Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Archives

January 7, 2015

New Balance releases 2015 Limited Edition runDisney shoes today


Runners -- and a good number of spectators -- heading to Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend have been waiting eagerly for New Balance to release the 2015 design for its Limited Edition runDisney shoes that will be sold at the Expo, beginning today. They finally got a glimpse of the sneakers on Tuesday, and judging from an abundance of comments on several online message boards, many were disappointed with this year's design.


The 2015 design pays homage to Steamboat Willie, the 1928 black-and-white cartoon that introduced most audiences to Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie. The men's Retro Mickey 990v3 sneaker comes in black and white with musical notes around the front sole, classic images of Mickey and Minnie and character signatures. The women's Retro Minnie 990v3 sneaker is gray and white with the same features. They are priced at $185 per pair, according to New Balance.

The overwhelming complaint I've read seems to be that although the sneakers are true to theme, they are visually unexciting because of the neutral colors. runDisney fans are expressing their preference for styles that have been offered the last two years -- bold colors.


New Balance first released Limited Edition runDisney shoes in 2013. The 860v3 sneakers were designed in bright red, yellow, black and white to mimic the traditional colors of modern Mickey and Minnie. They have since been retired.


Last year's styles were designed to recall Sorcerer Mickey and Goofy (men's) and Cinderella and Minnie Mouse (women's). Due to popular demand, a limited number of the four New Balance 860v4 shoes will be available at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort (Jan. 15 - 18.) They are priced at $125 per pair.

The new Retro designs only will be sold at runDisney events throughout the year, beginning today at the Marathon Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World.

Guests who would like to try on - and possibly purchase -- the 2014 and 2015 New Balance running shoes must make an appointment through a virtual queue. There will be no stand-by lines at the Expo. Starting today (Jan.7) at 6 a.m., adult runners can sign up at using their bib number, and all other guests can sign up Thursday (Jan. 8) at 6 a.m. Adult runners also can sign up at 6 a.m. Friday (Jan. 9) and all other guests on Saturday (Jan. 10). According to New Balance's posted rules, customers can reserve one pair of running shoes per reservation. They will be able to choose up to five more pairs in the booth and can purchase a total of six pairs of runDisney Collection footwear per event weekend. Only two of the six can be the new style 990v3.

When it's close to a guest's reserved time, he or she will receive a text and then must return within an hour or risk losing the shoes that were saved for that appointment. If the reserved shoes do not fit, the sales associate will check for other sizes. Customers can keep an eye on general inventory levels at The New Balance red tent is located near the west entrance of Josten's Center.

Not happy with this year's selections? New Balance tweeted this on Tuesday: "We've decided to try something different with our release schedules and are planning some exciting surprises for 2015. Stay tuned." Runners were speculating online that the company may be planning to release new shoes for each race.


January 6, 2015

What to know about traffic and crowds during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend


Planning to visit Walt Disney World this week, either as a day guest or during a multiday vacation? You probably already know this week is Marathon Weekend -- the largest runDisney event of the year -- at the resort. That doesn't necessarily mean you should avoid the theme parks, however, if you aren't participating.

Here's what you need to know before you step foot on Disney property, though.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend takes place Wednesday, Jan. 7, through Sunday, Jun. 11. The aspect that most affects visitors is not the crowds but rather the vehicular traffic around the various parks. 

First, know that all races except the kid races start and finish at Epcot. Because the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon kick off so early -- 6:15 a.m. for the 5K and 5:30 a.m. for the others, the starts typically do not affect many guests unless they are heading to an early breakfast reservation.

The 5K course is set only through Epcot, while the 10K course begins on roads surrounding the park before traveling through the park and extending through the Epcot resort areas. Both the 5K and the 10K start from the Explore parking lot on Thursday and Friday, respectively, and finish at the Wonder parking lot, which is returned to normal use at 9 a.m. when Epcot's Future World opens for the day. So if you are heading to Epcot for rope drop on Thursday and Friday, give yourself extra time. Once you are inside the park, however, the races should be finished and the crowds are not expected to be excessive.

The half marathon and marathon begin and finish in the same place at Epcot, though the courses are longer, of course. The half marathon goes through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot on Saturday. The full marathon leads runners through Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, ESPN Wide World of Sports and Hollywood Studios (in that order) on Sunday. These courses definitely require additional road closures, so be prepared for traffic delays or to find alternate routes into the afternoon hours. Also, for these two races, guests are likely to see runners on marked courses inside the theme parks through mid-afternoon while guests are there. This really shouldn't impede guests' experiences, although they are asked not to step in front of runners.

