When I tell people my favorite races to do are runDisney races, they often have a bunch of questions for me. So I figured I would put a post together to answer most of them. runDisney FAQ – Hold onto your hats, cause here we go!
How do I know when to sign up for a runDisney race?
The best way to know when races are open to the public is to sign up for the runDisney newsletter. They send out a few emails reminding you when registration opens, this way you don’t miss it! You could also be a crazy person like myself checking the runDisney site often and write down the dates for sign ups with alarms set in your phone. DVC member and Annual Pass holders have the opportunity to sign up 1 week before registration opens to the public, but they also cap the amount allowed for each race.
Do I have to sign up right away?
Disney has runners sign up 6+ months in advance of the race. Although you don’t have to sign up that far ahead of time, remember most races sell out quickly (some within hours of registration opening). If you know you want to run especially a challenge or 5K/10K it is best to sign up as soon as registration opens. Registration always opens on a Tuesday at 12pm EST.
How do I actually sign up?
Step 1 is to create an active.com account before registration day. This will ensure that when it comes time to sign up you don’t have to waste precious min messing with creating an account. Personally I set an alarm on my phone registration day that goes off at 11:50am. This gives me time to log into my active account, pull up the runDisney website and be ready to go once the clock strikes 12! Keep in mind if you are registering multiple people you will need separate active.com accounts for each of them. You will also need to go through the registration process separately for each account. I solved this problem by using 2 computers when registration comes around so on one I am completing my account and hubby on the other. You may have to wait in a virtual line and the page will redirect once a free spot opens. Once you are to the registration page you have 15min to complete the process. You can also use a tablet or smartphone to do this as well. Just make sure you keep track of everything and who wants to be signed up for what races during that race weekend. You are required to show ID to pick up your bib at the expo and if you signed the wrong person up for a race you’re SOL. Challenges also require a photo be taken with your bib so that they can compare it at the finish line to receive your challenge medal. Races are nontransferable and nonrefundable.
What if the race I want is already Sold Out?
You may be in luck even if the race you want is already sold out. There are many different options when it comes to race entry. Although most people sign up on registration day, Disney has other options to get into sold out races. One of those options is to race for your favorite charity. On the runDisney website under the race you want and registration tab, you can find a list of all the charities that have bibs left for that particular race weekend. They all have different fundraising amount so check with the specific charity. There are also some private clubs that get bibs (I know rawthreads does) as well as different travel agents, so be sure to check different avenues if you didn’t get in registration day. Disney sometimes reopens spots a few months before the race weekend depending. This is why you want to make sure you sign up for the email list. I was lucky enough last year to score a Star Wars Dark Side Half bib a month before the race because of a last min opening.
How much do races cost?
The cost is the one thing that I am not so happy about. Since it is Disney you do pay a premium to do a runDisney race, and no a park ticket is not included in the registration fee. Currently (2016) the WDW 5K races are around $75, 10K around $110, Half Marathons around $185 and Challenges are around $330. There is an active.com processing fee of about 7% added to every registration. The cost can vary by race and also varies by location (Disney World vs. Land vs. Europe) so be sure to check the site for the different prices.
Why do the races cost so much?
Although I am not 100% sure how much money from each races goes to charity, I know every race has a charity it is supporting. For example Princess weekend always supports the Children’s Miracle Network. Star Wars Dark Side last year supported Noah’s light. This can make you feel a little better about the money you are spending on race entry.
What IS included in registration?
Included in every registration is a shirt for the race, medal, pre and post race entertainment, character stops, and post race snacks. If you run a challenge you get 3 shirts and 3 medals unless you are doing a WDW Marathon weekend challenge like Dopey, then you get more. There is also a ton of support along the course. Plenty of water stops and even gel stops for the half marathon and marathon distances. Med tents are also set up along the course and at every finish line in case you need any medical attention. And of course loads of fun! Well every race is what you make of it, but I find runDisney racers to be the most positive and upbeat making for a great experience!
What if I am a slower runner?
This is where training comes in handy! Disney requires a 16min/mile pace be kept from the release of the last corral. So what does that mean? They have a sweeper that goes along the course and if you are not making that pace you will get swept and driven to the finish line. Now that pace is from the last corral so if you have a qualifying time that gets you in an upper corral then that time increases. For the 5K and 10K paces are based on the honor system. Meaning you do not have to submit a qualifying race time for corral placement, you simply click on your min/mile pace during registration. With that being said if you are a slower runner or even a walker please do not put in a 7min/mile pace knowing you will be put in one of the first corrals. This makes problems for the runners that actually run that pace and others to follow. It also is a safety concern when others are trying to get around you. Please don’t be that person! Disney has different training plans that you can follow months ahead of time to ensure you are ready for your upcoming chosen distance.
