Welcome, Runners! Those who love running, are completing a runDisney event, those spectating a runDisney event, those curious about runDisney and those who just plain love all things that involve Disney, welcome!! We are going to break down every single thing you’ve ever wondered about the runDisney expo in this article.
The runDisney expo is the place where all the magic starts for your runDisney weekend event. It’s a crazy, but an informative event that you don’t want to miss! Let’s dive in and learn 19 important runDisney details that will help you rock the event.
1. What is the RunDisney Expo?
The RunDisney Expo is held prior to all runDisney Race events. It’s the location where runners pick up their race bibs, race t-shirts, and gear check bags. Race bibs MUST be picked up at the runDisney expo prior to the race start. There is no race day bib pickup. At the runDisney expo you will also have the opportunity to participate in running-related seminars and events. Last, but certainly not least, it’s the place where you buy all the sweet runDisney race merchandise!
2. What are the RunDisney Expo Dates?
The expo is typically held the Thursday through Saturday of the race weekend. Most runDisney events feature three main races: a 5k, a 10k, and a 1/2 marathon. The one exception being the Walt Disney World marathon. The Walt Disney World marathon features four events: the 5k, the 10k, the 1/2 marathon and the full marathon. The runDisney expo for the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend is Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
RunDisney Expo Tip
It’s already been said once, but it is worth saying again. You MUST pick up your race bib before your runDisney event. There is no same-day bib pickup, so be sure to attend the expo at least the day before your events.
3. What are the RunDisney Expo Hours?
The runDisney expo hours change, therefore be sure to check runDisney for the official times. On average the first 2-3 days of the expo are longer. Then the final day is shorter. Usually, around 10 am -7/8 pm on longer days. Then around 9:30 am to 3:30 pm for the final runDisney expo day on Saturday.
The biggest runDisney race of the weekend is usually held on Sunday, so you need to get to sleep pretty early that day. The shorter runDisney expo hours helps to make sure that happens! Learn a few tips for getting a good night’s sleep before a runDisney race here!
RunDisney Expo Tip
If you plan to shop for specific items, be sure to come early to the runDisney expo. Every year select runDisney merchandise sells out.
Not too concerned about shopping for any of the merchandise? Try shopping on off-hours, such as right after lunch or right before dinner. Locals might make the drive over during lunch hours and after work, causing crowd levels to spike at these times.
4. Where is the RunDisney Expo Held?
The runDisney Expo is held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
Located at 700 S Victory Way, Orlando, FL 34747, the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex is comprised of several buildings. The runDisney Expo has moved around between a few different buildings on the complex over the years. Most recently it has been housed in the HP Fieldhouse or Arena and the Visa Athletic Center. There will be signs all over the ESPN center and Cast Members available to help should you need directions.
5. What Do You Need to Bring to the RunDisney Expo?
In order to pick-up your runDisney race bib you must bring a signed race waiver form and your valid ID. The forms are available on the runDisney website approximately two weeks before your event, but will also be available to complete at the runDisney expo. The runDisney race waivers are usually personalized, so you won’t be able to snag a copy of your friend’s waiver.
RunDisney Expo Race Waiver Tip
Save yourself time and print out the race waiver before you head to the runDisney expo. Often, depending on the time of day you go to the expo, there can be a line to print out and sign your waiver. As mentioned above, the runDisney race waivers are normally personalized, which can be the reason for the long lines for printing.
6. How Much Time Do You Need for the RunDisney Expo?
The RunDisney Expo is a big event!
Even if you just plan to run in and out of the expo, it’s going to take more time than you are probably anticipating. Lines can get long for bib pickup and for t-shirt pick up and crowds can become intense. At a minimum, to park, pick-up your bib and t-shirt (which are located in two separate buildings), you need about 1-1.5 hours for the expo.
To be able to do all of the above and check out the merchandise offerings, you will probably need a good 2-3 hours to cover the entire events. There is a LOT to see! Normally there are 25-35 vendors, if not more, featured at the runDisney Expo.
To determine who will be at the expo, be sure to keep your eyes on the runDisney website and your email. Normally, there is a runDisney expo guide that will give you a breakdown of everything the expo will feature.
Additionally, there are often seminars held with information that pertains to runners at the expos. Some of the talks are from well known running legends. Like Mr. Jeff Galloway himself! You won’t want to miss them, but this can add a decent chunk of time to your runDisney expo experience.
7. Is There Entertainment at the RunDisney Expo?
Why, yes! There IS entertainment at the runDisney expo.
As mentioned above, there are often seminars related to running topics held over the course of the various expo days. Past topics have included yoga, meditation, and even an animation talk where you can learn how to draw a few of your favorite Disney characters. What is available always changes, but there will most likely be something that piques your interest!
