Posts Tagged by Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run

Another Race Off The Bucket List

When it comes to runDisney, we all have those race weekends that are must do’s for us.  The next one for me has to be Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend!  But for some of us, it’s not just one race in particular, it’s ALL the races!  Well that’s Randy’s goal and he’s here to share his most recent races that were crossed off his runDisney bucket list over The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend.


I remember a quote but cannot recall who said it, but it went something like, “We run not to beat each other, but to be with one another.”

I have been a ‘runner’ for many more years than I haven’t been a ‘runner’. And mostly I enjoy running by myself. With work, family, friends and other commitments and stresses, I find that my running time is my time. It gives me a chance to decompress, forget about my troubles and focus on some very basic things. Putting one foot in front of the other and breathing, two very basic functions. When I am running that is about all I have to think of and after a couple of miles it becomes instinct and I don’t even have to think about those things, they just happen. It allows me to totally zone out and forget about everything.

Six years ago I ran my first marathon and my first Disney race. It was a great experience. I loved being able to run through all of the parks as well as see some of the back lot areas. But what I really enjoyed was the camaraderie that was evident between all of the runners. I met runners who were considered elite as well as runners who ran for reasons much like mine and those who ran for other various reasons. What I found out that race was there was a social aspect to running that I had been missing. It was then that I decided I would run every race that Disney had to offer at least once and meet as many people as I could during those races.

Since that first race I have completed not only the Disney World Marathon 3 times, but also have ran the Disney World ½ Marathon 2 times, The Goofy Challenge, The Disneyland ½ Marathon, The Coast to Coast Challenge and the Castaway Cay 5K. So for 2014, I decided I would run the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler.

The 5K was a memorable event for me since I ran it with my wife and it was her first 5K as well as her first race ever. It was a special moment to complete the 5K by her side, even if the pace was slower than what I normally run at.

The one thing I hate about race day is not being able to sleep before a race. For the 10-Miler, I thought that since I got up early for the 5K that I would be able to take a nap that afternoon prior to getting ready for the race in the evening. As usual sleep eluded me and it was soon time to get ready for the race.

My wife went with me to the pre-race staging area and as usual Disney knows how to put on a party. The DJ, everyone dancing, all the runners that were in costume all made for a very festive environment. I really enjoy the time before the race and after the race because I have the opportunity to meet so many different people but being different doesn’t mean we don’t have things in common. Everyone there had at least two things in common, they like to run and they love Disney.


The race itself is another thing that Disney does so very well. Along the race route there were Disney Villain’s along with props and special effects along the route. Not to mention all of the volunteers, cast members and all the other people that were located throughout the route cheering us all on.   With all of the distractions along the route the race is over sooner than you think. The miles just fade away when you run at Disney.

I really only had one complaint about the race and the route. I did not like where it finished. You really finish the race behind the Tower of Terror and not a whole lot of people there to watch as you finish. But that being said Disney does take care of the runners. There was plenty of water and PowerAde along the route as well as at the finish. There were snack items you could eat to refuel after the run. There were plenty of opportunities for pictures. But the most important part of the race is when you finish and get your medal. My Disney race medals hang proudly at my home and in my office.


The park was open until 3:30am that night for the runners and their guests. So my wife and I went on some rides, ate some food and walked around. We met other runners from all over the country as well as from other parts of the world.

I still enjoy my “me time” when I run but I also enjoy the social aspect of running whenever I run at Disney.  So now I have two more races crossed off my runDisney bucket list and I can’t wait to see who I will meet during the next race weekend!

A Magical First 5K

When you start the journey of running your first race, it can be a nerve wracking experience full of doubt and insecurity.  But once you start training and eventually finish that race, it is amazing to see what you can do when you put your mind to something.  Randy is here today to tell us about his wife’s journey to her first race, the Happy Haunted 5k Trail Run, and how he supported her along the way.  There is nothing like a great support system!


“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”

– Don Williams Jr.

For a runner this quote rings true. We devote endless hours preparing ourselves for an event that in comparison to our training takes only a fraction of time to complete. During that preparation we find out a lot about ourselves. One of the most profound revelations is that we are capable of so much more that we may have ever though we might have been.

My wife ran her first 5K race at the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, but it wasn’t that destination where she learned that she could be a runner, it was the journey to that race where she learned that lesson.

After many years of telling me that she couldn’t run let alone be a runner my wife surprised me when I jokingly asked her if she wanted to run the 5K race the morning that I would be running The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler and she said yes. Not wanting to give her the opportunity to change her mind I quickly signed us both up to run the 5K as well as signed myself up for the 10 miler.

