Are you preparing for a RunDisney race at Walt Disney World Resort and wondering where to stay during your trip? There are many options to consider, from Disney Resort hotels to non-Disney properties.
Should you stay at a Disney Resort hotel or opt for a non-Disney property? There are pros and cons to both options, and the right choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
To help you decide where to stay for your runDisney race, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort hotel, as well as the potential drawbacks. We’ll also discuss the options for transportation and logistics, and offer some tips for finding the best deal on your accommodations. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of your options and be able to make an informed decision about where to stay for your runDisney race.
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!
Benefits of staying at a Disney Resort hotel during runDisney race weekends
As a runner participating in a runDisney race at Walt Disney World Resort, you have the option to stay at a Disney Resort hotel during your trip. While there are certainly benefits to staying at a non-Disney Resort property, such as lower costs or more spacious accommodations, there are many compelling reasons to consider staying at a Disney Resort hotel during race weekends. Here are some of the top benefits to consider:
Staying at a Disney Resort hotel means that you’ll have access to a variety of amenities that can help you prepare for your race. For example, you can take advantage of the resort’s running trails to get in a shakeout run or two before race day.
Many Disney Resort hotels also offer dining options that are perfect for carb-loading, such as pasta dinners or all-you-can-eat buffets.
When you need to get your race bib and other runner’s swag for the event, you can use complimentary transportation from your Disney Resort hotel, making it convenient to collect everything you need before the race.
Race Day Convenience
On race day itself, staying at a Disney Resort hotel has a number of convenient benefits. For one thing, you’ll be able to take advantage of official runDisney transportation to and from the race. This means that you won’t have to worry about driving or finding your own way to the race start. Plus, after you’ve finished running all those magical miles, you can head back to your resort and enjoy post-race treats and rest your legs in one of the relaxing themed pools. At the Resorts, you might even run into your favorite Disney friends.
Proximity to all of Theme Parks
When you stay in the magic with Disney Resorts Collection, you’ll be staying close to the theme parks, water parks, and other attractions. This makes it easy to celebrate your hard-earned accomplishments after the race.
At a Disney Resort, such as Disney’s Yacht Club or Beach Club Resorts, you can be close to EPCOT for the post-race party at Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.
And even if you’re not participating in a specific race, staying at a Disney Resort hotel means that you’ll be able to easily enjoy the theme parks and other attractions during your trip.
Extra Perks for Disney Resort Hotel Guests
As a Disney Resort hotel guest, you’ll be able to take advantage of some special perks during your trip. For example, you’ll be able to enter the theme parks before they open to the general public thanks to early theme park entry. This can be especially useful if you want to get an early start on your race day and avoid the crowds. Disney Resort hotel guests also have access to extended evening hours at the theme parks, which means that you’ll be able to stay and enjoy the parks for longer periods of time. This can be great for celebrating your race achievements and taking the perfect medal photo.
Top 5 Disney resorts to stay at for a race
To ensure you have the best experience when participating in a race at Walt Disney World, carefully select the right resort for your stay. These are the top 5 Disney resorts to consider for your race getaway.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
This deluxe resort is located on the monorail line and offers easy access to the race start and finish for races a. It has a variety of dining options, including Victoria & Albert’s, which is a fine dining experience that is perfect for celebrating a race accomplishment.
The resort offers easy access to the walkway and jogging path scenic views of Seven Seas Lagoon, as well as a fitness center.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
This one is one of my favorites because of how this whole area is put together with all the shops, restaurants and paved trails and walkways connecting everything together. This deluxe resort is located within walking distance of the race start and finish at EPCOT and offers a variety of shopping and dining options everywhere and the jogging trail delivers scenic views of Crescent Lake, the back gate at EPCOT, and a direct connection to the Swan, Dolphin, and Hollywood Studios.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
The Coronado is a little off the beaten path, but it’s a fantastic and beautiful resort with new addition, the Gran Destino Tower. This is a moderate resort that offers a variety of room types, including suites, making it a good option for families or groups.
It also has a convenient location near the race start and finish at EPCOT and several dining options.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
This moderate resort offers a variety of room types, including bungalows, and has a convenient location near the race start and finish at EPCOT and is one of the stopping points for Disney’s new Skyliner transportation system.
It also has several dining options, including the popular Old Port Royale Food Court which has a wide variety of food options. When you’re ready to hit the trail there’s a paved path all the way around Hourglass Lake.
