Disney Dining Plan may be too much food during a race weekend. While you always have the option of bringing your own food with you, there is another great way to experience a runDisney weekend – Club Level!

Club Level during runDisney

Each deluxe resort offers a Club Level option during booking. While the cost is definitely higher, there are many amenities including:

  • Advance itinerary planning service
  • Access to an exclusive Club Level Lounge at your resort
    • Continental Breakfast
    • Afternoon Snacks and Beverages
    • Evening Appetizers and Wine
    • After-Dinner Cordials and Desserts
  • Evening Turndown Service

The resorts that offer Club Level are: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge and Yacht Club. There are various room types and views available. Most rooms are on the same floor as the lounge (with keyed access), however there are a few exceptions – specifically with the Contemporary and Grand Floridian Resorts. Coronado Springs also offers a business lounge option. While the offerings are less, it is another way to have access to snacks throughout the day.

During a runDisney weekend, the most important aspect of Club Level is the food. Throughout the day, you have access to food at the lounge. While they may not be enough for a full meal (with the exception of the bagels, cereal, fruit, yogurt and pastries for breakfast), they do allow you the opportunity to graze throughout the day.

Club Level

As a part of the 2014 Dopey Challenge, Megan and her husband chose to stay at the Wilderness Lodge – Club Level. With multiple races throughout her stay, this was a great option. They often had breakfast in the lounge, would share a quick service meal for lunch, have pasta for dinner and then get snacks and beverages at the lounge throughout the day. It offered a relaxing experience in the midst of many early mornings!

While the expense is definitely higher, Club Level offers a new and unique experience to your runDisney race weekend!

 

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Best Character Meals for Breakfast

We all want to celebrate our runDisney race accomplishments! A great way to do so is by enjoying a character meal. Not only does it fill your hungry runner’s belly, but it also allows for great photo opportunities with your new medal! This series will include great character meal options for you to celebrate! 

After a 5K or 10K race (or even half marathon for the speedier runners), a big breakfast is definitely in order! A fun way to show off your new medal and accomplishment is at a character meal. Here are a few of our favorite character meals for breakfast!

Breakfast Character Meals

Tusker House

Join Donald in Animal Kingdom for this African-inspired breakfast. After a photo with the main duck, you can enjoy a breakfast buffet – along with visits from Mickey, Daisy and Goofy! The food at this buffet is your normal breakfast fare, along with some African-infused dishes. Don’t miss out on the Jungle Juice, a mixture of guava, orange and passion fruit. And if you time your meal later in the morning, you can enjoy a few lunch dishes as well!

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Dine with your favorite Princesses in this quaint restaurant in Epcot’s Norway pavilion. The Princesses rotate, however you are sure to have visits from a few of the following: Aurora, Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Jasmine, Cinderella or Mulan. The breakfast is buffet-style and includes eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, yogurt, fruit, baked goods and even a few Norwegian offerings. These reservations will go fast during Princess Half Marathon Weekend!

Cape May Cafe

Catch a wave with Mickey and the gang at the Beach Club Resort! This breakfast buffet includes your normal fare, which is great after a race! Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald – and maybe even Chip and Dale – will visit your table in their best swim gear. Be sure to bring your camera for some great photos!

Crystal Palace

Magic Kingdom transforms into the Hundred Acre Woods with Winnie the Pooh and his friends! The Crystal Palace is unique in that Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger visit you as you indulge in a breakfast buffet. The food is your normal breakfast fare, however the Puffed French Toast is a wonderful indulgence! If you have a free morning without a race, get a reservation before the park opens for some great photos with Cinderella Castle before your meal!

Tusker House

Character meals are great ways to get fantastic interaction with your favorite characters. Breakfast is a great time to do so – even if you are a little sweaty from your race! Eat up, get some great photos and enjoy your new medal!

 

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It’s no secret that runDisney events are full of smiles, magic and moments you will cherish forever! Megan and Krista have compiled their top runDisney moments (thus far) to share with all of you!

My running journey began over three years ago, however the allure of runDisney races began much before that. During my honeymoon, I saw people on the bus with medals around their necks. Little did I know that years later, I would be one of those people! Here are some of my top runDisney moments thus far.

Running with my husband. When I started running, my husband was always my cheerleader and supporter. He didn’t catch the running bug like me, and I was okay with that. However, I convinced him to run a local 5K with me, which then turned into him agreeing to be a part of my Dopey Challenge accomplishment! In January 2014, we crossed our first runDisney finish line together – the Disney Family Fun Run 5K. I look forward to a few more of these in the future!

