Walt Disney and Mickey Statue at Cinderella Castle

Southern California Runner Earns Her Tinker Bell Wings at the Disneyland Resort

posted on January 19th, 2014 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


If you don’t believe magic can happen at Disney Parks, just ask Melissa Hernandez.
Southern California Runner Melissa Hernandez Earns Her Tinker Bell Wings at the Disneyland Resort

The 29-year-old runner from Oxnard, Calif., is an experienced endurance runner, but as much as she tried, she had never been able to finish first in a half marathon. That is, until she came to Disneyland Resort this weekend and undoubtedly was doused with a little pixie dust somewhere along the way. Running her first Tinker Bell Half Marathon, Hernandez did what she had never been able to do before, leaving the field behind in a trail of … well, pixie dust, to win the 13.1-mile race Sunday.

Not only was it her first half marathon victory, but it came at the biggest half marathon event she said she had ever undertaken. She somehow outran a field of more than 15,000 runners from across the country and beyond to earn her “wings” and a gold Tinker Bell finishers medal. And she did it in impressive fashion – her winning time of 1:25:40 was the third-fastest in the race’s three-year history.

Who says this isn’t the place Where Dreams Come True?

“I had finished second in a few half marathons, but I had never won one,” said Hernandez. “And I had never run in a race this big before either, so it was really nice to win my first one here.”
2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Start Line at the Disneyland Resort

Hernandez’s win capped a magical weekend of race events that included a new Disneyland 10K, a Never Land Family Fun Run 5K, several runDisney Kids Races, a Pasta Party and a health and fitness expo. In all, more than 30,000 runners participated in the various weekend race events, making this one of the largest women-focused race weekends in the country.

If you want to try to make your running dreams come true like Hernandez, registration for the Disneyland Half Marathon opens January 28 at www.runDisney.com.

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Runners Are ‘Dopey’ Over Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

posted on January 12th, 2014 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Fred

Another Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna is in the books. It was the 21st edition and as usual, the event this weekend was filled with popular new features, colorful runner costumes and the kind of inspiring stories you would expect from the place “Where Dreams Come True.”

More than 50,000 runners from across the nation and 60 other countries participated in the five-day event, which was expanded this year to include a 10K. This created the opportunity to offer runners a “Dopey Challenge’’ – running the 5K, the 10K, the half marathon and the full marathon. If you do the math, that’s 48.6 miles!

More than 7,000 runners eagerly accepted the challenge and those that conquered it went home with six medals – one for each of the four races and one each for completing the Goofy Challenge (running the half and the full marathon) and the Dopey Challenge.

The final leg of the Dopey Challenge was today’s 26.2-mile marathon, which was won by Fredison Costa of Brazil, who upstaged countryman Adriano Bastos in what has become an annual duel for the winner’s title.

But perhaps the most lasting image of the weekend was the long-awaited reunion of a mother and her daughter that was more than 40 years in the making. Check out this video to see their amazing story and how the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend was the backdrop for a real-life dream come true.

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New Medals Unveiled for Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathons at Disney Parks

posted on October 30th, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Today, I’m excited to reveal some of our new runDisney medals for two of our race weekends in 2014.

The Princess Half Marathon medal is completely new compared to last year’s medal and is inspired by our classic and most enduring princess, Cinderella. We’ve added a 10K and a Glass Slipper Challenge event (running the half marathon and the 10K) to the Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort, so check out the shiny new medals that go with them.

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon medal has a few new enhancements from last year. There’s also a new 10K race there too and the medal, of course, is very much themed around Tinker Bell.

So, if you’re signed up to run any of these races, get ready to rock these shiny new medals, so everyone can see your bling.

New Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathon Medals

New Medals for Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathons New Medals for Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathons New Medals for Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathons New Medals for Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathons
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Grab Your Sneakers! Inaugural ‘On the Road to Disney’ Meet-Up Coming to Atlanta

posted on October 29th, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


UPDATE: Click here for a complete list of attendees. If you have questions, please ask them on the Disney Parks Blog and we will do our best to answer them. Stay tuned for more unique opportunities in the future.

UPDATE: We have reached capacity! Thanks for everyone’s interest in the Atlanta “On the Road to Disney’’ Meet-Up and we appreciate your quick responses. We will be posting the list of attendees soon. Please check back later for the complete list of attendees.

We have staged runDisney Meet-Ups during our runDisney race weekends at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts the past few years, and they have become wildly popular. But now for the first time ever we are packing our bags and taking our runDisney Meet-Up on the road. Our destination: Hotlanta.

RDM277181SMALL

If you are going to be in or around the Atlanta area on November 16, pay attention because runDisney is hosting a unique “On the Road to Disney” Meet-Up for 100 selected participants that will be unlike any other we have done. Selected participants will go on a 2-mile fun run through the streets of Atlanta. Naturally, we’ll make a turn through Turner Field, home of our long-time partners, the Atlanta Braves, who play their spring training seasons at Walt Disney World Resort.

