Lacing Up for Magic: A Beginner’s Guide to runDisney Events at Walt Disney World


The enchanting world of runDisney events at Walt Disney World is where the thrill of the race blends seamlessly with the magic of Disney. Whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner or a casual walker inspired to add a sprinkle of pixie dust to your fitness routine, runDisney offers an experience like no other.

Guests participating in a runDisney event will enjoy the excitement of the starting line to the triumph of crossing the finish line amidst some of the most beloved Disney characters cheering you on.  Races take runners through the Disney theme parks, with castles and iconic attractions providing an awe-inspiring backdrop.

With events for all ages and abilities, including 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, and even full marathons, there’s a race for every prince and princess, young or old. Not only will you be achieving your fitness goals, but you’ll also be creating memories that last a lifetime, complete with medals that are as coveted as any Disney souvenir.

About runDisney

runDisney events are the perfect mix of Disney magic and endurance challenges, offering a unique opportunity for participants of all ages and skill levels to engage in a memorable running experience. These events take place at various Disney parks, with the majority being held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

They combine the excitement of a race with the entertainment and storytelling that Disney is known for, creating an atmosphere that is both motivational and whimsical.

Here’s an overview of what runDisney events are all about:

1. Variety of Races: runDisney offers a wide range of distances to accommodate different fitness levels and goals. The race weekend usually includes a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathons. For the ultimate challenge, there’s the Dopey Challenge during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, where participants run the 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon on consecutive days.

2. Themed Races: Each race has a unique Disney theme, often featuring classic characters and stories. Themes can range from classic Disney characters to Star Wars, princesses, or villains, making every race a new adventure.

3. Course Entertainment: As runners make their way through the courses, which often wind through the Disney parks, they are greeted by cheering crowds, live entertainment, and character meet-and-greets. This not only boosts morale but also provides exclusive photo opportunities.

4. Health and Fitness Expo: Prior to the race days, the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo is held where participants can pick up their race packets. The expo also offers the latest in running gear, training technology, and seminars on topics such as training, nutrition, and injury prevention.

5. Family-Friendly Atmosphere: runDisney events are designed to be inclusive and family-friendly. Kids’ races and family fun runs allow runners of all ages to participate, and spectators can join in the excitement by cheering on their loved ones and enjoying the parks.

6. Commemorative Medals: Finishers are rewarded with uniquely designed medals that have become collector’s items among runDisney enthusiasts. These medals often reflect the theme of the race and are a point of pride for participants.

7. Virtual Races: For those who can’t make it to the parks, runDisney also offers virtual races, allowing participants to run in their hometown and still earn a Disney-themed medal.

8. Charity and Community: runDisney events often support various charities, giving participants the chance to fundraise and run for a cause. The sense of community among runners is strong, with many participants joining running groups and sharing training tips and experiences on social media.

Whether you’re looking to achieve a personal best or simply want to enjoy a leisurely run through the most magical place on Earth, runDisney events offer an unforgettable experience. They’re a testament to the idea that a race can be much more than just a physical challenge; it can be a celebration, a source of inspiration, and a magical journey shared with friends, family, and fellow Disney fans.

2024 runDisney Events

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

The 2024 version of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will be held on January 4th to January 7th and consist of the following events:

  • Walt Disney World 5K – January 4th
  • Walt Disney World 10K – January 5th
  • Walt Disney World Half Marathon – January 6th
  • Walt Disney World Marathon – January 7th
  • Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge – January 6th and 7th
  • Dopey Challenge – January 4th to the 7th
  • Virtual Races – January 4th to the 7th

Click here to learn  more about the events at the 2024 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

Princess Half Marathon Weekend

The 2024 version of the Princess Half Marathon Weekend will be held from February 22nd to February 26th and consist of the following events:

  • Disney Princess 5K – February 23rd
  • Disney Princess 10K – February 24th
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon – February 25th
  • Disney Fairytale Challenge – February 24th and 25th
  • Disney Princess Yoga – February 26th
  • Virtual Races – February 23rd and 24th

Click here to learn  more about the events at the 2024 Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend

The runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend will take place April 18th to 24th, 2024 and consist of the following events:

  • runDisney Springtime Surprise Yoga – April 18th
  • Neverland 5K – April 19th
  • Adventure Is Out There 10K – April 20th
  • Hakuna Matata 10-Miler – April 21st 
  • Stitch’s ‘Ohana Challenge – April 19th to 24th 
  • runDisney Springtime Surprise Splash – April 21st
  • Virtual Race Options – April 19th to the 21st

Click here to register for any of the upcoming events at runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend.

runDisney Virtual Series

The 2024 runDisney Virtual Series will take place from June 1st to August 31st.  Specific events have yet to be announced.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

The 2024 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend will take place from October 31st to November 3rd.  Specific events have yet to be announced but typically consist of the following events:

  • Disney Wine & Dine 5K
  • Disney Wine & Dine 10K
  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
  • Disney Two Course Challenge
  • Post-Race Party
  • Virtual Races

Click here to register for any of the upcoming events at the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

runDisney Virtual 12Ks of Christmas

The 2024 runDisney Virtual 12Ks of Christmas will take place from December 1st to December 31st.  Specific events have yet to be announced.

Where should we stay when visiting Walt Disney World?

When we are visiting Walt Disney World, our favorite place to stay is either the Walt Disney World Dolphin, Walt Disney World Swan or the Walt Disney World World Swan Reserve hotels. Both are Marriott brand hotels so as a Lifetime Titanium Elite members, we can use or earn reward points when visiting either of these hotels.

The Dolphin and Swan are part of the EPCOT Resort Area and within walking distance to the EPCOT’s International Gateway as well as the entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Water taxi service will take guests from the rear of the hotels to just outside of the two theme parks.  There is also shuttle bus service to the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney Springs.

Both hotels are fairly well priced for theme park hotels and we have recently stayed at both with room rates below $350 per night.  The one drawback is that resort fees ($35/day), self-parking ($34/day) and taxes (combined 12.5%) could quickly add to the nightly rate.

Jerry Joyce

Jerry Joyce has been a Florida resident since 1998 and has lived in a variety of places in the South Florida area. Jerry is an avid boater & water sports enthusiast, beach aficionado, a lover of great food, muscle car fan and a theme park annual passholder for many years. Some of his favorite places in Florida include the Florida Keys, Walt Disney World, Cedar Key, the Loxahatchee River, St. Augustine and Ten Thousand islands.

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