Epcot also hosts a Pasta in the Park Party on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at World Showplace, the facility located in World Showcase. This event also includes reserved viewing for the IllumiNations fireworks but not general admission into the park so it should not affect crowd levels.

On Sunday, a post-race Cool Down Party is scheduled for 2 to 8 p.m. at Downtown Disney Marketplace, which already is difficult for drivers to navigate because of the ongoing construction. It's probably advisable to avoid the area during that time unless you really have an overwhelming need to be there.

All these Marathon Weekend activities will affect Walt Disney World transportation. Although early buses are scheduled for participants, runners and their groups also will be using the regular routes later in the day and night, so allow extra time if you need to reach your destination by a certain time.


January 3, 2015

Walt Disney World Marathon Expo begins Jan. 7 and is free to public


runDisney's most extensive collection of races - Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - begins Wednesday. If you're not participating as either a runner or a chEAR member, you might be like my family as been in the past and want to avoid all the traffic and road closures.

However, if you have an interest in fitness, there is one aspect you might want to check out and it's completely free - except for your inevitable spending spree, that is. The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo takes place Jan. 7 to 10 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and it's open not just to registered participants but to the public. Even the parking is free! (How often can you say that at Disney World?!)


The Expo serves as the headquarters for race weekend, but it's also a showcase for the latest products and even a site for running seminars and celebrity speakers. My husband and son are registered for their first race later this year, and they're excited to check out the Expo as they continue their training.

If you are running this weekend, the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is where you'll need to go to pick up your race packet (race bib, timing device, race shirt, etc.) during Expo hours. Race packets must be picked up the actual person who is registered. He or she will need to show identification and turn in a waiver at that time.

Hours are as follows:

Wednesday, January 7, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Thursday, January 8, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday, January 9, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday, January 10, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Participants and guests who are in a shopping mood can choose from runDisney race-specific T-shirts, as well as Marathon Weekend gear, new MagicBands and Tervis Tumblers. In addition, vendors will be selling the latest in fitness apparel, footwear, sunglasses, high-tech gadgets and nutritional products.

One item everyone wants to get a glimpse of are the Limited Edition New Balance running shoes that are especially designed for runDisney. The 2015 design hasn't been released yet, but there are many eager fans waiting. When they were introduced in 2013, the men's shoes were designed in Mickey Mouse colors and the women's version clearly was influenced by Minnie Mouse. In 2014, four runDisney New Balance shoes debuted in a rainbow of colors. They all cost about $125 a pair and have sold out quickly in years past.


Another must-see is the tradition of a new Dooney & Bourke pattern that sports a Disney race design. The 2015 WDW Marathon Weekend pattern has been released on five bags. Prices range from $159 to $269 for the crossbody, letter carrier, Smith bag, slim wristlet and satchel styles. They were available for pre-order.

The Expo also will showcase a Speaker Series that includes appearances by celebrity runners and seminars on training, running and nutrition featuring speakers and panelists from the running industry.

Here is the schedule:

11 a.m. Jeff Galloway, official runDisney training consultant
12 p.m. Sport Science for Runners presented by Florida Hospital Celebration Health
1 p.m. Dopey Challenge Strategy Panel
2 p.m. Fashion Show & Sports Bra Science 101 presented by Champion
3 p.m. How to Get The Most From Your Marathon Experience presented by Cigna
4 p.m. Don't Make Dopey Mistakes presented by Clif Bar
5 p.m. Dopey Challenge Information For Runners and Spectators (runDisney Panel)
6 p.m. One Step at a Time Sean Astin, Dave McGillivray & John Bingham

10 a.m. Fashion Show & Sports Bra Science 101 presented by Champion
12 p.m. Tips and Tricks to Prepare for Race Day (runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus, running coach Jenny Hadfield, and creator of Disney Bound Leslie Kay)
1 p.m. Come on get 'Appy! presented by Cigna
2 p.m. One Step at a Time Sean Astin, Dave McGillivray & John Bingham
3 p.m. Information For Runners and Spectators (runDisney Panel)
4 p.m. Sport Science for Runners presented by Florida Hospital Celebration Health
5 p.m. Don't Make Dopey Mistakes presented by Clif Bar
6 p.m. Jeff Galloway, official runDisney training consultant

