I was listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast and they were talking about running in and around WDW and it dawned on me. I could/should write about this!
I want to take a moment to give a shout out to Running at Disney (RAD) they are a great resource for running info at WDW. Great job guys!
As someone who worked at WDW on the college program and then on a internship, I'm very aware of great places to run both on and off property. You can find some fun routes when you need to get in marathon training!
First let's take a moment and appreciate this amazing picture that WDW uses on their website. I wonder if I can get that track suit on site?
There are maps that you can get at the front desk of you hotel that outline the running paths in and around your resort. Most are between 1 and 3 miles so a decent amount of distance. There are many places that you can find maps of all the resort loops, here I'm going to just cover my favorite spots to run in and around WDW!
Wilderness Lodge and Camp Ground
If you start at the Wilderness lodge you can take the path to the camp ground and then run on the sidewalks and paths. If you follow the main road where the buses are (I think I was technically running somewhere I wasn't suppose to) it's a generous loop and you can see all the sites and sounds of Fort Wilderness. It's also very shady with lots of tall trees and if you need to refill your water bottle, you can do that too!
- You'll end near the pool of the Wilderness lodge, so grab a towel and a free cup of water from the pool bar.
- The path from Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness is NOT lit, so either run during the day or bring a head lamp or other light source
- Make this a night run during the holidays to enjoy all the decorations!
Grand Floridian and Polynesian
Running along Bay Lake and hearing the hustle and bustle of the Magic Kingdom can't be beat and again, you'll probably get some nice breezes. The path connecting these resorts is usually pretty quiet but I'd assume if a wedding was going on at the pavilion it might be a little congested.
- Grab a free water from the pool bar
- You could even do a cool down by riding a lap on the monorail!
- Dole Whips also make good post-run fuel!
Downtown Disney Resorts
This is a really nice area to run, usually pretty quiet and you can run basically along Hotel Plaza Boulevard and then out to Vineland. The paths are nice and if you want to you can easily cut into Saratoga Springs and do a nice loop there. It can be pretty hot on this route though because the tree coverage doesn't offer a lot of breezes to pass through.
- You can refill your water bottle at a drinking fountain in Downtown Disney
- The loop at Saratoga Springs is really nice
Off Property Running - Vineland
Need to get in some serious miles and don't want to go crazy doing loops. If you take Hotel Plaza Blvd out to Vineland, hang a right and then another right to stay on 535/Vineland/Winter Garden you can take this road for however long you like. It's flat, lots of sidewalks, and a safe area. You'll feel like you are a million miles away from Disney even though you are just following the eastern side of property.
I have taken this route for about 5 miles before turning around, but you can go even further than that. The route plotted below is 7.7 miles but you can continue further than that.
- It's a wide road so try to run on whichever side is shady
- Bring water! There isn't much along this route so you'll want to come prepared.
Run to the Outlet Mall
For a shorter route or different direction you can go over to the outlet mall! These were my main stopping grounds during my College Program. Lots of sidewalks!
- Don't run this on Sunday evenings - there is crazy traffic at the outlet malls in the evening!
- Bring water with you! There might be some places you can stop off to get some water
- You may see CP students! You can take this route to Chatham, Patterson, and Mickey's Retreat if you want to check out where some of the CP's live!
All the resorts are a great place to go running but these are some of my favorite spots that tend to be less crowded. I like you hate dodging tourists, these paths generally offer a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the crowds!