It might be obvious, but I’m a Walt Disney World fan.
A big one. I’ve even gone to the most magical place on earth as an adult. Without kids.
I know. Crazy.
Yet, I’ll admit it, it’s my happy place.
There, that’s out in the open. Whew!
Guess what, though? You directly benefit from my too-many-times-to-count trips to WDW. In a way, you probably should thank me. Trust me, the pleasure is all mine.
Out of all those trips, some of my absolute favorite trips are those that include a runDisney race event. When I attend an event, I love staying on property at Walt Disney World so I can be surrounded by Disney from morning until night.
As a runner and a Disney goer who stays on property, one thing I have had to figure out is how to exercise and how to get my miles in while staying at Disney. I have a few tried and true methods along with a few tips I’ve picked up from experience.
1. Running Trails
New Balance has signs posted at various Walt Disney World resort properties marking out designated resort running areas. Most of the routes are fairly shorter, but if you’re at the resort for a runDisney event, odds are you won’t be doing lots of super intense training runs. The ‘work’ has already been completed and you’re tapering down to the big race day. A few laps around the designated route and you’ll be able to get your miles in for your shakeout run.
My absolute favorite resort to run at is Saratoga Springs. Due to its size and proximity to Disney Springs, it happens to be a great resort to log a few more miles. I can even do a run over the Disney Springs, grab a Starbucks coffee and walk leisurely back. I’m telling you, it’s a win-win situation.
I also love running at Disney’s Boardwalk, or any of the Epcot area resorts. I love being able to run from the back entrance of Epcot all the way to Hollywood Studios and back. For the resorts that have shorter New Balance running areas, I have been known to run the route several times and swing around the giant guest parking lots multiple times. If you do run in the parking lots, be hyper aware of your surroundings. Be defensive and always assume the cars and buses don’t see you so you can get out-of-the-way, if necessary, and stay safe.
At many of the Disney deluxe resorts gyms are located on site.* Of the gyms I have visited, there are treadmills, weight machines, free weights, and a variety of additional cardio equipment. Basically, anything that you need for a quality workout.
I know you’re on vacation, why would you want to stow away inside a building while warmth and sunshine await you outside? One reason: Florida is hot. Depending on the time of year you visit, it can be hot to the point that you wish it was publicly acceptable to walk around outside without pants. No joke. The temperature can vary depending on the time of year with June through August being the worst of the warm weather months. When the mid summer months are here, trust me, you’ll be thankful for that ‘hamster wheel’ to get your miles in.
3. Resort Runs
At this time, select Walt Disney World resorts are sponsoring ‘resort runs’ during the week. These runs are usually shorter, about 3K in length. The are put on by the resort cast members and included in the week’s list of activities. Same day registration is available and anyone can participate. The cost may change, but it is $15 dollars at this time and includes refreshments at the end of the run. It’s a great way to get a few ‘fun’ miles in for the day. It might not be the total mileage you need, but it’s something. Plus you get a resort specific medal and racing bib as well!
4. Lizard Patrol
Lizards are everywhere in Walt Disney World. I think they have a mission of playing chicken with your feet when you are running. I’m saying this with all seriousness. Those little suckers dart out from nowhere and go straight for underneath your shoes with no awareness for the potential consequence. I haven’t personally stepped on a lizard yet, but I feel like my day might be coming. Or possibly just a lizard tail? Either way, keep your eyes peeled when you are going out for a job, you don’t want to step on any of those little slithering guys.
5. Bring Light
Overall, Disney lights up its parks and resorts very well. Yet, if you have difficulty with low vision, it might not be a horrible plan to bring along a headlight on your vacation. I really like this model for where I run back home. Winters and fall welcome early sunsets and late sunrises in Michigan, so a headlight is a must. Same goes for Florida and you might find it handy for those areas with less lighting in Disney. Besides, if you have a headlight you’ll be able to spot those sneaky lizards!
6. Renting Bikes
A few resorts, such as Disney’s Boardwalk and Saratoga Springs resort, provides guests with the opportunity to rent bikes. I love pedaling around the resorts, especially the Boardwalk as I take in the atmosphere. If you have an off day from running, bike rentals are a great way to get in some exercise and cover a lot of ground. Since the exercise from riding a bike is different from running, it’s a great way to use some alternate muscles.
There ya go! A few ways to log some additional exercise while you’re at your Walt Disney World resort. These tips come in especially helpful when I am training for a race and a Disney vacation occurs in the middle of that training cycle. Don’t forget, if you plan to spend a lot of time in the parks you’re going to log a lot of time on your feet and a lot of walking miles in addition to the exercise you sneak in from the tips above.
*(Check your specific resort to confirm they have a gym before you plan to use this option.)