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  • On Dec 26, 2023
    Crystal from TX Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Hello, which park would be best to visit each day (one park per day jan 5-8) of the marathon to avoid runners traffic ? (I'm not running). Thanks.

    Hi Crystal, 

    Thanks for bringing your question to planDisney! Your visit to Walt Disney World Resort is coming up soon! I believe you can enjoy every theme park regardless of the runDisney event occurring that day.  The Digital Expo & Event Guide for the 2024 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend was recently released, so I took some time to look over the course map and spectator information to try to determine how your time in the theme parks would be impacted. 

    The 5K race takes place on Thursday January 4, 2024, and the 10K on Friday January 5, 2024. Both races will be starting at 5:00 AM in the EPCOT parking lot. These races are the shorter distances of the weekend and only run through parts of EPCOT. The current Hours & Events Calendar lists EPCOT opening at 8:30 AM for Early Entry, and 9:00 AM for other Guests. In my opinion, it is unlikely the 5K and 10K will affect your park days. 

    The Half Marathon is Saturday, January 6, 2024. The course runs through parts of Magic Kingdom Park and EPCOT. Magic Kingdom is listed to open at 7:30 for Early Entry and 8:00 AM for day guests, and EPCOT at 9:30 AM for Early Entry and 10:00 AM for all others. If you arrive to Magic Kingdom Park for Early Entry, you may see some spectators and runners, but you should have no issues accessing any areas of the park due to the event. Cast Members will be standing by to direct Guests and runners safely if needed. 

    On Sunday, January 6, 2024, the Marathon event takes place. Since this race is the longest distance, it runs through a bit of all four theme parks. The Magic Kingdom portion of the course is earlier in the race, so I’d guess this park will be cleared of runners before the rest of the theme parks. The course then makes its way to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, then Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and finally through EPCOT. You may also see runners and spectators in these parks if you arrive early in the day. When I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon several years ago, runners were still in EPCOT around noon, so I’d say if you’re trying to avoid seeing runners on Sunday, EPCOT might not be the park for you. 

    Now, as I said earlier, the theme parks may be open during the longer races, but Cast Members are available to redirect Guests and runners to make sure everyone can safely get to their next location. I think that the most important factor to consider is transportation on these race days. If you are driving yourself, there will be road closures with signage to follow for detours. If you are taking the complimentary Walt Disney World Resort Transportation, I encourage you to allow extra time for travel as the buses navigate around the event courses. If you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, the Cast Members at the Front Desk will have information regarding what methods of transportation are available on each day. 

    I hope this answer gives you some useful information, Crystal. Park hours are subject to change, but Walt Disney World Resort and runDisney do a great job making sure everyone can enjoy the theme parks on race weekends. You will definitely see some participants in the theme parks wearing their medals. I like to spread some magic and tell them “Good job” as we see them in the parks. If you have any further questions, we’re here for you at planDisney!

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Meet the Panelist: Kaitlin, Indiana

Hi friends! I'm Kaitlin, a wife and mom to two young boys. I can always be found with a list of the latest and greatest snacks and treats at Walt Disney World, and sometimes I'm even willing to share those snacks with my family. In the meantime, I'm here to help answer your questions about your vacation to Walt Disney World Resort!  Learn More About Kaitlin

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