• Allison Hills

Why Everyone Should Sign Up for a Disney Race 🏃‍♀️!

First of all, let me say that I was NOT a runner growing up. I was a ballerina, turned Dance Team Captain, turned Cheerleader! I have never particularly enjoyed sweating it out in the hot sun. During my senior year of college, I underwent wrist surgery on both wrists, and decided to retire from cheerleading😂. One of my best friends and I signed up for the intramural half marathon team (they accepted everyone😅) as well as audition for the glee club musical (but that is a different story🙈). Megan and I would run "outers" at the Naval Academy daily. An outer is about 4 miles around the perimeter of the base. If you have ever visited Annapolis, you would know that it is a breathtakingly beautiful city! Anyways, therein started my love for running. I have never been very fast, but I am always up for a challenge! I started participating (not necessarily competing😂) in races upon the completion of my Master's program in Monterey, CA. Now THAT is the place to start running! Of course, the first race I signed up for......the Disney World Marathon. Hey, if you are going to go down, why not go down in flames!!

In the past 8 years or so, I have completed 9 Disney Races (although some of them were back to back races😅)! They truly are SO fun! I understand that a few intense racers despise Disney races, but the reason's they despise them are actually the exact reasons I love them! It does not matter what size you are, it does not matter if you need to walk, and it does not matter if you use the allotted 16 min/mile pace! Disney races (much like Disney World) are all about the experience! You will see people in hilarious costumes, you will see characters and will be entertained along the way, and most importantly, you will encounter the most positive, uplifting crowd.

Here are the questions I receive the most:

Where to stay? This one really depends on the race route and your preferences. I have stayed on Disney and off of Disney. I prefer off Disney (shocking right). Here is why.....First of all, when you stay on Disney, you generally do not need a car. That's a good thing right? Not necessarily. Disney races begin at an obscene hour (in order to allow the majority of racers to run through the park before it opens). The provided busses pick you up at 3 AM and drop you off at the meeting point (generally a parking lot). If you drive your own car, yes, you still leave your hotel and head to the meeting point at 3 AM, but you can actually go back to sleep in your car for an hour or so before heading to the race start! This time is invaluable! I would much rather sleep in my car, than sit on the parking lot gravel for and hour and a half (especially for the rare race in 30 degree temperatures!!) Not to mention, it is probably cheaper to rent a car and stay off of Disney property, than it is to stay on and NOT rent a car!

Obviously this is all an opinion and various factors will affect this decision. Is your family coming? Do you plan on visiting the parks? If the answers to these questions are "yes," you may consider staying at a Disney resort instead.

What to bring? For the actual race, I usually just bring my phone and headphones and well as some clothes that intend to donate. When the race is super cold in the morning, I will wear warmer clothes (and even blankets) over my costumes that I can throw off when I warm up (around mile one or two!). Disney has volunteers that collect these items and donate them. I generally do not bring drinks or snacks as they are provided along the route.

What about bib/ packet pickup? You must arrive at least one day early to pick up your packet. You will have to go to the ESPN Sports facility to do so. Depending on the time, this may take you a couple of hours😅. The #rundisney machine is quite apt in dealing with the crowds and the experience is very well organized. After you grab your t-shirt and bib, they generally funnel you through the expo. There are a ton of fun vendors at the expo, but you can easily just exit if you don't want to spend any more money!

Costumes: This is where it gets exciting! Almost all Disney racers wear a costume of some sort! It's actually quite easy to make your own too! For my first race, I had no idea and did not wear one😭. You can see in the the pictures below that I stepped up my costume game exponentially!

Here are a few of my favorites (from least expensive to most):

1) Raw Threads- This is an Orlando based business with the softest and cutest tops! I saw them for the first time at the expo and fell in love. I like that the tops can be "subtly Disney" and come in a variety of styles included tanks, tees, and long sleeves.

2). I Glow Running- This is an Etsy shop with SO many options. More "costumey" than raw threads. These costumes will cost about $100-$150, but you will most likely be able to resell it if you chose! Men and Women costumes are available as well as custom designs.

3) Run the Kingdom- Oh man, these costumes are to die for. They are handmade in Houston and sell out very quickly! The designs are like no other. I have only had one of these and its the only one that I can't seem to sell. I have actually worn it on halloween too! Generally only women and will cost around $200😅. (In the pictures below, it is the tinkerbell costume)

If you have any questions for would like to add your #rundisney experience, I would love to hear them!

Also, the last race I completed was the Dopey challenge (I'll save that one for another post), but I can EASILY be talking into another race. Let me know!