Well, hey there! Long time no see! We haven’t posted for months because we’re happily settled back in our hometown in Tennessee – our RV is sold and we’re no longer traveling the country. However, this weekend while making a quick trip down to Orlando to get one final use out of our Disney annual passes, we experienced a part of Disney culture we’ve never experienced before, and I wanted to share it with you!
Did you know that at various Disney resorts, they have fun runs in the mornings? Throughout the Disney property, there are multiple running trails people can use anytime, and of course, on certain weekends during the year there are huge runDisney events that tens of thousands of people attend (including us last January and February!). These fun runs fit in the middle of those two things.
I learned through various sources about fun runs that happen on different mornings through some of the resorts. My favorite source for that info was at No Guilt Disney. Feel free to check out that link to learn about all the options – I want to share with you our personal experiences with two of them – Seaside Sprint and Beignet Dash.
Our first ever Disney fun run was Friday morning at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, and it was such a great one to start with! We didn’t know at all what to expect, so we had brought our drinks and such with us. Turns out we didn’t need them! They had a table set up with bananas, granola bars, water, and Gatorade.
The race begins at 8, and registration begins at 7:30. The resorts can be quite expansive, and we didn’t know how far we’d have to walk to get to the race location, so we arrived a bit early. It turns that at both runs we did, it was very easy to enter the resort (just tell the guard that you’re there for the fun run and show your driver’s license), find the starting location, and register.
The start and finish point is on the Boardwalk, between Jellyrolls and Atlantic Dance Hall. It costs $15 per person, and they accept both cards and cash. (I don’t know if you can pay with Magic Bands.) The registration simply involves signing a basic waiver and giving them a name and number of an emergency contact.
Character Queen is now a gung-ho cross country team member, so she insisted that my husband and I needed to follow her lead on leg drills before the “race.” (These fun runs aren’t actually races – except to Character Queen!) So we spent several minutes doing leg drills…until the dance party began! The Seaside Sprint began with a two-song dance party, which was so fun!
Then it was time to run! They explained the course to us – go down the path toward Hollywood Studios, then turn around and retrace that path before circling the full boardwalk around the lake – 1.4 miles total. A cast member on a bike led the way, and other cast members were set up at turns along the path to direct us and cheer us on.
Character Queen had decided ahead of time that she really wanted to win this race. It turns out that there were only 12 runners, which made that much more feasible! She stayed with the lead bike the whole time – and came in first! She said afterwards that her favorite part about coming if first was that she got to cheer on ALL the other runners as they neared the finish line. (She also excitedly said she felt like Hannah, the fastest girl on her team, who pretty much wins every race with no one else even in sight.)
After the race, we had the aforementioned drinks and snacks, as well as cool, wet wash cloths, which felt very refreshing in the Florida heat! Instead of medals, we received super cute pins, complete with a horse on a spring, which actually moves. Part of the reason we did this particular fun run was so that my horse-lover daughter could earn that pin!! The other “prize” was a coupon (that you tear off from the bottom of your run bib) for a free Goofy Glacier, which seems to be kind of like an icee. We actually never ended up redeeming those, so I can’t give any personal opinions on how they taste.
Overall, this was a very fun experience, with a festive, party-like atmosphere, even though only twelve people ran! (There were probably twice that many out running on the Boardwalk, just not registered for this event.)
This is the race we had decided we had wanted to do from the time (a few weeks ago) that we started planning this trip. There are a lot more descriptions of this one online that I could find and everyone seems to speak very highly of this one, partly because it earns you free beignets at the end!
Again, it was very easy to find the start location (go through the registration building, and it’s to the left of the pool). We registered, paid our money, and wrote our names on bibs – then I went looking for water. I didn’t bring water this time, thinking they would supply it. Wrong! So lesson learned, bring your own water!
By the time we arrived (around 7:20, prior to the 7:30 registration), there were already around a dozen runners gathered, so I knew this one would be bigger. By start time (8am), I think we had a group of about 50.
Again, CQ mandated leg drills, although this time she also noticed a high school girl doing some leg drills, and invited her to join us. It turns out that she’s a fellow cross country runner in a different area of Tennessee!
There was no dance party at this run – just a description of the course, and off we went for our 1.5 mile run! There was no bicyclist leading the way, but there were plenty of cast members (mainly lifeguards) along the way, again to direct us and cheer us on. CQ took off in the lead, but ended up coming in fifth, just behind her new friend – they had criss-crossed some and run together some during the race.
At the end, there were no cold cloths or snacks – but they did have ice cold water bottles, which were wonderful! They had a table of photo props, as well a Mardi Gras guy to take photos with. The “medals” were pretty cute – Mardi Gras bead necklaces with masks instead of medals.
When I could get CQ to finish stretching (“Coach says we have to do all our stretches before we sit down!”), we headed into the registration building to get our beignets – like in the other run, you tear the coupon off the bottom of the bib to claim your prize. They have grab-and-go bags for the runners with three beignets in each. I decided to take those back to our boys, and got an order of six fresh, hot ones for us to sit and eat there! I actually have never had beignets before – it turns out that three per person is a LOT! We would have been just fine with three between the two of us! They were absolutely delicious, though! And, of course, Mickey-shaped!
Overall, I thought this was a really fun experience, and I’m really glad we spent the time and money to do these runs! Despite all the great things people say about the Beignet Dash, the Seaside Sprint was our favorite of the two. The atmosphere so much more festive, and I liked all the food and drinks they had available to us! Both runs were beautiful – along water the whole way. We did connect with individual people more in the Beignet Dash, probably just because there were more people there to make connections with. I realize that in any Disney trip, time is very precious (especially mornings, when you’re wanting to be in a park for rope drop!), but if you enjoy running or walking (there were people just walking at both events), definitely consider adding one or more of these to your schedule! This is definitely the start of a new Disney tradition for our family!