Thursday, July 18, 2013

Q & A: Choosing a resort & getting around on your runDisney weekends

Lately, there has been a lot of runners asking me how to choose their resort and which is the BEST resort to stay at during the runDisney race weekends in Walt Disney World. There isn't any perfect resort. It's all about YOUR travel plans for the weekend.
Being a Florida resident, a Disney travel planner, and avid Disney vacationer... I can help!  I have stayed at each and every resort on Disney property and I have run in every race weekend except for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.
Choosing the resort can be a real decision maker. Cost, sleeping capacities, and the location of the resort  to the parks can be some of the deciding factors. Hopefully, I can help you make up your mind and choose your home away from home while you are having the race and time of your life!

Below is a map of the Walt Disney World Resort Area


Race Transportation facts:    
 "How do I get to the race from my hotel? Can I...?"
  • Each resort has their own bus transportation to the race destination
  • If you are staying on a monorail resort- yes, the monorail will take you to EPCOT if your race starts there. If your race starts somewhere else (Animal Kingdom or Wide World of Sports Complex or Hollywood studios) you will have to take a bus
  • No, you can not walk through EPCOT on race day to get to the starting line if you are staying at a EPCOT resort
  • No, you can not take the boat to Hollywood Studios on race night 
  • Not every resort is a host resort. Please check with the rundisney.com site for a list of host resorts for that race.
 "How do I get to the Race Expo to pick up my bib?
All of the resorts will have a bus that takes you to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex. If you are driving in I recommend that you go to your resort first, check in and take their bus to the expo.You never know how busy it will be, I have parked on the grass in an open lot and hiked on it and I have parked 2 rows from the entrance. The buses will take you to and from any of the resorts...it's the easiest way to go. Just remember, you will have alot of "goodies" with you so plan on going back toy your resort to drop them off real fast. You don't want to be walking around with your bibs and loose your package. That's irreplaceable on race day.

"How do I get to Downtown Disney?" 
All of the resorts have buses to Downtown Disney. However, if you are staying at Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter you will also have a boat that take you there. Saratoga Springs is in walking distance or by boat. 

Race Course Viewing :
"Can I see my runner from my resort?"
The answer to that is:
Only The Wine and Dine Half Marathon, the Walt Disney Half and Full Marathon, and the Princess Half Marathon courses run by some of the resorts. 

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon: Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, and Yacht Club

The Walt Disney Half Marathon: Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian, if staying at the Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness take the boat over to one of the monorail resorts or go to the Magic Kingdom

The Walt Disney Full Marathon: Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, and Yacht Club,Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian, if staying at the Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness take the boat over to one of the monorail resorts or go to the Magic Kingdom
The Princess Half Marathon: Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian, if staying at the Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness take the boat over to one of the monorail resorts or go to the Magic Kingdom


Weather:   
This may answer you're question, "Is there a nice pool?"
  • When it comes to the weather in WDW Florida, let's just say it is unpredictable. Depending on where you come from around the USA this can also be challenging to pack. Always over pack or give yourself some extra play money in case you need to buy a sweatshirt or T-shirt.
  • For WDW Marathon weekend and Princess Half weekend you never know what you'll be running in until about a week or two before the race. In January and February it can be 30-40 degrees at night/ start time or it can be 60+ degrees. You might even get a freak snow/ice shower (the 2010 runners saw that!) Days can be a cool 65 degrees all the way through and into the 80's.
  • For Wine and Dine Half Marathon, Tower of Terror 10 miler, and Expedition Everest the weather is usually hot and humid, but you can also have a beautiful night if there is a breeze.
Is my resort close to the Theme Parks? How do I get there?
These resorts are on the monorail system. 
You can go to Magic Kingdom or EPCOT by using the monorail. To get to Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios you will need to take a bus from the resort

  • Wilderness Lodge and Villas
  • Fort Wilderness Campground
  • Polynesian Resort
  • Contemporary and Bay Lake
  • Grand Floridian and Villas
These resorts are in walking distance to EPCOT or by taking a 5min boat ride there.  Hollywood Studios is a 1 mile walk or you may take the bus or a boat at your resort. Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom are also available by bus only at your resort.
  • The Boardwalk Inn
  • Boardwalk Villas
  • Beach Club and Beach Club Villas
  • Yacht Club  
At these resorts you will have to take a bus to all of the theme parks. 
  • All Star Sports
  • All Star Music
  • All Star Movies
  • Pop Century
  • Art of Animation 
  • Caribbean Beach 
  • Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter 
  • Coronado Springs 
  • Animal Kingdom Resort and Villas- Kidani/Jambo House
  • Saratoga Springs and Treehouse Villas
  • Old Key West