Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland Park

Set Sail for the New Castaway Cay Challenge Finisher Medal

posted on September 30th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


We hear it all the time, “It’s all about the bling!” Well today, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend runners who registered for the Disney Cruise Line Castaway Cay Challenge will not be disappointed as we reveal the treasure waiting for them at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.
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The inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge takes place in January 2015. Hundreds of runners are combining the excitement of participating in a marathon weekend event with a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Dream. After running their event at Walt Disney World Resort, challenge participants set sail on a four-night cruise and run the Castaway Cay 5K to earn the inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge finisher medal. They will also enjoy exclusive runDisney activities throughout the cruise, including featured menu items, guest speaker session and special merchandise.

Now some of you might be wondering how can I get one of these amazing medals?

If you are registered for the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon you still have the opportunity to claim your treasure. Registered runners can book the four-night cruise aboard the Disney Dream departing Feb. 23 from Port Canaveral, and participate in the Castaway Cay Challenge.
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It’s the perfect way to extend your family trip or your ultimate girls weekend and keep the celebration going for four more nights. In addition to the Castaway Cay 5K and the Castaway Cay Challenge finisher medal, runners can purchase a trip to Senses Spa for a post-race massage, a steam bath or sauna in the Rainforest room. Continue to relax by the fresh water pools, jetted hot tubs or take an exciting ride on The AquaDuck, a thrilling transparent tube water coaster that actually goes off the side of the ship. End your days with the girls enjoying a Broadway-style show, or dancing and celebrating the night away in one of several nightclubs.

For more information and to register for the Disney Princess Weekend Castaway Cay Challenge, visit runDisney.com.

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Celebrating A Soldier’s Safe Return at the Disneyland Half Marathon presented by Cigna

posted on September 26th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


This story has it all: runDisney magic, tears, joy and celebration.

If you participated in the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or follow my runDisney blog posts on a regular basis, this story will be familiar. It is a follow-up to an emotional magical moment that played out at the start of the race in February, but with a new twist at the Disneyland Half Marathon presented by Cigna.

Kim Myers of Seattle, WA, traveled to Walt Disney World Resort to run the Princess Half Marathon for a couple reasons. First, she was part of a larger group running on behalf of “Wear Blue: Run to Remember,” a running organization that participates in races around the world to celebrate the sacrifice of US military and their families. Second, she was celebrating her birthday and ran to take her mind off the fact that her husband, CW2 Travis Myers, couldn’t be with her. He was serving our country in Afghanistan with the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces group. Thanks to a thoughtful husband, technology and a little Disney Magic, we were able to surprise Kim with a special birthday message from Travis who was half a world away. At that time Kim said if everything went according to plan Travis would be home in time to run the Disneyland Half Marathon with her and they not only would celebrate his return but ironically his birthday.

Well, I am happy to tell you that everything did go according to plan. Travis returned home safely to his family from his final tour of duty. And as promised he took Kim’s hand and together they ran the Disneyland Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort earlier this month.

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When I recently visited Kim and Travis in Seattle, Kim told me, “I run as a way to find my own identity as a very busy person, mom, wife, fulltime job …. and a very positive way to deal with a lot of stress.”

Now, with Travis safely home, the loneliness of running alone is replaced by running with her partner in life.

“The Disneyland Half Marathon is our celebration run,” Kim said. “We’re getting out there to celebrate where we’ve come from as well as how far we have left to go, both as individuals and also together as a couple.”

I hope you will take a moment to watch Kim and Travis’ journey to the Disneyland Half Marathon. It is truly a story of love and celebration.

runDisney salutes and thanks all of our service men and women and their families around the world for keeping our country safe.

#WhyIrunDisney is dedicated to sharing compelling and motivational human-interest stories. To view submissions and to learn how to upload your story, visit irundisney.com.

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Showing Their Disney Side – Miss America Contestants Get Adventurous, Goofy and Live Happily Ever After

posted on September 11th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


They are known for their intelligence, talent and beauty, but after spending a day at Magic Kingdom Park they may be better known for their Disney Side.

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Recently, all 53 of the 2015 Miss America contestants visited Walt Disney World Resort and celebrated their adventure side, their goofy side, their happily ever after side – their Disney Side. It was a chance to let their hair down (as much as a pageant contestant can), relax and spend time with fellow contestants. The day was capped off by a special walk down Main Street U.S.A., where they were greeted by thousands of park guests cheering for their home state.

Whether it was adventurous twist and turns on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, pirates play with Goofy or a dance with Prince Charming in front of Cinderella Castle, these girls all had the chance to celebrate their Disney Side.

This week, the girls got down to business in Atlantic City, NJ, where they are competing for the title of Miss America. You can watch the competition live on ABC, Sunday, September 14 (8:00 – 11:00 p.m., ET). The evening kicks off with The Countdown to the Crown, an unprecedented look behind the scenes of the Miss America Competition, followed by the 2015 Miss America Competition.

