Dale with Runners
  • On Aug 30, 2023
    Bayleigh from WA Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    We’ll be in Disney World Jan 2-5 2024. We aren’t runners ourselves, but know marathon week starts Jan 3. How does this affect the parks? We’re trying to decide what day to do which park but aren’t sure how the marathon events affect that. Thank you!

    Hi there, Bayleigh!

    I'd like to welcome you to planDisney and thank you for bringing us your Walt Disney World Resort vacation planning question. It sounds like you'll be visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth during one of my favorite times of year - Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend! My family loves visiting in early January each year to enjoy the pleasant winter weather and post-holiday crowds. I'd be happy to share my experiences with you to help you plan for an unforgettable getaway!

    Bayleigh, runDisney race weekends do tend to draw larger crowds to the Walt Disney World Resort, but we've never noticed any inconveniences caused by higher Guest volume over Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. While many runners enjoy visiting the theme parks mid-day (to snap those shiny medal selfies!), the early mornings and late evenings are typically pretty light in terms of crowds. I imagine that this is due to the very early start times of most runDisney events (typically ~5:00 a.m.). Dedicated runDisney athletes are usually busy running through the theme parks instead of enjoying attractions in them during the early morning hours, and many are tucked into bed well before the nighttime spectaculars!

    While my family hasn't been impacted by major disruptions due to Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in the past, I do think you'll notice some operational differences during your stay, Bayleigh. That's because runDisney events take place all across property, including inside the theme parks! Events typically begin very early in the morning and the longer races usually end in the early afternoon, so road closures should be expected during these times. If you'll be driving a personal vehicle on property, I encourage you to allow plenty of time to get to the theme parks. I recommend relying on complimentary Resort transportation to avoid any stress, if possible. Let Disney do the driving!

    Bayleigh, if you'll only be visiting through January 5, 2024, then you won't be onsite during the half marathon or Walt Disney World Marathon. The Walt Disney World 10K is scheduled to take place that day, and will likely loop through EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios if next year's courses are similar to those in years past. If you're hoping to "rope drop" on the morning of the 10K race, I recommend starting at Magic Kingdom Park or Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park to avoid traffic or logistical interruptions in the theme parks. By the time that "park hopping" hours begin, you should be able to make your way to any of the theme parks without any issues!

    I hope you've found these suggestions helpful, Bayleigh. I'm wishing you an absolutely magical trip to the Walt Disney World Resort! If there's anything else we can help you with, please revisit us at planDisney anytime. We're here to help you make the most of your time at The Most Magical Place on Earth!

    Warm wishes,

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Meet the Panelist: Lauren, Michigan

Hello friends! I'm Lauren M. from the Mitten State. I'm a mom, scientist, runDisney enthusiast, Disney Vacation Club Member, and self-proclaimed connoisseur of Disney snacks! For my family, it's a mix of both new and nostalgic that keeps us returning to the Walt Disney World Resort year after year. Throughout my life, I've been fortunate enough to experience many milestones and unforgettable moments at Disney Destinations and I can't wait to help you make magical vacation memories of your own! Learn More About Lauren

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