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Let’s Talk 2020 WDW Marathon Weekend Courses! (Half)

So I’ve gone through the 5k and 10k courses and now it’s time to get into the multi-park runs, it’s half marathon time!

As always remember to read the event guide to make sure you know when you should be where. The start for the half is 5:30 am but you’ll need to be on a bus from your resort probably by 3:30am, there will be signs around the resort letting you know more! If you are driving, you should aim to be there by 4am, you should also read the event guide and follow their driving routes (don’t just follow GPS blindly) to make sure you don’t run into any closed roads.

The start is similar to past years including the 0.5 mile shuffle to the corrals. There are 8 corrals with likely mini-wave releases for each corral. This system has been working really well the past few years.

We’ll line up, listen to the runDisney announcer crew who will keep us entertained for a while and then we’ll be off on the roads of Walt Disney World. Overall the route is VERY similar to last year with a few minor tweaks that I’ll outline below!

2020 WDW Half Notes.png

Here are the details about what’s changed:

A: We will be running in a more straight path through the Magic Kingdom Parking lot. The turn we normally take where they have Lightning McQueen or Wreck-It Ralph doing their meet and greet is gone and we’ll just run straight through to where the villians or Nightmare Before Christmas characters normally are.

B: We will not run through New Fantasyland and instead run close to Winnie the Pooh. We are still entering MK through the front turnstiles and under the train station for the half!

C: The route through the Epcot parking lot may be slightly different but I also think this is just a difference in artist interpretation on the map (overall this year’s maps have been more “exact”)

D: Similar to last year we will run behind the Seas and the Land before entering Future World by Imagination but then we will run straight in front of Imagination.

E: After running across Future World and up to World Showcase we’ll exit between Mexico and Norway, then run up Avenue of the Stars. From here until the end it will be the same as the 5k and 10k.

F: We will exit to the Epcot Parking lot they same as in past years, we will just be running to that point from the right (backstage) instead of the left (the on-stage park area)

So those are the big changes, overall it’s very similar except for the finishing miles in Epcot. The construction in Epcot is seriously cramping some runDisney course style. Since the course hasn’t changed much from last year you’ll want to watch for crowding in the “cone alley” areas which are from about mile 3.75 to 4.75 and from the exit of the Magic Kingdom to mile 7-ish. DO NOT cross the cones. The other lane is open for active traffic of both cast members and guests and is managed very well but you don’t want to be “that runner”. The other crowded spot will be going through the castle, just pack your patience and smile big for the cameras. I PROMISE your race will not be won or lost based on this less than 100ft section of course in the middle of the race. Just be courteous to those around you, we are ALL trying to get that perfect runDisney shot!

Leading into mile 10, you are going up a ramp to an overpass so there is a little bit of uphill there and then again around mile 10.5 and then 11.25 after the turnaround. There are just a lot of overpasses helping with traffic management near the entrance of Epcot.

Likely character locations based on past years:

  • Mile 2: The road leading to the MK tollbooths normally have some sort of photo op, character or otherwise.

  • Mile 3: I would assume they would put a character here but this is a new route portion so maybe not.

  • Mile 3.5: This is normally where they have an awesome character setup, usually villians or Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Tomorrowland: Buzz Lightyear or the Monster’s Inc crew are sometime taking pics here.

  • Mad Tea Party: Usually characters from Alice in Wonderland are there for a photo op (usually not a long line for this one either)

  • Fantasyland: We’ve seen a lot of different character here like the Mime from Tangled, the Fairy Godmother, maybe even Snow White since we’ll run in front of Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Really any of the classic animated characters could be here.

  • Castle: Smile as you run through the castle but watch for the runners around you. Stay to the left if you want to get a nice picture in front of the castle from the Photopass photographers!

  • Liberty Square: I’ve seen Tiana here in the past but it’s been awhile.

  • Frontierland: Woody/Jessie/Bullseye have been here in the past on the left side of the running route.

  • Exiting the Magic Kingdom: Likely a parade float/great photo op in the backstage area here! This is usually one of my favorites!

  • Mile 6.75: Outside the Grand Floridian, Mary Poppins characters are usually out for a photo op.

  • Mile 7: Across from the Wedding Pavilion they usually have some fun characters, it’s been the “bachelors” (guys dressed in tuxes) but one year it was the Christmas parade reindeer so they mix this one up.

  • Mile 7.5: At the golf course on the right side, they usually have the mickey golf cart out with classic characters in their golf costumes.

  • Mile 8: There is usually one more character between mile 7 and this point, it’s been Lilo and Stitch, the Genie, or some other fun character in the past. It tends to change but I’d expect maybe one more character somewhere along here.

  • Mile 9: Normally you can still get a glimpse of whatever the photo op was at mile 2.

  • Mile 11.5: Sometimes there is a character in the Epcot parking lot as you enter, the one that sticks out in my mind was Phineas and Ferb one year. At the very least there is usually a fun DJ!

  • Epcot Backstage – the Land: Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar had a nice setup last year.

  • Mile 12.5: They may put a character here or have Mexico Donald at that exit but this is a new part of the race route so we’ll have to see.

So those are my thoughts on the 2020 WDW Half Marathon course.

Are you excited for some WDW Half fun?

Read my recap from last year’s WDW Half here: 2019 WDW Half Marathon Recap

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