Well folks, this is it. The final running of the Expedition Everest Challenge. I remember the first year the challenge took place, I was in Walt Disney World for our honeymoon. I tried to convince B to do it, but that idea got shot down quickly. I guess his idea of a honeymoon did not include running a 3 mile obstacle course. I was more intrigued by the scavenger hunt portion of the event, but that still had no appeal to him. Turns out it was a good thing we decided not to do it because there was a monsoon that evening. We returned from a night in the parks dodging rain storms and came across numerous soggy, miserable looking runners in the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. But enough about that, let’s get to this year’s race!
Part 5K, part obstacle course, part scavenger hunt, the Expedition Everest Challenge is one of the most unique race weekends runDisney has to offer. It is definitely more about fun and friendly competition than serious racing. All of this ends with a fun afterparty in the shadow of the mountain itself. Oh and you get some super cool medals!
Let’s take a look at some of the race details…
For this final year, runDisney has moved packet pick-up to the Animal Kingdom Parking lot. Unlike other races, there is no Health & Fitness Expo to attend. There is sure to be some runDisney commemorative items and great photo ops available, but don’t expect a big vendor show to pick up last minute race needs. Packet pick-up hours are:
- Friday, May 1st: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
- Saturday, May 2nd: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Participants in all of the races MUST attend packet pick-up to turn in signed waivers (click here to print your waiver) and collect race packets, which include your race bib with B-Tag timing devices, race shirt, and gEAR bag. The gEAR bag doubles at the bag to use for bag check during the race. This is also where you will receive any commemorative items you may have purchased during registration, such as pins. If you are part of a team, both team members must be together to get your packets.
Resort Transportation & Parking
Bus transportation will be available for participants staying at resort hotels to and from packet pick-up and the race. Buses will run during the following times:
- Friday, May 1st: 11:30 am – 6:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 7:30 pm)
- Saturday, May 2nd: 7:30 am – 1:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 2:30 pm)
- Saturday, May 2nd: 7:45 pm – 9:00 pm & 10:15 pm – 3:00 am
These are the host resorts for the weekend:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
If not staying at a host resort, participants will need to provide their own transportation. Parking will be at the Animal Kingdom parking lot.
Costumes are one of the best parts of any Disney race and this race seems to bring out some of the best! Yetis, Wilderness Explorers, you name it! The Disney Parks Blog has some great ideas for costumes if you haven’t figured yours out yet.
Please note that runners are NOT allowed to wear a face mask of any kind and will be removed from the course if this is violated. This is for your own safety, especially during a night race! So who are you dressing up as??
Participants MUST use the clear bag provided at the expo to check any belongings during the race and affix the label with their bib number on the outside. Bag check will be located in the Animal Kingdom parking lot from 8:15 pm – 1:30 am.
Tip for you: Put a small, lightweight backpack or duffle bag inside your clear gEAR bag to transfer everything into after the race. The strings on the gEAR bags make them horribly uncomfortable to carry around if you are planning on staying for the after party.
Bibs must be centered on the front of your shirt. Safety pins will be provided in your race packet at the expo. Do not bend our fold your bib, as the ChronoTrack B-tag will be affixed to the back of the bib which will be used to track your time. If your bib is not properly centered, damaged or covered, your time may not be recorded properly. Your bib will also be used for the on course photographers, so make sure the number is clearly visible.
You must keep a minimum of 16-minutes per mile for the 5K adventure run. If you fall below this pace you will will run the risk of getting swept. Pace cyclists will be on the course to let you know if you have fallen behind. Your final time will be based on your cumulative time for the 5K adventure race and scavenger hunt.
There will be 2 water stops along the course. One along the 5K adventure race and one at the start of the scavenger hunt. There is also a first aid station at the start and finish line.
5K Adventure Race & Scavenger Hunt
The 5K Adventure Race will begin promptly at 10:00 pm in the Butterfly parking lot at the Animal Kingdom. Runners must arrive no later than 9:00 pm. There are a few obstacles along the course that you can complete individually or as a team. The course will be closed at 11:45 pm.
After completing the 5K, participants will receive their first clue for the scavenger hunt. Answers to all of the clues will be found throughout Animal Kingdom. Once all clues are completed, teams and individuals must cross the finish line back in the Butterfly parking lot. The course will be closed at 1:00 am.
The Post-Race Party will take place from 10:30 pm – 2:30 am in the Dinoland USA area of Animal Kingdom. Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and all of the attractions in Dinoland will be open during the party. Race registration includes access to the party and spectators can still purchase tickets here. Wristbands for the party must be collected at packet pick-up.
More information on the Expedition Everest Challenge is available on the runDisney website and in the Official Event Guide for the weekend. Also, check out some of my packing tips as your get ready to travel and one of my plans for prepping for night races. Lastly, check out recaps from 2014 & 2012 from some great guest writers here on RAD.
If you’ll be in WDW for the Expedition Everest Challenge, head over to Starbucks at Downtown Disney’s Westside from 3:00 – 4:00 pm on Saturday, May 2nd for a fun meet-up with my friends from Kingdom Magic Runners! You’ll meet some fellow runDisney enthusiasts and get some fun giveaways too! Get more details and RSVP here.
This is the only WDW race weekend I haven’t participated in and I’m pretty bummed that it won’t be returning. I LOVE scavenger hunts so this really is right up my alley. Sadly it’s just never worked out with my schedule. I hope you all have a wonderful time and enjoy ever moment of this unique race! If you are interested in writing about your experience, send me an email and I’ll feature you’re story here on RAD!
Good luck finding the Yeti!