Although I tried I could not convince my wife to attempt a straight out run on the 5K. Instead we would train for her to do a run/walk for the race. I developed a 3 month training plan for her so that she would never feel like she was going too far or too fast too soon. We did the training runs together and I liked seeing her change from someone who only a few month earlier would say that she could never run to someone who was running and starting to realize that she could do more than she had thought she could. There were even days when she would want to go a little faster or a little further on our training runs. It was nice to see a side of her where new things where possible.   Even though she was going to do a run/walk, she was definitely a ‘runner’.


Finally the weekend of the run was upon us. The weather forecast called for rain for the entire time we were to be at Walt Disney World and my wife was depressed about the forecast. I tried to calm her nerves by telling her not to worry about it and that she should only worry about running her own race. We ended up getting our “Disney Magic” because the only rain we saw besides a little drizzle when we arrived the Wednesday prior to the race were some small rain showers the morning of the race.


By the time we went to our corrals the rain had stopped. The whole forecasted week of rain amounted to only a couple of hours of rain.


In the corral, I could tell my wife was getting nervous. I just kept reminding her that all she had to do was ‘run her race’. Meaning forget about everything else just do what you came to do. We also had the opportunity to meet so many great people over the days leading up to the race. Many of those people were running the 5K also and my wife was surprised how many of those runners were also doing the run/walk method for the 5K. Finally our corral was called up to the starting line and our race started. As we went along the course she was pleasantly surprised by how pleasant everyone was to each other, and she really liked seeing some of the characters our on the trail also.

When we crossed the finish line she looked at me and smiled and said “I can wear my shirt now”. This was a reference to a little quirk I have about wearing a shirt for a race prior to my running and completing the race. I happily told her “yes you can because now you have earned it”.


We stayed around the ESPN Sports Complex for a couple of hours just cheering the runners on, meeting some of the other runners and taking pictures. Most importantly I could tell that my wife was beaming with personal pride for having accomplished something that only a few short months prior she had thought was impossible for her to ever do.


A First Time Disney Runner Gets In The Race Spirit

Costumes are a BIG part of running a Disney race.  Some people go all out with very elaborate costumes, some enhance their running gear to represent their favorite character, and some (like me!) just like to take it all in.  I love to hear when first time Disney runners get in the costume spirit even before they’ve experienced the festivities first hand.  This month Colleen ran her first Disney race, the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, and put together a fun costume out of items she had on hand.  Here’s her story along with some tips on how to create a fun and inexpensive costume of your own!


I became interested in runDisney this past summer.  Many of the races for this season had already filled, but I was able to get a spot running the Happy Haunted 5K for a charity during The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler weekend.  Initially, I planned not to run in costume.  I just wanted to wear my normal workout gear.  But, when I purchased tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party, I noticed a girl wearing a Minnie Mouse costume on the Disney website, and I thought it was so cute! So, I decided to dress up for the party.

I began searching for a skirt online, then I realized my party costume could easily transfer to a race outfit.  The only items I had to purchase were the skirt and yellow crocs to imitate Minnie’s yellow heels.  I already owned a black tank and black biker shorts.  The only lingering issue was Minnie ears.  I was reluctant to wear a headband with ears because I suspected it would fall off or distract me somehow.  I even briefly considered buying clip-on ears.  About two weeks before the race, I realized I could put my hair in two buns, high on each side of my head, for Minnie ears.  That seemed like the easiest, cheapest, and most comfortable option.

I set out my entire outfit the night before the race so I could get ready quickly, although one of the best features of the Happy Haunted 5K is a 7:30 a.m. start time, later than most runDisney morning races.  I didn’t have to be on a bus until 6:30 am.  Another major advantage is starting at the ESPN Wide World of Sports because there is a lot of covered/indoor space to wait.   It was drizzling, but that was never a problem because I could easily find shelter.  While the restroom lines in the stadium were long, the Jostens Center (expo site) was open and there was no wait for the restroom.  While I was stretching, a little girl pointed at me and said “Minnie!”  I was so excited that she recognized my running costume.  At the same time, I noticed more and more costumes on other runners, and I started planning for the future!


About 7:15, I walked to my corral, which was the fifth to start.  I have read a lot about how crowded runDisney races are, but that was not my experience with this race.  After half a mile, everyone spread out comfortably.  My only disappointment was the lack of theming.  This race is a trail run, away from the parks.  There were a few character photo ops and two “decorations” (a truck covered in cobwebs and some spiders dangling from trees).  But, I think runDisney could have done much more to enhance the course with Disney/ Halloween features.  Still, the finish line energy was wonderful, and I was so happy to receive my medal, which featured the hitchhiking ghosts!


