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Running in Disney

Running and Disney…two things that I absolutely love.  The feeling that I get after a great run and the feeling that I get when I think about Disney are emotions that I can barely describe!  Last Spring I decided that I was going to combine these two loves and sign up for a RunDisney race.  What better high than running a race in DISNEY WORLD!  So being a HUGE fan of the Disney Villains and Halloween, I chose the Tower of Terror 10 Miler as my race.  Early October (5th to be exact), nice weather, Halloween at the parks, PERFECT!  Sure, it’s a race that starts at 10pm, not your conventional time to run any distance, but this is in Disney World AND there was a Disney Villains Hollywood Bash Party at Hollywood Studios until 4am when the race was finished.  Enough motivation for me.  10pm?  No problem.  I got my sister on board and we booked our trip and made it a girl’s weekend.

And now…the waiting.  It seemed like an agonizing 6 months until we finally were boarding the plane and arriving in sunny FL!  We boarded the Magical Express to our resort and I quickly got thrown into the hype of the event!  Super exciting!


Staying at a host resort on an event weekend is a must.  They make sure that you have ease of transportation to and from the event as well as the Expo.  Disney also provided a great deal on a 3 day park hopper ticket for race participants and guests.  We arrived the Thursday prior to race Saturday and hit the parks for a few days.  This time of year also hosts Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom, as well as the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  So much going on with very manageable crowd levels.  My sister and I loved Food and Wine Festival and the Eat to the Beat concert series.  We never realized how much we loved Air Supply until we settled in at Biergarten for a few hours and then went to see them for not one but ALL 3 shows.  It was not the Altenmunster Oktoberfest talking.  I swear…

The Expo for the race took place on Friday and during the day Saturday.  We chose to head over Saturday morning and then use the rest of the day to relax for the evening ahead of us.  So many great vendors, Disney themed running gear, and packet pick up for your race bib and shirt.  Plus a cool photo op in front of a replica Tower of Terror elevator!

After an early dinner and some R&R at the resort we decided to catch one of the later buses to the start area, right around 7:45pm.  The bus dropped us off at the Hollywood Studios parking lot, where there were runners EVERYWHERE (many in costume and so much fun to see)!  A DJ with more photo ops, plenty of portable restrooms, and a water station were all set up.  Once you enter the corral area, spectators are no longer allowed so as I headed to my corral my sister and I parted ways until post race.  I was lucky enough to be placed in Corral A because of a previous race time, so my start time was just after 10pm.  The race starts in waves every few minutes to keep the thousands of runners and walkers from crowding the streets too much.

The start was amazing!  A DJ and hosts who kept us entertained while we waited for the first wave to start.  Finally, the moment we had been waiting for.  The countdown and the starting gun along with fireworks and the TWILIGHT ZONE theme blasting from the DJ stand.  Lasers shot out over the dark road ahead of us, it all looked amazing!  I was totally pumped and ready to go!


The first mile was a breeze.  I was keeping my 8:30 pace and ready to finish this thing at a personal record.  And that’s when the magic of running a race at Disney hit me.  As I approached the one mile mark, who do I see to my left taking photos?  None other than the Old Witch from Snow White!  Well, that is certainly photo worthy, right?  So I stopped and waited in line and took a picture…and then as I continued on I realized that every mile would have a fantastic villain photo op!  Jack Skellington and Sally, The Red Queen, Captain Hook, The Shadow Man, Shenzi, Banzi and Ed from the Lion King, Haunted Mansion Ghosts, Zombies, Hades, the list goes on and on!  And I stopped for many of them.  Who cares about time, a race in Disney is too exciting to worry about time.  You have fun!  You run, you walk, you get to the finish however you want to.  But you have FUN.  The course was rolling with a lot of flat areas.  You run along Osceola Parkway and through the entrance to Animal Kingdom where you get a wonderful welcome in true Animal Kingdom fashion.   A little off-road on a lighted path, around the ESPN Wide World of Sports, including the stadium where spectators cheer you on, and finally head back to Hollywood Studios where I finally saw what I had been waiting for.  I knew my best chance at seeing my favorite Disney Character, Maleficent, would be at the race or Villains Bash, and as I started back toward Hollywood Studios to finish, I saw a big fireball hitting the middle of the lake to my left, and sure enough, up on the overpass, there she was!  Taunting the runners as you made your way to the finish in true evil fairy fashion.  She’s the best.


The evening was very hot and humid, so I was tired and insanely sweaty as I was heading back into Hollywood Studios toward the finish near the Tower of Terror.  We ran through the park, weaving through different areas to make up that final mile to the finish. And finally, I rounded a corner and could see it!  A high five from Goofy dressed in Tower of Terror attire and I was through the finish!  I grabbed my medal or “bling” as many like to call it (which is fantastic and has an actual moving elevator), grabbed my box of post race snacks, and headed out to meet my sister for the Villains Bash.

It was a lot of fun.  Photo ops with Cruella Deville, The Evil Queen from Snow White, Lady Tremaine, Drizella and Anastasia, and more. Many attractions were open with no waits (including the Tower of Terror of course, Toy Story Mania, Star Tours and the Rockin’ Roller Coaster), and there was a DJ area and food stands complete with adult beverages to celebrate the accomplishment.   I am not sure if I just missed her, but no Maleficent for a photo op as I had seen in previous years, so that was my only disappointment.  But overall, this race was very well done and something I will remember forever!


I am looking forward to returning in 2015 to take on the race again and enjoy everything that Walt Disney World has to offer in the month of October!  If you are looking for a fun mid distance race at a great time of year in Walt Disney World, the Tower of Terror 10 Miler is your race!

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Heather Goldstein
Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
MickeyTravels, LLC
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