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Three Generations Crossing The Disneyland Half Marathon Finish Line Together

posted on September 5th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Here is a little secret, I love my job and working with runDisney. Event weekends are exciting and standing at the finish line watching thousands of people accomplish their goals is uplifting, rewarding and sometimes emotional. From cheers of excitement to tears of joys, the stories that unfold at the finish line are incredible. I am truly inspired meeting and talking with our runners. Their stories provide messages we can all learn from.

Three Generations Crossing The Disneyland Half Marathon Finish Line Together ‘it’s a small world’ At Disneyland Paris

Last year I introduced the runDisney community to 81-year-old Flor Irlandez from Portland, OR. In 2013 she was the oldest runner to complete the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort. She ran the Disneyland 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday, 19.3 miles. Last weekend she returned to run the 2014 Dumbo Double Dare, this time at the age of 82. Running with two of her daughters, a son in-law and grandson, she once again completed the two-day event and collected three runDisney finisher medals and family memories to last for years.

There are a couple lessons we can takeaway from Flor’s accomplishment.

First, we should not let age be a barrier to accomplish our goals. Flor’s message is simple, “Just get going, not just running, but walking, getting out, sweating …. I just feel good after a run, everybody should do it.”

Second, participating in a runDisney event can be fun for the entire family. Flor has inspired three generations to lead a healthy active lifestyle. “It just makes it fun and it’s no longer about running and racing, but about being together and being healthy as a family,” says Marissa Walker, Flor’s daughter from Berkeley, CA.

Flor, your accomplishments are amazing, not just in running but also in how you have inspired generations. We all look forward to seeing you at the finish line for years to come.

For more information and to register for a runDisney event, visit runDisney.com.

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Cheer On Your Disney Side ‘Kicks-Off’ With Nationwide Competition

posted on September 5th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


With college football season underway and teams fighting for the four spots in the new College Football Playoff system, college cheer and dance squads from across the country are jumping into action and competing for national recognition of their own by cheering on their Disney Side.

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This week, college cheer and dance squads began competing in a nationwide competition by creating 30-second videos of a cheer or dance routine using remixed Disney Park attraction music to show off their “Disney Side.’’ Video submissions are being accepted at Espn.com/CheerMagic through Nov. 10 with four finalists announced Dec. 11 on ESPN around the telecast of the Home Depot College Football Awards show at Walt Disney World Resort. The winning squad will be announced January 12 on ESPN before the college football National Championship. The winning team of Cheer On Your Disney Side sponsored by ESPN working in collaboration with Disney Destinations and Varsity Spirit, wins a $100,000 grant for their college spirit program and a group trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The excitement is not limited to just cheer and dance squads. Fans can get into the action by voting for their favorite Disney Side cheer and dance routine from the final four finalists.

How do you get involved, take a look.

For more information, rules and to submit a video, visit Espn.com/CheerMagic.

This year, Disney Parks is encouraging people to show their “Disney Side’’– their fun-loving adventurous side that laughs more, says “yes” more and just plain lives life to the fullest.

Cheer Your Disney Side Promotion By ESPN.

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NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of 50 US States and DC, at least 18+ who are a School Administrator, Teacher, Coach or Administrative Director, representing a public or private, 2 or 4 year college/university located in the 50 US States or DC. Starts 9/3/14 12:00 PM EST. Ends 11/10/14 11:59 PM EST. To enter visit www.espn.com/CheerMagic and follow the directions provided to complete the Online entry form, and upload your Spirit Squad’s 30 sec videos. For prize details odds of winning and complete Official Rules go to www.espn.com/CheerMagic.

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ESPN Prepares Football Fans With Inaugural Fantasy Football Convention at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Are you ready for some football? Are your lineups set?

Tonight, the 2014 NFL season kicks-off as the Green Bay Packers square off against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. While most of us are just now planning for an upcoming season of tailgating, chili and pumpkin-flavored beverages, hundreds of lucky fans kicked-off their “fantasy” season with some serious bragging rights. They had the opportunity to tailgate with ESPN’s Matthew Berry, Tim Hasselbeck and Sara Walsh, sit in on a live telecast of ESPN2′s “Fantasy Football Now”, and get some insider tips on choosing the right team. It was all capped off with a fantasy football draft coached by NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen.

Here are some highlights of the event:

The ESPN Fantasy Football Convention is an example of the type of event you can only experience when Walt Disney World Resort and ESPN join forces. And it only happens at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. While this year’s Convention has come and gone, there’s still time to sign your family and friends up for some friendly competition with ESPN Fantasy Football.

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#DisneyKids: First runDisney Race

posted on September 4th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Okay, I am just going to be honest with you, this Disney First is really cute and the photos and videos below are guaranteed to put a big Disney smile on your face. What do you get when you combine adorable kids in costumes, Disney characters and a runDisney event? You get unforgettable Disney memories that will last a lifetime.

