Disney Marathon Weekend – Complete Guide from Expo to All Races (incl. Kids’ & Dopey)

This weekend is the Disney Marathon Weekend. I have run the 26.2 magical miles x’s 4. And last year I ran the inaugural Dopey Challenge – 4 straight days, 4 straight races – Thurs 5k, Fri 10k, Sat 13.1, Sun 26.2. For all those running any of the events this weekend, or thinking about running in the future, here’s my official guide.


The 6 Dopey Challenge Medals.

The 6 Dopey Challenge Medals.

1. The Expo!

Yup, that's an expo.

Yup, that’s an expo.

The Expo is Huuuuuuge. It’s takes over three buildings at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. You pick up your race packets, you get to see famous expert speakers, and you shop. You can shop for miles. It can be pretty overwhelming, but luckily there is a bar on hand where you can relax with a cold one, if you so desire.

To read my full in depth Expo recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

2. The Kids’ Races

Medals for everyone!

Medals for everyone!

Our boy has run the Kids’ Race x’s 3. The races also take place at the ESPN sports complex. Distances depend on age and desire, from the 100 to a mile. And yes, parents can run with their kids. And yes, it can be pretty chaotic. The start times, corrals, etc. can AND DO change at the drop of a hat. My advice: Be early, be ready, be flexible. They are a lot of fun though, and it’s great to get kids involved in the marathon weekend.

To read my full in depth Kids’ Races recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

3. The 5k (or Day 1 of the Dopey Challenge)!

All smiles at the finish photo line!

All smiles at the finish photo line!

The 5k takes place on Thursday at the parking lot of Epcot. The race itself basically takes you in and around the theme park. It’s actually kind of neat to be in the park before it’s open. They still have characters you can take pictures with, and tons of volunteers to cheer for you. And just like that, it’s over. A quick 3.1 miles through Epcot.

To read my full in depth 5k recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

4. The 10k (or Day 2 of Dopey)!

Don't really need gloves in Florida heat, but ya know...

Don’t really need gloves in Florida heat, but ya know…

2014 was the also the inaugural 10k. I gotta say, this was probably the least exciting of all the races. Again, you start/end at Epcot, but the first 3 miles you are on the dark roads outside the park. There’s a little entertainment, but mostly it’s silent. The second 3 miles you do run through a resort before entering Epcot to the finish – that part is fun!

To read my full in depth 10k recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

5. The Half Marathon (or Day 3 of Dopey & Day 1 of The Goofy Challenge)

Yes, I wore a child's Snow White apron.

Yes, I wore a child’s Snow White apron.

The half marathon again starts/ends at Epcot. The difference is here that you do an out and back from the park to Magic Kingdom and back. The highlight is running through Magic Kingdom (and thru Cinderella’s Castle), but in between the two parks, again you’re just running on roads. Of course, they do have people cheering, characters, entertainment, and there’s more to see (resorts, etc.). And this race can be a lot of fun.

To read my full in depth Half Marathon recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

6. The Marathon (or Day 4 of Dopey & Day 2 of Goofy)

Medals 6/6 (includes Dopey & Goofy bonus medals)

Medals 6/6 (includes Dopey & Goofy bonus medals)

The marathon is the shining jewel of the whole weekend. The granddaddy. The big kahuna. And it’s my favorite as well. Over the course of 26.2 miles, you go through all the theme parks (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios) as well as through several resorts and also a lap on the race car track and a jaunt through the ESPN sports complex (incl. a lap on the track & baseball stadium). There is excellent support along the course & tons of entertainment. This is Disney at it’s best. They pull out all the bells & whistles. Really a magical marathon.

To read my full in depth Marathon recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

7. Disney Meet-Ups!

We had to refill our carb levels somehow.

We had to refill our carb levels somehow.

Of course, Disney is a big draw. Not only for tourists, but for runners as well. I’m really happy that at the Disney races I’ve run, I’ve been able to meet-up with so many long lost (and new) friends. At the Dopey Challenge, I couldn’t believe how many old friends, fellow bloggers, etc. that I had the fortune to meet up with.

To see my in-depth Meet-Up recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

8. After the Races – Time to Celebrate!

At Magic Kingdom with our medals.

At Magic Kingdom with our medals.

Of course, Orlando is a huge tourist destination. There’s tons to do and see there. Disney World has so much to offer. But so do others, such as Universal. So many rides, foods, drinks, good times.

To see my in depth recap of how we celebrated CLICK HERE NOW!