8. What is the Cost of the Expo?
Good news! The RunDisney Expo is free!
It’s free for runners, family members, and even the public! With a central focus to encourage overall health and well being of runners and the general public, being a free event helps runDisney spread that message.
Personally, I love runDisney expos and running expos in general. Knowing that there is no cost barrier to enter a runDisney expo is very encouraging!
9. What Kind of Transportation is Offered to Get to the RunDisney Expo?
Ah, another magical reason why staying on Walt Disney World property is the best thing ever. There is free transportation to and from the runDisney expo from the Disney resorts!
For all runDisney events, Walt Disney World hires charter buses to take guests too and from the runDisney expo. These are special buses and do not look like the normal day-to-day Walt Disney World buses. Therefore, do not look for them at the regular Disney resort bus stops. You won’t find them!
The runDisney expo (and race day) buses are normally located in front of each Walt Disney World resort hotel. There are normally large sandwich board signs positioned at the resort helping to direct you where to go. If for some reason you can’t find the bus stop, just ask at your Disney resort’s front desk. A cast member should be able to show you the way!
RunDisney Charter Buses to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
The runDisney buses will take you directly to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. The buses usually drop guests off as close as they can to the bus area in front of the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Once you are done with the expo look for the Walt Disney World resort pick-up location. The runDisney charter buses will have a set location and signs specifying your particular resort.
If you have trouble finding your pick-up spot there should be cast members on hand to guide you. Buses typically run for 30 minutes after the expo closing time, but be sure to check with your bus driver before you exit the bus. Personally, at the Food and Wine RunDisney Expo in 2018, we stayed until the closing time of the runDisney expo. Thankfully, even after we grabbed our stroller (that was parked outside) and walked the decently far walk back to the buses, there was one waiting for us. We pushed it a little too close as we boarded the last bus, but you know I had to snag a few pictures before we left the runDisney expo!
Take a Car to the Expo
If you live locally and have a car, just drive on over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Parking can get a little crazy if it is at peak expo time. Therefore, be sure to factor in a little extra time to your runDisney Expo day if you plan to drive.
Alternatively, if you don’t have access to a car or don’t want to take a Walt Disney World bus, you can always use Uber or Lyft to take you to and from the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Or, even better, you can take a Minnie Van Lyft to ride over! The ESPN Wide World of Sports is a part of the Walt Disney World resort and, therefore, Minnie Vans can transport guests too and from the complex. This is all according to the Disney Parks Mom Panel.
10. What Do I Pick Up First at the RunDisney Expo?
At the runDisney expo, you will be traveling to two spots at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The first spot will be either the Arena or the HP Field House. Typically, one of these two locations will house the bib pick up spot. Don’t worry, Cast Members and signs will be ready to point you in the correct direction.
In years past the runDisney merchandise booth has also been located in the same building as bib pick-up. This often varies from race-to-race, but be sure to check for signs. If you have your heart set on any runDisney specific merchandise, you don’t want to miss it! Additionally, you will be able to pick-up pre-ordered runDisney commemorative merchandise at this location.
11. What is the Best Time of Day to Attend the RunDisney Race Expo?
Anytime is the best time to attend the runDisney race expo. Especially if your only goal is to pick-up your bib and race shirt!
Now, if you’d like to shop for runDisney specific merchandise, the best day to attend the expo is the first day! Individuals who pay for the Race Retreat package are given the opportunity to attend the expo one hour early on the first day. They will be the first individuals allowed to head into the expo and shop the runDisney merchandise. If snagging some exclusive runDisney merchandise is high on your list, be sure to look into the runDisney Race Retreat package.
12. How Do I Purchase Pre-Ordered RunDisney Commemorative Merchandise?
When you are registering for a RunDisney race you will be asked if you want to purchase any commemorative runDisney merchandise. There are often some really cute, limited edition items available.
If you see something that strikes your fancy, be sure to purchase it. There are ‘windows’ for when you can order the special pre-order commemorative merchandise, so be sure to keep an eye on the window if you aren’t 100% sure.
Be sure you double-check the return policy if it’s something your on the fence about too. Some of the pre-ordered runDisney commemorative merchandise is not returnable.
At the checkout, you’ll be prompted to pay for the items along with your race registration fees (if ordering at the same time). Complete your purchase and get ready to pick the commemorative merchandise up at the runDisney race expo.
The merchandise will be available for pickup in the same building that you pick up your runDisne race bib. Don’t forget to get your items! According to the runDisney policy in the past, RunDisney will NOT mail out the unclaimed items from the expo. Be sure to check into this policy if you think it might cause any problems at all.