Disney’s All Star Resort
This value resort has three different hotels – All Star Movies, All Star Music, and All Star Sports – and is a good option for runners on a budget.
It’s located near the race start and finish at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and has 1-mile-long paved jogging trail linking all 3 properties, and several dining options available.
Staying at a Non-Disney Resort Property
While staying at a Disney Resort hotel can have some great benefits, such as pre-race amenities and proximity to the theme parks, there are also some compelling reasons why some runners may prefer to stay at a non-Disney Resort property. Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about staying at a non-Disney Resort property during your runDisney race weekend:
One of the main benefits of staying at a non-Disney Resort property is the potential for lower costs. While staying at a Disney Resort hotel can be a convenient and magical experience, it can also be more expensive than staying at a non-Disney Resort property.
Depending on the location and amenities of the non-Disney Resort property, you may be able to find lower rates on rooms or even save money by opting for a vacation rental or Airbnb. Of course, it’s important to compare prices and do your research to find the best deal, but staying at a non-Disney Resort property can be a good way to save money on your trip.
More Spacious Accommodations
If you’ve stayed at a Disney resort before, you know that the rooms can sometimes be pretty small.
Depending on your needs and preferences, you may prefer to stay at a non-Disney Resort property that offers more spacious accommodations than a typical hotel room. For example, you may be able to find a vacation rental or Airbnb that offers a full kitchen, multiple bedrooms, or a private pool. This can be especially appealing if you’re traveling with a group of runners or if you want to have more room to spread out during your trip. While Disney Resort hotels can be cozy and comfortable, they may not offer the same level of space as a vacation rental or other non-Disney Resort property.
Another benefit of staying at a non-Disney Resort property is being away from all the hustle and bustle of being on property.
Depending on where you stay, you may be able to find accommodations that are close to other attractions or activities in the area, like International Drive where there are tons of shopping centers and restaurants. This can be a great way to explore the local area and get a break from the theme parks.
You may even want to stay in a different part of the Orlando area, like downtown Orlando. This can give you a different perspective on the city and may offer a more local or authentic experience.
While many Disney Resort hotels are located within the Walt Disney World Resort property, there are also plenty of non-Disney Resort properties located on property too if, for some reason, the whole Disney vibe isn’t for you.
When you stay at a Disney Resort hotel, you’ll have access to official runDisney transportation to and from the race, as well as complimentary transportation to and from the theme parks.
However, if you’re staying at a non-Disney Resort property, you’ll need to find your own way to and from the race and the theme parks and that can bring with it its own complications.
Depending on the location of where your’e staying, you may be able to take advantage of public transportation, such as buses or shuttles, or you may need to rely on a rental car, an Uber or Lyft or taxi. If you’re not going to stay on property, make sure to research your transportation options ahead of time and plan accordingly to ensure that you can get to and from your race and the theme parks on time.
Compared to Disney Resort properties, non-Disney Resorts offer a variety of advantages for runDisney race weekends, from cheaper rates to more spacious rooms and different locations. However, when staying at a non-Disney Resort, it’s important to reflect on potential transportation and logistical issues. Doing your homework and evaluating different options will help you select the right one based on your requirements and preferences.
Top 5 On Property Non-Disney Resorts
For runners looking for the convenience of staying on property, but not necessarily in a Disney-branded resort, there are several excellent options to choose from. Here are our top 5 on-property non-Disney resorts for runners participating in a runDisney event.
The Swan and Dolphin Resort
This deluxe resort is located within walking distance of the race start and finish at EPCOT and offers a variety of dining options, including the popular Todd English’s bluezoo. You have access to the same trail mentioned above for the Boardwalk which is a huge plus.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Located close to the EPCOT race beginning and ending points, this luxurious resort has many dining options. The resort has a jogging track, plus a gym with cardio machines, weight machines & free weights for all your workout needs.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
A super deluxe resort is located within walking distance of the race start and finish at EPCOT and offers a variety of dining options, including the popular Bull & Bear Steakhouse. The resort has a jogging trail, as well as a fitness center with cardiovascular equipment, weight machines, and free weights.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
Near EPCOT, you can find a luxurious resort where you can dine at the well-known Ravello and have easy access to the race’s start and finish points. The resort features a jogging trail, and its fitness center offers cardiovascular equipment, weight machines, and free weights.
Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel
This hotel is located within walking distance of Disney Springs where there is more to do than you can imagine. This hotel has a fitness center and an outdoor pool and is a fantastic option for runners looking for a budget-friendly option.
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.