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First Look at runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation Merchandise

posted on January 14th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


From January 15–18, a Galactic Empire of runDisney enthusiasts will descend on the Disneyland Resort. Join the ranks of the Rebel Alliance, Wookiees or Imperial Fleet! Plan to look out of this world as you cross the runDisney finish line of the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Find iconic Star Wars characters, symbols and phrases such as “May The Course Be With You” and “Let the Wookiee Win,” on performance tees, hoodies, jackets and other novelty items, including headwear, jewelry, magnets and window clings. Have you signed up for the Star Wars Rebel Challenge? A selection of ladies’ and men’s T-shirts (cotton and performance), jackets, magnets, runner’s hat, Bondi Bands and Sweaty Bands themed to the Rebel Challenge will be available, as well as ‘all race’ event logo inspired merchandise.

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Do … or Do Not. I say ‘do.’ Because these Star Wars themed Dooney & Bourke bags are bound to go faster than the speed of light.

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What about pins? In addition to the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon logo pin, Rebel Challenge, 5K and 10K pins, there will also be two medal spinner pins. Check them out!

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Finally, keep an eye out for additional runDisney apparel, along with 2015 runDisney Coast to Coast Race Challenge offerings.

I wish you all the best of luck and May the Course Be With You!

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Brazilian Runners Dominate Walt Disney World Marathon

posted on January 11th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


After four days of runDisney events, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna wrapped up this morning with more than 26,700 registered runners competing in the marathon. Runners from more than 60 countries and all 50 states made the 26.2 mile trek through all four Disney theme parks, Walt Disney World Speedway and ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Waiting for them at the finish line was the commemorative Mickey Finisher Medal.

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For the second year in a row, Fredison Costa from Brazil, who recently moved to Orlando to train, finished with a time of 2:18:06 and ran away with the overall title. Brazilians dominated the event by taking the top four positions in the men’s division.

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Giovanna Martins continued the Brazilian domination as the top female winner, with a finishing time of 2:50:20.

The marathon capped off a four-day celebration of running that included a 5K, 10K, half marathon and kids races.

For the first time, friends and family of runners were able to watch a live video stream of the start and finish lines of the half and full marathon on the Disney Parks Blog. Runners are invited to go the Disney Parks Blog to replay and relive their accomplishment.

But before you do that, here is a chance for you to relive this morning’s race.

Next up, Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort, January 15-18.

For more information on runDisney event weekends, visit runDisney.com.

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Replay Our Live Stream of The Walt Disney World Marathon

posted on January 11th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


This is your chance to share in the excitement of a runDisney start and finish line. You can now watch a replay of your friends, family and thousands from around the world start and finish the Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna. The 26.2-mile journey started just outside Epcot on Epcot Center Drive, and took runners through the Magic Kingdom, on the track of the Walt Disney World Speedway, through Animal Kingdom, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and finished in the shadow of Spaceship Earth outside Epcot.

Below is a choice of two live streams. The first includes the start line, multiple cameras and social media feeds. The second, an uninterrupted stream from the finish line.

You can join in the runDisney social media conversation by using #WDWMarathon.

For more information on the half marathon, marathon and other runDisney event weekends, visit runDisney.com.

Walt Disney World Marathon:

To view the full size version of the Walt Disney World Marathon, click here.

Walt Disney World Marathon Finish Line:

To view the full size version of the Walt Disney World Marathon Finish Line, click here.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Replay Our Live Stream of The Walt Disney World Half Marathon

posted on January 10th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


This is your chance to replay the excitement of a runDisney start and finish line. Check out replays of our live streams from earlier today as your friends, family and thousands from around the world start and finish the Walt Disney World Half Marathon presented by Cigna. The 13.1-mile journey started just outside Epcot on Epcot Center Drive, and took runners to the Magic Kingdom, through Cinderella Castle, back to Epcot, past Spaceship Earth, and finished in the Epcot parking area.

Your chance to track, watch runners cross the finish line and share in their celebration “live” begins by viewing the video feeds below.

Below is a choice of two live streams. The first includes the start line, multiple cameras and social media feeds. The second, an uninterrupted stream from the finish line.

You can join in the runDisney social media conversation by using #WDWHalf.

For more information on the half marathon, marathon and other runDisney event weekends, visit runDisney.com.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon Start Line:

To view the full size version of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon Start Line, click here.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon Finish Line:

To view the full size version of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon Finish Line, click here.

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Watch Walt Disney World Half & Full Marathons Live On The Disney Parks Blog

posted on January 8th, 2015 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


We are off and running – literally. This morning the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna officially got underway with the Walt Disney World 5K.

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It was exciting to join thousands of runners at Epcot and brave the unseasonable cool temperature and run the 3.1 mile course around World Showcase, past Spaceship Earth, and cross the finish line to earn a runDisney 5K finisher medal. The costumes, energy and Disney spirit were amazing. It was fun to see first-time runners, and runners of all ages and nationalities enjoying the fun run.

This morning’s run kicks off a four-day celebration of running, which includes runDisney Kids’ Races, Walt Disney World 10K tomorrow, Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday and Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday.

That leads me to share some exciting news. The Disney Parks Blog and runDisney want to share the excitement of the start and finish lines of our events. Building off the success of live video streams for the holidays, we will “live’ stream the half marathon on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday.

Family and friends, and those wanting to see what a runDisney event is all about, will be able to visit the Disney Parks Blog both days starting at 5 a.m., and watch the start and finish of both races. You will be able to track, watch runners cross the finish line and share in their celebration.

We are always looking for ways to enhance our runner and guest experience, and hope this live stream allows you to share in the magic of a runDisney event.

For more information on runner tracking and runDisney events, visit runDisney.com.

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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.

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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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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

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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