Now that we are back and settled in from our trip to Disneyland I thought I would share some final thoughts on differences I noticed between runDisney events at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I had a total blast at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon even though it was so different than my experiences at WDW Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
I didn’t really know what to expect even though I had asked around and read some stuff on the web. If you are looking into a runDisney event I hope this will help you plan the perfect weekend and if you usually only run at one park I hope this will shed some light on what the experience is like at another park.
Keep in mind this is just my opinion. While I have done numerous events at Walt Disney World, my only experience with Disneyland was for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. If you are new around here you might want to check out this post on reasons to runDisney.
Also, I have no problem with the Galloway method or those that do run/walk. I’ve been known to use it myself. I mention it below because sometimes it can be really frustrating when you are trying to run and folks are constantly stopping in front of you without moving over the right when the course is incredibly narrow already. Some course designs make it really difficult for runners to run the entire course, which some people complain about with runDisney events.
Walt Disney World – Orlando, Florida
- Events sell out quickly (sometimes within hours)
- Staying on Disney property the night before the race is a MUST
- Large scale events of 20,000+ runners
- Lots of run/walkers
- Frequent bottle necks on the race course
- Lots of highway running included in the race course
- Expo is huge with top notch vendors
- Race merchandise sells out quickly
- Pre race entertainment/live music
- Numerous characters on course
- Four parks could be included in the race course
- Submit proof of time to secure correct corral
- Everyone goes all out for costumes (tutus, props, etc.)
- Spectators encouraged to cheer runners on in the parks
Disneyland Resort – Anaheim, California
- Entry into the events can still be available days before the race
- Can stay at an area hotel and walk to the start/finish
- Smaller events than WDW (~12,000 runners in the Tinker Bell Half)
- Not as many run/walkers as WDW
- Wider race course throughout
- Race course includes Downtown Anaheim – highway running is limited
- Expo was a lot more low key with less vendors
- Race merchandise still available hours before the closing on the last day of the expo
- No pre race entertainment/live music
- Not as many “big name” characters on course
- Two parks to be included in the race course
- I didn’t submit a proof of time for Tink Half and was in the perfect corral
- Not very many full costumes – lots of people just ran in sparkle skirts or bright colors
- Spectators not allowed in the parks during the race
I think both places know how to put on a race and I love runDisney events no matter where they are. Each park has a little something to offer that is different from the other park. I love the Disney magic associated with both places.
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon was smaller than any other Disney event I have ran and I loved it. It was cozy and quaint. I really liked that we ran in Downtown Anaheim and that spectators weren’t allowed in the parks while we were running. It made the experience really special. I don’t know that I would have loved it as much if I had done a challenge. Since there are only two parks, I think the 10k course probably heavily resembled the half marathon course.
There is just something really special about events at Walt Disney World though. I think all the people make it that much more of a “big deal” and really help with the atmosphere. Sometimes everything can feel really crowded with the larger crowds, but the race courses are all a little different because there are four unique parks.
All in all I love runDisney events for so many reasons. I love other races too, but there is just something about all that Disney magic that makes running so much more fun.
Have you ran any Disney events?
Which park do you think you would prefer to run at?