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Sign Up for the runDisney ‘McFarland, USA’ Blog Meet-Up

posted on January 7th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


UPDATE: This event has been filled to capacity. Please CLICK HERE to view a list of the accepted event attendees. If you are on the list and do not receive a confirmation email by 7 p.m. EST today, please contact us at WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com.

We’ve just finalized exciting plans for a runDisney Blog Meet-Up and it’s one you’ll not want to miss. On Sunday January 11, 2015, we’re offering the opportunity to be part of a special preview screening of Disney’s “McFarland, USA” at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort before it opens in U.S. theaters on February 20.

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Our runDisney Blog Meet-Up begins at 4:00 p.m. EST (doors open at 3:00 p.m.) at Downtown Disney on Sunday, January 11, 2015.

At the event, you’ll see “McFarland, USA,” which is based on the 1987 true story that follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) — a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Soon something beyond their physical gifts become apparent — the power of family relationships, their unwavering commitment to one another and their incredible work ethic.

RSVP for the meet-up now by sending us an email with your name, address and if you’ll be bringing a guest to WDW.BlogMeetUps@disney.com. Only one guest is permitted. A limited number of attendees will be selected for the event, so be one of the first to sign up.

Also, there are a few things you should know:

  • All attendees who sign up for the event must be 18 years or older, but guests do not need to be 18 or older.
  • Disney “McFarland, USA” is rated PG.
  • Limit one guest per registrant.
  • We will send an email to individuals whose valid RSVPs are received by us via email before we reach the planned capacity to confirm their attendance for the event.
  • If confirmed, it will be necessary for the registrant and guest to check in at Downtown Disney for access to the event. The confirmation will include those details.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Meet-up confirmations are non-transferrable and have no cash value.
  • Confirmation will be for the accepted registered person and guest.
  • If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation, then your RSVP was not accepted.
  • The event is subject to change or cancellation without notice.
  • This post will be updated after capacity has been reached.

Also, here are some other things to know:

  • This is an advance screening of the film. Closed Captioning and Descriptive Video services may not be available.
  • Please arrive early. No one will be admitted late. We may refuse, revoke or limit admission in our sole discretion at any time.
  • NO RECORDING

The screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any video or audio recording devices (including, without limitation, cameras) into the venue and you consent to a physical search of your belongings and person for recording devices. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device during this screening, you consent to your immediate removal from the venue and forfeiture of your recording device and its contents. Any attempted unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability. We reserve the right to pursue any and all available remedies at law and in equity for any unauthorized recording and/or copyright infringement, including without limitation statutory damages of up to $150,000 per violation, and nothing contained in this notice shall be construed to limit our available remedies and/or legal recourse. You assume all risks of personal injury arising from or incidental to attending the screening, whether occurring prior to, during, or after the event. Further, by attending you grant permission to Disney Destinations, LLC, its licensees, licensors, affiliates and agents, to record and utilize your name, voice and likeness to publicize the screening and promote the movie.

Hope to see you there.

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Winter Fitness Fun with Fit2Run at Downtown Disney West Side

posted on January 6th, 2015 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


This weekend, I’ll be participating in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. Like thousands of other runners taking part in runDisney races this Marathon Weekend, I started my training months ago. Not a runner? I wasn’t either. But now is a perfect time to start!

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With temperatures dipping around the country, I decided to talk with Fit2Run store manager, Gary Robinson, to get his take on winter fitness. Gary thinks that winter is a great time to start a running program, as long as you have the right gear. For runners who live in colder climates, long sleeve shirts or jackets with thumb holes can help keep you warm (there are some seriously cute options); running hats that cover your ears are a great addition, along with running gloves (some even have LEDs built into them for extra visibility!). I’m lucky to live in Florida where shorts and tank tops are the norm most of the year, but the bright selection of winter apparel makes me want to sign up for a race up north.

Now that 2015 is here, I’m guessing many of you have New Year’s resolutions? If running is on your list, here are some tips from Gary especially for beginners:

  • Limit yourself when you first start out. Start slowly and build from there.
  • Once you have a base weekly mileage, only increase it by 10% each week. This will always save you from injury.
  • Get the correct shoes. Shoes can make a world of difference.
  • Talk to people who are successful in running. You may want to ask them how they stay motivated.
  • Consider running with a group – they’ll keep you coming out each week.
Winter Fitness Fun with Fit2Run at Downtown Disney West Side Winter Fitness Fun with Fit2Run at Downtown Disney West Side

If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of running, stop into Fit2Run during your next West Side visit and talk to the staff … from 6 hour marathoners to state champs in track and field, they represent a variety of fitness levels who all embrace the culture of fitness. (My tip? Ask about their weekly Fun Runs … they’re free, untimed events open to anyone!)

