10 RunDisney Tips to Have the BEST Race Weekend

Looking for a new way to experience Disney magic? Or looking for some motivation to be in shape? RunDisney is such a fun way to experience the parks and be motivated to live a more active lifestyle.

Quick RunDisney Overview

RunDisney started in 1994 and has grown significantly since its start! As of today, there are 4 weekends a year of RunDisney races taking place between November-April. Each weekend holds a 5k, 10, and half-marathon race, and the race in January holds an additional marathon race!

RunDisney is the PERFECT way to experience the magic in a new light. Its positive, supportive, and uplifting spirit is what makes it one of my favorite things Disney offers… and running backstage can be pretty cool! Here are my top 10 tips on how to have the best RunDisney weekend!

Tip 1: Arrive Early

RunDisney Races begin at 5 am, and you need to be at EPCOT by 4 am at the latest! That means the morning alarms are no joke.

For the best experience, arrive early to your race, between 3-330am. This will allow plenty of time to get warmed up, take advantage of photo ops, and dance with the DJ! The energy in the morning will get you so excited for your race, and it’s definitely worth the early wake-up call.

Pro-Tip: Line up for your corral early! They open the corrals usually about 1 hour before the race begins. Being in the front of your corral can mean you will have extra time to finish in case you start to fall behind the time requirement!

Tip 2: Stay on a Disney Property Hotel

water fountain in front of brown building

Ah, to stay at a Disney hotel on runDisney weekend is truly the greatest privilege. Staying at a Disney resort during your RunDisney weekend means that you will have bus transportation to/from the race. 

Be sure to coordinate with your hotel on what time the busses will be running in the morning!


Florida is HOT and these races are unpredictable. One year, the race day could be a high of 70, and in other years it could reach a high of 90! 

In either temperature, it is important to stay hydrated. Drink lots of water the days before the race, and make sure you are eating foods that will bring you energy to do your best!

RunDisney has water stops every 1-1.5 miles, and some of these include Powerade when the distances get further. Utilize these.

I actually bring my own running water bottle (link) to carry with me during the half-marathon and I love it. Many people bring their own water and maybe even a snack!

Tip 4: Go CRAZY with your outfit

If you are not dressed up during RunDisney, you are in the minority. EVERYONE goes crazy, and the more elaborate your costume is, the better! Matching T-shirts are just about the bare minimum.

One of the best parts of RunDisney is all the costumes, it really is like going to a Halloween party! I have attached some photos of what I wore, but there are so many other incredible costumes.

Tip 5: Head to the Expo on the first day

Wanting merch? Head to the Expo on the first day!

The expo is at ESPN Wide World of Sports, and it is where you will pick up your race bib and complimentary t-shirt! You MUST go to this to run the race, and anyone over 18 has to be there in person to pick up their bib. Disney is very strict about this.

The expo is particularly crazy on the first day, but it has the widest selection of merchandise. Many items tend to sell out early and people line up as early as 4 hours before it opens!

If you don’t care about additional merchandise, I would suggest going during the afternoon.

Tip 6: Make park reservations for after

An unofficial rule during any RunDisney Weekend is you have to visit the parks after your race sporting your brand new medal! It is so much fun to see everyone who ran and congratulate everyone on their hard work!

Have a photoshoot in Magic Kingdom! That’s always my favorite.

With the new reservation system, parks may sell out on the day that you are wanting to visit, so be sure to make these reservations in advance.

Check out the BEST places to watch Fireworks from in Magic Kingdom and EPCOT!

Tip 7: Be strategic with character meet and greets

RunDisney is FULL of rare character meet and greets! But be sure you have enough time to wait in lines for the ones you want! If you are in an early corral, more than likely you will have plenty of time for these, but if you are farther back, be strategic with who you meet.

You won’t have time to meet every character!

Tip 8: Have friends and family come as spectators with signs!

If you are on a Disney vacation with your family, they are more than welcome to come and cheer you on & make signs! Many spectators make fun signs for runners to see when they need inspiration the most!

Each runDisney race has a unique course to that race. For more spectator viewing check out more info on the RunDisney website.

Tip 9: Sign up when registration opens as it sells out quickly

RunDisney races are POPULAR! Some sell out in seconds! The most popular races are the 5k. This is because they have limited spots, and this is the shortest race and a popular distance to want to run. If you have interest in any RunDisney race, I would recommend signing up the second they open registration at www.rundisney.com. Registration announcements can be found online you know exactly when you need to be online.

Tip 10: HAVE FUN & welcome to the RunDisney club 

These races are all about having FUN! Unless this is your first race ever, you probably won’t have a personal record (PR). Instead, focus on taking pictures, enjoying the atmosphere, and getting the most out of your expensive race day!

People participate in RunDisney because it is encouraging and a fun way to experience the magic, not to take it super seriously.

With that said, be sure to train, and trust your training will take you to the finish line.

I’m Danika! A travel obsessed, Disney adult, with a knack for budgeting.

In 2020 I was furlough from my “dream” job at Disney and have pursued my first love of travel ever since. I have traveled to 33 states and 28 countries spanning 5 continents.

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