Tuesday, April 2, 2019

2019 Run Disney Marathon Weekend Dopey Challenge

The first step of doing a Run Disney event is getting signed up.  If you ever want to do one you want to get signed up as soon as they open.  Depending on the race they might sell our very quickly.

The Run Disney page is setup pretty well, but it is best if you go on and setup a run Disney account before registration opens.  This way you just need to sign in and a lot of your info is already filled out.

When registration opened we had some issues getting registered.  The page would freeze, and keep kicking you back to the waiting page.  Also a few times we got our info entered and was starting to go through the payment process and it got stuck again.

Finally we did get registered and we were ready to go.  We did have friends that registered later in the day and they didn't have as many issues.

A few weeks out from the race we received our Magic Bands.  (which you get for free if you stat at a Disney resort)  These were nice to use throughout Disney, because you could link a Credit Card to it to pay and use them as your room key too.  It was nice not to have to carry around a key or a wallet.  They also came before Christmas which worked out perfect because we were surprising our daughter with the Disney trip, so we got to wrap them up for her.  They ship a few weeks before your trip.

After arriving at the Orlando Airport we met our Magical Express bus to take us to our hotel.  There was plenty of Disney signs to direct you to the bus.  We also checked in with our magic bands.

We decided to stay on a Disney resort, mainly for the transportation benefits.  It made it very convenient to get around between the parks, and especially the race events.

We chose to stay at the Art of Animation Resort.  If you are doing the races, we found staying at a Disney Resort made everything very easy.

The resort had buses to the races in the morning and schedules posted for all the race events.

Our first full day at Disney we went to one of the parks in the morning for a few hours, then left to go to the Expo.  We did have to take the bus back to our hotel and pickup the expo bus at our hotel, but it didn't take too long.

The run Disney Health and Fitness Expo was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

First we went to the packet pickup area.

At the packet pickup area we received our 2 bibs.  One for the 5k/10k and one for the Half/Full.  We also picked up our daughter's Kids Race bib.

After getting our bibs, we picked up our shirts.  We received 6 shirts, one for the 5k, 10k, Half, Full, Goofy Challenge, and Dopey Challenge.

Next we went over to the Expo for a little.  There was many vendors, and they had of all the medals there for people to see.

After walking around the Expo for a little we went over to the Run Disney shop.  This is where you can buy the official Disney Merchandise.  They were very organized and only let so many people in at a time.  The line went quickly and everything inside was also very smooth.

The first race for the Dopey Challenge was the 5k.  We got up around 2:30 am to get ready and get to the bus.  The buses started running at 3:30 am to around 4:00 am.

It was pretty chilly in the morning and there was a lot of waiting around until the race started at 5:30 am.  They did have a DJ in the staging area, and some entertainment.  Here you could drop you drop bags for pickup after the race, and they had some food and drinks you could buy.  This was pretty much the same every morning.  Around 5 everybody headed to the corrals at the other end of the parking lot.

They emptied out the corrals in smaller mini waves.  So it could take awhile depending on what corral you were in.  Once you got up to the start line they would send every mini wave off with fireworks.

The 5k went mostly through Epcot.  There were many opportunities to stop and get your picture taken with characters throughout the course.  All of the races had many chances to stop and get your photos with characters.

Each mile had a mile marker with different characters on them.

 The finish lines for all four races looped back to the Epcot parking lot.

After finishing the race you got a box of food, a banana, water, and Gatorade.

They also had a location to get your photo after receiving your medals.

Seeing as we flew in and it was very cold it was nice to receive all the shirts at the expo.  We had a few extra layers that were very nice in the morning.  Also after each race they handed out the mylar blankets.  They weren't really needed for after the race but we saved them for the next morning.  This was a very good idea, and we were very happy to have them in the morning.

The 10k the next day was very similar to the 5k.  The schedule was the same and we went to the same Epcot Parking lot for each race.

The only difference for the 10k was was the route and a few more miles.

The 10k also looped through Epcot, but also had a long out and back on the highway.

All the races had similar nutrition and hydration.  Every 2 or so miles they had water and Gatorade.  Occasionally they had bananas or gels.

The finish line for all 4 races was located in the same location, bringing you back to the Epcot parking lot where you started.

The same day they had the kids race.  My daughter ran the 1 mile race.  It was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the same location as the Expo.

They had it setup very well, and it didn't interfere with the other races.  We had plenty of time to even go to a park for a little before going over to the kids race.

The had a great finish area for the kids with Mickey cheering them on.  They also gave the choice to the kids and adults, that the kids could run on their own or the adults could run with them.  At the finish they had a great system for picking up your child to make sure you were the only one that could get your kid at the finish line.

Each kid got a great medal (It was rubber, but looked great.)  They had snacks for the kids and a area to get their pictures.

The next day was the Half Marathon, once again the morning routine was very similar.

The morning of the half was a little different.  This time instead of the corrals being on the other side of the parking lot, they were much further away.  I don't know the exact distance but it had to be at least half a mile, but may have been more.  There seemed to be many more people and the corrals were much larger.  The weather was also warmer for this this race.

This race took us out of Epcot and into Magic Kingdom.

The race then looped back with the finish at Epcot.

The next day was the final race.  The morning of the Marathon was very similar to the previous days,  except the weather was even warmer to start.  There had been a heat advisory notification that we received the night before from the marathon, explaining the importance of hydration and wearing light colored clothing in order to stay cool on this humid day.

The start took us to the same start as the half marathon.  So we had the same longer walk as the day before.

Both the half and the full had even better fireworks for each mini wave.

Mickey was also there to send everybody off.

This race took us to all 4 parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

First we went through Magic Kingdom.

Then next was quite a bit of time on the road, and then into Animal Kingdom.

Next we went to the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

 Here we ran around a few ball fields.  It was nice break from running on the highways.

Being that this was a full marathon there were even more characters.  They seemed to be every mile or 2 maybe.

Next up was Hollywood studios.  We only ran through the edge of it, and they were in full swing for the day, but they had it setup so you could still get through the park easily.

After running back through Epcot again we finished in the same parking lot.

We went through the finish area and received our medals.  Three for the day, one for the Marathon, the Goofy Challenge, and our Dopey challenge medal.  (48.6 miles total)

The medals are amazing and each one was bigger than the last.  The Dopey medal is a small plate.

In conclusion these races are amazing.  They are very well organized.  They also scream Disney, with all the characters, screens playing Disney shorts, music, and all the parks.  We also did all 4 parks while we were there.  If you plan on doing this you will be walking a lot, we probably put as many miles in the parks as we did for the races.  You will also be having long days, when getting up around 2:30 am every morning then spending the days in the parks.  They get really long if you stick around for the fireworks, which are well worth it at Magic Kingdom.

The only down side to the race is that you sometimes would only spend a few miles in the parks, other than that you spend a lot of time on the highways in between parks.  They do a good job at filling the highway areas with many characters, music, and videos, all to keep you in the Disney spirit between the parks.

Run Disney Dopey Challenge Medals

It was definitely a bucket list adventure, that was fun for our entire family.  I'd recommend at least doing it once in your lifetime.

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