The Run Down on runDisney from the Homes4uu Blog
The Run Down on runDisney from the Homes4uu Blog
Kate K.

Get your running shoes out and your costumes ready, because the 2019-2020 runDisney season is about to kick off! And here at the homes4uu blog, we’ve got a… run down on just what runDisney is, what makes it special, and most importantly, how you can take part!

What is RunDisney

RunDisney isn’t your average marathon, it’s a unique series of events with that magical Disney flair. And it’s been around for over 25 years! The first Disney marathon was held in Walt Disney World in 1994 under the banner of the Disney Endurance Series. The Disneyland Marathon and 5k were held the following year. Runners traveled through 6 of Disneyland’s themed lands before heading out into Anaheim. Meanwhile, the 5k racers stayed in the park.

Over the years the parks saw inline skating races and an Ironman race series. The Goofy race challenge was the first of the modern character races. It featured a half marathon, a full marathon, a kid’s race, and a fun run. From there the races became more and more magical.

In 2010 runDisney added a pre-race Pasta Party and a Post Race Celebration at Epcot. Since then, runners can sign up and get special access to the park during these events. And in 2018 runDinsey celebrated 25 years of marathons. This part of Disney culture has grown from a single race into events that span two continents, three resorts, and multiple parks. But it’s the Disney flair that sets these races apart from the competition.

RunDisney Runners

Not Your Average Marathon: What Makes Run Disney Different

            Disney never does anything without adding in that bit of Disney Flair, and the runDisney program is no different. The medals are collectors’ items in and of themselves. And participants can help vote on the designs each year! The participants also get into the races in a fun way. The races take Disney bounding to a whole new level with clever running outfits that reflect favorite characters. You’ll usually find couples in costumes as character pairs and you can even see whole families dressing for the occasion. Etsy has whole stores dedicated to racing tutus for runDisney as well! So if you’re going to participate, use your imagination and go wild!

Race events also feature rare character meet-and-greets that include characters you may never see in the park at any other time of the year! This can include Mushu during the Princess Half, or Robin Hood and Little John. You never know for sure who will be there to greet you at checkpoints and at the finish line. But it’s worth the price of admission to get a snapshot of one of those rare characters. And the scenery is perfect since these races wind through the theme parks and around the attractions we all know and love!

Character Meets

Who Can Participate?

And the runDisney events are made for anyone! The Kid’s Dashes open the events to the guest 8 and younger, and the age requirement for the 5k is 5 years old! To participate in the 10k you have to be 10 years old, 14 for the half, and 18 for the full marathon. And there is no upper age limit to the full races. Ruby Smith was 75-years-old when she participated in the 25th-anniversary race. She had participated in all 25 Walt Disney World Marathons to date!

And like all events and attractions at Walt Disney World, guests who are differently abled are welcome. Wheelchairs can be used on the course, and there is a Hand Cycle Exhibition that you can participate in, though it won’t get you any awards. And if you or a family member needs a guide to help get through the course, let runDisney know within 90 days of the event!

Costuming Guidelines

            Costumes are a fun part of one of the runDisney events. But Disney has guidelines for guest costumes that you have to follow. All costumes must be family friendly, with nothing obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent (including toy weapons that can be mistaken for the real thing). Your costume must not have anything sharp, or anything that can hit another guest. And if you choose to dress up as a character you may not sign up for autographs or pose for photos for other guests.

            runDisney costumes largely follow the general Disney Guest costuming guidelines that are in place for the Halloween parties and special events. Guests under 13 can wear partial masks (eyes and mouth free) and any costume that doesn’t drag on the ground. You can wear a dress as long as it doesn’t hit the ground. You can’t wear clothes layered in a way that could hide prohibited items either. Guests can’t wear full body props. But you can wear wings, bring lightsabers, tutus and even capes, as long as they don’t go below your waist. You can wear headgear, but you cannot wear masks! You can’t wear costumes in the parks after the races though. So you’ll need a change of clothes unless you’re wearing a specially themed t-shirt or blouse (or are dis-bounding).

            Of course, you could also go to the runDisney store on and pick out one of their themed racing outfits. Or go to Etsy and find something custom made. You can also make your outfit yourself if you’re feeling especially crafty. But no matter how you plan to dress, you’ll have plenty of fun participating.

How You Can ParticipatePirates

One of the best things about runDisney is the community. It’s incredibly welcoming and supportive and you can find people trading training stories on social media all year round. With that in mind, Disney has opened up a unique opportunity for runners who may not be ready for a Marathon: Virtual Races.

You can run the Virtual Races at home, on a treadmill, in your neighborhood or local park. You just have to sign up for the race, download your race bib and the special Disney playlist. Oh, and if you finish the race, there’s a finisher medal waiting for you when you’re done!

And if you want to participate in a live event, seasons start in June and run until the last race in April of the following year. You can typically start registering for as early as March. Once you’ve signed up, its time to start training. Head to the runDisney website for in-depth training guides that can fit any training style! Your goal is a 16-minute mile. If you’re struggling to meet that you can be taken to the Family Reunion Area to wait out the race. So it’s a good idea to make sure you can keep that pace up!

If you’re a Marathon regular who can finish the Half in 2 hours and 45 minutes, or the Full in 5 hours and 30 minutes, you can provide proof of time and get placed in a more competitive coral. What they mean by Proof of time is an official race time from the last 2 years. So if you’ve pulled off a race in the allotted time, make sure you let the folks at RunDisney know!

What’s coming up for 2019-2020

This season there are 7 events including the Virtual Series, which runs from June 1st to August 31st. The first on-site Race of the season is the Disneyland Paris Run Weekend. The dates for that are September 19th to the 22nd. This marathon is held on ‘the most enchanted’ course on earth. Runners wind through both Disneyland Park and the Walt Disney Studios Park over three days of fun!

Walt Disney Studios

The next event in the line up is the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon held at the end of October. Most of these events have already sold out since it takes place during the Food and Wine festival and at the very end of the Halloween season. But you can still sign up for the Two Day Challenge!

The Walt Disney World Marathon will be run in January. The Princess Half happens in February. And the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend will be held next April. You can also participate in the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon from January 3rd to March 31st of next year as well!

And if you noticed the lack of Disneyland races, that’s because they’re shut down while Galaxy’s Edge goes up.

So that’s the scoop on runDisney, if you want to know more you can go to their official site, or head on over to twitter to find some runners and get first-hand accounts of what it’s really like! And if you do decide to come down, stop in and say hi! We’d love to have you. Happy Running!





Kate K.

Kate K. is a freelance writer, artist, designer, and programmer. She has been working with Homes4uu as our primary blogger, graphic designer, webmaster, and social media manager since 2014. You can also find Kate on her homesite and her blog

Read More About Kate K. here

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