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2022 WDW Marathon Course Review

There is nothing like the WDW Marathon. This will be my 11th time running it and it never gets old. Don’t get me wrong, running a marathon is hard, real hard and I have dark moments each year but seriously what is better than running 26.2 miles in my favorite place 🙂

I’m THRILLED to be back, after running 3 virtual marathons I’ve decided that running that far by myself is just not for me. Running marathons need to be at in-person events for this girl!

So first, let’s take a look at the start area. This year, runDisney is doing start groups instead of corrals (basically numbers instead of lettered corrals) but similar to the half marathon, there are fewer corrals of the same size as past years implying that there are likely less runners. In 2020 there were 8 corrals and now there are just 6 and it could just be that the map isn’t 100% accurate or it could be that they really did cut the number of runners to maybe 20k instead of the 25-26k. Consistent with past years though is the half mile-ish walk to the start groups so give yourself plenty of time for the slow stroll.

Overall, they maintained a lot of the 2020 course which is surprising given the issues they had with starting on time due to traffic and clearing the course (which I thought was due to the initial loop through Epcot) and the lackluster feedback people gave about the Blizzard Beach section, but a form of both of these are back for 2022.

For the 2022 WDW Marathon, we start by making a loop through Epcot before starting the journey to the Magic Kingdom (MK). We get to MK just after hitting mile 10 which is always a nice boost that far into the race. Unlike the half marathon, we will be enter Main St USA from backstage rather than through the front turnstiles and then we will take the route “in front of” Seven Dwarves Mine Train through Fantasyland. We then exit behind Splash Mountain and make the long (5-ish mile) trek to Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK) which we enter around mile 16.5 and make a quick loop through the park (Everest will be down for refurbishment so no rides this year) and then exit the way we came in. In 2020, I wasn’t a huge fan of this route in DAK but I was also very hot and tired so that might have had more to do with my feelings towards it.

We then run to Blizzard Beach which we don’t run into this time but rather we run some “bunny ears” in the parking lot (mile 21), this seems like it’s going to be a little annoying but we’ll see. We then start run to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS), where we run in behind Tower of Terror (mile 22.75-ish), barely run down Sunset, and then take the quick backstage exit to the front of DHS. From a day guest perspective I get the move but honestly not running down Hollywood Blvd is a little disappointing.

From here it’s the usual glorious final 5k of the WDW Marathon, running around Crescent Lake (Boardwalk side), into International Gateway, around World Showcase, down the center of Future World, before we run backstage like in 2020 and exit to the Epcot parking lot.

Now let’s dive into some more details.

  1. The start is in the usual place and we follow the road outside Epcot’s parking lot before turning towards Epcot for our short loop through Future World. We will run about 2.5 miles outside the park/in the parking lot.
  2. We then run backstage behind the Seas and the Land and enter Epcot from the Imagination pavilion. We take a path across the park around the construction, use the center path to World Showcase, before running to Mexico and exiting between Mexico and Norway where we will run backstage, under Test Track and then back to basically where we started.
  3. We then start the trek from mile 4 to mile 10 to the Magic Kingdom. We will run up World Dr and them through the Magic Kingdom parking lot, running a bit more to the west side than in the half marathon, through the Transportation and Ticket Center, under the water bride (come alley) and past the Contemporary before turning towards the MK bus drop off area.
  4. For the marathon we will run backstage and enter Main St USA from there instead of through the turnstiles like for the Half. We run up Main St, through Tomorrowland, through Fantasyland on the front side of Seven Dwarves Mine Train, through the Castle, then a hard right to Liberty Square, and then finally through Frontierland where we exit behind Splash Mountain.
  5. We exit MK around mile 11 and make a ~5 mile journey to Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK).
  6. At around mile 15.5 the out and back part of the entrance/exit to DAK begins and then we enter the onstage park of DAK at around 16.5.
  7. Runners are in DAK for a very quick run. We enter in Africa, run through Asia (Everest will be under refurbishment so no rides this year), and then we exit through Dinoland before heading back to the way we came into the park. You will then run past people entering the park until about mile 18.75.
  8. Runners then have about a mile until the Blizzard Beach “bunny ears” where we run a short out and back on Buena Vista Dr and then make a loop in the Blizzard Beach parking lot. If you have friends or family staying at Coronado they should be able to come out and cheer you on at the corner of Western Way and Buena Vista Dr!
  9. By mile 22 we are really in the home stretch. We are on our way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios with no more out and backs or loops in our way. I do remember this part of the course being very exposed though so be prepared for that mentally.
  10. Now we get to run through DHS, we’ll not quite through but more like dipping a toe into the park. We’ll run for a millisecond on Sunset Blvd before going backstage and exiting the park (mile 23).
  11. Just a 5k left! Time to run along Crescent lake which is so lovely but can be crowded since the path gets so narrow here. If you are hoping to really push the last 5k just make sure to pack some patience from the DHS exit until we get to the Boardwalk resort.
  12. Runners then make the glorious trek around World Showcase (make sure to power over the bridge to France), then down the middle path to Future World, along the construction wall before turning towards Test Track and exiting backstage. We then run through the lackluster backstage area before exiting to the parking lot and that beautiful finish line!
  13. There are definite pluses and minuses to this race course but if 1) we start on time and 2) it isn’t so dang hot I think I’ll like it a little better than in 2020.

What are you looking forward to most on the 2022 WDW Marathon course?

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