Yay! Congratulations! You’ve successfully signed up for a run Disney race. You have trained. You have booked your room, made dining reservations, and selected your fast passes. But this is your first time attending a run Disney race weekend at Walt Disney World and you’re kind of unsure of what to expect. Don’t worry. We got you covered.
Here are our tips for you.
Like Dapper Days and D23 events… This is an event. There will be thousands of runners there participating in 1-4 races over the course of the weekend. And you will see these thousands of runners wearing race shirts and medals throughout the race weekend. So… embrace it.
1: Share that you’re a runner too. After your race sport your medal and race shirt in the parks. If you earn multiple medals throughout the race weekend, wear them all. We have found some of our most memorable experiences with characters come when we wear them. Just a word of caution when wearing them on rides (ie Tower of Terror)… the medals are heavy. They will hurt. Also… Don’t be afraid to congratulate other runners when you see them sporting their medals. Strike up a conversation. You never know what friendships you may find. I am so very thankful for the friends we have made over these last five years because of RunDisney.
2. Be sure to visit the Race Expo at Wide World Of Sports (WWOS) at least the day (if not a few days) before your race. You will need to go here during Expo hours to pick up your race bib. The earliest hours tend to be a bit crazy with long wait times. But you also have a better guarantee to score race merchandise. That being said… the expo is not just a place to pick up your race bib and leave. There will also be interactive activities, official runDisney race merchandise and other vendor booths (depending on the race weekend/ layout) in 2-3 locations throughout the WWOS complex. The entire process of parking (or walking from bus drop off), getting your bib, race shirts, and visiting merchandise booths can take from 1 hour (the quickest we have been able to do it) to upwards of a few hours. (The most we have spent at an expo was two and a half hours). So plan accordingly. If traveling with small children in strollers, be aware that strollers are not allowed in the expo centers. There will be areas to purchase food and a pre race celebration adult beverage. Race Expo hours are listed on the runDisney website for each race under Events > Expo or under Runner Info > Schedule
3. Event transportation for those staying at a resort. The benefit of staying on property is that runDisney provides transportation for race participants and spectators to and from the races and expo. When you check into your resort look around the lobby for a runDisney event poster. This poster will provide you with a schedule of all race/ expo events and times that event transportation will be available. We suggest taking a picture of this for future reference. That way you have it on your phone in case you need to know something while in the parks. Let the cast member who is checking you in know that you are there for the race weekend. They will then provide you with any race handouts runDisney and Disney Resort have for the weekend. At your resorts regular bus stop you will see signs for runDisney transportation. There is almost always a cast member there (in a yellow event shirt) to help and assist you to get on the right bus.
4. Know what time you have to be on a RunDisney event bus and at the corrals for the start of your race. The races have early morning starts and you will more than likely have to be on a runDisney event bus (if staying on property) by 3:30am-4am for your race. If you are not staying on property, plan extra time to get to the location where you will have to park and budget the possibility of getting on a bus to take you to the Starting area.
5. Read the Event Guide prior to visiting. Each race has a Official Digital Event Guide that will be available online to look at weeks prior to the race. To find this look under your specific race weekend page on the runDisney site then go to the tab Runner Info > Official Digital Event Guide on the runDisney website) I suggest reading this prior to attending the expo. This is even for those of us that have been to several races because RunDisney loves to change it up. Especially for the Expo. We have found ourselves confused of where things were because we just went to where it was the last time. Be sure to also read over the race etiquette and tips for race day by Jeff Galloway. These races have a lot of runners and if this is your first time running a race, it’s good to look at these tips to help make your race and others around you more enjoyable. A lot of these seem like common sense but during race time, many runners often get caught up in their own race that they forget there are thousands of others running the course. Just a good rule… follow the rules of the road. Just like in driving.
and last but not least…
6. Social Media. RunDisney will post any race updates via their social media accounts. Be sure you are following their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If the event management needs to get important information out to runners (i.e. race condition level change, weather alert, race delays due to weather) they will update there first. So keep an eye out on those sites for any up to date news.
For tips of what we pack for a RunDisney race check out our Packing for a RunDisney Race episode.