A Better Course for runDisney 10K Races at Walt Disney World

I’m not impressed with the current 10K race course at Walt Disney World.  After running my first 10K in Disneyland on the BEST race course I’ve ever run, I was incredibly disappointed when I saw what WDW had in store for their 10Ks.  When I actually ran the course in February during the Glass Slipper Challenge, it was exactly what I had expected…boooooooring for the first half and then fun for the second half.  For someone who always struggles through the first few miles, this long stretch of road on Epcot Center Drive was the worst thing.


With Disney’s Hollywood Studios being so close to Epcot, I wondered why couldn’t this race go through both parks?  Was it too far?  So I headed over to Map My Run to see if it might be possible, and guess what??  It is!


Look at that…same start and finish line in the Epcot parking lot, but with a run through TWO parks.  It works perfectly!  Let’s check it out…

The first mile is the same as the current course as we head out East through the Epcot gates, but instead of making that sharp right onto Epcot Center Drive, we go left and head South on World Drive for about one mile.  I’ll admit, the first 2 miles or so are still pretty crappy, but the good news is that we are now entering the Studios at mile 2.5!

WDW-10K-World-Drive-Epcot-Leg1 copy

We enter backstage behind The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and we enter the park next to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (similar to the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Course).  We run up Sunset Boulevard, down Pixar place, up the Streets of America and then back down Hollywood Boulevard to the park exit.  That’s just about a mile in the park!  So instead of entering your first (and only) park at 3.5 miles, you’ve already been through one and are moving on to your second!


The course will then follow the jogging path down towards the Boardwalk and Crescent Lake.  We will go past the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts and onto the International Gateway to enter World Showcase right at Mile 5.


The final 1.2 miles will be spent in Epcot rounding World Showcase Lagoon (in the opposite direction from the current course), through Future World and back out into the parking lot for the finish!


This course is exactly 6.2 miles and in my opinion MUCH more entertaining!

Will it cause some additional traffic problems on World Drive and Buena Vista Drive?  Probably.  But because it is a 10K, all the runners should be off of those roads by 7:00 am at the very latest…plenty of time before any of the parks open.

Will it be more costly to have to staff two parks for the race instead of one?  Sure.  But seriously, with all the money they are now charging for these races, I think they can probably spare the expense.

What do YOU think?  How do you feel about the current WDW 10K course?  Do you like my course idea? Where would your ideal WDW 10K take you?

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  • Sounds like a good plan to me! Honestly anything is better than the current WDW 10k course – that’s half the reason I opted for Goofy instead of Dopey again, the 5k & 10k just aren’t worth it.

  • I think I’m the only person who actually likes the current 10K course, but I didn’t run Disneyland 10K, so I don’t have that as a basis for comparison. I’d love this course too. Two parks? What’s not to love! I know that the big barrier to getting something like this done is logistics. Disney Sports is a separate company than Disney Parks and Disney Hotels, and they all have to agree to it. Plus, many of the roads that go through Disney don’t actually belong to Disney but local, county and state agencies. So they have to be on board too. Maybe if enough people lobbied, they’d change it, but it’s much more complicated than runDisney saying, “Let’s change the course.” Even if they wanted to, they may not be able to. I did a big story on it a while back: http://www.runkarlarun.com/2012/01/11/planning-marathons-at-disney-takes-more-than-magic/

  • I ran the 10k as part of the Dumbo Challenge in Disneyland and was incredibly disappointed when I ran the 10k as part of the Glass Slipper Challenge this summer. It was terribly boring compared to the race in CA. It was definitely not worth the race entry fee and the two early wake-up calls! I think that this is a fabulous idea if all of the entities involved can make it happen!

  • I LOVE this course idea! This will be my first 10K at WDW and after having run the 10K at DL, I am worried about the entertainment factor for WDW. Because let’s face it, I don’t shell out over $100 for any 10K, I *invest* in runDisney because of the entertainment we get during the races. Having two parks for the 10k would be awesome and with them in such close proximity to each other begs the question, “why not?”

  • I so agree; I was spoiled with the Disneyland 10k as well.

    We were even talking about this possibility while we were running The Enchanted 10k. I would definitely be more open to running another Disney 10k for the price they’re charging if it went through 2 parks.

  • During the Inaugural WDW 10K, I wasn’t crazy about the course either. By the time the Enchanted 10K rolled over, I had warmed up to it. And to break it down simply: Running INSIDE Parks = Overcrowding and excessive bottlenecks. Running OUTSIDE Parks = room to spread out, bank some minutes early in the race where there is not much to look at, so you can take more time inside the parks. Given how crowded the races are – I am extremely GRATEFUL it is set up the way it is. Plus, since rD currently does not sweep inside the WDW parks, they would have a tough time getting the parks open on time, or have to have extra resources (set up cones, water stations, CMs, security, etc) to accommodate the runners that are still not out of the parks. (And I say this as someone that always finishes last, if not nearly last.) So I would like the 10K course to stay AS IS.

  • Great idea! I actually really liked the Enchanted 10K course but you’re right that the first half was boring. I probably liked it because I had never gotten to run World Showcase or the Boardwalk area before. Your idea is definitely a big improvement! Would love to do the DL course someday 🙂

  • Having cheered for Wine And Dine at the end of the Boardwalk, I’m going to be a dissenting opinion. The path between Studios and Epcot isn’t wide enough for Mile 11+ of a half marathon, let alone mile 3 of a 10k. I think they’d have to limit the number of participants too much to make it anything other than a HUGE pinch point.

  • Fantastic idea! I did not like the 10k course when I ran it on wdw marathon weeken.you route is great!

  • I love this idea! Of course I’m very much in favor of running through as many parks as possible, with as much time in the parks as possible!

    That said, I do understand how it could be a hassle for Disney … I’m sure there’s a lot of logistics I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around in planning these events. And I don’t loathe the current WDW 10K path the way some people do. The uneventful stretch at the beginning kinda helps me get excited and go faster to get to the good parts! I also think just having a few more character stops and cool backdrops at the beginning would make more people amenable to it.

  • My daughter and I did the enchanted 10K and
    It was like you described the 10K. Loved your
    Idea it will definitely make it more interesting.

  • This is what I was thinking but had never thought to actually see if it would work! Brilliant. I hated the course when I did the Minnie this year…..way too much time out of parks and the fact that it was the first half made it even worse. It’s one thing to have a long stretch in the middle but not to start!

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