1st timer

We’re headed down for the Springtime Surprise weekend in a few weeks and it’s my first ever runDisney event. I’ve been reading a lot, but what’s some advice you could share with this 1st timer? About anything! Getting to races, how to meet up with the fam after…Liners are awesome with their tips and tricks.

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If you care about the merch, get to the expo at least a few hours before it opens on the first day. People legit camped out the night before for Princess. The pirates are awful.

Don’t skimp on sleep the night before you run (which means short park days!), and don’t overdo the touring/feet time either.

In terms of getting to the race, plan to be out at the bus stop at least 30 minutes before the first bus is supposed to leave your resort.

Meeting up with family after will vary depending on the race finish location.


I just did the Princess half for the first time and am so thankful for this group and their advice.

In the corrals in the morning I will move as close to the front by the tv screens as I can to get an earlier start time for the springtime surprise. If you are fast and in an earlier corral it might not matter as much but I’m slow and need a buffer to be ahead of the balloon ladies. (They are three ladies that end the race and you have to stay ahead of them to keep from being swept.) they have a Twitter page too that posts their time so you can compare where you are to where they are. I checked that to be sure I was okay.

I knew I didn’t have time to meet characters but I didn’t realize how long the porta potty line would be. I don’t remember exactly now but I feel like it was almost 10 minutes. Which is 10 minutes I didn’t have. The bathroom lines got much shorter after mile 6.

Also I should have brought a second breakfast with me. I ate at 2 am when I got up but didn’t actually start running until maybe 5:45, so I was very hungry by then. I had my stinger gummies but I needed my bagel and banana.

There were photopass photographers everywhere just taking photos of us running. That was really fun.

I can’t help with meeting up with family since I did the Princess half by myself but lots of people had family there so I imagine it’s not hard. I believe spectators were able to ride the buses with the runners. Im not sure my mom is going to want to be up that early though. :joy:


Random, stream of conscious jumble of tips…

I organize myself like this

  • Expo…screen grab of waivers, reusable shopping bag, beer cup
  • Race morning/bus…outfit, bib, belt, coffee, hydration, vitamins, salt pill, snack prep
  • corral bag…snack, wipes, stall mates, sunglasses, fuel, aftershokz, meds, gum
  • chute bag…keep reading
  • gear check bag…beer cups, oofos, towel, hydration, snacks, poncho

I pack things I need for each race in its own gallon ziplock at home so I often have 3 bags with lots of the same items in each (poncho, mylar, chapstick, wipes, advil, tums, pre-race hydration, race fuel, sweat bands, gum, chute bag, kleenex, bandaids etc.) Anything to save time and thinking while at WDW is helpful to me.

Some people use what are called “throw-aways”. They find cheap fleece blankets or sweats or hoodies on deep discount at home to wear in the corral. After race starts and they get warmed up they toss on the sidelines. There are CMs with bags for you to toss your throwaways and these items are donated to charity.

Beer cups…at Expo you can buy refillable ESPN cups…Maybe $15 for first beer, $7 to refill. At the finish line they have beer, cider and bubbly (as well as other food/drinks) for purchase. Sometimes the cups are specific to that weekend’s race and you have to buy a cup. Other times (like this year) the same ESPN cup is refillable at Expo and at the finish line. Beer cups go in the gear check bag of our fastest runner. He gets the beer(s) while everyone else wraps up. They only let you buy 2 beers at a time so you might need to bring friends. You can charge to the room and/or use mobile payments…just like any other register at WDW

I find the corral time before rD races to be so much more difficult than the race itself. I try to use the porta-potty at the very last possible minute. I pack a light breakfast. NEVER throw food away before you are 100% certain the race will start on time. We watch the weather like hawks to guess how 2 hours in the elements might feel…rain, cold, steamy…you never know. Once the race is about to start, I toss most of the corral bag items.

Chute bag…Fold a plastic grocery bag very small and keep it until the finish line. Use it when they give you ALL this stuff to carry…water, powerade, cooling towel/mylar, banana, snack box etc.

Almost every bathroom in the parks will be open during a race. If you can wait, sometimes it’s better to go in a lighted bathroom that flushes instead of a port-a-potty along the course.

I know some folks run with portable chargers and cords, but I don’t. rD tweets important info before/during races…such as delays because the race busses are stuck in traffic. Wifi before the start can be slow. Consider turning off wifi.

The balloon ladies’ bib numbers are on FB. You can track them number using the rD tracking tool to keep an eye on their location.

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Beer cup and a chute bag.

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Thank you, everybody! All great suggestions! @LowBiscus, love the idea of the chute bag and towel for the bus back! Just ordered some Stall Mates! :o)

Other thoughts…I take a manilla folder to Expo to keep the bibs tidy and uncrumpled.
StallMates…I always had them in case the Porta-potties had no paper. This has NEVER happened. However, if I use the loo in the park during the race? that paper is terrible. StallMates to the rescue!

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I love the chute bag idea!! A few years back they gave us pink string backpacks at the end of the Princess 1/2. It was so nice having a place to put everything!! I never check a bag, but always struggle with carrying so much stuff at the end of the race.

I almost checked a bag at Princess because now there aren’t 2 separate security lines. I never want to bring a bag in the morning & then regret not having it as soon as I finish!

I use the bag they give you for the ice bucket in the hotel room to carry stuff to the corral.

I don’t load my pockets until AFTER I’ve used the porta-potty. Too much risk something falls out onto the floor. Easier for my squad to watch my stuff while I pee.

This is a thing. I nearly lost something during marathon this way. Fortunately it fell onto the floor and not into the pot

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Oh that’s another tip. Don’t take anything on the course that you don’t mind losing. So many runners take cherished items and you see posts on FB like “I ran with my great-great-grandmother’s locket and it came off my neck. Did anyone see it?”
Keep a photo of the item on your phone to inspire you if necessary.


Not at a Disney race . . . But I lost a pair of mittens that fell right into the urinal. They remained there.


@LowBiscus gave some amazing advice

My add: My first Disney race was miserable because I had no expectation for preparing for the corrals and preparing for the mass amount of people running around me those first few miles. Be prepared for dodging around walkers and/or slower runners. I let myself get very frustrated during my first Disney race because I couldn’t get into a pace and stay there. However, my three subsequent Disney races were so much fun because I knew what to expect and I knew that it’s not about time or speed or pace, but just enjoying the ride. Know that unless you are an elite runner in the first corral, you can not PR or run your fastest pace at a Disney race.

Good luck! Have fun! Let us know how it goes.


So true about the crowded course. For marathon it was a good 7 miles in before there was room enough to get into a groove. Before that I just had to go with the crowd - go at my pace when I could, but mostly do what everyone around me was doing.

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