Whatever your goals for the year ahead, I hope you reach them. And for anyone participating in the runDisney events this weekend, I’ll see you at the finish line! (Oh, and runDisney athletes, don’t forget to join us for the Downtown Disney Cool Down Party on Sunday, January 11th from 2 – 8 p.m., where your race medal will score you goodies and discounts including a free drawstring bag from Fit2Run.)

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Go Retro With The 2015 New Balance runDisney Shoes

posted on January 6th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


What better way to kick-off the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna then to unveil the new 2015 New Balance runDisney shoes.

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Inspired by the Disney classic Steamboat Willie, the limited edition Retro Mickey and Retro Minnie 990v3 shoes will be available for the first time at this weekend’s runDisney Health and Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The retro black and white shoes feature musical notes around the front sole, classic images of Mickey and Minnie, character signatures and other hidden Disney surprises.

Now, if you are a fan of the 2014 New Balance runDisney shoes I have additional good news. Due to popular demand, a limited number of the 860v4 Sorcerer Mickey and Pink Minnie, as well as the 890v4 Goofy and Cinderella shoes will be available at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation at Disneyland Resort, January 15 – 18.

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The new Retro Mickey and Minnie 990v3 shoes will only be available at Health and Fitness Expos during runDisney event weekends. To minimize waiting in line for shoes, New Balance has created a virtual queue to let you know when it’s your turn to be fitted and make your purchase. Starting on Wednesday, January 7, starting at 6 a.m. runners can sign up at NBvirtualqueue.com using their bib number, and all other guests can sign up Thursday, Jan. 8, starting at 6 am. Be sure to visit NBvirtualqueue.com to get all the details on ordering and pick-up. For more information on runDisney event weekends, including Health and Fitness Expo dates and hours, visit runDisney.com.

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Fifteen Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2015

posted on January 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


It’s a new year – do you have a Disney Parks vacation on your bucket list for 2015?

Whether it’s new dining experiences, sports milestones, holiday celebrations or the return of annual theme park festivals, there’s a lot to look forward to at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015. Here are 15 reasons you should consider planning a trip this year.

Trattoria al Forno Brings the Italian Countryside to Disney's BoardWalk

1. Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk – The newest Disney restaurant just opened its doors a few days ago. The menu features authentic Italian cuisine and wines – and is now an option on the Disney Dining Plan. Yum!

Exposition Park Opens for Disney Food Trucks at Downtown Disney

2. Exposition Park Food Trucks – While we’re on the topic of food, 2015 will give you time to check out the recently opened food trucks at Downtown Disney. This dedicated outdoor area also has live entertainment at night (subject to change, of course).

3. 2015 runDisney Races Are Off & Running - Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will take place January 7-11. (Check out a sneak peek at the merchandise that will be sold at this year’s event here). Space is still available in the Kids Races!

4. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – This nightspot is based on the popular themed lounge at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and is set to open here in spring. Trader Sam’s will offer tiki cocktails served in souvenir mugs, as well as smaller food offerings. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more on this fun new location.

5. Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic – Soccer fans can get their kicks at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic February 1-March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In it, eight pro teams, including six Major League Soccer squads, will compete in 16 games.

PRINCESS HALF MARATHON AT DISNEY WORLD

6. Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Returns – This princess-themed weekend of running events returns to Walt Disney World February 19-22.

7. Starbucks to Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A new Starbucks location will open at the park in February, 2015. The new location, dubbed The Trolley Car Café, will be themed to a classic trolley car along Hollywood Boulevard and offer a unique experience for coffee lovers visiting the park.

Sunset closer

8. The Atlanta Braves Return For Spring Training – The Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their 18th consecutive year of spring training. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or visiting ticketmaster.com, as well as at the sports complex box office.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

9. The 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: A Spring Tradition Returns March 4-May 17 – Character topiaries, home gardening seminars, floral displays and much more will return to the park’s festival in 2015.

10. Star Wars Weekends Returns – This annual event will return to delight fans of the Force and the Empire May 15 – June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

11. “Tomorrowland” Debuts In Theaters May 22 – While it isn’t a theme park offering, how could any Disney Parks fan possibly miss out on seeing this one? AMC Downtown Disney 24 at Downtown Disney may be the perfect location. The trailer looks amazing!

12. Annual Events – 2015 means the return of our favorite annual events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and more. Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for news and dates on our 2015 special events.

