By Holley Long
Lace up those running shoes! The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend may be nine months away, but registration opens for all the races on Tuesday, April 11—and spots fill up FAST.
Image by Walt Disney World
The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, taking place in 2024 from January 3 to January 7, is an annual event put on by runDisney, the road race division of Disney Sports Enterprises. Each race lets you run through the Disney theme parks, cheered on by your favorite characters. You can even stop for a brief meet-and-greet and photo with them, captured by Disney’s Photopass.
As a runner, you’ll receive on-course and post-race refreshments, along with a participant T-shirt. And, whether you finish first or last, you’ll receive a medal themed to your race after crossing the finish line, which makes for a fun keepsake!
If you’re just attending the race weekend to cheer on a runner, there’s still plenty to enjoy. The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo is free and open to the public. Runners will need to visit the expo to pick up their race bibs and participant T-shirt, but everyone can shop the race merchandise and other health and fitness gear.
Image from the Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2023
During the weekend event, you can participate in up to four races, including two challenges. This year, the races and challenges are:
Walt Disney World 5K, January 4: Mickey’s pal Pluto will be your running buddy as you take on 3.1 miles. Try to keep up with man’s best friend!
Walt Disney World 10K, January 5: Let the Rescue Rangers, Chip and Dale, guide you on a 6.2-mile trek through Walt Disney World Resort. You just know an exciting adventure awaits with that pair!
Walt Disney World Half Marathon, January 6: Goody, goody! Race through the parks with your favorite ducks, Donald and Daisy. It’s going to be 13.1 miles of magical fun!
Walt Disney World Marathon, January 7: 26.2 miles is a LOT of running. But with Mickey and Minnie Mouse on your side, you have nothing to fear. Race through all four theme parks, joined by the iconic Disney duo!
Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge: Feeling ambitious? Finish the half marathon AND the marathon on pace to earn three medals from Disney’s loveable goof.
Dopey Challenge: This is the big one. If you complete all four races (on pace) you’ll receive SIX finisher medals—and bragging rights for the rest of the weekend.
Can’t make it to Orlando for this race weekend? No worries! Register for the virtual weekend, and you can run all of the races, and challenges, on a course of your choosing. You’ll still receive a T-shirt and finisher medal, as well as a race tool kit that includes mile markers.
What to Know
If you want to participate in the weekend of races, there are a few things you need to know. As mentioned above, spots fill up quickly, so it’s important to register as soon as possible to secure your spot (registration opens at 10 a.m. ET).
While you’re signing up for a race, you may want to consider booking a hotel room on Walt Disney World Resort property for the night before, even if you’re local, so you can receive runDisney Event Transportation to the race site. You’ll have to wake up EARLY for each race, and catching a quick power nap on the bus may help your performance.
If you can’t stay on property, you can self-park or be dropped off at the site. However, there will be traffic and road closures, so just make sure to check the runDisney website for that information before you head to your race.
For more important information, check out our 10 Things to Know Before You runDisney article.
Header Image by D23.com
Even if you can’t participate in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, there are plenty of other race events you should keep an eye out for. RunDisney races are a popular and fun way to work in some fitness and get an immense dose of magic at the same time.
Whether you’re an experienced runner or first-time racer, you’re sure to have a blast!
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