I love the Epcot resort area. It’s home to some of the most beautifully themed resorts, fantastic restaurants (Flying Fish Cafe in particular!), and picturesque scenery. It’s the perfect escape from the parks to relax and grab a drink. But did you also know that it’s also a great place to run?
I’ve walked this area many times over the past 20 years, but on a recent trip I decided to lace up my running shoes and give it a go. (Quick confession: I’ve been hesitating to write this post because this is the route that caused my psoas injury. Yes, I know that’s silly…part of my charm.) I got up early one morning and drove over to the Beach Club, which is where I started my loop. The day was just starting and a few bleary-eyed guests were wondering around with their cups of coffee. There is something extra magical about Disney first thing in the morning…
I started my run by heading counter clockwise towards the Yacht Club. The terrain changes here from a concrete path to a wooden boardwalk, which then curves around towards the Dolphin. This is where you encounter your first hill. The bridges that go over the waterways are deceptively steep and I was certainly not expecting that.
Now here is where I got confused. I haven’t been over in this area for years and I had forgotten which paths went where….there are a lot of them. Instead of going left into the Boardwalk area, which also has the path to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I stayed right and headed towards the Swan. Oh and there was another giant bridge here. Let’s just say I chose poorly… But I did get some nice pics of the Swan and the Dolphin hotels, so it wasn’t a total loss.
Instead of heading back over that hateful bridge, I decided to bear right at a path that went next to the Swan which I figured headed over to the Studios. I saw 2 other runners go that way, so I knew it couldn’t be that bad. That was until I saw the path come to an end. Thankfully those other runners were in front of me, so I could see where to go. The sidewalk went up and over another over pass (a super steep one I might add), but this time it was E Buena Vista Drive…a very busy road. I was totally confused and really should have planned this better.
Once I crossed over the waterway, I was FINALLY on the right trail. This is the primary walking trail that leads from the Epcot resort area to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There were a few more runners on this side and also some early birds heading to DHS for rope drop. This side also had a lot more shade since the sun was starting to get strong. I LOVE this path. DHS is my favorite park and this give such a wonderful preview. You can see Tower of Terror looming in the distance and hear the various movie soundtracks faintly in the background.
Next time I run this trail, I will definitely remember to bring my Annual Pass so I can pop in and pay a visit to the Hollywood Tower Hotel. 😉 But sadly, I turned back and headed towards the Boardwalk…
It looked like they had just washed down the boardwalk when I got back to the Boardwalk Hotel. I think this is where hurt my leg because it was a little slippery. It was either that or all of the overpass hills. Either way, this is where I remember the pain starting. It wasn’t only the wet boardwalk that made it difficult, the smells coming from the Boardwalk Bakery were SO good that all I wanted to do was stop and get a cinnamon roll! This area had a much higher energy and was more crowded than the rest of the trail, so keep that in mind when you’re running in this area.
I made my way back to the Beach Club and ended up doing 2.3 miles. This is a little farther than the what is on the trail map, but that’s because I got lost. There are a lot of walkways in this area, so make sure you look at a map before you head out. You can get one at any of the front desks of the resorts in this area.
Even though I personally have a bit of a bad association with this trail, I still love it. It’s absolutely beautiful and offers such varied scenery that you will never get bored on this run. I will definitely give it another try on a future visit.
Have you ever run the Epcot resort area jogging trail? Share your experiences!