It’s no secret that planning a runDisney vacation can be overwhelming. From registering, choosing your hotel, training, making dining reservations, packing – there is a lot to do! Here are some behind the scenes highlights when it comes to planning your runDisney vacation!
To begin, it is worth noting that the dates and deadlines below are for those staying on Walt Disney World property. Also included are notes for Disneyland, as some of the dates and deadlines differ. For a personalized experience, contact an Authorized Disney Travel Planner who will not only keep track of these dates for you, most will even handle the details (including dining and FastPass+ reservations) for you at no additional cost!
The first order of business is to register for the race(s) you plan to run! Race registration for runDisney opens at 12 PM Eastern Standard Time. All registration dates can be found on runDisney.com, or check the Important Information webpage here.
After registering, decide what sets of dates you are planning to visit Walt Disney World or Disneyland. You will need to arrive at least one day prior in order to pick up your race packet. If your schedule allows for extra days, it is suggested you add them after the race, so you don’t wear out your legs before the big event!
Once your dates are determined, you will need to reserve your hotel accommodations. You can use an Authorized Disney Travel Planner or book it yourself through the Disney website. There are many resort options at Walt Disney World (and three options at Disneyland), so be sure to check out the extensive archive of blog posts regarding resort information here!
If you are booking a room only reservation, a deposit equivalent to one night’s stay will be due at time of booking. If you will be adding park tickets or a dining plan, a $200 deposit will be due at time of booking. The sooner you can book your accommodations, the better. Race weekends are a busier time, so you don’t want to miss out on the resort you have your heart set on.
Dining/Tour/Special Event Reservations
For Walt Disney World, reservations for dining, tours, and other special events can be made 180 days prior to your arrival date. (Make sure you mark this on your calendar!) Dining reservations can be made through the My Disney Experience app or website, or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. If there are any table service restaurants or dinner shows that are must-do on your list, make sure that you are ready to make those reservations at the 180 day mark! If you are planning to celebrate your runDisney race with a behind-the-scenes tour or special event, you can make those reservations by calling 407-WDW-TOUR.
For Disneyland, reservations for dining or special events can be made 60 days prior to your arrival date. (Also mark this on your calendar!) Dining reservations can be made through the Disneyland mobile app or by calling 714-781-DINE. This also includes dessert parties, which tend to fill quickly! If you are planning on taking one of the behind-the-scenes tours, reservations can be made one month in advance by calling 714-781-8687.
Along with determining what hotel you will be staying at, how many days you will be in the parks, and where you will be eating, you also need to decide how you will be getting to Walt Disney World or Disneyland! If you will be flying, start to keep an eye on flights as soon as your accommodations have been set. For those going to Walt Disney World, Magical Express is a complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport for those staying on property. If you are going to Disneyland, you will need to arrange transportation to and from the airport. An additional consideration is a rental car, for those who would like to transport themselves around Walt Disney World, or even visit other locations in southern California.
At Walt Disney World, you can arrange three Fastpasses per day 60 days prior to arrival. (Another date to mark on your calendar!) To do so, go to the My Disney Experience app or website. You will be able to choose the members in your party, time of day, attraction, etc. Need to make a change? That is also an option within the app! If you are not staying on property, Fastpass reservations can be made 30 days prior to arrival.
For Disneyland, Fastpasses are done while in the parks. Look for the Fastpass sign near the entrance of an attraction and insert your park ticket. You will get a Fastpass ticket with a return time, when you will be able to enter the Fastpass line.
Make Final Payment
While you always have the option of making payments along the way, don’t forget to make your final payment for your accommodations or package! For packages at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, final payment is due 30 days prior to arrival. For many room only reservations, final payment is due at check in. Be sure to verify the final payment date on your confirmation!
In the days leading up to your runDisney vacation, it’s time to start the packing process! Check out these ideas on what to bring along with you. Making a checklist will ensure you don’t leave anything important behind. For those staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, don’t forget your MagicBands as well!
After the months of planning and training, the time has finally come! The last item is for you to thoroughly enjoy your vacation! Take it every moment as you run through and experience the parks!