Brent & Megan 5K

Finishing my first marathon. After my first half marathon, I remember telling people that there was no way I would run a marathon. Just over 4 months later, I was signing up for my first! I specifically chose the Walt Disney World Marathon because I thought that running from park to park would help make the 26.2 miles a little easier to tackle. In January 2013 (in the midst of the heat inferno), I put my hands up in the air with a huge smile on my face as I crossed that finish line!

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Learning the meaning of a fun race. I’ll admit that I am a competitive person. I always want to get a better race time. However, during the 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I learned an important lesson – sometimes a race is just about having fun! I stopped for photos with characters, I took in my surroundings and I enjoyed every mile. I make it a point to have at least one runDisney race where I do just that – leave the time goals behind and have fun!

Megan & Pluto

Completing the inaugural Dopey Challenge. When runDisney announced the new 48.6 mile Dopey Challenge, it didn’t take me long to decide I was going to take it on. I already had a marathon under my belt (and another planned the fall prior to the challenge), I had some friends to run with and I was excited for those 6 medals! I trained through the cold and snow. I ran numerous back-to-back runs. I even escaped the Polar Vortex. And in January 2014, I crossed all four finish lines and finished with pizzazz!

Megan Dopey Challenge

Making many friends along the way. One of the best parts about runDisney races are the friends you make. I am blessed to have numerous friends who I continually text and chat with, even though we live hundreds of miles apart. We all look forward to seeing each other at upcoming runDisney events!

Marathon Weekend Friends

While these memories will always be near and dear to my heart, I can’t wait to see what new moments are created as my runDisney journey continues!

 

 

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The official kick-off to a runDisney race weekend is the Health & Fitness Expo! The Expos have grown substantially in size, bringing crowds of runners to experience all they have to offer. So how do you navigate the Expo and make the most of your time? Here are a few of our tips!

runDisney Expo

1. Have a plan. A few weeks prior to the race, runDisney releases the official race program. Inside, there is a map of the Expo as well as a list of the vendors and speaker series. Look it over and decide what you want to see! This will help determine when you should go to the Expo. Is race merchandise most important? Going earlier on the first day (with the crowds) may be the best for you. Have a certain speaker you want to listen to? Plan your Expo time around that. You also can make a list of vendors you don’t want to miss!

2. Leave your kids behind. While there are a few things for the kids to do (specifically the Inspiration Station), the Expo can be quite crowded, which means you need to keep an eye on those you are with. If you plan on spending a lot of time at the Expo, it may be best to have someone else take your kids to the pool or parks while you enjoy the Expo!

3. Take your time. There is a LOT to see and experience at a runDisney Expo! Photo opportunities, vendors, speaker series, Inspiration Station – the list goes on and on. If you are short on time, the most important thing to do is get your race packet. If you have the time, plan on at least an hour or two inside the Expo to see all there is to offer. (Keep in mind that there is also transportation to and from the Expo.) The good news is the Expo goes on for multiple days – so you can always go back!

4. Have a budget. The vendors are plentiful (with the exception of the Expedition Everest Challenge Expo) which means there is a lot of running gear and clothes that will catch your eye. By going in with a budget ahead of time, you can bypass certain booths and head to the ones you are the most interested in. Some vendors will have discounts, which helps with the cost as well. (Note: You can use your annual pass or Disney Visa card for discounts at the official runDisney merchandise booth.) There are some items that can only be purchased at the Expos – that will help focus the budget as well!

5. Bring your patience. The rumors are true – the Expo can be very crowded. The runDisney merchandise and New Balance shoe areas can be insane. Be sure to bring your patience along! Stay positive, encourage each other and set an example.

runDisney Expo

IMPORTANT CHANGE – Starting with the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2014, you MUST pick up your own race packet at the Expo. Bring your signed waiver and photo ID.

No matter if you are taking a quick trip to pick up your packet or making a full day of it, there is a lot to see and experience. Let the energy of the Expo take over and enjoy it!

 

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Monorail Resorts vs. Epcot Resorts

When it comes to race day convenience, you can’t go wrong with the monorail or Epcot resorts. However, how do you decide which you should choose for your upcoming runDisney race weekend? Take a look at our guide to determine which is best for your family!

Monorail Epcot Resorts

Monorail Resorts

The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Polynesian Resort and Contemporary Resort all have the added benefit of being on the monorail line. Take a walk to the monorail station and you can hop from resort to resort, go to the Magic Kingdom or head to the Ticket & Transportation Center to go to Epcot! Disney’s Highway in the Sky is fun for all.

