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Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney

I was way too sore to attend the Cool Down Party last year and I was really bummed to miss it.  Now after reading Glynnis‘ experience this year, I’m even more bummed!  This looks like so much fun and a great way to enjoy the end of Marathon Weekend!  And I mean really, who doesn’t love discounted food and drinks?!?

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My first marathon was the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2007. Since then, my love for runDisney and running has skyrocketed and I try to make the most of every opportunity I have to participate in these incredible events. I’ve now run in WDW Marathon weekend three times, but this year was my longest trip yet.

I was one of the lucky, albeit somewhat crazy, runners to run the Inaugural Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, Half, Full- 48.6 total miles). Running four days in a row, of any distance, can be exhausting, especially when your alarm goes off at 3am each of those days! I knew, however, that I didn’t want my race weekend to end with the marathon. I wanted to participate in Race Weekend from beginning to end, by closing out the week with the Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney.

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The runDisney Welcome banner made its way to the party!

The party is open to everyone and is essentially a chance for runners to meet up one last time before race weekend ends and to enjoy discounts at certain restaurants and stores. Not all establishments participate in the discounts, but runDisney advertised those that would be participating in their Official Event Guide.

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Official Event Guide coverage of the Cool Down Party

The party’s hours are from 4-8pm, which is when the discounts are supposed to be valid. After the marathon, my boyfriend (who ran with me) and I were so exhausted, we needed a few hours of rest, to rejuvenate and try to relieve some of the pain in our feet! We arrived to Downtown Disney around 6pm.

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Beautiful evening in Downtown Disney!

runDisney announced via Twitter that official merchandise would be available at Team Mickey store in DTD during the party, so we headed there first to check it out. Unfortunately, the selection was extremely limited and they only had some generic runDisney Sweaty Bands© and runDisney shirts in select sizes. I had purchased plenty at the expo, so I didn’t really need to buy anything else, but I was a little disappointed in the selection. Also, the Team Mickey staff seemed confused when I asked them about the runDisney merchandise, which was a bit surprising.

Small selection of official runDisney items.

Small selection of official runDisney items.

We then grabbed a margarita at the margarita stand and walked around to browse the stores. We stopped at World of Disney, Disney’s Candy Cauldron (for a post-race caramel apple!) and D Street (vinylmation). None of those stores offered a discount, but they are my essential stops in DTD! 🙂

 Post-race margaritas!

Post-race margaritas!

Shopping at World of Disney and D Street

Shopping at World of Disney and D Street

Candy Cauldron and my Minnie Mouse apple

Candy Cauldron and my Minnie Mouse apple

While exploring DTD, we found a Lego version of Dopey, so of course a picture was in order!

Snow White, Dopey, me and my Dopey medal

Snow White, Dopey, me and my Dopey medal

We ate a huge lunch after the race, so we weren’t really looking for a meal, but stopped at Bongo’s Cuban Café Express for appetizers. Bongo’s offered a 20% discount for runners, which was one of the more generous discounts.

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runDisney had some displays in DTD West Side, including a listing of all participating establishments and the backdrops of the race medals that were available at the expo. I took this opportunity to take my picture in front of the Dopey sign with my medals.

Banner detailing all discounts to runners for the evening

Banner detailing all discounts to runners for the evening

My 6 beautiful Dopey Challenge medals. Love runDisney medals!

My 6 beautiful Dopey Challenge medals. Love runDisney medals!

We also passed some ladies creating chalk art on the street with a “Frozen” runDisney theme. Very cute!

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As usual, DTD had some live music, but this time, they also had a TV streaming highlights from race weekend, which was a nice touch!

Concert with race highlights to the right. The crowd was actually much bigger than this picture makes it seem.  :)

Concert with race highlights to the right. The crowd was actually much bigger than this picture makes it seem. 🙂

Finally, on our way out, I wanted to stop by Little MissMatched, which was listed as offering free socks to all runners. We got there a little after 8pm, but they were very friendly and completely fine with still offering the deal. The deal was buy any item in the store, get a free pack of socks. And all items in the store were apparently half off. So I got a pack of socks, a headband and hair ties for less than $5. Not bad!

 My fun purchases of the night.

My fun purchases of the night.

Most participating establishments were restaurants, but Disney Quest (indoor theme park), Characters in Flight (hot air balloon rides) and Splitsville Luxury Lanes all offered discounts. Some stores besides Little MissMatched participated as well.

My boyfriend and me in front of Characters of Flight.

My boyfriend and me in front of Characters of Flight.

I wish we’d have had the energy to do more, but after 48.6 miles, my feet had enough and I was physically drained. Downtown Disney is always a fun place to be and it was so nice relaxing with fellow runners to wrap up the big weekend. Just being in an environment surrounded by other runners who share the runDisney passion was a wonderful experience. Everywhere we looked, someone was wearing a medal and we exchanged congratulations all night. Such a wide variety of people participate in these events and it was certainly nice to have an opportunity to meet other runners in a non-race, purely social setting. The discounts are nice, but my favorite part of the evening was certainly the camaraderie. Plus, it gave us all another chance to show off our race bling!

What’s your favorite post-race way to celebrate? Have you ever attended a runDisney post race event? Which is your favorite?

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Glynnis Zieman currently lives in Phoenix, AZ and is a native of Overland Park, KS. She is a physician and distance runner, and started a running blog in 2013. Her first marathon was WDW in 2007 and WDW 2014 was her 29th full.
Follow Glynnis here:  Website   Twitter   Instagram

One Response to Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney

  1. Thanks for this post! I’ve always wondered what the cool down party was like, but haven’t had the chance to visit.

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