A Pampering runDisney Celebration

After months of training, race day is here. You line up, run through the parks and cross that finish line! While there are many celebration options, one of the best is one that includes relaxing. That’s right – a pampering celebration may be just what your runner body needs!

Pampering runDisney Celebration at the Spa

Throughout Walt Disney World property are various spas that you can enjoy. Each deluxe resort offers a spa, some smaller than others. However, for a truly immersive experience – head to the Senses Spa, located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and also at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.

In terms of relaxation options, the sky is the limit! A very popular option is one of the many massages. (It may be wise to wait a day or two after your race, especially if your muscles are sensitive after a run.) If a massage isn’t your thing, try a facial, manicure or even a pedicure to sooth those aching feet. Or for a truly luxurious experience, combine a few!

Pampering runDisney Celebration at the Spa

If you can’t make it to one of the Senses Spas, the deluxe resorts offer more limited options. The basic treatments are available – massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. With deluxe resorts close to the parks, you can send your family to the attractions while you relax!

It is highly recommended that you make reservations for your spa treatment ahead of time. This is one of our favorite ways to celebrate and may become one of yours as well!

 

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Enter into Victorian elegance at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa! This flagship resort offers the feel of the golden era along with beautiful sophistication. With white sand beaches and views of Magic Kingdom, this deluxe resort is a stay you are sure to remember.

Resort Review: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Located along the Seven Seas Lagoon, Magic Kingdom is just a monorail ride away. You can also switch monorails at the Ticket & Transportation Center to head to Epcot. Bus transportation is available for Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney.

This resort is quite compact, which is nice after a day of walking in the parks. The main building offers suites and club level rooms, while the outer buildings house the majority of the rooms. Room options include: garden, lagoon or theme park views. Each room includes 2 queen beds or 1 king bed, and some rooms include a day bed or sleeper sofa.  Concierge level rooms include the same room types, along with various suites. (Note: the main building rooms are much more expensive, but include the added benefit of a lounge that overlooks the main lobby and sounds of the jazz band and pianist in the evening.) And new in 2014 is a separate building (near the wedding pavilion) that includes deluxe villas!

Resort Review: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

For those that want to stay active, there are great recreational options at this resort! Enjoy a swim at one of the pools, take a trip down the waterslide, relax in one of the poolside cabanas or even have a little fun in the new Mad Hatter themed water play area. Boats are also available for rent for those who want to explore Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, or take in a little fishing. At night, watch a movie under the stars or enjoy campfire activities.

If you need to get in a little training, there is a jogging path that goes around the resort and connects to the Polynesian Village resort. The fitness center and Senses Spa is also located near the deluxe villas and wedding pavilion.

When it comes to restaurants, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa offers options that are very unique. Narcoossee’s is located near the waterfront and Citricos is located in the main building. Both of these restaurants are signature dining. 1900 Park Fare is a character meal for the family, including Cinderella, Prince Charming, Anastasia, Drizella and Lady Tremaine for dinner. For a quick meal, head to Gasparilla Grill. For a truly luxurious experience, celebrate at the award-winning Victoria & Albert’s.

Resort Review: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

During a runDisney race weekend, the Grand Floridian is an excellent resort during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend. The half marathon and marathon event courses go right behind this resort, offering a great spectator location! For the runners, the monorail offers transportation to Epcot before (and after) the race.

 

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A Look at the Final Expedition Everest Challenge

In early May, runDisney hosted the final Expedition Everest Challenge. This 5K scavenger hunt wasn’t the biggest event, however it was another nighttime race that entire families enjoyed together.

Amanda from Dixie Delights was able to experience this final expedition with her husband and graciously offered to recap their race! Take a look!

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We caught the last race bus over to Animal Kingdom at 9PM.  After a few pics, team FORTY yEARS was off to the corral!!!!!!  As usual, the race entertainment / dance party was super fun.  I may or may not have embarrassed Honey with my smooth moves.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

Before too long, we were off!

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

We hit the first obstacle about .7 miles in.  Hay bales…

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

… we stopped for a pic with Chip & Dale just inside the park entrance mostly because they are the baby’s favorite.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

…and then we met Timon just because we never have.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

The next two obstacles were in the back lot of the park – crawling under a net and running through tires.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

We finished the 5k in under 40 minutes, which was great considering our photo stops and bathroom breaks.  At this point we got our first of five clues and were off on the scavenger hunt!

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

The hunt led us all the way back through the park, and when we crossed the finish line we’d added at least another 2 miles to our tally!  It was SO.MUCH.FUN!!

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

At the after party, we headed straight to Expedition Everest.  I cannot say how much fun it was to ride at night … and on a full moon too.  I swear it went faster and was way better than usual :-)

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

We ate a 1 AM meal in DinoLand, grabbed a few beers and enjoyed the sights and scenes of Animal Kingdom at night.  It was a magical and FUN evening!!  I really hope they bring this race back after all the park construction is complete.

runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge

 

 

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Must-Stop Photos during a runDisney Race

Throughout a runDisney race, there are many opportunities to stop for photos. While some may be obvious, there are a few other great places to snap a quick photo during your race!

Must-Stop runDisney Race Photos

Characters. While this may be the most popular, it is one that is definitely worthwhile! The biggest piece of advice is to be a little choosy in terms of which ones you stop for – especially if you are worried about your race time. This will not only reduce your time in line, but let you experience other parts of the race as well! (Check out our tips for character photos as well.)