Morimoto Exterior (1)

13. New Eats at Downtown Disney – The area continues to evolve into Disney Springs, and in 2015, The Landing, the first of four interconnected neighborhoods will open to guests. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more dates and details on the openings of Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando, three restaurants planned for the area, as they come available.

14. Another Year of #DisneySide Fun - Guests loved showing their Disney Side – that side each one of us has that isn’t afraid to have fun and show our silly sides – at our parks in 2014. This year we’ll continue the fun by encouraging all of you to show your Disney Side at our parks (and at home) throughout 2015.

15. Your Family Vacation – If this is the year for your family’s vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, then there’s nothing to look forward to more than your family’s special time together. If you visit our parks in 2015, we hope you have a wonderful time.

Which event or new offering are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the “comments” section below.

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Five Most Memorable Moments for Disney Cruise Line in 2014

posted on December 30th, 2014 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


As most of us are reflecting on our year and thinking about our most memorable moments, I did the same for Disney Cruise Line. It was a pretty exciting year for us, and there are five things that stood out to me the most …

DISNEY DREAM AT SEA

  1. Awards include Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line and No. 1 Large Ship Line. For the sixth year in a row, we were recognized as a top cruise line for families in Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards. As if that honor isn’t wonderful enough, we also received the publication’s Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line award for the first time. What’s more, readers of Condé Nast Traveler voted us #1 Large Ship Line in the 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards, based on more than 1 million votes.

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  1. Holiday celebrations are more magical than ever. Not only did our Halloween on the High Seas voyages expand to all four ships, we also premiered brand-new events on our Very Merrytime Cruises. On almost every sailing from early September through the end of the year, cruisers enjoyed a ship decked out with decor and filled with extra special fun themed to the holidays.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

  1. Inaugural season from Puerto Rico kicks off with Southern Caribbean voyages. Our cruises sailing from Puerto Rico brought three more firsts for us this year: San Juan as a homeport, the Southern Caribbean as an itinerary option and Grenada as a new port of call. These four special cruises were just the beginning of our time in San Juan, as we recently announced we’ll be home porting from there again in 2016.

Castaway Cay 5K

  1. The Castaway Cay Challenge is announced as an add-on to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. We teamed up with runDisney to offer this exclusive experience just for runners competing in the 5K, 10K, half marathon and/or full marathon during the Disney Marathon Weekend in January 2015. The Castaway Cay Challenge takes place during the 4-night Disney Dream cruise that sets sail January 12, 2015.

Norwegian Fjords

  1. The land of “Frozen” is revealed as a new destination in 2015. In summer, we’ll explore Norway for the first time, cruising through the breathtaking Norwegian fjords, in addition to other spectacular northern Europe destinations including Iceland, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Finland and more. We’re also returning to the Mediterranean, Alaska, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera and of course, the Caribbean and Bahamas.
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New Merchandise Coming to Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January 2015

posted on December 22nd, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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A few weeks ago a shared a look at the new Minnie Run Collection By Champion Athleticwear coming to the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. In that article, I promised a look at other items created by Disney Theme Park Merchandise for this annual event. As you will see in this story, we’ve created commemorative merchandise for every race taking place January 7-11, 2015 at Walt Disney World Resort.

New Merchandise for the Half Marathon During the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend New Merchandise for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

For the majority of the races, we will introduce apparel for both women and men including short and long sleeved shirts, jackets, Sweaty Bands, Bondi Bands, pins and vehicle magnets. The Kids Races, Family Fun Run 5K and 10K will also have vehicle magnets this year.

One thing I’m most excited to see is the new limited release retail MagicBand with the runDisney logo (retail $24.95). Like all other retail MagicBands, this graphic MagicBand can be linked later making it a great gift for someone in training for a future runDisney race at Walt Disney World Resort.

New Merchandise for Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge During the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend New Merchandise for the Dopey Challenge During the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. All of the merchandise for this particular race this year includes an anniversary logo.

New 'I Did It' Merchandise for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend New 'I Did It' Merchandise for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

We also will be offering “I Did It” shirts for both women and men (I included a handful of options in the image above).

Finally, the event team is introducing a new “In Training” line for those who want a jump start on preparing for next year’s runDisney races.

These items and more will be released at Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Expo will be open during the following times:

  • Wednesday, January 7, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 8, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Friday, January 9, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 10, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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Young Super Hero Celebrates Life At runDisney Diaper Dash

posted on December 14th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Even before taking the start line during Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort, 11-month-old Nolan Wyatt from Rochester, WA, had already taken on a race and won.

