During my January trip to Disney World, marathon weekend was happening – while normally I might have thought about signing up for the half marathon, I had a friend who was interested in doing the 10k so I decided to go for that instead. Figured I’d “take it easy” for the weekend instead, since I’ll be doing the challenge for Princess in February anyway!
The Walt Disney World Marathon weekend this year had a 90s theme in honor of their 30 year anniversary of the marathon. The medals and themes were very bright and neon, and featured Disney characters wearing cute 90s outfits. We wanted to do some sort of fun costume, but didn’t want to just do a Disney character 90s outfit.
So which Disney movies came out in the 90s? That’s where we started, and I thought of Toy Story as one of the quintessential movies of my childhood. But which characters? When I remembered the outfits of Barbie and Ken, I knew it would be perfect.
So we were up at 3am and out the door of the Riviera by 3:15am to get on the bus. Such an early wake-up call! We arrived, headed to the corrals, and began the wait for the race to start. Luckily it was a really nice morning for running – about 55 degrees at the start, though it was humid and that kicked in really quickly.
Even being in corral B, and getting pretty close to the front, I knew it would be slow going in the beginning. Maybe I’m getting jaded, but it’s hard for me to think of the RunDisney events as races when I can barely even move for 2 miles. There are just so many people walking the whole time – which is fine, but when they’re all in front of me and I’m trying to run 10 min/miles it’s just not an ideal situation.
So the strategy was to bob and weave as much as we could the first 1-2 miles to get ahead of some of the crowd before we even considered any character stops. We ran the first mile as fast as we could, which given the crowds ended up being a 9:48 minute mile. I can certainly run faster than that but given my past Disney experiences, I was very happy with being able to at least do that!
We actually ended up not stopping for the first half of the race, so we hit the 5k mark in pretty good shape. We went into Epcot for a bit and then over to the Boardwalk, and at some point along here we decided we had to stop for a character pic, so we waited for Goofy since the line wasn’t too long.
Not too far beyond that stop we had to stop again, because Jessie from Toy Story was there! Since we had Toy Story costumes that was a must-do, and we were going to wait no matter how long the line was (luckily, it wasn’t too bad).
The Toy Story fun continued at mile 5, where the 5 mile marker was Woody and Buzz – and someone kindly offered to take our photo for us! At this point I was feeling some of my injuries a little bit and my friend had run further than he ever had before (his longest previous run was around 4 miles!) so we decided to take the last mile pretty easy… especially since it went through World Showcase in Epcot and it’s just a really pretty and fun place to run through!
I absolutely love how the cast members come out early to cheer us on – and I do mean early, since it was still only about 6am at this point! But many of the cast members from the different countries in World Showcase were cheering, and they seemed so enthusiastic and happy. We stopped for a selfie with the awesome cast members in Mexico, and then continued on.
Before we left Epcot there was a character stop with a short wait, so we thought why not! Daisy had on a cute outfit so we got in line. Of course about 30 seconds after that she “took a break,” and it was one of those stressful moments of “should we just leave or should we stay.” But we had already committed, and we weren’t setting any records or winning the race anyway, so might as well get that photo!
I figured that was the last place for a character stop, but turns out I was wrong! Because once we left Epcot, but before we got to the finish line (so right around mile 6) there was one more stop we had to make! Darkwing Duck is a fun character photo to get and of course goes well with the 1990s theme of this race weekend.
This was also just a fun character stop because the music happened to be playing the DuckTales theme song, and it’s pretty much impossible not to go “woo-hoo!” during that song. I mean every single runner both waiting in line for the photo and those running past, plus the photopass photographer and assistant.
And then, around the corner, was the finish line! 6.2 miles done! While it’s always a feeling of accomplishment to finish any race, this was my friend’s very first 10k, so it felt extra special.
After getting our medals, of course I also had to get a celebratory beer! Every race weekend Playalinda Brewing Company does a specialty beer, and this time it was called “Squeeze the Day” – a pink lemonade ale. It was really good and refreshing after a warm race!
Characters at the WDW 10k in 2023 (as best as I can remember – I know I’m missing a few!):
- Scrooge McDuck
- Daisy Duck
- Darkwing Duck
Have you run a Disney World race before? What do you enjoy most?
Jenn German says
ALWAYS STOP FOR DARKWING. It is written!
Also, I had no idea Playalinda did specialty race weekend beers. I shall look into this!
Yes! And they are almost always fruity and/or floral. At first I thought that was just a thing for Princess, but it seems to be a trend so far for most of the race weekends. We can find out at Wine and Dine! 😉