The snack box was more than adequate, and I appreciated the water, Powerade, and bananas.  I decided against asking  my family to come to the finish line, so I left the post-race festivities pretty quickly.


When I think about my experience, one of the biggest surprises was my excitement about dressing as a character.  Two months ago, I considered a costume to be an impediment, but now, I am writing a blog post about my costume experience!   The most important lesson I learned was that a running costume does not have to be expensive, elaborate, or uncomfortable.  If you would like to dress up, consider your character’s major colors.  Ask yourself if you already own any items that could work for your costume.  For example, I already own a blue tank and a red cape, so if I want to dress as Snow White, I only need to buy a yellow skirt and a red hair ribbon.

I have marked my calendar for November 2015 for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend.  Will I dress as Snow White or Princess Anna? I have a year to decide!


Contributors Needed for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend

This is the first year I will not be running The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler and because I won’t be there, I need YOUR HELP!!


I am looking for anyone who will be in Walt Disney World that weekend (October 3-5, 2014) to cover all of the events!!  I will be following along from afar, but there is nothing like actually being there.  Here are some ideas for posts:

  • Race Recaps
    •  The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler
    • Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run
    • runDisney Kids Races
  • Disney Villains Hollywood Bash
    • A Runner’s Point of View
    • A Spectator’s Point of View
  • Health & Fitness Expo
  • runDisney Speaker Series
  • First Time runDisney Runner Experiences
  • Preparing for a Night Race vs. a Morning Race
  • Getting the Most Out of Your WDW Vacation While Running
  • Enjoying the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival When Running
  • Creating a Costume for the Race
  • Halloween Fun in Walt Disney World
  • VoluntEARing
  • And anything else you can think of…

Choice of topic will come on a first serve basis, so email me at if you are interested in covering one (or many!) of the events over The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend for Running at Disney!!

Now who is looking forward to getting one of these glowingly rad medals?!?!


Also, check out my new The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend Pin Board!  Follow along as I will be updating it with images leading up to and after the event!

Best of luck to everyone running and I look forward to hearing from you!

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2014 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Registration Is Now Open!

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend is returning for its 3rd year and is open for registration…will you be traveling into the 5th dimension?!?

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This nighttime race begins at 10:00 pm in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and takes runners towards Animal Kingdom, to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and back to the Studios.  Runners will re-enter the park at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show, wind through the Streets of America and finish in the shadow of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

The race is followed by the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash, which will begin at 10:30 pm.  Spectators can purchase tickets to this party and enter before the race is over.  Not only will runners and spectators have exclusive access to the Studios, but most headliner attractions will be open.  The attractions include: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (obviously), Star Tours, Muppet-Vision 3D, The Great Movie Ride, and Toy Story Mania!

Last year they made great improvements to both the race and the after party, so I’m hopeful that this year will be even better.

Also taking place on the race weekend is the Disney Happy Haunted 5k Trail Run and Kids Races, both of which will be taking place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Click here to register!  Pricing for the events are as follows (these events sell out VERY quickly, so register as soon as possible!):

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler

  • $145 by March 25, 2014
  • $160 between March 26 and May 27, 2014
  • $175 on or after May 28, 2014

Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run

  • $55 by May 29, 2o14
  • $65 on or after July 30, 2014

runDisney Kids’ Races

  • $15 by July 29, 2014
  • $20 on or after July 30, 2014

runDisney 1-Mile Run

  • $30 by July 29, 2014
  • $35 on or after July 30, 2014

Disney Villains Hollywood Bash

  • $55 by May 28, 2014
  • $65 between May 29 and September 3, 2014
  • $75 on or after September 4, 2014

As usual for most runDisney events, packet pick-up will be required at the race Expo held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex beginning October 3, 2014.  Visit the runDisney event page for more information on all of the events taking place that weekend.

036 Tower-Medal

I had hoped to be “Perfectly Terror-ific” (I totally just made that up!) but I think I am going to pass on this race for 2014.  While I love the theme, the medal and the after party, I just don’t enjoy the course and it is still too hot that time of year in Orlandao.  But having said that, many people LOVE this course and find the distance to be very manageable.  I think for this year, I will be opting to cheer on all of the runners and just have fun at the terror-ific after party 🙂

Want to see my recaps from prior years?  You know you do! 😉



Will you be registering for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler?

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