runDisney races and challenges are some of the most popular across the nation, selling out in mere hours and drawing athletes from around the globe! With the conclusion of Springtime Surprise weekend, we look forward to the next runDisney race season, beginning in November with the Wine and Dine race series. The special inclusions of these races like character meet and greets on the race route and a course that runs through at least one Disney Park are incentives to both register and train for these running events. But did you know that the magic of these races is open to spectators as well?
While some participants may travel with other runDisney racers, many runners travel with non-running friends or family members who join them for a long weekend of Disney fun. If they are willing and able to also rise before dawn, they can find a space along the race course to cheer on their loved one and others who pass by on their way to the finish line. Final versions of runDisney courses are normally published in the few weeks right before the event, so exact spectator locations may and do vary each race weekend. Stay tuned to runDisney.com for course maps so that you are informed and prepared come race day!
With that begin said, below are the typically approved spots for spectating runDisney races at Walt Disney World.
5K – Start and Finish Line area, often in EPCOT parking lot
10K – Start and Finish Line area, Disney’s BoardWalk for guests staying at nearby resorts
Springtime Surprise 10-miler – Start and Finish Line area, Disney’s BoardWalk for guests staying at nearby resorts
Half Marathon during Marathon weekend (January) – Start and Finish Line area, Magic Kingdom before 7:30AM (entry after 7:30AM requires a valid park ticket), Transportation and Ticket Center, Disney’s BoardWalk, the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian for resort guests only
Princess Half Marathon (February) – Start and Finish Line area, Magic Kingdom before 7:30AM (entry after 7:30AM requires a valid park ticket), Transportation and Ticket Center, Disney’s BoardWalk, the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian for resort guests only
Wine and Dine Half Marathon (November) – Start and Finish Line area, Disney’s BoardWalk for guests staying at nearby resorts
Marathon – Start and Finish Line area, Magic Kingdom before 7:30AM (entry after 7:30AM requires a valid park ticket), Transportation and Ticket Center, Disney’s BoardWalk, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios for guests who have a valid park ticket, Resort guests staying at the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian.
If you choose to be a spectator at a runDisney event, bringing permitted signs and props can really boost the runners’ morale. Writing an encouraging, funny, or Disney-quoted message will spread much-needed smiles, and clapping, ringing a cowbell, or waving a small flag really makes the runners feel supported and could even help them get over a mental or physical hurdle, allowing them to push on to the finish.
runDisney spectators should also plan to arrive at their viewing spot well-before their anticipated runner is set to arrive. While Disney transportation is provided and plentiful on race days, it is also in-demand, so be sure to leave more than enough time to arrive at your preferred viewing spot. If you do not have your own vehicle, using a ride share service is another way to arrive at the available spectator locations. Spectators will also need to allow time for going through security at the viewing spot(s) in which they choose. runDisney racers of distances 10K and above are able to be tracked via an online system which makes it easy for you to find your runner on the course and reunite after finishing.
Being a runDisney spectator is easy, fun, and a unique experience! The presence of spectators is welcomed and appreciated by all participants. Have you ever been a spectator at a runDisney event? Were you at the finish line or inside of a Disney Park? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
Featured Photo by Disney