Your First RunDisney Race — What You Need to Know

So you’re embarking on the magical journey that is your FIRST RunDisney race? Well my friend, prepare yourself for a new addiction because once you RunDisney once, you RunDisney over and over again!

Check out all of my RunDisney tips and tricks below so that your very first RunDisney experience the BEST DAY EVER!

Prepping for Your RunDisney Event

RunDisney Costume

If there is anything that you MUST prepare before the race, it’s your costume! One of my favorite parts about participating in a RunDisney races is seeing all of the amazing outfits everyone is wearing!

Pick something that coordinates with the theme of the event and have fun with it! You will see other runners in LEGIT head-to-toe costumes as well as cute themed t-shirts and tutus. The options are endless but make sure you plan ahead! The costume is part of the RunDisney fun!

Running the Princess Half Marathon Weekend? See three super easy and affordable Princess inspired costumes right here!

Proper Running Shoes

One mistake I made at my First RunDisney event, the Enchanted 10K, was not wearing proper running shoes. I am not a seasoned runner and assumed that my Adidas shoes that are more for looks than actual performance would cut it for 6 miles.

Well, I was WRONG! My feet hurt SO badly after that race! I went out and was fitted for proper running shoes and arch support and every run since then has been SO MUCH BETTER. The right shoes are so important!

Take Your Gear for a Test Run

Once you have your RunDisney costume and proper shoes in hand, make sure you wear them for a run (or two) before the race.

You want to make sure that you are comfortable in your costume! You do not want your costume rubbing and bothering you during the event. Take everything for a test run and adjust if needed!

Prepare for a 16 Minute Mile

RunDisney races are very early in the morning to ensure that everyone finishes before the parks open — since you run through the parks! You must be able to maintain a 16 minute mile (this is especially important if you are placed in the last corral).

There are “balloon ladies” at the race. These ladies start walking the course after the very last corral while holding Mickey balloons. They’re walking at the 16 minute per mile pace. If they pass you on the course, that means you are not maintaining the required pace and you will be picked up and transported to the finish line.

Keep in mind that if you want to stop for any character meets during the race (and there are a ton and SO MUCH FUN) you’ll want to maintain a quicker pace so that the time you spend waiting in line to see the characters doesn’t put you too far behind.

RunDisney Expo Information

RunDisney Expo at Wide World of Sports

During the race weekend, the event expo will be open at the Wide World of Sports Complex. This complex is located on Walt Disney World property. There will be buses running to and from the expo from the resorts but you also could drive to the expo if you’d like! There is no charge for parking.

The Expo is where you pick-up your race bib and t-shirt and there also will be a ton of RunDisney exclusive Disney merchandise available as well as outside vendors with fun running gear!

Definitely check out all of the vendors and the Disney merchandise! There is SO MUCH fun stuff for you to see: pins, ears, hats, spirit jerseys, etc!! Grab something to commemorate your very first RunDisney experience!

Picking Up Your Bib

The RunDisney Expo is where you will pick up your race bib (the number you pin on your shirt). This bib lists the corral you are placed in, and the number is also used by Disney Photopass when assigning your race photos to your My Disney Experience app!

You will need to visit the Expo by the day before your race to ensue you have your bib in-hand before the race the next morning.

Once you have your bib, you can also pick up your event t-shirt at the Expo hall!

There is signage all over the Wide World of Sports complex that will direct you where you need to go to pick-up your bib and t-shirt!

Fun Expo Photo Opps

At the Expo, you will see lots of fun backdrops as well as characters for photos! Don’t pass these up! They’re not only a fun keepsake but they get you very excited for the actual event!

Wear something fun to the Expo for all of your pre-race photos!

PhotoPass photographers will be available but you can also ask them (or a friend) to snap photos on your phone or camera too!

RunDisney Race Information

Getting to the RunDisney Race

If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, there will be buses that take you from your resort to the race start location.

Plan to get on a bus 1.5-2 hours before the race start time. This will ensure you make it to the race on-time and have time to use the bathroom, take character photos, and prep before the race begins!

You also could drive to the race and park if you’re not staying on property. I HIGHLY recommend staying at a Walt Disney World resort for convenience and ease-of-mind since the race starts so early!

Before the RunDisney Race Starts

Pin your bib to the front-center of your outfit. Use the bathroom, take part in the photo opps that are available, drink the water that is offered to you. Enjoy the pre-race activities as well as all of the costumes you’ll begin to see!

If you’d like to check a bag at this time you can. Put your items into the clear plastic bag you were given with your bib at the Expo hall. You can pick-up your bag after the race is over.

If you do check your bag, I suggest you hold onto your cell phone for photos!

Keep in mind that even if the race starts at 5:30 am, you may not even start running until 6:30 am depending on your corral assignment.

During the RunDisney Race

Stop for Characters

There will be so many character opportunities along the course! You may need to prioritize the ones you’d like to stop for based on your pace and the corral you start in. Keep this in mind and stop for those that you can!

PhotoPass will be available!

Be Aware of the PhotoPass Photographers

Speaking of PhotoPass, be aware of the photographers that are along the course. They will be seated in lime green tents and they will be snapping photos of you as you’re running! Smile! Jump! Do whatever you’d like when you see them. This is all part of the fun.

Make sure you bib number is clearly visible so they can assign your photos to you after the race is over.

Drink Water

There will be water stations along the course. Even if you don’t think you’re thirsty, grab a cup or two. You do not want to get dehydrated!

There also are bathrooms along the way if you need to go! I definitely recommend using the bathroom before the race so you do not waste time waiting during the race.

Maintain the Minimum Pace

As I mentioned earlier, you need to maintain that 16-minute mile, especially if you are run the last corral. You don’t want the balloon ladies to pass you!

After the RunDisney Race


After the race is over you will receive your medal! Prepare for this to be an emotional experience! Crossing the finish line of your first RunDisney race is such an accomplishment!

After receiving your medal, you will be given drinks and a snack box. Take this!

You also will see many photo opportunities available! Take advantage of these!

Once you’re ready, buses will be waiting to take you back to your resort. Hop in the shower, rest if you need to, but then wear that medal proudly as you adventure around the parks later that day!

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153 thoughts on “Your First RunDisney Race — What You Need to Know”

  1. Fun and helpful tips!! I’m ready to sign up for another race. (Always dream about the dreaded balloon ladies before I run though!!)

  2. Thank you for all the info and tips! I have a question do any middle school age kids run with their parents? I am thinking this might be something my preteen would like to do with me. Maybe lol.


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