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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

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

Rutgers’ Scarlet Knight Saves the Day in Cheer On Your Disney Side Video

posted on December 22nd, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


It sounds like the basis of a good fairytale, young women in despair when a knight rides in and saves the day. That’s exactly what happens in the video submitted by the University of Rutgers dance team for the Cheer On Your Disney Side competition sponsored by ESPN, in collaboration with Disney Destination and Varsity Spirit.

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Set to “it’s a small world” inspired music, Scarlet Knight, with the help of some of our beloved Disney Princesses, restores school spirit to a tired and dejected dance team. A story and production helping, the Rutgers dance team emerge as a finalist in the competition along with Auburn University, Louisiana State University and Santa Monica College.

University cheer and dance squads from across the country were invited to choreograph routines to one of four Disney Parks inspired songs. The winning squad will earn a $100,000 grant for its college spirit program and a team trip to Walt Disney World Resort.

Now it is your turn to vote!

Guests are asked to go to Espn.com/CheerMagic and vote for their favorite video from the final four. The school with the most votes wins. Fans who vote are entered into an ESPN sweepstakes to win a Walt Disney World Resort vacation. Rules may be found at Espn.com/CheerMagic. Online voting ends on January 6 and the winning squad will be announced on ESPN before the College Football National Championship Game on January 12 in Dallas.

So what’s the ‘spirit’ behind the Rutgers video? Check out this behind the scenes look inside their world.

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.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort has been the home of Varsity Spirit’s College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, the premier athletic competition for these teams, for over 20 years. Varsity Spirit has been a driving force behind cheerleading’s dynamic transformation into the high-energy, athletic activity it is today. Focused on safety, entertainment and school leadership, Varsity Spirit conducts educational camps, administrates competitions and provides apparel for more than 350,000 cheerleaders and dancers.

Cheer Your Disney Side Promotion By ESPN.
No purchase necessary. Ends 11:59 PM ET on 1/6/15. Must be a legal resident of the (50) U.S. or DC, 18 years or older, or the age of majority. Limit 1 entry/vote per person & per email per day. For prize details, odds of winning & complete Official Rules, go to www.espn.com/CheerMagic. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: ESPN Internet Ventures, New York, NY.

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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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Soldier Fulfills Daughter’s Wish At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

posted on December 8th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


One year ago 9-year-old Adisen Kallas made a wish with her family in front of Cinderella Castle. She wished that her dad, Navy SEABEE UT1 Scott Kallas, would return from deployment in Afghanistan in time to watch her dance at the 2014 Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. At that time Scott was preparing for his fifth military deployment.

Well Adisen, wishes do come true.

Soldier Fulfills Daughter’s Wish At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Soldier Fulfills Daughter’s Wish At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

What happened on Saturday after Adisen and the Mighty Might Tri Town Raiderettes dance team from Schererville, IN, performed was nothing short of magical. It is a moment you will want to watch for yourself.

Welcome home Scott Kallas. Thank you for serving our country and showing all of us that wishes do come true.

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ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Serves Up College Basketball Feast For Thanksgiving Weekend

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


If you or someone in your family likes Division 1 college basketball, then you might want to consider spending a portion of your Thanksgiving holiday weekend at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Once again Disney welcomes the Orlando Classic, a premiere pre-season basketball tournament hosted by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, from November 27-30.

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This year, National Championship contenders Kansas and Michigan State headline the event and are joined by teams with the ability to make a run in the tournament including Tennessee, Marquette, Georgia Tech, and Rhode Island. No other preseason tournament can say that the teams have combined for 28 Final Four appearances.

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Click here for additional tournament information and to purchase tickets.

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Minnie Cheers On Her Disney Side With Never-Before-Seen Moves

posted on October 24th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


With some never before seen fancy footwork, unique dance moves and a cheer lift, Minnie Mouse and her spirit team recently stopped by the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort to cheer on her Disney Side.

Minnie Cheers On Her Disney Side at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Minnie Cheers On Her Disney Side at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Minnie Cheers On Her Disney Side at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Performing never before seen moves, Minnie is looking to inspire college cheer and dance squads to show their Disney Side and compete in the nationwide Cheer Your Disney Side campaign.

College cheer and dance squads have until November 10 to create and submit a 30-second Disney Parks-inspired routine using remixed Disney Parks attraction music to show off their Disney Side. Video submissions are being accepted at Espn.com/CheerMagic. Four teams will be selected as finalists and announced December 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 four finalists.

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.

ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort has been the home of Varsity Spirit’s College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, the premier athletic competition for these teams, for over 20 years. Varsity Spirit has been a driving force behind cheerleading’s dynamic transformation into the high-energy, athletic activity it is today. Focused on safety, entertainment and school leadership, Varsity Spirit conducts educational camps, administrates competitions and provides apparel for more than 350,000 cheerleaders and dancers.

Cheer Your Disney Side Promotion By ESPN.

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. Subject to Official Rules. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: ESPN Internet Ventures, 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158.

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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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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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