Beginners Guide to runDisney

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Beginners Guide to runDisney is a must before planning your magical vacation and run!

runDisney has become a fan favorite for runners and Disney lovers alike. If you like running and you like Disney, runDisney has a run for you.  Over the last 6 years since I started participating in these events, I’ve seen a huge upswing in the participation and demand. Two words comes to mind to explain this uptick in participation…Medals and Challenges!!!  We have that popularity to thank for the addition of more races than ever and an even greater selection of races for any fan.  These races are always family friendly and you can choose from some great races like diaper dashes, family 5k fun runs, 10ks, half marathons, and one marathon distance. All of these happen at different times of the year and on both coasts (and Paris starting this year).  Take a look at all of these races and dates!!! Don’t they look fun?!Beginners Guide to runDisney

Race Medals

I could go into detail of how things over the years have changed with the races, but I won’t go into that on this blog. What I do want to say is that one of the best things that has come out of the changes over the years is amazing race medals, or as we runners like to say “bling”. They really have put thought into each one.  Because of this, they are sought after by people like myself who just can’t seem to get enough ☺.  Take a look for yourself.  Here are mine on my Allied Medal hanger…

Beginners Guide to runDisneyYou can really see the change from 2010 medals which is the plain Donald far right and from the other.


Now that you know they offer many distance options at each race weekend, let us talk about the all elusive “Challenges” that runDisney offers. This is where you run the required races that weekend and you get an extra Challenge medal. For example, for the Half Marathon weekends you need to run the 10k on one day then the half marathon the next. The Goofy Challenge during the WDW Marathon weekend (the one that started it all) is a half marathon on Saturday and then a full marathon on Sunday.  The same weekend they have the Dopey Challenge where you run the 5k one day, the 10k the next, the half marathon, then the full marathon.  They have pretty much added a challenge for every half-marathon weekend and of course there are 2 challenges I just mentioned during the WDW Marathon Weekend.

Beginners Guide to runDisneySo YES you get a medal for all the runs you do plus the challenge medal (for the Dopey you get all the medals plus the Goofy Challenge medal and a Dopey Challenge medal).  YES you have to register for the Challenge and it can only be done when you register.  You CANNOT just register for each race and expect to get the challenge medal(s). YES, the Challenges can sell out within minutes so be PREPARED.

HINT: Follow runDisney on Facebook and sign up for their newsletter.

Registration-Step by Step

You might be curious about how to sign up for a runDisney event, so let me give you the lowdown. IF you are a DVC member or Annual Pass Holder you have the chance to register for these runs a week early through a link on those specific pages.  Login to your account and explore any “Membership benefits”.  There is a specific link that will take you to the runDisney member page for that membership. This is where they will announce the races that will be open soon and of course put the links to the registration page.

runDisney only sets aside a certain number of early registration slots so if you don’t get in, like I did one time, don’t fret. Just be prepared when Disney opens the public registration link the following week.  I usually set my alarm and go to the website to the specific race’s site and wait. Then when it gets close to time refresh until the link shows up and GO!!! Here is what it will look like…(this was taken as of 3/19/16).

Beginners Guide to runDisney

Know what you are going to register for and of course have your CC ready. Here is where you choose your race!!

Beginners Guide to runDisney

Use your login or create one early if you don’t…

Beginners Guide to runDisney

Once you login there is a timer that shows the spot is being held for XX amount of time before you lose it.  I felt it was reasonable for the amount of info they ask you.  Just don’t dilly dally.

Beginners Guide to runDisney

I feel like since they have added more races, it has become less crazy trying to get into a race. This means they don’t exactly fill up (except maybe the challenges) on opening registration day.  The only one that seems to fill up super fast is still the Marathon Weekend at WDW.  Just don’t wait too long cause they eventually will fill up even the 5k or 10k.

Beginners Guide to runDisneyHOWEVER the only “loopholes” I’ve seen if you miss the registration for say the Star Wars half marathon is to register for the charity fundraiser (yes this means more money) OR some Disney Travel Agencies have bibs that they have for the race so if you book your room and park tickets (park hopper) through them, you can purchase the run bib as well through them.

So there you go. I wish you luck registering for your first or 10th runDisney race.  Maybe I’ll see you out there.  And don’t worry, I plan to write an article about the Pro’s and Con’s of running runDisney and all the fun you and your friends/spouse can have out there on the course or cheering.

Have you participated in runDisney? What was your experience?

Join the Disney Express Lane Facebook Group to discuss this and many other Disney related topics.

HAPPY RUNNING and have a Magical Day.

photo credit: Disney Social Media Moms Conference – Run Disney ‘Fun Run’ via photopin (license)

photo credit: runDisney 2016 Marathon Weekend Medals HDR via photopin (license)

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Mandi is a wife, Mom of 3, writer, creator of, and self-proclaimed Disney nerd. She loves to travel to Disney Destinations and blog about her magical experiences so she can share all the tips, tricks and tidbits she picks up during her travel. She and her family visit Disney World several times a year and she is always in the know when something new is happening and she shares it here first! Mandi also works as an online consultant by empowering women to be all they can be in all aspects of their life. You can find her at

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