9 things to know about the Walt Disney World Marathon

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — This weekend is a long-anticipated endurance event for Walt Disney World fans and runners alike.


The last stretch of the Walt Disney World Marathon will take place on Saturday and Sunday throughout the theme parks.

Channel 9 has already brought some of the magic to you as we followed the Marathon Expo, the 5K and the 10K.

Read: Walt Disney World Marathon 2023: What to know

In honor of the occasion, here are nine things to know about the Walt Disney World Marathon, including some that may surprise you.

Celebrate a milestone

2023 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, with the first race in 1994.

This year’s theme is 90s retro with iconic characters.

Hitting the pavement

It also is the second year that the runDisney event has returned in person, as the races had been virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photos: See this year’s new EPCOT International Festival of the Arts food

Healthy competition

Runners can compete in every skill level, including the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and the Marathon.


The marathon course is 26.2 miles through the Walt Disney World Resort, including Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

A friendly face

Runners will see a variety of Disney characters and entertainment throughout the race.

Read: Runners lace up early Friday for Walt Disney World 10K

The Dopey Challenge

The Dopey Challenge is where participants complete all 4 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races on pace. They will receive the 4 individual events medals, Goofy’s Race and Half Challenge medal and the Dopey Challenge medal.

The Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge

Runners can participate in the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge with the Half Marathon on Saturday and the Marathon on Sunday. By completing both races on pace, you can earn a Half Marathon and Marathon finisher medals as well as the Goofy medal.

Support your friends and family

You can track your favorite runners here.

Keep up the pace

You might see some “balloon ladies.”

Faron Kelley, the vice president of Disney Sports, said two individuals carry giant Mickey Mouse balloons and keep the 16-minute mile pace required for people to participate in the race.

“They’re the last two individuals to start the race and you know if you fall behind the balloon ladies, you got to pick up your pace to stay on the course,” she said.

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