It’s been a week since the runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Weekend, and I can’t believe it’s already over. After participating in several runDisney events in Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, last week marked my return to the Walt Disney World events for the first time in six years. I started distance “running” back in 2012 with Tower of Terror 10 Miler, and have since experienced at least one runDisney event every year. In 2015, my husband got me started on the challenge races (10K and half marathon) and now I can’t select just one race. I simply must do both! This year I convinced my younger sister to join me for the Half Marathon—her very first distance race—and we ran for opposite sides of the Force. Here’s a recap of our weekend adventures.

runDisney Expo

I love the runDisney Expo at Walt Disney World, simply because it actually feels like an expo. There’s plenty of space, vendors, and shopping. The expo itself feels like its own event and really like that. When we arrived, we entered the The Arena for bib pickup before heading up to the Visa Athletic Center for the Expo. On the way to the Expo, Disney has set up picture displays of the Rival Run medals.

Bib pick up and photo ops:

Upon entering the Expo hall, guests were greeted by two giant Mickey Mouse cutouts and banners featuring all the runDisney Race logos.

runDisney Expo:

The show floor was where we picked up our race shirts and then browsed the different vendors and offerings. Some of the notable vendors included race sponsor, Otterbox, Geico, and Jeff Galloway. As you can see in the pictures, guests could also enjoy massages from Disney’s Senses spa, or relax in massage chairs. There was a booth promoting the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands debuting this year, and one highlighting Disney’s environmental commitments.


Otterbox phone cases:

At the back of the show floor was a runDisney merchandise booth featuring Rival Run items including race exclusive pin sets. 


I walked by the popcorn and beer booth and didn’t think anything of it, until my husband pointed out the 13.1 Parsecs Pineapple Pale Ale. Well that just sounded too good to pass up. I didn’t even look at the price, just handed my credit card (and ID!) to the Cast Member who kindly only charged me the refill price! #DisneyMagic or “we’re closing in 2 minutes?”

Snacks and speciality beer:

Ready to race:

Star Wars Rival Run 5K

We didn’t participate in this race, but learned later, that it had been delayed due to rain. The runners did eventually make it to the course, and had to run in the wet weather. However, the 5K racers powered through and managed to stay in good spirits! Check out Doobie's social recap of the event.

Star Wars Rival Run 10K

Saturday morning, we woke up early and drove to Epcot to take transportation to the start line at Magic Kingdom. This was an elegant and streamlined system, and Disney had plenty of Cast Members and volunteers directing runners to busses. There was a lot of activity already taking place at the Magic Kingdom parking lot. Runners were visiting the coffee truck to purchase pre-race snacks and caffeine, taking pictures with Star Wars characters, and getting psyched for those 6.2 miles!

Almost done!

Did you know you can recycle banana peels? This year, Chiquita and Disney are teaming up for 2019 athletic events, to implement a Banana Peel Recycling Program as part of a commitment to sustainability.

Post race snacks:

Another 10K in the books! We felt really good on the course and finished in 1:21 which is about average for us. Unlike the rainy 5K, we had beautiful, albeit warm, weather for race day. Oh! Since the finish line was at Epcot, we were right by our car making our end of race journey that much easier!

Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon

This was the big one! My sister and I headed to Epcot to catch the bus to Magic Kingdom. Just like the day before, everything ran smoothly and professionally. The crowd this morning was bigger than the day before, and Disney was working to keep everyone entertained. I was placed two corrals ahead of my sister, but dropped back to run with her. We both thought we’d be able to finish in under 3 hours (haha).

Pre-race entertainment:

Prior to sending us on our way, Jeff Galloway addressed runners with a few tips and words of encouragement. He noted that due to the heat and humidity it was already too warm for runners to safely set a personal best. To finish strong in warm weather, runners should slow down 30 seconds per mile for every 5°F over 60°F.  

Each mile marker featured a character from the Star Wars Skywalker saga, with the exception of Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian from Solo.

Mile markers:

On course photo ops:

There were a lot of great sponsors for this race including Make-A-Wish. They even had a “wish mile” full of motivational signs.

Make-A-Wish “Wish Mile” signs; Disney’s BoardWalk Resort; World Showcase:

Ok, so when we started, there was a 3:15:00 pacing group in our corral. I told my sister we had to stay ahead of them and we did…for about 7 miles, and then we started to slow down. Still though, we finished strong. We clocked in at 3:25:19 which I think is pretty good for someone running their first half marathon. I reminded her that we also had to contend with Florida heat and humidity and that’s very different from the Ohio weather she’s used to.  

Post-race fun:

Rival Run Half Marathon finishers!

We did it!

We did it!

Later in the evening, we visited Port Orleans Riverside and saw these posters.

Last chance for merchandise:


Laughing Place recommends for all your Walt Disney World travel planning


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