This past weekend hundreds of kids participated in their first runDisney race at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort. From the 400 meter run to the diaper dash, our youngest competitors lined up to challenge themselves and each other.

If you or your child wants to experience a runDisney first at Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort, visit runDisney.com for more information and to register.

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I runDisney: Dave McGillivray

posted on September 3rd, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Dave McGillivray is the race director of one of the most prestigious running events in the world, the Boston Marathon. Every April he and his team put on an elite event, attracting the top marathoners in the world. It is the one race every runner hopes to qualify for and complete in. McGillivray is also an accomplished runner who has competed in races around the globe. At one point in his early years, he literally ran across the country, Medford, OR, to Medford, MA, for charity. He lives, works, eats, and breathes running.

Running is extremely personal to McGillivray, the roots of which start at an emotional time in his life. As a child McGillivray wanted nothing more than to be an athlete, but each time he tried to make a team he was faced with a challenge, his size, and turned away. In elementary school he gave it one last shot and tried out for the basketball team. Not lacking in ability but lacking in height the coach once again cut him. At the age of 12 this was a defining moment in his life. It was then he decided he would never again let anyone tell him he wasn’t good enough and he took up running because no one can cut you from that.

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“Running gives me self confidence, it gives me self esteem, it makes me feel good about myself,” McGillivray said. His message to runners and those thinking about starting to run, “never under estimate and never not appreciate where you’re at, that you have this gift to be able to do this (run).” “Never take it for granted that you are healthy enough to do this,” he added. And speaking of health, recently McGillivray was hit with a heart related health issue and he reminds runners, “That just because they are fit doesn’t mean they are healthy.” Make the right choices to take care of yourself for you and for those around you.

Some of his McGillivray’s favorite race memories are those from runDisney events. This veteran of several runDisney marathons, and the 2014 inaugural Dopey Challenge, gives high marks to the entertainment and excitement for Disney races. “It is one of the most well managed, well orchestrated road races I have ever competed in,” McGillivray said. Having young kids he’s also quick to point out how exciting these destination races are for the entire family.

We hope you will take a moment to be motivated by Dave McGillivray’s story and see the unique way he celebrated his 60th birthday. There is no doubt Dave McGillivray has gone and continues to go through life running.

#WhyIrunDisney is dedicated to sharing compelling and motivational human-interest stories. To view submissions and to learn how to upload your story, visit irundisney.com.

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Competition, Fun and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Difference Has Boston Team Hitting the Road to Disney

posted on August 26th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


This Labor Day weekend, more than 700 athletes and coaches representing nine states, 5 countries from as far away as Japan, will hit the diamonds at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort for Disney Turn Back the Clock Weekend. For the 18th straight year, teams will enjoy international competition on the field and fun off the field in the parks, and at a private water park party at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.

For teams like the Cambridge Hitmen, planning the “Road to Disney” started months ago. Team manager Ronnie Ferrara has led teams from Boston to the tournament for the past 14 years. “We have a lot of fun down there,” said Ferrara. “The Disney difference, they are wonderful down there, they treat everyone first class from the day you get there, they go over board trying to help. The fields are unbelievable.”

For the kids, it’s an opportunity to experience good competition and enjoy time with friends and teammates. “What’s great about the baseball is how good the competition is,” said catcher Samuel Olivet, who is making his second trip to the tournament. Rookie pitcher Elliot Harris said, “it seems like a vacation with one of my favorite things to do, which is play baseball.”

Recently, we caught up with the Hitmen on their home field in Cambridge, MA, as they practiced for their trip of a lifetime.

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Cheer On Your Disney Side As The New College Football Playoff System Kicks-Off On ESPN

posted on August 18th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


There’s a change in the air and it’s just not back to school, cooler temperatures and changing leaves. It is the dawn of a new era in college football, and the chance for college cheer and dance teams to cheer their Disney Side to support their team and win a $100,000 grant for their spirit program and a group trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

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This fall, Disney is teaming up with ESPN and the ABC family of networks to cheer on the new College Football Playoff system and what is sure to be the most memorable college football season yet. Every team starts the season “in,” but only four teams will stay “in” for the inaugural College Football Playoff in January on ESPN.

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The competition is not just limited to the player on the field. ESPN, in partnership with Disney Parks and Varsity Spirit, is excited to invite college cheer and dance teams to create a 30-second Disney Parks-inspired routine set to four music remix choices of our favorite Disney Parks attraction music. Teams can submit their routines between September 3 – November 10, and the top 4 will be announced on December 11, during a live ESPN broadcast of a College Football Special from Disney’s Boardwalk Resort immediately following the College Football Awards Show. The winning team will be announced on January 12, the day of the College Football Championship.

Teams can get more information and register by visiting ESPN.com/CheerMagic.

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