RDM27728SMALL

The event will also include running industry speakers, as well as elite runners who will share tips and advice for average runners and people wanting to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. Plus, we will share some exciting new insights into some Disney Sports initiatives. And, of course, we will pack some classic Disney magic and bring it along to share with everyone in attendance.

As always, space is limited. If you don’t want to miss this runDisney road trip, RSVP right now to WDW.SportsMeetUps@Disney.com. Only a limited number of qualified runners will be selected to participate, so be one of the first to reply. Remember to include your name in this email and only one RSVP per individual.

A few important details:

  • All selected participants must be available for a 6 a.m. ET start time on Saturday, November 16.
  • Qualified applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A valid photo ID is required at check-in. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Limit one RSVP per individual. Applicants sending RSVPs from more than one email address will be disqualified.
  • Only RSVP for yourself. RSVP’s for someone other than the email sender will be disqualified.
  • Valid RSVP’s must include your name. RSVP’s that include more than one person or are missing information (e.g. incomplete names) will be disqualified.
  • Admittance to the event is non-transferable and limited to the selected applicant; no additional guests please.
  • The event and individual/celebrity appearances are subject to change or cancelation without notice.
  • Because this is running-oriented, we require that applicants be experienced runners, able to maintain a 16-minute per mile pace (qualified).

We will send an email to selected applicants who sent their valid RSVP via email before we reached capacity to confirm their attendance for Saturday, November 16. If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation and your name does not appear on the list of selected applicants, your RSVP was not selected.

I will give an update at the top of this post when capacity has been reached. Hope to see you in Atlanta!

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First-Ever runDisney Nighttime Meet-Up to Kickoff Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on October 22nd, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


UPDATE: Click here for a complete list of attendees. If you have questions, please ask them on the Disney Parks Blog and we will do our best to answer them. Stay tuned for additional unique opportunities in the future.

We’ve done several runDisney meet-ups, but we’ve never done one like we’re planning for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend next month. Sure, it’s going to involve some scrumptious food and wine, but the really cool part of this meet-up is that it’s going to be held at night.

First-Ever runDisney Nighttime Meet-Up to Kickoff Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort

It’ll be our first runDisney nighttime meet-up, so you will definitely want to be able to say you were there. It’ll have many of the same magical elements of our previous Meet-Ups, but with some cool new twists that only the nighttime can provide.

For instance, we’ll kick off the event with a special viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, the nightly laser, light and fireworks show. After that, selected participants will get to taste and learn about some of the extraordinary cuisine and wines that are part of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, hear from some Olympic endurance runners and get some expert advice on safely running at night.

Then, selected participants will get to put some of that nighttime running knowledge to work during a starlit fun run “around the world” at Epcot well after the park closes. And of course there will be a few magical surprises throughout the night.

As always, space is limited. If you don’t want to miss your night out with runDisney, RSVP right now to WDW.SportsMeetUps@Disney.com. Only a limited number of qualified runners will be selected to participate, so be one of the first to reply. Remember to include your name in this email and only one RSVP per individual.

Here are a few important details:

  • All selected participants must be available for a 8:30 p.m. ET start time on Thursday, November 7.
  • Qualified applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A valid photo ID is required. Applicants must be 21 years of age or older.
  • Limit one RSVP per individual. Applicants sending RSVP’s from more than one email address will be disqualified.
  • Valid RSVP’s must include your name. RSVP’s that include more than one person or are missing information (e.g. incomplete names) will not be selected.
  • Admittance to the event is non-transferable and limited to the selected applicant; no additional guests please.
  • The event, event elements and individual/celebrity appearances are subject to change or cancelation without notice.
  • Because this is a running-oriented event, we require that applicants be experienced runners, able to maintain a 16-minute per mile pace (qualified).
  • Selected applicants attending the meet-up are not required to purchase admission.

We will send an email to selected applicants who sent their valid RSVP via email before we reached capacity to confirm their attendance for Thursday. If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation and your name does not appear on the list of selected applicants, your RSVP was not selected.

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Kids Can Learn To Golf ‘Disney-style’ This Summer at the Walt Disney World Resort

posted on June 28th, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Kids Can Learn To Golf ‘Disney-style’ This Summer

With the kids out of school for the summer, a good way to keep them active is by getting them involved in a sports camp. For instance, at the Walt Disney World Resort, there are summer junior golf camps available for kids ages 8-13. The camps include instruction on the basics of the game, touching on everything from pitching, chipping and putting to developing a good swing motion. There’s even on-course training.

Kids Can Learn To Golf ‘Disney-style’ This Summer

In typical Disney fashion, the 5-day camps are designed to be fun and entertaining, and involve games and prizes. If your kid doesn’t have golf clubs, a set will be provided, plus there’s complimentary lunch and beverages. The week-long camps are directed by Arnold Palmer Golf Management’s PGA Director of Instruction, Michael Schlager, and cost $350 per child ($50 off for each additional child registered).

