Are you anxious to participate in a RunDisney race, but you just can’t make the dates work?
Virtual runDisney events have become a popular way for runners to participate in iconic Disney races without having to book a flight, rent a car, or reserve a hotel room, all from the comfort of their own location.
But how does a virtual runDisney race actually work?
Whether you’re a seasoned runner looking for a new challenge or a beginner looking to get your feet wet in the world of endurance running, here’s what you need to know about joining the virtual runDisney community.
From the registration process and training tips to the virtual race experience and celebrating your accomplishment, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of participating in a virtual runDisney event. So grab your sneakers, set your sights on the finish line, and get ready to experience the magic of Disney from wherever you are.
Before we get started, if you’re a fan of all things Disney and love discussing theme parks and planning Disney vacations, then I want to announce the launch of my new private Facebook group, the Disney Park Advisor Community. This is a place where Disney park fans can come together to share their love of all things Disney, ask questions, get advice, and make new friends. Click the link to request membership. I can’t wait to see you in the group!
How does a Virtual RunDisney race work?
Virtual runDisney events have become a popular way for runners to participate in the iconic Disney races from the comfort of their own location. These virtual events allow runners to complete a specified distance, whether it be a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon, at their own pace and on their own time within a designated window of time.
So, how does virtual runDisney work? First, runners must sign up for the event through the runDisney website. They can choose from a variety of virtual events, such as the Star Wars Rival Run Virtual Series or the Virtual Disney Princess Half Marathon, and select their desired distance.
The registration process for virtual runDisney events is similar to in-person events, with registration spots becoming available on a specific date and time on the runDisney website.
Registration fees vary depending on the event and distance, but runners can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to more than $120 for an individual virtual race.
It’s crucial to remember that registration for all runDisney events often sells out really fast due to high demand, so runners should make sure to sign up as soon as registration opens so you can get your spot.
One of the main differences between virtual and in-person runDisney events is that participants in virtual events are responsible for tracking their own times and completion is based on the honor system.
After they finish the virtual race, runners can go to the finisher website to share their finish time and get their certificate. Upon the completion of the event, medals will be sent out.
Pros & Cons of a virtual RunDisney race
There are pros and cons to both virtual and in-person runDisney events. Some of the pros of virtual runDisney events include accessibility, as not all runners may live near the event location, as an example. Or maybe you’re not able to take time off work or school to travel to the event.
Whatever the reason you can’t get to Orlando to take part in the race, a virtual race really is the next best thing.
Virtual events tend to be less expensive than in-person events. For example, the 2023 Walt Disney World Marathon virtual pricing was $127.92 whereas the in-person pricing was $218.53. 
Virtual RunDisney events also provide an introduction for runners who may not be ready for an in-person race, as they can break up the distance over a few days and take their time without the pressure of being on a course with other runners. Virtual events also allow runners to be a part of the RunDisney community and stay motivated by connecting with other runners through social media or online groups.
However, there are also some drawbacks to virtual runDisney events. One con is the lack of character interactions and “magic” that can be found at in-person events. In-person RunDisney events often feature beloved Disney characters along the course and special touches such as confetti and Disney “magic” throughout the race that can really add to the overall experience.
Some runners may also feel that they’re really just buying a medal without having to run the race, since completion is based on the honor system. Definitely a drawback.
Once registered, runners can begin preparing for the virtual race by training and tracking their progress. runDisney provides training plans and resources on their website, as well as on their social media channels, to help runners stay motivated and on track. Additionally, runners can use a variety of tracking apps and devices, such as a Fitbit or Strava, to measure their distance and pace.
On race day, runners can complete their virtual race at any location they choose, whether it be on a treadmill or an outdoor route. They will receive their race materials, including a bib and finisher medal, in the mail prior to the event. Once the race is complete, runners can submit their results through the runDisney website and share their accomplishment on social media using the designated event hashtags.
Training and preparation for a virtual RunDisney race
If you’re going to invest your hard earned money on an entry fee for a virtual race, then you most certainly want to get the most out of it!
Training and preparation is an important aspect of any running event, including virtual runDisney events. While runners have the flexibility to complete the virtual race at their own pace and on their own time within the designated window of time, it is still important to train and prepare properly in order to ensure a successful and enjoyable race experience.
One of the first steps in preparing for a virtual runDisney event is to establish a training plan. runDisney provides training plans and resources on their website and social media channels to help runners stay motivated and on track. These resources include training schedules, nutrition and hydration tips, and tips for staying motivated. It is important to select a training plan that is tailored to your fitness level and the distance of the race you are training for.
In addition to following a training plan, runners can also use tracking apps and devices, such as a Fitbit or Strava, to measure their distance and pace and track their progress. These tools can be helpful for setting goals, monitoring progress, and staying motivated.
Another important aspect of training and preparation is ensuring that you have the proper gear and equipment. This includes comfortable, supportive shoes and clothing that will help you perform your best and stay comfortable during the race. Maybe it’s getting a hydration pack like a Camelbak, or some new running shoes so that they’re broken in and ready to go for race day. It is also a good idea to test out your gear and equipment during your training runs to ensure that everything fits properly and works as intended.
Pay attention to your nutrition and hydration during training and in the days leading up to race day. Proper nutrition and hydration can help improve performance and prevent fatigue. Make sure to drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet, and consider incorporating sports drinks or energy gels into your training and race day strategy.
Getting the most from the virtual RunDisney experience
The virtual RunDisney experience is unique in that runners can complete their race from any location they choose, whether it be on a treadmill or an outdoor route. This allows runners the flexibility to choose a location that is convenient and comfortable for them, and to complete the race at their own pace within the designated window of time.
Another aspect of the virtual runDisney experience is the virtual race course and timing. While runners have the freedom to choose their own location and route for the race, they are still required to complete the designated distance within the specified timeframe, based on the honor system of course.
There are several options for completing a virtual runDisney race, including using a treadmill or running an outdoor route. For runners who prefer the controlled environment of a treadmill it’s important to ensure that the treadmill is calibrated properly and that the distance and time are accurately recorded. For runners who choose to run an outdoor route, it is important to consider factors such as traffic, weather, and safety.
Another great way, especially in places where winter and even spring time can bring a lot of cold weather, or an indoor track (my personal favorite!) can be a great option!
Once the race is complete, runners can celebrate their accomplishment and share their results with others. Many virtual runDisney events have designated hashtags that runners can use to share their results on social media and connect with other runners. This can be a fun and rewarding way to celebrate the hard work and dedication that goes into training for and completing a virtual runDisney event.
When do RunDisney medals ship for virtual races?
Registered participants in a virtual runDisney event will receive their commemorative medal by mail at the address they provided during the registration process. These medals will be shipped at the end of the designated period during which participants can complete the race, which is usually a three-month window.
The next step is connect with other Disney racers and fans. Join the Disney Park Advisor Community group to connect with other Disney fans and get tips and advice on planning the perfect Disney vacation. This private Facebook group is the perfect place to share your love of all things Disney and get insider knowledge from other Disney enthusiasts. Simply click the link below to request membership and become a part of our community.