5 Things I Learned About Running Virtual Races at Disney

With most 2020 races being cancelled or switching to a virtual/at home race, it wasn’t incredibly surprising that runDisney followed the same course in switching the Wine & Dine, Marathon, and Princess race weekends to virtual races. Not surprising, but oh so painful. With my plane tickets, hotel, and AP at the ready, I decided to continue with my plans to visit WDW for Wine & Dine Weekend and make the most of it. Spoiler alert: it was well worth it! Here are 5 things I learned about running a virtual race on Disney property:

  1. Have A Race Plan: Make sure you carve out time to complete each of your races. In a normal runDisney race weekend, the races and expo are prescheduled, transportation is arranged, so you don’t even need to consider when you’ll run. With virtual races, I found that its easy to ‘kick the can down the road’ and put more focus on the parks. Make a realistic race plan and stick to it!

  2. Costumes Are Encouraged: Living in San Francisco, I often run in popular places like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, etc. and I become hyperaware of what I am wearing, especially if there’s a costume element to it. I’d love to say that I confidently wear big skirts, over the top headwear, and Disney costumes during my runs, but if I did, I would quickly turn around and opt for a simple bound. But not at Disney! By running a virtual race at WDW, you’re finally at a place where no one will judge you for dressing up as your favorite character no matter how overt or subtle. While running on property, I saw so many incredible runners dressed up and loving every minute of it! I fully embraced my villain’s side and dressed as Maleficent and felt right at home! Pack your costume to make your race even more fun!

  3. You Won’t Be Alone: With Wine & Dine Weekend turning into a virtual race, I wasn’t quite sure how many people would continue with their plan to visit WDW. I was so pleasantly surprised to see so many runners celebrating this weekend safely with their run group inside the parks and on the running trails. Many opted to print out and wear their race bib, dress up, and play music while they ran. While the crowd levels were nowhere near a regular in-person race weekend, it was wonderful to see others celebrating their training at WDW.

  4. Value Resorts Are The Place To Be: While at WDW, I stayed at the Coronado Springs Resort and ran a 5k around the property. There were plenty of others also completing their 5k’s wearing bibs and some costumes, but it was nothing like what I would see the next day. After a long day in the parks, I decided to join a group of friends completing the ‘Slack N Dash One-Quarter Portion’ run (we completed 1/25th of the scheduled mileage, hence the ‘slack’ part of the race name lol) at the Art of Animation Resort. And WOW! Running at AoA felt much more like a normal race weekend. There were lots of people (safely) running along the trail, characters in each building served as unofficial character/photo stops, and there was an overall lively vibe along the race trail. If I return to WDW for another virtual race weekend, I will definitely be prioritizing my stay at a value resort!

  5. Take Time To Recover: As with a normal race weekend, take time to relax and recover from each run. Even if you’re ‘just’ running a 5k, that is 3.1 extra miles on top of your park time and regular walks around property. Make sure you’re not over-stressing yourself and prioritize what you actually came to Disney to complete.

If you have decided that it is safe and practical for you to visit WDW for a virtual race weekend, I can honestly say that you won't regret it! Being on property, doing what I love, and experiencing the magic made this trip well worth it for me. Now time to plan my next trip!