Can I run in a costume?
ABSOLUTLY! This is my favorite part of runDisney races! Dressing up and seeing others all dressed up as their favorite character always brings a smile to my face. Just make sure to check the costume guidelines before finalizing your outfit. Disney wants to have a safe experience for all, so certain items are not allowed for obvious reasons. Also make sure you take a few practice laps in your costume before the big race day. The worst thing is to find out something doesn’t work well for running at mile 2 and you have 11.1 more miles to go! There are also a bunch of amazing companies that have cute things to make that costume just right. One of my favorites is sparkle athletics. They have tops, skirts, visors, race legs and even wings to make your costume just perfect! Also rawthreads has cute designs for both men and women.
What time does the race start?
runDisney races start at 5/6am depending on the distance. The 5Ks start a little later since you aren’t running as far. They start so early for many different reasons. One is because Florida and California can get hot and humid! They start early for runners safety so that if you are on the course a while you don’t overheat and pass out. Disney will also close a course early if they feel conditions are dangerous to runners. This has only happened once that I am aware of (Wine and Dine 2015) they cut the half marathon course around mile 7 because it was so hot. That used to be the only night race but it has since changed to a morning race, I’m assuming because of that reason. They also start early because you are running through the parks before they open. Although most would love to stay in the parks, they have to make sure runners are out of the parks before they open to the public for the day.
Is there such thing as race etiquette?
YES! Please become familiar with the dos and don’ts of running races before hand. Most Disney runner are new-be runners which is great, but make sure you know how to act on the course. Disney has a list in the program that you receive before the race. They officially made the program virtual so make sure to open it online and read up. Here are a few of the main things I see that always cause a problem among racers. Run/walk is perfectly acceptable during a race, with that being said when you are going to stop and walk please move to the right hand side and put your arm in the air signifying to other runners you are going to start walking. This will avoid collisions (trust me I have seen it happen!). If you are walking or slower then the runners around you please stay to the right this way others can pass on the left. If you are going to stop for a picture or water stop please let the other runners around you know with an arm in the air and quickly get to the side. Also do not cut off runners around you. If you are running with a group of friends great, but please only run 2 runners wide especially in the narrower areas. When you are running a few runners wide this makes it a lot harder for other runner to get around you if they wish. One of my personal pet peeves is runners who have music but no headphones. If you love running with music to keep you going awesome, but use headphones so I don’t have to hear your music blasting as I run past, ruining the Disney mood around you. That one isn’t listed in the program but I think it should be 😉
Where should I stay race weekend?
I highly recommend staying on WDW property. Why? Disney has transportation for all runners staying on property, which makes it very easy come race morning. Race morning you will be up about 3/3:30 am for a 5:30am race start. This is because you will need to get on the bus by 4/4:15am to ensure you are there in time for the start. Traffic is crazy race morning and personally it is not something I want to have to worry about before a race. The buses are allowed into areas the cars are not so they can often get to the race starting area faster. Keep in mind depending on the race you will have to walk a little to get to the actual start from where you park or the bus drops you off. You also want to make sure you have time to check a bag if you like or take a few pictures. The earlier you get there the more time you have for pictures (WDW has some characters before) and using one of the many port-o-potties! Disneyland races you can sleep in a little longer since you can walk to the race start depending on where you are staying. For WDW races I highly recommend staying on property.
Can kids runDisney?
Disney has certain age requirements when it comes to the 5K and up races, be sure to check the specific race site. I believe you have to be at least 5 years old to run the 5K. They also have specific kids races for children 13 years old and younger. Everything from the diaper dash to a 1 mile races (race distance depends on age). Kids races are a lot of fun and the best bang for your buck! Most races it is only $20-$30 per child and that includes a shirt and medal (rubber) for your child. My nephews love it because they get to run in a family friendly and supportive environment and receive and medal like mommy and daddy. It is also so much fun to watch the little ones in their costumes. 🙂
Why run a runDisney race?
Well that question is really up to you to answer. Do you love Disney? Do you love making new friends? Do you love running? Then a runDisney race may be for you! Personally I love Disney and running so it was a perfect fit! Like everything else Disney does come quality. I have done many different races and none compare to the runDisney experience. The other runners, costumes, character stops, race support etc. is like no other. I have never had an issue with event organization or miscommunication when it comes to a runDisney event. I have also made a bunch of new running friends through runDisney. There are many different social groups that have meet-ups during race weekends. This is a great opportunity to meet other runners who share your passion for a good time!
I hope that helped answer many of the questions you may be having regarding runDisney. If there is anything else you might have a question about feel free to comment below or send me an email, I would love to help!
Cheers to your next adventure!
❤ Dr. Carrie