If you made the brave decision to participate in a runDisney race or challenge, your race weekend really begins with the opening of the expo the day before the 5K race. The expo takes place at ESPN Wide World of Sports which is a large complex located within the Walt Disney World Resort. Designed to host various sporting events, competitions, and, of course, race expos, this campus can be a bit overwhelming on your first trip or if it’s been some time since your previous visit. To help you feel prepared, review the 5 key things below that visitors can expect at a runDisney race expo.
1. Expect to visit 3 separate buildings.
Once inside the gates, there are plenty of cast members and signs indicating where to go for race bib pick-up, the runner’s expo, and the merchandise shop. Each of these take place in a separate building and the entrances and exits of each building naturally lead you to the next stop. While it may seem overwhelming at first, it is very unlikely you will get lost or find yourself in the wrong place. Follow the direction of experienced participants and the easy-to-find signage.
2. Expect a virtual queue for merchandise on day 1 of the expo.
Due to the large number of runners, when the expo opens on the first day, there is often a virtual queue in place for the race merchandise in order to make the shopping experience pleasant for all who wish to enter. You do not need to be a participating runner in order to purchase items, so friends and family members may accompany the participant and make their own purchases. Join the queue by opening the My Disney Experience app and choosing “Virtual Queues” from the main menu.
3. Expect there to be limits on some merchandise items.
Due to the overwhelming popularity of the runDisney merchandise each race weekend, expect to find limits of two on certain items. This is most common on the first day of the expo only and sometimes may apply only to the race challenge merchandise. Often limits are lifted after the first day, so anyone is welcome to return to purchase additional merchandise on subsequent days of the expo.
4. Expect a variety of PhotoPass opportunities.
The runDisney PhotoPass experience begins at the expo! You may themed backdrops and Magic Shots where you pick up your race bib(s). At the runner’s expo, get ready to pose with your recently-retrieved bib and the runDisney logo. Before you purchase your race weekend souvenirs, pose with themed distance markers and Disney characters.
5. Expect food and beverage items that correspond to the race theme.
When exiting the runner’s expo, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase food and beverage items specific to the runDisney race weekend theme. For the 2023 Wine & Dine race weekend, they offered high tea scones in honor of the Alice and Wonderland 5K, Curious Cronuts for the Be Our Guest 10K, and Columbian Arepas for the Encanto-themed 13.1 mile half marathon.
Whether it is your first or fiftieth runDisney race, knowing what to expect at the expo can make the start of your race weekend magical and easy to navigate. Your experience at the expo is what you make it! You could spend hours browsing each booth and shopping for the perfect runDisney souveniors or be in and out in one hour if you have other plans.
If you could give one tip about the runDisney expo to new participants, what would it be? Tell us in the comments below.