Deciding to Run Disney is a pretty big deal. Sure, I’ve talked about the things you have to consider before you sign up, but once you’ve decided to take the plunge, there are plenty of pretty incredible things you have to look forward to.
Here’s my list of the 7 best parts of doing a Run Disney event:
7. The Recognition
One thing Run Disney is awesome at is celebrating every runner, from the first to finish to the last. You can be an expert runner, a newbie who wants to get healthy, or a group of friends out for a bit of fun… It doesn’t matter!
You are a VIP. Age, gender, body type/size, or ability doesn’t matter. If you’re running Disney, you’re treated like a rockstar before, after, and during the race.
6. The Unique Perspectives
I’ve been to Walt Disney World a gabillion times. Ok, not a gabillion times, more like 13… But as a Run Disney runner, you get to see Walt Disney World in a whole new way and it’s always fascinating.
You tour backstage where regular guests don’t go, you go through the parks in the pre-dawn hours, party in closed parks in the middle of the night with music pumping through the speakers of the park. It’s awesome! Even running on the roads that most others only get to drive in feels pretty exotic.
5. The Expo
Sure, it can be a melee, but if you’re willing to brave it you’ve got a shot at some pretty awesome stuff. Exclusive pins and Vinylmations, race-specific gear, those famous Disney-themed New Balance shoes, and so much more. And as a newbie runner navigating through all the products out there was really intimidating.
Thanks to the Run Disney pre-race expos, I was introduced to KT Tape, Raw Threads, Sweaty Bands, Luna Bars, Nuun, and more… Now I don’t run without them and my long runs are the better for it. Finding them on my own would have been so much harder.
4. The Comradery
When you hit that road, you’re hitting it with anywhere between 5,000 and 30,000 of your new best friends. People who all understand the long, hard road to train for the race, who dance to “Thriller” in the pre-race party right next to you, who are hitting the same walls, climbing the same hills, and adding their voices to the chorus of cheers you hear along the race route.
If you’re a social media butterfly, you’ll actually start connecting with people and forming bonds before you even arrive in Disney. In many ways, races become online reunions, which is a level of magic in and of itself.
3. The Medals
Believe the hype… The medals are awesome. They’re not cheap and tacky, they’re intricately detailed mementos that feel awesome around your neck and make people who didn’t run jealous.
Some of them have glitter, some of them glow in the dark, some of them are functional (that compass that Everest had was so cool!), but they all are unique and worth lacing up the shoes to run out and get.
2. The Costumes
This is easily one of my favorite, favorite parts of the runs. The costumes that people wear are truly incredible. I’ve seen people dressed up as Dooney purses, Dole Whips, one runner was Indiana Jones and the other a boulder, Stormtroopers, princesses, superheroes and even Walt Disney himself.
Characters familiar, obscure, and even long-lost make appearances. And what about the shirts people wear with the clever quotes and phrases? I just think costume spotting is a great way to pass the time on the course.
1. The Perks
I’m not going to lie… Run Disney runners get some pretty sweet perks. Everything from buttons to bags to food, exclusive souvenirs (how about those shoes? Or those exclusive Dooney’s?) even room perks and VIP treatment in the parks afterwards are all things you may have to look forward to by running Disney. We’ve been given front row seats on rides, random applause, even bottles of water. One trip, we even got a mega room upgrade!
Night races get to party post-race in parks open just for them until the wee hours of the morning. Day races enjoy exclusive mega discounts in some stores at the post-race party spot. I think that’s probably why Run Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon is my favorite.
A free glass of wine or a can of beer to celebrate then heading off to Epcot to enjoy the International Food and Wine Festival without the huge crowds? Yes please.
And people can say what they want, I use the mesh bags I got from the Princess Half Marathon all the time.
There’s so much more that makes the experience unique and magical, from exclusive meet-and-greet opportunities with characters not generally found in parks (one of these days I’ll stop for Darth Vader and Boba Fett) to even a celebrity sighting or two (Sean Astin, you’re amazing!).
When you add in the sense of accomplishment that comes with pushing your limits and your endurance, it’s hard not to get swept away in that cloud of pixie dust that is a Run Disney event.
So what are you waiting for? Which event will you be running?!
Can’t get enough or Run Disney? Be sure to check out my Run Disney tips and race recaps:
- 5 Things To Consider Before Signing Up for a Run Disney Event
- Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2013
- Enchanted 10k 2015 Race Recap
- Princess Half Marathon 2015 Race Recap