After a lot of speculation, runDisney officially announced the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend in early 2015.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend

During the announcement (and many months to follow), the only information given were the dates – September 23-25, 2016. Many runners were anxious to learn more about this first international race weekend, especially as the cost would be substantially higher due to travel.

Slowly, more details were shared. The weekend would include an Expo, Kick-off Party, 5K, Kids’ Races and Half Marathon. At first, the registration details were a little vague, in that the first round would be for those purchasing travel packages, including race registration, hotel accommodations and park tickets. A few months later, race registration only would be available.

While this race wasn’t originally on Megan’s schedule, it soon became a mother and daughter adventure. The easiest option seemed to be getting a travel package, not only because we planned on staying near Disneyland Paris for the race weekend, but also to ensure we secured our race registrations. The original registration date in early October 2015 was pushed back a week at the last minute. It appeared this race would be quite the interesting saga. (Race registration only was also pushed back, and became available in mid-February 2016.)

When the next registration date came, Megan got on the phone to Disneyland Paris early in the morning. (Travel Provider packages were also available, but did sell out very quickly.) After a 45 minute wait, the package was booked, with full payment due at booking.

Megan was told that additional information regarding the race registrations would be sent later. Two months later, another email arrived stating there were steps they needed to take in order to officially register for their races (5K for both, half marathon for Megan). A username and password were provided, and all information needed to be entered. Along with your birthdate, etc., Megan had to provide additional information as a half marathon participant. This is where she gave her proof of time link, but also had to upload two certificates:

Castle to Chateau

In order to receive the Castle to Chateau medal, participants must run a half marathon or longer distance at Walt Disney World or Disneyland in 2016, as well as the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. Since Megan had run the Walt Disney World Marathon, she uploaded her finisher’s certificate (found in the race results section on the runDisney website).

Medical Certificate

This was something that was definitely new! Those participating in the half marathon are required to have clearance from a doctor prior to participating. A medical certificate can be downloaded from the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend website, and must be signed by a doctor (including their license number). This signed certificate must be uploaded to the registration area by June 1.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend

Once Megan uploaded both of these certificates, along with additional registration information, a confirmation was sent to her email. They were officially registered for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend!

Now, the wait continues. At this time, no new information regarding race weekend has been provided. Stay tuned as the preparation for the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend continues!


Magical Miles Buy Now 2016


Oshkosh runner easily wins after second-place finish last year at another runDisney Star Wars-themed race at Disneyland Resort; Katie McGrath is top women’s finisher; More than 43,000 runners take part in the race weekend

Star Wars Half Marathon Dark Side 2016

Photo: © Disney

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (April 17, 2016) – After finishing second at the runDisney Star Wars half marathon at Disneyland Resort last year, Jason Ryf summoned even more of The Force on Sunday to win the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side at Walt Disney World Resort.

Ryf, 45, from Oshkosh, Wisconsin won the 13.1-mile race through Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1:13:39. Marc Burget of Jacksonville, Florida was second (1:14:38) and Chris Trebilcock of Tampa, Florida was third (1:15:27).

Katie McGrath was the first female runner to cross the finish line, covering the course in 1:24:05. Elizabeth Meadows-Harland of Nashville, Tennessee was second (1:26:36) and Kim Hunger of Antelope, California, was third (1:28:36).

For Ryf, conquering the race from a galaxy far, far away held a lot of sentimental value. Ryf said he grew up watching the Star Wars saga and is a real fan of the franchise. He finished second at the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort in 2015 with a time of 1:10:56. His time Sunday was a tad slower, yet he managed to land in the winner’s circle.

“I love Star Wars. I saw the original movies in the theaters. Ever since I was a kid, Star Wars has just been awesome,’’ Ryf said. “So coming here and winning is pretty good. Being able to celebrate Disney and Star Wars and the race all together is a pretty nice time.’’

The race was the newest addition to the runDisney series which involves nine races at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and, for the first time later this year, Disneyland Paris. The next runDisney race weekend is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry (May 5-8) at Disneyland Resort.

The Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side involved several family-friendly events, including a Health and Fitness Expo with the latest in fitness apparel, running gear and high tech gadgets, the Star Wars 5K, the Star Wars 10K and the Dark Side Challenge, which involved running the 10K and the half marathon on consecutive days. There were also Star Wars characters along the course and opportunities for runners to pose with them before and after the races.



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


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 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.



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


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.