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That’s right, the runDisney Diaper Dash was not Nolan’s first race, his first race was one for survival. Having difficulties breathing at birth, it was quickly diagnosed that Nolan was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH), a hole in the diaphragm that allowed internal organs to enter the chest cavity and prevent normal lung development. Within hours, Nolan was flown by medical helicopter to Seattle Children’s Hospital where he underwent life saving surgery.

After months of recovery it was time for this little super hero who fought through so much in his young life to celebrate with his parents, and what better way than to runDisney, or should we say crawlDisney.

“Nolan’s crawling the Diaper Dash to show how much he has overcome in his first year of life,” said Julie Wyatt, Nolan’s mother. “Just to show what he is capable of and to celebrate his life.”

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After hours of training, dressed in his Captain America outfit, and cheered on by family and Captain America himself, Nolan was ready to ‘start’ a new chapter in life.

#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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Minnie Run Collection By Champion Athleticwear Coming to 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

posted on December 12th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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This past year, my fiancée has been participating in a lot of runDisney races in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. One thing I’ve learned while cheering for her is that the right race attire can make all of the difference. Today, I’m excited to announce a new Minnie Run collection by Champion Athleticwear that is coming to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January 2015.

Inspired by Minnie Mouse, this new collection features a new “Run Your Ears Off” tee-shirt, a seamless bra and seamless capri pants.

I spoke with the Champion Athleticwear team who provide the official performance apparel for runDisney. They said they designed this new collection after extensive research and feedback from runDisney participants over the past few years. The bra and Capri are chafe resistant through innovative seamless technology, which they said is perfect for running. The new tee has Champion Vapor Technology which dries faster as you heat up (I need that kind of shirt for summers in Florida!).

The Minnie Run collection will be sold at the Champion Athleticwear booth during the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo from January 7 – 10 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I’ll offer some additional looks at other items coming to this exciting race weekend at Walt Disney World Resort.

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‘Cool’ Bling Highlights Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Medals

posted on November 29th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


If you are registered and training for the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, then this blog post is for you. Today, runDisney is happy to reveal the “Frozen“-inspired medals waiting for you at the finish line.

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For our youngest runners in the runDisney Kids Races and those of you taking on the Disney Frozen 5K, you will notice the very ‘cool’ medallions inspired by “Frozen.”

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The Princess Enchanted 10K acknowledges your accomplishment and features a “Frozen” inspired snowflake.

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The Disney Princess Half Marathon features the traditional tiara that our runners have come to love and want. Does anyone else notice that the jewels on the medal look a lot like Queen Elsa’s favorite color?

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And of course for those taking on the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge by running the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday, the third medal featuring Cinderella’s glass slipper compliments your weekend collection. Take note of Queen Elsa’s favorite color circling the medal.

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Three beautiful medals fit for a princess.

Now, if you are not yet registered and wondering how you can get your bling, I can tell you there are a few spots still open through groups and charities. Details on those opportunities can be found at runDisney.com.

Good luck with your training and we look forward to seeing you in February.

For additional information on the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend and to register for upcoming runDisney events, visit runDisney.com.

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Real Super Heroes at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort

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


I love runDisney finish lines. Short of running and crossing myself, there is no place I would rather be during an event weekend. The shouts of joy, tears of happiness and the pure emotion of runners achieving their goals is amazing.

Although it is exciting to see the winners and top finishers cross, it’s the runners in the middle of the pack and at the end of the race where I find the most inspiration. For many of these athletes, and yes they are athletes, it is their first race. They set a goal, trained hard and are now experiencing one of the greatest accomplishments in their lives. Others are running for a cause dear to their heart. And for some of these runners they battled hardship on the course and are digging deep to make it to the finish.

If you follow my posts you know one of my favorite stories to produce are profiles on last-place finishers. Partly because I like to point out that runDisney treats the last place finisher just like race winners with fanfare, music and confetti, but also because I like to share what motivated and gave those runners the will to finish. My hope is their stories inspire others to get off the couch, try running, adopt a healthy active lifestyle and join us for a runDisney event.

Recently at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort, I set out to do that story again. Fortunately for all of us I ended up getting a story with a little more meaning – an inspirational story that focuses on selfless sportsmanship.

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Now, I’m not going to give you all the details in this blog post because I am hoping you will watch and see the story unfold as it did for me. But what I will tell you is that on race day Cambrey Fuller from South Jordan, UT, met an angel, a true super hero, Ashley White from Phoenix, AZ.

On behalf of all of us at runDisney, congratulations Cambrey for crossing the finish line, and thank you Ashley for being a super hero. This is what running and runDisney are all about.

For more information on runDisney and to register for an upcoming event, visit runDisney.com.

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