I just got back from Disney World, where I got to celebrate the Magic Kingdom’s 40th birthday. One of the highlights of the weekend was running (okay, mostly walking) in the Halloween 5K, which took place on Saturday morning at Animal Kingdom. If you haven’t done a Disney race, this is a great introduction and a fun way to spend the morning.
Disney 5K runs are different from the half and full-marathons in that they’re not officially timed. Most Disney races have a 16-minute mile requirement; if you fall too far behind, you’ll be taken out of the race and have to ride in the “golf cart of shame” as they take you to the finish line. You’ll still see golf carts on the race path during 5Ks, but only to pick up the injured. What I loved about the 5K was the opportunity for all fitness levels and every member of the family.
There were defintely people who had trained for the race there. I’m sure a lot of them did the Couch to 5K program with this as one of their goals. I love that–you could see their excitement in their faces. But there were also groups like ours that had little kids and strollers. We even saw one big, multi-generational family pushing a grandmother in a wheelchair.
Because it’s the Halloween run, many participants wore fun costumes.
Here’s how it all worked, if you plan to try one in the future. The race started at 7:00 in the morning. Parking wasn’t an issue. The huge line of cars looked intimidating, but it moved very quickly. Since it’s a smaller race, it was pretty easy to find people and get what you needed, whether it was water or picking up your race packet a little late (which you can do if you miss picking it up the night before–just have your waiver form with you). There was a DJ playing music and tellling jokes, asking people where they were from and teasing them about their costumes and the like.
People lined up based on their estimated running time, but overall, it was pretty flexible. We were in different groups be we were allowed to all go together.
If took a while for our group to start moving since we were all the way in the back with the stroller group. We went around the parking lot first and then through the park. We even got to see some backstage areas.
One small caveat: While you’ll do a lot of walking at Disney World regardless, keep in mind this is 3.2 mile walk/run. You’ll be getting up early to get to the race as well. If you like full park days and later nights in the park, this event might tire you out a bit, so consider planning a shorter park day on the day of the race.