Are you planning on participating in a runDisney Experience soon? If so, here are the best Tips for a Great runDisney Experience in Disney World.
Tips for a great runDisney experience in Disney World
Everyone wants the same thing when they sign up and head to Disney World for a runDisney event: A great experience. After all, Disney is known for their ability to create a complete experience for their customers. The event crew does an outstanding job putting on these races as I have laid out before “5 reasons to love runDisney”. However, they can’t run the race for us or make us put on a happy face. So here are my Tips for a Great runDisney Experience in Disney World!!!
Once that credit card is charged and you are registered for the race, next on the agenda is a training plan. When you train properly the whole race and post race experience is just more enjoyable. Yes it may still hurt and your legs still may be sore afterwards, but trust me they will hurt WAY worse if you don’t prepare yourself properly. Trust me on this one. I have been that person that has waddled like a penguin through Magic Kingdom and had to get help getting off of the Rock’n Roller Coaster. Believe you me, it wasn’t pretty. I felt crummy too. This took away from me enjoying the parks like I normally would. If you don’t know where to start, runDisney has provided runners with a generic walk/run plan developed by former Olympian Jeff Galloway. Learn more about those plans HERE. Runner’s World has some generic plans you can download as well. Want something more personal? Go to your local running store and ask. You’d be surprised that there are certified run coaches out there. And they aren’t just for elite athletes.
The runDisney Expo Takes Time…Give Yourself Plenty
Once you get off the bus or park there is a little walk to get inside the ESPN World Wide of Sports center. It is crowded and busy, busy, busy. Don’t expect to get in and out in less than an hour. Just don’t. This is because you have to go to different buildings to get your things. You now get your bib in one place and then go to another building to get your swag/t-shirt/other vendors. Sometimes there are lines to get into these buildings due to the number of people trying to circulate through there. BE aware of any time constraints and just plan accordingly. Plus, you may find yourself wandering the runDisney booth or the other amazing vendors that are there. Also, note that if you take the bus from your resort they only return to resorts. There are no buses that will take you to a park.
Stay on Property
No, this isn’t necessary I admit that. However, if waking up at 2 or 3AM and getting in your car, sitting in traffic, parking, running, then fighting traffic leaving the event sounds like fun, then have at it. If you stay on property, transportation is provided to and from the expo and the run. Now the only difference is that most of the buses that work for runDisney are chartered. So there have been some instances where the buses have been delayed due to miscommunication or even gone a little off course to get to the run start. Even with those hiccups everyone made it, everyone ran, everyone who finished got a medal. So there is no reason to worry. Plus you get to visit with new friends and you never know who you’ll run into standing in line for your bus! All in all, it just can make your life easier if you stay on property.
Lay Your Running Gear Out the Night Before
This little helpful hint just will make those early mornings flow better. runDisney gives you a gear check bag and your number you can pack as a pre-race/post-race goodies. Go ahead and pack this too. Some of the items you may want to consider so you don’t have to think about it are: your running attire or costume, your bib, magic band (to get back in your room), and shoes with socks. Really anything you need for that morning just lay it out. Make it easy on yourself. I also pack an extra yummy because I will get hungry before the start as well as some water to sip on.
Get to the Buses Early
This is particularly geared to those staying at a WDW resort. Playing off the point above, one of the reason’s why buses get delayed or have issues are due to the time crunch runners can put themselves in. The guide instructs that you must be on the buses by 4 AM. I’m a rule follower so I mind that 4 AM rule or risk being left behind. If you stay at a larger value resort there are many more runners that the buses are picking up. So it is common to sit and wait for a while as you watch full bus after full bus go by. This is normal!!! So get to the bus pick up area early enough to give yourself a comfy leeway. I’d rather sit and wait at the race start than be the one fretting over if the bus is going to make it there in time. The deluxe hotels don’t have as many issues it seems with this and most have access to the monorail. After doing it both ways, the monorail was a great way to get to and from the run start/finish.
There are plenty of Porto-Potties at the gathering area before the run. One thing people don’t realize is that there are some near the start too. Because you normally have to walk a little bit to get to the start, they have placed some there for you to use as well. This wasn’t always the case. Many a time runners would be forced to use other facilities. There are port-o-potties at every water station which is close to every mile or so. Here is a pro tip*: when you are running through a park those restrooms are open too. The one in Tomorrowland tends to get backed up just to make you aware.
Be patient at the expo, be patient for the buses, be patient on the course. Just be patient. What faster way to ruin the experience than loosing your patience? There are thousands of people running these races. It is going to be busy and crowded. There is no way around this. If you know what to expect it just makes things better. Especially out on the run course. Many times the course narrows to a small one lane stretch of a road and it is elbow to elbow. Just be courteous of the runners around you. If you do a run/walk method, be mindful and signal and move off to the side during a walk. If you get caught behind a run/walker just be patient and run around them. This is not a PR scenario type course so prepare accordingly. Don’t let a bad mood ruin your run or day.
It goes without saying that we should all do this!!! Take in the sights and sounds. Gather as many free high fives as you can. Thank a cast member and a volunteer. Soak up the spectators cheering. Look everywhere cause you never know what kind of hidden Disney magic you’ll see!!!
Join the Disney Express Lane Facebook Group to discuss this and many other Disney related topics. See you there!
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Kristin Sullins Deaton
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