"I can go the distance, I will find my way if I can be strong..." -Hercules
Do you wanna run a half marathon? Or maybe even just a 5K?
You can do that at Disney Parks! In both California (UPDATE: California races canceled until future notice due to construction) and Florida - and now at Disneyland Paris, too! - you can run a race through the parks before they open!
The full schedule is on runDisney.com. The races are fun but they are timed if you run anything longer than a 5K because they have to re-open the roads. You get chip timing for the 5Ks, too, but I find that they aren't as strict about it since you're never on an open highway.
If you can walk or run a 16 minute mile or less, it's a great inclusion to a Disney vacation - but do note that registration opens up many months in advance and they sometimes sell out quickly.
Me crossing the finish line in the Epcot parking lot at the WDW 10K, January 2017
The races start early; typically around 5-6 a.m. depending on which race you do. However, it's certainly a unique experience that I would recommend, even if an early wake-up call isn't your thing.
But, if this is your first race, I'd recommend starting off with a local run because the size of runDisney events can make them very overwhelming for beginners!
It's also worth noting that they do encourage dressing up! Picking out a race outfit inspired by a character is one of my favorite parts of the whole thing!
Me dressed as Mabel from Gravity Falls with Chip and Dale at the Morocco pavilion in Epcot during the WDW 5K in January 2017
There are characters along the course that you can get a photo with, but do remember that for anything longer than a 5K, it is timed and they do "sweep" people off course. At WDW, they have "balloon ladies" (literally a few women with balloons attached to them) who are the unofficial pace keepers of the event. They are the last people to go in the last corral, so as long as you're in line with them or ahead of them, you should be good to go! Because of this, I recommend taking photos with characters on course during the 5K events so you don't have to worry about it on longer runs because lines can get long and eat at your time!
Sweeping is done to ensure Florida Highway Patrol that the roads are back open, since a good chunk of the longer race courses happen on the highways as you run from park to park. That being said, don't be surprised when you have to go up an overpass on course; I'll forever have a love/hate relationship with Osceola Parkway after the (now discontinued) Tower of Terror 10 Miler!