Today I’m talking with Megan Biller about two of my favorite pastimes: running and visiting Walt Disney World!
In addition to the many (too many?) races that are run at Walt Disney World each year, there are lots of options available when it comes to running on property while you’re visiting for vacation any time of year.
Megan wasn’t a runner growing up, but she did develop a love for Walt Disney World in her younger days.
And that love for Disney didn’t waver as she’s grown up.
In fact, while visiting the parks for her honeymoon she remembers seeing folks wearing medals around their necks and realized that marathon weekend was the weekend prior to her visit.
And once she had started to get into running, she figured that if she was going to run she might as well run races at Walt Disney World!
And the rest is history!
Unable to Find Much Information, Megan Decided to Write the Book!
Megan was trying to plan out the logistics for her first runDisney event, and spent lots of time scouring the internet trying to find useful information on the event not only for herself but also for her husband who would be there spectating.
And, as surprising as it might be to think about now, there wasn’t a lot of information available.
So Megan and her friend opted to write a book to try and provide that information for others that were in a similar situation.
The book has grown and expanded over the years, but it’s still the resource for running at Walt Disney World.
Today’s Episode is Sponsored By: The Coterie
runDisney Pros and Cons
When I asked Megan for some of her best tips for participating in a runDisney event, she immediately mentioned registering early and being aware of how crowded it really is (both for you as a runner and for your spectators).
But her biggest piece of advice: enjoy the experience and take it all in.
If you’re racing hard, that’s fine, but don’t miss the forest for the trees. I mean, you’re running in Walt Disney World for goodness sake, so you might as well enjoy the atmosphere!
Another thing to keep in mind is that not only do you have the option of taking photos with some of the Disney Characters along the course, but you may also find some characters that you’re not going to see in the parks on a regular day so don’t be afraid to stop and take photos (if that’s your thing).
For Megan, the best component of a runDisney event is running through the parks.
It really is a great atmosphere, and something that you literally can’t experience in any other race.
That said, runDisney races aren’t all wine and roses.
Like me, there are some issues that Megan has with runDisney events even though she is a fan of Walt Disney World in general.
The overcrowding on the course is her biggest frustration, not only because of how it impacts her ability to run herrace but because it also can be a safety issue. She sited one area on the course where the runners are squeezed onto a one lane road between a grassy hill and traffic.
I’ve been stuck behind runners in this area of the course before, and if you want to proceed at your pace your options are literally to risk falling down the hill or try not to get hit by a car.
Definitely not a good situation.
Another frustration is the rigidness when it comes to changing corals when a runner has been placed in the wrong corral by accident.
We also talked about the cost of the Disney races, and the fact that the prices keep going up without any additional “perks”, and in some cases receiving LESS than in previous years while paying more.
Before we got off the subject of our runDisney frustrations, I had to ask Megan about the change to this year’s Wine and Dine “announcement”, and she is almost as frustrated as I am about the changes that were made to what had been my favorite race (Disney or otherwise).
Megan raises the question, and it’s a very fair question, of whether or not some of the changes that runDisney is making could push away/alienate some of the core runners as well.
Obviously we will have to see how it all plays out, but it’s an interesting thought to be sure.
Walt Disney World Running: Beyond the Races
Once we wrapped up talking about the runDisney events, which honestly I think we could have kept going about for another hour or two, we talked about places to run when you’re visiting Walt Disney World and not running a race.
Most of the Disney resorts have some running/walking paths available to guests. The paths tend to be shorter, most are about a mile, but there are some other options as well. If you’re at Fort Wilderness/Wilderness Lodge, you’ve got great trails available. And if you’re staying around the boardwalk, you can run the perimeter roads that go around the resorts and have sidewalk pretty much the entire way.
As we wrapped up our chat, we talked about what the rest of her running year will look like which is highlighted by the runDisney event that will be happening in Paris this year!
I guess that’s a perk of writing a book about running and Disney right? Since there’s now a race in Paris, she has to go run the race to add it to the book, right? Hehehe.
Megan also shared some tips for traveling for a race, since she’s got plenty of experience with flying to Florida to participate in a runDisney event. And those tips are definitely viable whether you’re participating in a runDisney event or traveling to any other race.
If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Walt Disney World, I can’t encourage you enough to start coming through RunnersGuidetoWDW.com ASAP. There are so many great tips and resources available on the website, many of which weren’t even hinted at in my chat today with Megan Biller.
And if you are planning that Disney trip and looking for a running partner, YOU BETTER let me know you’re coming south so I can join you for a few miles of the days that you’re in town!
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