runDisney’s Dopey Challenge: Walt Disney World Half Marathon

This is part three of a recap of the 2018 runDisney Dopey Challenge. For part two click here!

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With the 5k and the 10k races complete the distance on the Dopey Challenge starts to get serious. The Walt Disney World Half Marathon starts on Epcot Center Drive, takes you down World Drive and into the Magic Kingdom, by the Magic Kingdom area resorts, back to World Drive and Epcot Center Drive and into Epcot’s Future World before you cross the finish line. The size of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon is considerably larger than the previous races of the weekend so the start corrals are much larger and further from where the race transportation drops off.

Tip: Consider taking the 0.5 mile walk to your start corral early. Each corral is sent off in mini waves so the earlier you arrive, the more likely you will be in the first wave.

At this point in our weekend we had switched to Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge to we were up and in the Kidani lobby by 3:00am to catch a bus for the 5:30 am start.

Today’s costumes were the Toy Story aliens!

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We bought plain blue t-shirts and wore an athletic tech shirt underneath. The pizza planet logos were made by my friend from felt. The headpieces were attached to plastic headbands and made from felt and foam. The gloves were $1 (or something crazy cheap) from Kohl’s. These were simple, effective and comfortable (and made with lots of hot glue!)

We tend not to take too many pictures from the start of the race into the Magic Kingdom because the course can be very dark. It’s popular for people to stop and take pictures with the big mile marker signs but we opted not to do that this year. The sun had just come up as we were going into Magic Kingdom which was perfect timing to stop for lots of pictures.

Once arriving at the park we started by coming down Mainstreet USA and turning right into Tomorrowland.

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Then we followed the path into Fantasyland where we decided to wait for our first character.

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The Little Mermaid has always been my favorite princess!

Tip: I won’t lie- character lines can be long. Make sure to budget your time and monitor your pace accordingly. In total we spent 1 hour in the Magic Kingdom this year (approximately 1.5 miles distance) getting the characters that I’m sharing.

Next we continued through Fantasyland and through the castle.

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On our way through Frontierland we stopped for Woody and Bullseye!

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Tip: See those people running behind Bullseye and Woody? They’re coming back from the Frontierland bathrooms. We stop here because it’s indoors (no port-o-potties!) and there are tons of stalls so there’s never a line.

After spending about an hour in Magic Kingdom we knew it was time to hit the road and take Floridian Way by Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. This is an under appreciate part of the course. People often complain it’s narrow and crowded but Disney will put multiple photo opportunities here and guests from the hotels will come outside to cheer runners on!

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We stopped for Mary and Bert’s Penguins at the end of the Grand Floridian’s drive way.

Generally there will be character greets at the Grand Floridian and on the golf course that’s on your right as you run. Over the years I’ve seen Lilo and Stitch, the wedding pavilion gentlemen, Tourist Genie, and Golfing Mickey or Goofy make an appearance (among others) on this stretch!

We took World Drive to Epcot Center Drive and were headed back into the Epcot parking lot. While crossing through the backstage area we stopped for Tink and her fairy friends.

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The Epcot portion of the course takes you past the Fountain of Nations towards World Showcase Lagoon where you make a U-turn and run back towards Spaceship Earth and out to the finish line.

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We stopped for Stitch on the U-turn.

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Almost lost my ears at the finish line!

With this finish line crossed we had completed 22.4 miles of the Dopey Challenge! What I find a little daunting about this challenge is that even with three races down we still hadn’t complete half of the distance. Just speaks to what a beast a full marathon is! As we get closer to the 2019 Walt Disney World Marathon keep your eyes peeled for the final installment of this series: the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon recap!

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Stay adventurous, friends!

 

 

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