Now we are rockin’ and rollin’ toward our next runDisney race! You’ve decided on a race, got registered, and have a training plan in place to make all your running dreams come true. So, what’s next? Well, unless you are lucky enough to be Mickey’s neighbor, a runDisney event is usually coupled with a race-cation! This means it’s time to sit down and get planning!
First, a shout out to all the vacation planners out there! I know a lot of people use vacation planners/travel agents when planning their trips. I know a lot of travel planners who have helped me get tickets and vacation packages myself. There are more and more sprouting up, too, that know a ton about planning a Disney vacation during a race weekend. If that is how you choose to go, by all means, find one you are comfortable with and let them take the “stress” of planning out of your hands!
That being said, I LOVE planning my Disney vacations! It’s not stressful to me at all! I really think planning itself is half the fun. My parents trained me well; they were expert Disney travelers and taught me everything I needed to know. I’m going to try and break it down into steps to be sure you cover all your bases. There are some big differences between the World and the Land, but I’ll try to keep it brief. This blog post will also serve as an introduction to many, many more we have planned on race-cations: hotel reviews, restaurant reviews, etc. Enjoy, and feel free to ask questions! I’m sure I’ve missed something along the way!
Step One: Set your budget. Is this going to be your one big vacation for the year or just a long weekend? Many times the budget makes that decision for you. Keep in mind you will want to set aside some extra cash for spending at the expo, in addition to flight, hotel, theme park tickets, food, and souvenirs.
Step Two: Set your dates. Check out when the expo opens and how far in advance you want to arrive. I personally choose to put my run at the start of the vacation, and I would recommend that for most people. I do not want a week of park hopping to wreak havoc on my legs before the race. I also love to go to the parks to show off my bling when I’m done, so I have to plan at least one park day post-race. The final consideration is time changes. Whether it's east to west coast or reversed (I've now done both since I lived in Vegas and now live in New York), I sometimes give myself an extra day to adjust.
For flights, we also always try and book direct flights to cut down on travel time. For the World, you’ll want to fly into Orlando. For the Land, either Orange County or LAX will do, but OC is a lot easier to navigate. It just may also mean a higher ticket price, unfortunately.
Step Four: Book your tickets. Again, with our on/off property preferences, at the World, we usually package the tickets with the room. Check for discounted tickets for runners. GET Travel is the preferred travel agency for Disneyland, and they offer great discounts during race weekends. For Disneyland, I always recommend the park hopper option. It’s very easy to go from one to the other. Disney World is a little trickier. If you are not planning jam-packed days, a single park ticket might be the best option, as it will save some cash. Also, never forget the option of annual passes. If cost effective, these can be a great option, and you get the benefit of early registration for runDisney events! There are a bunch of different types of passes, so check blackout dates (which often occur during race weekends) and do some runDisney math!
|Always plan a celebration!|
Step Five: Start planning your days. This applies a little more to the World than the Land, especially if you plan on making “ADRs” (advance dining reservations). I’m not one who thrives on spontaneity, so I plan, plan, plan! I like to know where I’m going on what day, so get out a calendar and start mapping it out. Don’t forget about the expo and early nights before your race. If things like the fireworks are a must, that is something that you will not want to do right before the race. Also, you’ll want to plan the day(s) prior to race day as “easy” park days to save your legs. Planning your activities for a race-cation can require just a little more thought. All that said, Disneyland can be planned a little looser, even for me J
|Carb-Loading at Mama Melrose|
|On the Magical Express!|
And there you go, a perfectly planned race-cation! As you approach race day, there is some more planning, but we’ll leave that for future posts. Do all this, keep up with your training, and I guarantee you’ll have an amazing runDisney experience.
Did I miss anything? Do you have any other planning tips? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or leave a comment here! We’d love to hear from you!
If you missed parts 1-3, check them out HERE