Kids Can Learn To Golf ‘Disney-style’ This Summer Kids Can Learn To Golf ‘Disney-style’ This Summer Kids Can Learn To Golf ‘Disney-style’ This Summer

The camps, which run from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, are available now through August 9 at any of Disney’s championship courses (Magnolia and Palm locations). To sign up your kid or for more information, stop by the pro shop at any Disney golf course or call (407) WDW-Golf (939-4653).

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Nadal Celebrates Monstrous Summer in Monsters Style at Disneyland Paris

posted on June 10th, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Nadal Celebrates Monstrous Summer in Monsters Style at Disneyland Paris

After winning his fourth straight and record eighth French Open on Sunday, tennis star Rafael Nadal is off to a “monstrous” start to the summer tennis season, so it’s fitting that he celebrated today at Disneyland Paris with Sulley from the soon-to-be-released Disney•Pixar blockbuster “Monsters University.”

Nadal spent Monday with his family at Disneyland Paris enjoying the attractions and interacting with various Disney characters, as well as posing with his trophy. He probably knew his way around the resort pretty well. After all, “Rafa” celebrated his French Open wins in 2011 and 2010 there, which are part of a streak of four straight French Opens victories for him.

So if he wins his fifth straight next year will he celebrate again at Disneyland Paris?

With the additional memories he created Monday with his family at Disneyland Paris, Nadal said before leaving the resort that he isn’t thinking about next year’s French Open at the moment, but rather is already turning his focus toward tennis’ next major event – Wimbledon, which starts in a couple of weeks. If he wins that one, too, this really will be a monstrous summer for him.

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Get Into The Swing of Things with New Disney Golf Program

posted on May 2nd, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Spring is here and golfers are flocking to courses everywhere these days. If you’re looking to sharpen up your game and hit the links, there’s a cool new program that’s just being launched by Walt Disney World Golf, which is operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management.

It’s called the Players Club and it’s exactly what every golfer needs to get their game ready for the spring and summer seasons. The program, which costs $29 per month, offers members free use of the practice ranges and free daily golf clinics (Monday-Friday) led by PGA-certified golf instructors.

Get Into The Swing Of Things with New Disney Golf Program

In addition, members can play Disney’s four championship courses during select times of the day for only $15 ($10 on the 9-hole Oak Trail walking course). And members also receive special pricing for their guests when playing at these select times.

If you’re here on vacation, don’t worry if you don’t have your own clubs with you. Our courses have top-of-the-line TaylorMade Rocketballz clubs available to rent along with Adidas golf shoes.

For more information on the Players Club, stop by the pro shop at any Disney golf course or call (407) WDW-Golf (939-4653).

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MVP Joe Flacco Celebrates Super Bowl Win at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on February 4th, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Magic Kingdom Park had a distinctive purple haze to it this afternoon as Baltimore Ravens fans joined other park guests and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco in celebrating the team’s big win with a parade down Main Street, U.S.A.

“MVP

Flacco rode in the parade along with Mickey Mouse, who dressed for the occasion by wearing his own football uniform, as confetti and balloons swirled around them amid cheers from the crowd.

Flacco, who was accompanied by his wife and other family members, is appearing in the famous “I’m Going To Disney World” commercial that is airing this week. Flacco threw three touchdown passes to lead the Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII and become part of our 26th “I’m Going To Disney World” campaign.

In case you missed it, here are some photos from the parade.

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Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco Coming to Disney World

posted on February 3rd, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


The world just saw quarterback Joe Flacco lead the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl win tonight in New Orleans, so the only question now is what Flacco is going to do next. Unless you have been stuck inside Space Mountain the last 20 years, the answer is pretty obvious: He’s going to Disney World, of course!

Yep, immediately after Flacco and his team beat the San Francisco 49ers tonight 34-31 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Flacco stood on the field, stared into a camera and shouted those now famous words: “I’m Going To Disney World!” The iconic moment is being used as part of a national TV commercial that, over the years, has become woven into the very fabric of the Super Bowl.

Flacco was the hero of the game, throwing three touchdown passes – all in the first half of the game – and completed 22 of his 33 passes for 287 yards to lead the Ravens to victory in front of a packed superdome crowd and a worldwide TV audience of more than 100 million. The performance earned him the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

More importantly for Walt Disney World Resort guests, the performance means Flacco will be coming to Magic Kingdom Park on Monday for a celebratory Super Bowl parade down Main Street, U.S.A., featuring balloons, confetti and Disney characters such as Mickey and Minnie. It’s the perfect way for Flacco and fans to spend some “Disney Time” which very likely will become magical memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Check back on the Disney Parks Blog late Monday afternoon and I will have pictures and video from the parade to share with you.

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