For the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend, a monorail resort can’t be beat. The races are held early in the morning and start in Epcot. By staying at a monorail resort, you have the added benefit of taking the monorail to Epcot instead of a bus! Another plus is that your family can stay behind at the resort, then take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom (or other locations) to spectate. Since the races also end in Epcot, after you are finished, you can also take the monorail back to the Ticket & Transportation Center and back to your resort!

  Monorail Resorts

Epcot Resorts

The Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort and Boardwalk Inn include a very close proximity to Epcot. So close, in fact, you can walk into the park through the International Gateway in less than 5 minutes from your resort! You can also take a ferry boat (or enjoy a 15 minute walk) to Hollywood Studios.

For the Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend and Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, the Epcot resorts are best. (Note: All Epcot resorts may NOT be race host resorts. Be sure to check the runDisney website prior to booking your resort to see which will offer race transportation.) Although you will still need to take race transportation to the start line for these events, you will be able to walk back to your resort when you leave the after parties!

Epcot Resorts

These resorts offer a variety of room types that are sure to suit every family or group! The Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Beach Club and Boardwalk do offer villas for those needing more room, or who are part of the Disney Vacation Club. Your family can also splurge for a theme park view room at the monorail resorts. (If you do, the Contemporary offers the BEST theme park view rooms!) Also, concierge level rooms are available at all monorail and Epcot resorts, offering a continental breakfast, snacks, appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, desserts and beverages which is a great option for the running families who are on-the-go!

All of the monorail and Epcot resorts are deluxe resorts, which means their price tag is higher. If you are wanting to spend a little more during your race weekend, these resorts are great options. However are they necessary? Absolutely not! As long as you stay at a host resort for race weekend, you will have bus transportation available for the Expo and races, as well as to all of the parks.

If you could choose, would you stay at an Epcot resort or on the monorail? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Choosing your runDisney Challenge

This is part four of our series on choosing your runDisney race. With so many great events to choose from, it can be difficult to decide! Here are some things to consider when it comes to the runDisney challenges.  (See Also: 5K events, 10K events, half marathon events)

runDisney is well known for their challenges! Running multiple races on consecutive days, doubling the distance each day. It is definitely not for the weak!

Every challenge includes an extra medal and tech shirt for completing the challenge, along with the individual race medals and tech shirts. If you are ready to take on the training and tackle the challenge, it can be hard to decide which to do! Here is a look into the runDisney challenges.

Choosing runDisney Challenge

Walt Disney World

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge

When: January during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Races Involved: Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon

What’s Unique: As runDisney’s longest running challenge, this is one that truly is goofy! With this challenge, you will get the opportunity to run through all four theme parks and boast completing 39.3 miles!

What’s Difficult: Any time a marathon is involved, there is a lot of training that goes along with it. Add on a half marathon, and there will be even more. Since this event occurs just after the holidays, the peak training is during Christmas, which can make holiday plans difficult.

 

Dopey Challenge

When: January during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Races Involved: Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon

What’s Unique: This is the only runDisney event where you get an extra medal for completing ALL of the events during one weekend! Along with the Dopey Challenge medal, you will also receive the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge medal, as well as the individual race medals. Not to mention, you get to smile when you get those crazy looks as you explain your 48.6 mile accomplishment!

What’s Difficult: Training for this challenge is not something to take lightly. It also includes four VERY early mornings and (most likely) limited park time. As with Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, the peak training will occur during Christmas.

 

Glass Slipper Challenge

When: February during Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Races Involved: Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon

What’s Unique: Extend the princess fun by running two races and get an extra medal! This challenge is a great bridge for those considering the Goofy or Dopey in the future.

What’s Difficult: As with all runDisney races, the wake up calls are early. Late February can also include some humidity, so be prepared for that on race day.

 

Disneyland

Rebel Challenge

*This is the newest race to the runDisney family! As such, many of the details about the race are still being released. Stay tuned for more information!

When: January during Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

Races Involved: Star Wars 10K and Star Wars Half Marathon

What’s Unique: This challenge is most likely to be very themed, making it a great addition to the runDisney family!

What’s Difficult: This race occurs just a week after Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

 

Dumbo Double Dare

When: August/September during Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

Races Involved: Disneyland 10K and Disneyland Half Marathon

What’s Unique: One race of this challenge, the 10K, occurs almost entirely in Disneyland property! This challenge, like the Glass Slipper, is a nice “intro” into runDisney challenges as well.

What’s Difficult: Since the races are over Labor Day Weekend, travel costs may be higher. The time of year also may mean hotter race mornings.

  runDisney Challenges

runDisney challenges are full of lots of great entertainment and smiles! No matter which you choose,  you will be running a LOT of magical miles!

Not sure if a runDisney challenge is for you? Check out our tips for runDisney challenges!

 

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