13. Can You Use Disney Giftcards at the RunDisney Race Expo?
Disney gift cards are good for use on any Disney merchandise, including runDisney merchandise found at the race expo. You won’t be able to use Disney gift cards to pay for race registration, but at the specific runDisney merchandise booth your cards are MONEY. However, the Disney gift cards will not work on any of the non-Disney booths located throughout the expo.
14. Can You Sign-Up for RunDisney Runner Tracking at the Expo?
Yes, you can sign up for runner tracking at the runDisney race expo!
Typically there are areas where spectators can log their runner’s information in order to receive tracking notifications. Cast Members will be on hand in case you have questions or are unable to find the runDisney runner tracking sign up location. Spectators can also sign up online about a week out from the runDisney event they wish to be tracking.
15. Can You Return RunDisney Race Merchandise?
Items purchased directly at the race expo at the ‘RunDisney Store’ can typically be returned.
Double-check to make sure the specific item(s) you are purchasing are returnable, but if they are, usually any Disney World store will take the item. The takeaway here is if there is something you want to be sure to snag it. Many of the runDisney items sold at the events sell out. You don’t want to have regrets if it’s something you really, really want!
While runDisney merchandise purchased at the expo is returnable, often the pre-ordered commemorative race items cannot be returned. Be sure to check into this detail before you make any purchases of the pre-ordered merchandise.
16. Can You Bring Strollers into the RunDisney Race Expo?
Unfortunately, the normal policy at RunDisney Race Events has been for guests to leave strollers outside of both the race bib pick up location and the general expo area. There is a ton of foot traffic inside of both locations and adding a stroller to the mix makes things even crazier.
Personally, we have brought toddlers and babies (who cannot walk yet) onto the runDisney race expo floor. Babies (and toddlers!) get heavy really, really quickly. If you too decide to bring a little baby to the runDisney race expo, be sure to bring a baby carrier. The Baby Ergo carrier has saved our arms from falling off a number of times.
17. What Should I Wear to the Expo?
As noted above, it can take up to three hours to cover the entire expo. Possibly even more!
You want to make sure to dress comfortably for your time at the runDisney expo. Therefore, plan to wear comfortable clothing and even more comfortable clothing. Since you are attending a runDisney event, you can throw on your running shoes and your feet will thank you. Dress in layers as some of the buildings can get chilly due to the air conditioning. No fancy attire is necessary to attend the expo.
18. Can I Get Food at the RunDisney Race Expo?
There is usually some type of concessions offered at the expo. If you are starving, as runners usually are, you will most likely be able to purchase a munchie or two. The food is usually offered in a different spot than on the expo floor, so plan accordingly.
At times the runDisney expo will feature more unique food options with runner’s diets in mind. This is opposed to the typical burgers, fries and so forth sold. For example, protein bits, healthy salads, and healthy sandwiches have been offered in the past.
There is no guarantee on what is going to be available at the runDisney expo. Food sells out, isn’t available or might just not look great to you even if it is available.
Bring Food to the Expo
Our favorite thing to do is to eat right before heading to the expo. The potentially long lines and time on your feet can make you pretty crabby if you find yourself starving. Having some food in your belly helps to tame that dilemma!
Additionally, we like to bring snacks along too. A few protein bars or something with ample carbs usually does the trick. If you’re traveling with kiddos bring a few extra snacks. Plus a few more. And then a few more on top of that. Those snacks are all going to be gone before you even know it. If you’re looking for Disney snack ideas, check out this post right here.
You’re gearing up to complete a race in sunny Florida, you need to stay hydrated in the days leading up to the race.
19. I Bought a Bunch of Cute New Disney Themed Running Clothes at the Expo! Should I Wear Them on Race Day?
This is more a word of caution than an answer to a question. If you bought a bunch of new clothing items at the RunDisney expo, that’s great!! There are so many cute options from all the different vendors.
However, a word to the wise. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, wear these clothes for your runDisney race!
One of the cardinal rules of completing a race is to never try anything new the day of the race. It is unclear how your body is going to respond to the new element and you don’t want to find yourself having regrets. This is true for everything from food to clothing. New foods can sit poorly with your stomach and new clothing can cause major chaffing pains. Save the cute new clothes for a training run, so you can try them out before you use them for a big race!
The Best Part of the Expo
The best part of the runDisney expo, in my opinion, is being able to find so many Disney themed merchandise in one place! There are so many cute shirts, skirts, headbands to be found! Usually finding the Disney gear takes a little bit of hunting around the internet, but the runDisney expo brings it all to you at one place!
Conclusion to All the RunDisney Expo Information You Need in One Place
There ya go! All the details you need regarding the runDisney expo. The key takeaways are to plan for a decent amount of time to be spent at the expo, go early if you want any specific runDisney merchandise and be sure to attend at least one day prior to your event!
If there are any other questions regarding the runDisney expo, please leave a comment below letting me know. I’ll be happy to answer any other questions.