Let's Talk WDW Marathon Weekend Race Courses

Since I’m not having to run a million miles this weekend I need to do something with all this extra energy and time. So why not to dive into these race courses!

5k (2019 and 2018)

So the 5k course changed a bit this year. The first thing to note is that we will enter World Showcase a little closer to Mexico this year, back to the entering near the Donald Duck meet and greet area rather than right next to Norway. The biggest change though is that instead of looping through Future World (FW) West, we’ll loop through FW East. Not sure why they made this change but it’ll be cool to see those pavilions lit up in the morning light (especially Mission Space) and pass by the Guardians ride construction. I’m guessing they did this so we weren’t criss-crossing the park as much.

Characters: There sometimes is one character stop around mile marker 1 and then the rest will be at various countries around World Showcase. There are usually 4 or 5 characters throughout the course.

Tips for this course: Leave the headphones at home so you can hear the fun Disney music they play around the World Showcase Promenade and throughout other parts of the course. Do watch your step running through the Mouse Gears breezeway, those get a little slick and a little narrow.

10k (2019 and 2018)

So the 10k isn’t looking too different but there are a few things to note. The first is a new route near the mile 2 marker. That tight turnaround doesn’t look great but excited to see a new backstage area. Looks like this was added since front of park loop was removed which I’ll miss since it was nice to have so much time inside Epcot, but they were some tight turns right at the end of the race.

Characters: Usually 1 character stop at the turnaround near mile 1 and then 1 just before mile 2 making this already congested area even more congested. Characters then start showing up in World Showcase as you run around. There is usually one on the Boardwalk and then maybe one more as you run through the center of World Showcase.

Tips for this course: Watch your footing around the Boardwalk/Beach Club Area because it can be a little slick. The first mile can be REALLY crowded so just be prepared. Also, for later corrals the character lines can get really long and this is a race that WILL sweep you if you are running to slow so you may need to be selective. This is one of my favorite races though, fun course, good characters, and a great distance!

Half Marathon (2019 and 2018)

The half marathon course has never been my favorite but running up Main St USA is just the best! This year once again we are going to run through the main gates of the park and under the train station (the best!). They are not having us do the small loop to Big Thunder Mountain this year but they are eliminating the loop through Future World to World Showcase Lagoon which is a bummer because it means less park time. I’m interested to see what this backstage loop does though (I’m sure cast members working on that side of the park won’t be thrilled). This change looks like it will make guest flow around the race a little easier but I’m not sure if it’s a great trade off for runners.

On this map I’ve marked the “cone alley” areas with the orange marker which get congested and also put stars where characters have been in the past to give you an idea of what to expect.

Tips for this course: Try to avoid running in the grass in the cone alley areas and DO NOT cross the cone line! This is for your safety! Also, running through the castle can be a bit congested and if you want a Photopass picture in front of the castle stay to the left as you go through so you can get to that area easier (and without running in front of/cutting off a lot of other people). Also, remember you are one of 1230982382 runners trying to get the perfect castle shot (or at least a good castle photo) so stay aware and don’t be an a-hole. Just try to enjoy the run through Magic Kingdom and save the aggressive running for other parts of the race. The last 4 or so miles of this race between MK and Epcot are a great place to get some speed going in those legs if you are antsy to run!

Marathon (2019 and 2018)

So the marathon course is pretty similar to last year’s. We are entering MK through the front gates and under the train station again and other than getting rid of the Big Thunder Mountain loop this is the exact same route through this park. We will get to the halfway point just before Everest so that will be a good landmark to keep in mind! The route around Animal Kingdom is slightly different but will feel pretty familiar. Wide World of Sports is nearly identical but the route through Hollywood Studios appears different (but it also just might be how it was drawn since it looks more exact). The biggest change comes in the last 3 miles since we’ll run on the Boardwalk side instead of the Beach Club side of Crescent Lake and then enter Epcot in a slightly different way.

I’ve also included markings for “cone alley” areas that can get a little congested and stars where characters usually are. The only characters that are not noted are the ones that are usually around World Showcase in mile 26 since they change every year. Also, there are usually 2 or 3 characters in the Wide World of Sports but honestly I’m not sure exactly where they are so those are my best guesses. There is one character at the track and then usually 2 before you get to the stadium but you wind around so much I can never really remember where they are. Also, there are usually sporadic characters en route from MK parking lot to the Animal Kingdom so there might be more there too!

Tips for this course: Again, similar comments for cone alley and the Magic Kingdom as for the half (see above). Stay aware and try not to cut people off when it’s congested since there is a lot going on. The water treatment plant before you get to the Animal Kingdom is not pleasant to breath in so be prepared for that. Hopefully the wind will be in our favor! The stretch from Animal Kingdom to Wide World of Sports will feel like it takes forever but there are usually sponges being offered as you enter WWoS so that’s a plus. Watch your footing around the Boardwalk because it can be slick here and running around World Showcase for the last mile might feel like the longest mile ever but they are usually playing fun Disney music so just try to take it all in!

So there is it, my take and tips on the 2019 WDW Marathon Weekend courses. For more details check out my race weekend recaps: