OK all you crazy people, January is Walt Disney World Marathon time and Walt Disney World is the place for a great big running party. The Marathon has turned in to a complete weekend event. There are 5 different events during the week and weekend.
The weekend has something for everyone. The big race includes running through the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT the Animal Kingdom and Disney Hollywood Studios with Disney characters cheering you on, then the marathon is for you. Does it get any better than this?
The beginning of the Disney World Marathon
The Marathon Weekend is really a combination of bunch of events. Friday is family day, Saturday is the half-marathon, and the big one on Sunday.
Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo
Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo starts on Thursday and runs through Saturday. This event is held in ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Here you will be able to pick up your race packet and race number. There will also be guest speakers and seminars of training and nutrition.
Pasta in the Park Party
|Photo by Melody Kramer|
Pasta in the Park Party is held at World Showcase on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. The event includes a buffet dinner from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. followed by a showing of Reflections of Earth at 9:00 p.m. Your favorite characters will be making special appearances while a DJ is spinning records.
Most children do not have the endurance to run a half or entire marathon so Walt Disney World has races just for them. The kids races take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Track and Field Complex. Kids can pick from Thursday at 3:00 pm., Friday at 11:00 a.m. or Saturday at 11:00 a.m. There are different races for different age groups:
- The Diaper Dash for children 12 months and under
- The 100m dash for those 1-3 years old
- 200m dash for those 4-6 years old
- 400m dash for kids 7-8 years old
- The Mickey Mile is open to and child under the age of 13
Disney Family Fun Run 5K
The Disney Family Fun Run 5K is held on Friday at 6:30 a.m. Here families can team up together and challenge the 5K course that runs through EPCOT. Trust me you won’t want to miss the end of the race. There is even a stroller division for those with younger children who cannot run in the race.
On Saturday runners will line up in and run through the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. The race kicks off at 5:30 a.m. The course will feature Disney entertainment and refreshments. Guests who pre-register and complete the race will receive a Donald Duck Finisher Medal.
Walt Disney World Marathon
The Walt Disney World Marathon big race kicks off 5:30 a.m. at EPCOT and then the course will go through all 4 parks. There will be plenty of characters to cheer runners on as well as family and friends. For finishing the race guests will receive a Mickey Mouse Finisher medal. For runners who complete both the half and full marathon there will be a special Goofy Medal.
Disney Springs Cool Down Party
After all of the events there will be a Cool Down Party in Disney Springs. Take part in the great food and music Disney Springs has to offer on Sunday between 4:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. This is open to the public as well as racers and their family.
The Marathon Map
Running through the parks
I guess if you have to run a Marathon WDW is the place to do it. You get to run through the theme parks, even through some of the back streets that no one gets to see. Characters line the routes to cheer you on.
Disney does things right.
RunDisney has added some challenges to the Marathon Weekend. If you decide to run more than one event you can win a special medal.
The Goofy Race and a Half Challenge
Since runDisney separated the full and half marathon a couple of years ago, some people have been running both races. So runDisney started the “Goofy Race and a Half Challenge”. Finish both races and you get a special medal. But that’s not the biggest challenge.
The Dopey Challenge
In 2014, Disney is adding a new race to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. They are adding a 10K to the weekend. That means if you were to run all 4 races, you would run a total of 48.6 miles over 4 days. FOURTY-EIGHT MILES!
This brought a whole new challenge to the weekend. Now if you run all 4 races, all 48.6 miles, you will win medals for all 4 races, the medal for the Goofy Challenge and the new medal for the Dopey Challenge.
Walt Disney World Marathon Sign-in at Coronado Springs
Photo by obfusciatrist
Registration usually closes before the summer is over (yes, 6 months before). You’ll want to get your registration in early.
Here’s a link to Disney’s Your Marathon site. It has information about the races, including how to buy commemorative items and photos. You can search for results of the race and see maps of where the runners will be.
Disney has another site for Walt Disney World Marathon registration. This site has registration information, event details, and even a place where spectators can predict where runners will be to watch them.
Get some help
Need some help with your reservations? Dad’s got a great idea. Give my friends over at Destinations to Travel a shout and let them help you get all your ducks in a row.
Dad’s Destinations to Travel page
Dad’s Bottom Line
Like most everything else they do, Disney does the Walt Disney World Marathon right.
PS. Don’t expect to see Dad running through WDW at oh dark thirty. (You might see him at the Pasta Party though.)