I have been running with runDisney since 2010, and I have run in every race weekend on both coasts except for the Expedition Everest 5k weekend. Over the years, I have made some mistakes, but also learned a lot of how runDisney operates, an dhow to make your race weekend the most fun and memorable one ever.
Expo: Try not to wait until the last day to get to the expo, because popular official merchandise may (and has in the past) run out. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to browse around, there are so many vendors and booths to look at! be sure to print and bring your race waiver and photo ID to pick up your bib/race packet.
Characters: The race course will be full of characters that you can stop and take pictures with. All of the characters have a “handler” with them that will be more than happy to take your picture for you. Also, a lot of the characters will have professional photographers from the company marathon foto taking pictures as well that you can purchase after the race.
Fueling: Be sure to practice your fueling before the race, and see what best goes with your stomach. Some people can’t handle Powerade, but that is the drink (along with water) that runDisney gives out on the course.
Hotels: If you stay at a Disney host resort, you will have free bus transportation to and from the expo and to and from the race. This makes race morning much easier, because you don’t have to worry about driving yourself to the race (there is a LOT of traffic!)
Weather: Disney unfortunately cannot control the weather, and Florida weather is very fickle. I have run a January race that was 85 degrees, and one where it was sleeting! My advice is come prepared with layers. You can always toss a sweatshirt off at the race start and Disney will donate all of the clothing.
Early wake ups: My least favorite thing about these races is that they start at 5:30 in the morning! If you are staring on property in a host resort, the last bus will leave at 4:00 am, so you will want to get up around 2:45 so you don’t miss the bus! About a week before my trip I start preparing myself by going to bed early and waking up early so it’s not such a shock on race day.
Costumes: runDisney races are FUN and a lot of people wear costumes. This is a lot of fun, but I encourage you to be mindful of how “runable” your costume is. Also, never wear anything new on race day, so be sure to practice with it ahead of time.
The best tip of all, have FUN! Running Disney is a magical thing, so be sure to enjoy every mile!
I would love to help you plan your next runDisney vacation, or just a regular vacation! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free quote and more information.