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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runDisney’s Dopey Challenge: Walt Disney World 5K

This is part one of a recap of the 2018 runDisney Dopey Challenge. For the intro post click here!

The Dopey Challenge begins nice and easy with the Walt Disney World 5k on Thursday. At 3 miles, for an experienced runner, this seems pretty easy, right? That’s the tricky part of the Dopey Challenge- you start with this nice easy distance and before you know it you’re at the start line of a marathon!

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The Walt Disney World 5k is a great starting race as it’s untimed and family friendly. I saw lots of fellow Dopey’s bringing the whole family along to get the weekend started. For my Dopey Challenge my sister Caitlin was along for the ride (run.)

Tip: Research the weather and dress accordingly

We rolled out of Coronado Springs Resort approximately 3:30am to begin the cold and dark wait for the race start at 5:30am. Fortunately through our previous runDisney experience we brought plenty of warm clothes to bundle ourselves up with.

If you’ve read any other post of my blog you might know that I LOVE coffee, especially from Dunkin’ Donuts. Thus, how our costumes for this race were born:

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Our custom t-shirts say Dopey’s run on Dunkin’ and were made by an awesome facebook seller. If I can find her page I’ll link her back! We actually stopped at a Dunkin’ in Orlando the day prior to pick up the munchkin boxes and some coffees. We did run and pass out the donuts but we thought it was safer to take the cups empty so we drank the coffees the day prior!

The 5k course takes you through the Epcot parking lot, into the park behind Test Track, around World Showcase, and back out to the parking lot by looping around Spaceship Earth.

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We took many pretend coffee drinking pictures!

I love running through World Showcase in the dark. All the buildings are lit up and the torches are glowing- it’s the perfect way to see the sun rise! The beauty of the 5k is that it’s untimed so you can walk the whole thing if you please. We wanted to take it easy but it was so cold so we decided to at least maintain a slow job to keep moving!

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Horace was greeting by The Land Pavilion so we jumped in line (and passed out munchkins while we waited!)

Generally I find that the character lines are the 5k are wayyyy too long for us to consider wanting to wait so we were pleasantly surprised that we only waited 5-7 minutes for Horace. After meeting him we headed for the finish line so we could get on the bus and warm up!

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One race down and still all smiles!

The 5k is a great start to the Dopey Challenge! It was the perfect way to start the weekend and shake out some of the excited energy I was feeling. We had a lot of fun! Best part? The race is done with enough time for us to go back to Coronado Springs to take a well deserved nap before heading out to Epcot.

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With 3.1 miles down, we only had 45.5 miles to go! Click here for the Walt Disney World 10k recap!

Dopey Challenge

Stay adventurous, friends!

runDisney’s Dopey Challenge: 4 days, 4 races, 48.6 miles

Today I’m excited to say that I’m going to start a 4 to 5 part series on runDisney’s Dopey Challenge. This event, occurring at Walt Disney World each January, consists of running the Walt Disney World 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon races four days in a row. Pretty darn dopey, right?!

Cheers to the start of a very cold Dopey Challenge weekend!

I’m pretty excited to write about this for a couple reasons. First off, I love runDisney. It’s something my sister and I found we loved together and through it we were able to foster a really close relationship. We’ve run many runDisney weekends but Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (where the Dopey challenge takes place) has always been my favorite. Finally getting to do Dopey this past year was the highlight of all the time we’ve spent running and training together. Overcoming this physical (and very much mental) challenge was one of the craziest things I think I could do and it was fun to boot!

All bundled up with Pluto before we ran the marathon.

I’m also excited to recount our running adventures this past January because I’m looking forward to going back to run Disney World again this coming January for the WDW Marathon (just the 26.2 miles this time.) Reliving this makes the time past faster as we count down to 2019.

Three races down and one more to go!

Stay tuned as I share how each race went and possibly share some tips and tricks that worked well to help get us through.

48.6 miles worth of bling!

Stay adventurous, friends!