9. Finally, Be Thankful!

Anyone who runs, knows it takes a lot of support. Months and months of early morning miles can’t happen without the support of family, friends, social media pals, etc. This was not lost on me when I was Dopey last year. And so I made sure to thank everyone – from fellow runners to fellow bloggers to the fams.

To read my in depth thankful recap, CLICK HERE NOW!

Rumors confirmed - I am dopey.

Rumors confirmed – I am dopey.

So to all you who are running in any or all of the races this Disney Marathon Weekend, I wish you the bestest of luck! Whether you’re running or not, or just thinking about running this event in the future – hit me up with any questions you have! I’ll try to help! Soooooo……

Today’s Question: What Disney Marathon Weekend questions do you have for me?


Categories: disney, fitfluetial, marathon, Race Recaps, run, Running, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “Disney Marathon Weekend – Complete Guide from Expo to All Races (incl. Kids’ & Dopey)

  1. (in my biggest, loudest, baby voice ever, ever!!)
    I want to run this SOOOOOO bad!!! I’m jealous of you, of Salt who is doing it next year, and of my two run club buddies doing it this year!

    • Awww, I thought you were running it this year? Maybe I got cornfused. Bummer that Salt isn’t running it this year, but good that she got it deferred. Maybe we’ll meet up there next year? good luck to your run club buds!

  2. Great resource to have in one place! I’m sad I won’t be there this year. Like you said, it really is a magical marathon. So my question is: would you do Dopey again? Having done 5K, 10K, half last year, I was SO glad not to have to wake up at 3:30 am on marathon morning!

    • Thank you! I’m also missing being there. Would I do Dopey again? Hmmm, I’m not sure. It’s getting so expensive. That and I’m too competitive – when I run a race, I want to go for a PR. At Dopey I had to ‘jog’ the first three races to try and save it all for the full. If I did it again, I might think about trying to race each race, but that could hurt. Haha! Oh yeah, and those early mornings, can’t forget about those!

  3. I really want to do the challenge one day. It looks so painfully fun! I’m taking Rock to Disney this year for his first trip. Pretty excited.

  4. Such a huge accomplishment! I love that you completed this! I have some friends there participanting this weekend! Jon and I are considering participating in some of the races at Disney this time next year, but definitely not all of them like you! Love having this post as a resource!

    • Thank you! Good luck to your friends this weekend! I have friends there too. I’m missing being there. You should totally run Disney, it’s a unique experience for sure!

  5. Great recap of the recap! I’d love to be Dopey some day…. I ran Disney back in 2001 for Team in Training, and don’t remember whole lot of it now except that it was a really long way to run. Would you do it again?

    • Ha, why thank you! You ran it in 2001? Cool!! My first was 2008, and yes, it was so freaking long. It’s changed a TON sine then though. It really is a full Disney experience. Go get Dopey! I’m not sure I’d do it again because I’m too competitive. I forced myself to take it easy the first 3 races (setting personal worsts) to save it all for the full. It’s hard for me to line up at a race and not go for a PR.

  6. If I were ever to do a full marathon, I think it would have to be at WDW. So much fun!

    • That’s why I made it my first marathon when I did in ’08. Cause I’d knew there’d be plenty to distract me from the pain. It is a blast!

  7. I still can’t get my head around this amazing event! Great recap of your whole experience. It’s really cool to watch it happen from social media.

    Next year.

  9. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes

    Ok, so if there was a bar in the expo that would be bad for me, I would spend so much freaking money!! I must admit, I don’t really get the Disney craze, but I do love Disney. I have so many great memories as a kid. I guess if I’m going to pay that much money I don’t want to be running around parking lots and dark roads, I want to be in the park! Please convince me I need to do this. Dopey is very intriguing though….

    • Ha, well they had some deal where you get cheap refills in their commemorative cup. It worked out, especially cause my sis and mom drug me to the expo 3 straight days!!!!!! Oh Disney is great, the parks are so freaking clean. The attention to detail amazes me. So fun to run through too! Yes, you need to be Dopey!!! I’ve never done an Ulta, but running nearly 50 miles in 4 days is a pretty good accomplishment. The worst part was after the 3rd race, someone pointed out that we hadn’t even gone halfway of the challenge yet! Yikes! We’d only gone 21.4 miles, still had 26.2 to go on day 4. Hahaha, but we did it, and we had fun doing it!

  10. LOVE it! A Disney race (in CA and FL) are both on my bucket list!

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