4 In Disney/ Running

Disney World Resort Fun Runs: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

It seems like in the last few weeks the Disney resort fun run has started to make a name for itself. These sweet little runs – usually around 3K, or 1.86 miles – are perfect for beginning runners, families wanting to get out there together, or runners at any level simply looking to start their vacation day in a healthy way and perhaps see an otherwise familiar resort in a new light. They’re full of Disney fun and enthusiasm but casual enough that the most novice among us – and the youngest children – can run or walk to the finish and get a little swag…not to mention the comfort of knowing, while indulging in Mickey pretzels and ice cream bars later, that the day at least started out healthy.

I’ve embraced these runs as a way to get out there with the kids and get them started on the path to race events (if they love it as much as I do). It’s amazing how much I’ve seen them grow as runners in the short time that I’ve done these with them. We take it easy and stay hydrated along the way – but I feel like I can watch their endurance (and race etiquette) grow a little more every day.

The challenge with these runs has honestly been just finding out about them. Many of them are new – and they tend to be a bit informal – so the main guest relations line often doesn’t even have them on their calendar, much less know the details.

As of the date of this article, the resort fun runs are all $15 per person and free for children under 3. Registration can often be done beforehand at the resort’s community hall but is generally easily done the morning of the race by showing up 30 minutes before the run starts. At the finish of the race, the resorts generally provide cold water, fruit, and an assortment of granola bars or other snacks to recharge.

There are rumors of other resorts starting their own runs soon, and any of the ones listed here could change at any time – and I will update accordingly as I have new information, but as of today the current list is:

WDW Resort Fun Run List

  • Sunday: Port Orleans French Quarter, Beignet Dash (8 a.m.)
  • Wednesday: Old Key West, Southernmost Point 3K (7:30 a.m.)
  • Thursday: Saratoga Springs, Derby Dash (8 a.m.)
  • Friday: Boardwalk Resort, Seaside Sprint (8 a.m.)
  • Fort Wilderness has also had a 5K to celebrate the 4th of July, so we’ll keep an eye out to see if that happens again next year.

 

  • Note that the All Star Resorts hosted a 3K run on Tuesday, August 24, 2018 at 7 a.m. but did not repeat it today. This is a good lesson, as with many Walt Disney World resorts experimenting with these runs they are bound to come and go. If you are planning to do one, it’s always best to confirm in advance that it’s still happening!!

Sunday: Port Orleans French Quarter, Beignet Dash

  • Day, Time: Sundays, 8 a.m.
  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Day-of registration: Begins at 7:30 a.m. between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool, at the corner of Carriage Path and Reveler’s Row
  • Starting location: Between building 5 and the Doubloon Lagoon Pool (same location as registration)
  • Cost: $15 pp, free for children under 3
  • Swag: Mardi Gras bead finisher medal and coupon for 3 free beignets at Sassagoula Floatworks. There are also cute signs available for post-race pictures. (Exhibit A above!)

The Port Orleans French Quarter Beignet Dash was the original resort fun run of this type. It just celebrated its one-year anniversary this March. It happens every Sunday morning and is still usually the most popular and well attended of the resort runs in WDW. Having been around for the longest, at this point it just feels the most organized. The CMs that run it put on a good show, they have cute signs for post-race pictures, and the CM lifeguards cheer along the route – which is lovely, running its way from POFQ to POR and back around the water.

It’s generally just a beautiful course – nice and flat other than a slight incline at 2 bridges – and you’ll leave with lots of fun pictures.

And last but definitely not least, the race bib includes a tear off coupon for 3 free beignets (a $4.49+tax value!) at Sassagoula Floatworks in POFQ. Note that the coupon is only good for the day of the race, so try to do the run on a day when you have time afterwards to eat at the resort.

Wednesday: Old Key West, Southernmost Point 3K (or Jinglebell Fun Run)

  • Day, Time: Wednesdays, 7:30 a.m.
  • Distance: Usually 3K (or 1.86 miles) but varies now as they change the course to accommodate construction
  • Day-of registration: Begins at 7 a.m. at OKW’s Community Hall (in the back of the hospitality house near the game room and fitness center) – and because they handle registration there and the race starts a short walk away, make sure to be there early. They do close up at Community Hall before 7:30 and make their way over to the sand castle play area.
  • Starting location: Just past the sand castle play area beyond the pool.
  • Cost: $15 pp, free for children under 3. This was the only run that honored a DVC discount. Not sure if it was a fluke, but worth asking if you’re a Disney Vacation Club member!
  • Swag: Water bottle and medal. The morning that we last participated it also happened to be a Christmas in July celebration, so we were given bells to tie onto our shoes (or wherever else we wanted them) so that we were ringing our way through the course.

I absolutely adore this run and the CMs that handle it. They’ve been doing it since January and the last time that we went they were celebrating Christmas in July and handed out ringing holiday bells for everyone to tie to their shoes – which made for a very jolly jog! Love the extra swag at this one and the relaxed, Old Key West vibe.

Thursday: Saratoga Springs, Derby Dash

  • Day, Time: Thursdays, 8 a.m.
  • Distance: 3K (or 1.86 miles)
  • Day-of registration: Begins at 7:30 a.m. at Saratoga Springs’ Community Hall
  • Starting location: Just outside Community Hall (on the parking lot side)
  • Cost: $15 pp, free for children under 3
  • Swag: Medal

This was a great run with such amazing energy from the CMs. Saratoga Springs has a nice long New Balance running trail, so it was no surprise that this course was a true full 3K. It wound around the resort but was well marked throughout with cast members at certain key spots to cheer and give directions, so even with the small number of people running and becoming spread out over time, there was no chance of getting lost.

Friday: Boardwalk Resort, Seaside Sprint

  • Day, Time: Fridays, 8 a.m.
  • Distance: 1.4 miles
  • Day-of registration: Between Jellyrolls and Atlantic Dance Hall at 7:30 a.m.
  • Starting location: Between Jellyrolls and Atlantic Dance Hall heading back toward Hollywood Studios
  • Cost: $15 pp, free for children under 3
  • Swag: An awesome pin (the horse is on a spring so it moves!) and a coupon on the bib for a free Goofy Glacier (must be used within 7 days of the run)

 

As of the date of this article, this race has only happened two times so they’re still figuring out the details a bit as they go. For example, the sweet CM that was queuing us up to start insisted that it was 2.2 miles rather than 1.4. My to my kids’ relief, it was indeed the advertised 1.4 miles.

I loved the course of this fun run – in part simply because I love Boardwalk and its New Balance running path – but it was also very easy to navigate and you could really see your fellow runners along the way, which made for great support for the kids. The course starts between Jellyrolls and Atlantic Dance Hall and heads out on the path by the water toward Hollywood Studios. Just before the bridge that passes overhead you turn around and go back and then continue past The Swan and The Dolphin and around the Boardwalk, past Yacht Club and Beach Club and finishing where you started.

 

I’ll continue to update this post as things change and (hopefully!) new fun runs are added at other resorts, so ****please*** reach out to me if you hear news of others!! And let me know if you participate in any of these and what you think of the experience!!

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Ana
    July 31, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I hate that they didn’t run the All-Star one again. I asked a CM after the first one, and he said the plan was to keep it going. Hopefully they run it again.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      July 31, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      I hope so too!! Was so disappointed that they weren’t running it today.

  • Reply
    Brittany
    July 31, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    It was a pleasure to see y’all run on Sunday at French Quarter! The boys were the sweetest!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      July 31, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      Aw – how fun to see you here!! Thank you for making the boys feel at home!! <3

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