Park Landmarks. One of the most unique aspects of a runDisney race is running inside the theme parks! There are photographers stationed at locations you may want to stop at – like Cinderella Castle or in front of Spaceship Earth. A photo at these landmarks with your running gear or costume on is a great memory. Even better, the sunrise you may experience during the race makes for some truly magical photos!

Mile Markers. Leave it to runDisney to even make the mile markers magical! Each mile marker includes your favorite Disney characters and sometimes even music. While no photographers are present, a fellow runner is usually nearby to take a photo of you wish.

Spectator Signs. We all LOVE the spectators who come out on those early mornings (or late nights) to cheer on the runners! Some are extremely creative when it comes to the signs they bring along and those signs make for another great photo opportunity. Stop and take a quick photo – the spectators usually don’t mind!

Random Magic. runDisney always adds a few extra magical touches throughout the races. We have seen Disney Cruise Line buses, DJs, comedic tourists, goats and pigs and much more! These are random extras that are worth snapping a photo of (or with!)

Must-Stop runDisney Race Photos

Depending on your goals for the race, you may stop for many photos or just a few. Take these ideas into account as you head to the start line for your next runDisney race!

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Is an Annual Pass Worth It?

It’s no secret that many runDisney runners visit Walt Disney World quite often (some more frequently than others). When planning your runDisney races you may wonder, would getting an annual pass be worth it?

Is a Walt Disney World Annual Pass worth it?

Truthfully, there are many factors involved.

Cost

Obviously the biggest factor is the cost of an annual pass. The basic annual pass (entrance into the 4 theme parks, including multiple parks on the same day) is $654+tax. If you would like access to the water parks, DisneyQuest and the golf courses, the price is $779+tax. Whether the pass is just for yourself or for your family – that’s a lot of money!

A general rule of thumb is that 10+ entrances into a theme park makes the annual pass worthwhile. If you are planning on two extended runDisney race weekends within a year, the pass may be worth it. However, if you tend to stay away from the parks during your race weekend – you may not find it worth the cost. Take a look at your proposed Walt Disney World calendar and see how many days you anticipate visiting the parks.

Discounts

With the purchase of an annual pass comes some extra discounts. Along with free parking at the theme parks, you also have access to discounts on dining, car rentals, merchandise, backstage tours, entertainment, recreation and even spa treatments! For those who wish to take advantage of one or more of these during their trip, it may help sway your decision.

Another discount is the annual passholder discount on rooms. Throughout the year, Disney has offered discounted hotel rooms on Walt Disney World property to those who have a current annual pass. This may help offset the overall cost of your runDisney race weekend (or allow you to stay in a resort that was previously out of the budget).

*Note: All discounts are subject to change.

Early Registration

One of the biggest perks to a runDisney runner is that annual passholders (and Disney Vacation Club members) currently are able to register early for runDisney races. A week or two before general registration, a select number of spots open for passholders. While these go just as quickly as regular registration, it does offer another opportunity to register for a race or two!

Is a Walt Disney World Annual Pass worth it?

Overall, there are many things to consider before purchasing an annual pass. Be sure to think it through and take a look at your race calendar before swiping that credit card!

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Deluxe Villas during a runDisney Race Weekend

When it comes to a runDisney race weekend, there are a lot of resort options on Walt Disney World property. However, one option that is often overlooked are the deluxe villas.

Also known as Disney Vacation Club properties, these deluxe villas offer extra space and amenities. Let’s take a look!

Deluxe Villas during a runDisney Race Weekend

Deluxe villas are available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The two resorts that only offer deluxe villa accommodations are Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.

In terms of room types, there are a few options. A deluxe studio is available, however this is very similar to a regular room, with the addition of a kitchenette that includes a microwave and toaster. It’s the villas that start to offer much more! The 1-bedroom villa includes a bedroom, bathroom (with whirlpool tub), living room area (with sleeper sofas) and a fully-equipped kitchen. The 2-bedroom villas include 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room area (with sleeper sofas) and a fully-equipped kitchen. There are even grand villas for those wanting more space and unique layouts! Another great addition is a washer and dryer, allowing for quick cleaning of those running clothes.

Deluxe Villas during a runDisney Race Weekend

As for runDisney race weekends, these deluxe villas can be very useful. With the extra space, it allows everyone to not trip over one another in the room. The ability to close the bedroom door is also helpful, especially if you are traveling with non-runners who will not be getting up at 2:30 am. Of course, the kitchen is extremely convenient for those wanting to cook their own meals!

While the deluxe villas can be more expensive, it may be worth it for many reasons. First of all, if you are traveling with a group, you can split the cost making it more affordable. (Not to mention, you also have more room!) You can also save on meals by stopping at a grocery store and utilizing the kitchen, as opposed to eating all of your meals at the resort or in the parks.

A few things to note when researching these deluxe villas for your next runDisney race weekend:

  • Each resort offers various room sizes. Be sure to check out the square footage to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Check to see what resorts will be offering transportation for your race.
  • If you have family members or friends who will be spectating, be sure to check our resort reviews (or the spectator chapter in the book) to find out if your race course is nearby!
  • Disney Vacation Club members do have “first dibs” on these deluxe villa accommodations. You will not be able to book these accommodations until approximately 7 months from your time of travel, so have a plan B in place.
  • The newest locations – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – will be the most popular and therefore, may not have space available.

 

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