Running with the Mouse

About the Column

Disney travel experts agree on one thing: relax, take your time. But when it comes to Disney's marathons and other running events, they're wrong. In a race, you can't take your time. And you also can't show up with just your two feet expecting to win - or even finish! Preparing for a Disney marathon requires discipline, hard work, and good advice. We can't help you with the discipline or the hard work. But Robert Mathis, owner of DisneyRunning and one of the few people designated by Disney as 'Perfectly Goofy' for his frequent participation in their running events (since 1996!), has lots of good advice. So relax, take your time, and read his weekly column.

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FROM: Running with the Mouse Published As Needed

Now Where Should You Stay?

You've entered the race. The next big decision is where to stay. Robert talks about the convenience of staying on a Disney property and the benefits it provides.


Now you have entered the January Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, a next important step is to figure where you are going to be staying. The first logical question is are you staying at a Walt Disney World Resort or staying at one of the numerous ones located along the perimeter of the property. For the marathon weekend, this is pretty much a an easy decision in my opinion. While you might save a few dollars, the convenience of staying on property is easily worth the money.

First, Disney has resorts for all budgets. You can stay in rooms from a Value class to Deluxe resorts. You can also stay in a Disney Vacation Club room which has all of the features of home.

Second, staying on Disney property has perks like the ability to ride Disney's Magical Express from the airport to your resort. This free transportation is great for people who don't plan on renting a car. You can also check your bag at your home airport and Disney will pick it up at Orlando International Airport and put it in your room. This frees up time and you can start your Disney adventure sooner. You also get certain days with Extra Magic Hours where you can enter the parks early or stay later. Plus you get Disney's regular bus transportation to all of the parks, resorts, water parks, and Downtown Disney.

Third, the key to staying on property is transportation for the race weekend. Disney offers special busses from all resorts to the Race Expo at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex. They also offer transportation from all resorts to the start of all of the races. This includes the 5K, Half Marathon, and Marathon. This allows you to relax while avoiding the stress of fighting traffic. If you stay at a Monorail resort, the monorails are open and whisk you quickly to the start of the Half and Marathon. The busses or monorail are also available to take you back after you finish the races.

If you chose a Boardwalk area resort(like I do), you can ride the bus to the start and then after you finish you can take a nice leisurely walk back to your room. This is a great way to loosen up your legs and showing off your medals as you walk back through Epcot. You will get lots of "Congratulations" from park guests. FYI, you will need a park pass to enter Epcot after the race.

The good news now is that Disney is offering some fantastic rates now for Annual Pass holders for race weekend. They are offering 30%-40% discounts depending on your room classifications. These rates are limited availability and need to be booked by 12/3.