10 a.m. Motivation and Inspiration - How To Keep Yours Going presented by Cigna
11 a.m. Tips from the World Marathon Major Race Directors
12 p.m. Fashion Show & Sports Bra Science 101 presented by Champion
1 p.m. Information For Runners and Spectators (runDisney Panel)
2 p.m. Runner's World Challenge Strategy Session Bart Yasso, Warren Greene and Budd Coates
3 p.m. One Step at a Time Sean Astin and Dave McGillivray
4 p.m. Jeff Galloway, official runDisney training consultant

11 a.m. Pain Prevention and Management for Runners presented by GoodSense
12 p.m. Fashion Show & Sports Bra Science 101 presented by Champion
1 p.m. Information For Runners and Spectators (runDisney Panel)
2 p.m. One Step at a Time Sean Astin, Dave McGillivray & John Bingham
3 p.m. Tips and Tricks to Prepare for Race Day (runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus, running coach Jenny Hadfield, and creator of Disney Bound Leslie Kay)

Good luck to ALL the participants but especially our own Laura Gilbreath (twitter: @AllEarsLaura) and Lee Zimmerman (twitter:@leezimmerman)


April 11, 2013

Entire family can participate at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and runDisney events


As most runDisney fans know, registration opened this week for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, the group's flagship event that will be held Jan. 8 to 12. Because the weekend has become so popular, runDisney announced it has added races and made changes to better accommodate the growing number of runners who routinely make this a sell-out event.

Marathon Weekend, and many of the other race weekends, aren't just for serious runners, though. They are designed to make running (and walking!) fun for all ages and abilities. Of course, trained athletes travel to Orlando from all over the world to run 26.2 miles through the four famous theme parks that make up Walt Disney World. And many do so with the purpose of fundraising for a charity, just like our own Team AllEars, which raises money for breast-cancer research. Deb Wills presents the team's amazing contributions in May at the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Washington, D.C., in May.

But children and families with little competitive experience also are welcome to challenge themselves in a fun way, too. Disney Kids Races are held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Track & Field Complex on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during Marathon Weekend. Specifically, the races are at 11 a.m. on Jan 9, 10 and 11, and they are planned for specific age groups. Babies 12 months and younger can crawl in the Diaper Dash. Toddlers ages 1 to 3 will race for 100 meters; kids ages 4 to 6 run for 200 meters; and children 7 to 8 years participate in the 400-meter dash. Any child 13 years and younger can participate in the Mickey Mile at 12:30 p.m. on those three days. Parents are invited to run with their children, if they would like.

That last little detail caught my eye as my family considers entering some runDisney races for the first time. My husband enjoys running, and recently, my 10-year-old son has expressed an interest in training with him. This is in no small part motivated by his love of all things Disney, though my son also is interested in running because, well, he's a 10-year-old boy. I'm certain that having his dad alongside him during his first race would give him a boost of confidence and be a great experience for both of them.

If that's not reward enough, Mickey Mile Race participants receive a Disney Kids Race T-shirt, a finisher medallion (who can resist that bling?!), Mickey Mile finisher certificate, a personalized bib if registered by Nov, 1, 2013, post-race refreshments, and a ChronoTrack B-tag timed race. Registration, which must be completed in advance, is $30 for the Mickey Mile and $15 for each of the dashes.

Families also can stick together for the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, which takes place at 6:15 a.m. Jan. 9 at Epcot. There is no minimum age for this race, but strollers, baby carriers and other assistive devices are not permitted. During this race, participants get a taste of the Disney entertainment experienced during the longer races with characters appearing throughout the course and at the family reunion area. The $60 registration fee per participant includes a T-shirt, finisher medallion, race program, iGiftBag, personalized bib, and on-course and post-race refreshments. (This race is so popular that it was 65 percent full at the time of this writing and has since sold out.)

Even if everyone in the family isn't into running, the entire family still can participate in some way. After all, spectators can join several different levels of the ChEAR Squad, in which they can cheer on their family members as they compete in various races. Each level has its own unique package of souvenirs, too.

Plus, runners and their families also are offered opportunities to enjoy a Pasta in the Park Party with runner-friendly foods and special viewing area for Illuminations; post-race breakfasts; and a Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney at additional costs throughout the weekend.

If ever there was a magical motivation to put down the TV remote, get off the sofa and lace up those running shoes to practice this summer, the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend has to be it. So, get set, go!

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About Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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Walt Disney World photos is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.