The only thing more special than running through Magic Kingdom Park is doing it with your dad by your side. For Steve, a Walt Disney World cast member, running has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember and sharing the 2022 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend during The World’s Most Magical Celebration with his family was a dream come true.
A synergy manager for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Steve frequented Disneyland Resort as a child and dreamed of working for Disney one day. What once was a dream has now become a passion for paving the way for future magic makers. “I’ve had countless amazing experiences, made some lifelong friends, and have been introduced to amazing leaders and mentors,” said Steve.
One of the most special things about being a cast member is sharing the magic with family and friends. In 2019, Steve and his Dad participated in their first Dopey Challenge together. Both avid runners, even being trained by the same coach in high school, completed all four courses—the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon—during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. After 48.6 miles of pure magic, they were hooked, and what started as a bucket list item became a tradition.
But the family fun didn’t stop there! That same year, Steve participated in the 5K along with his mom, dad and brother. Though it may have been the shortest distance of the race weekend, the run made it to the top of a very long list of Steve’s favorite memories. “My favorite memory is crossing the 5K finish line, hand in hand, with my family back in 2019! This 5K was my first runDisney race ever, and we did it as a family.” The whole family enjoyed the entertainment and characters along the course and when approaching the finish line, they decided to link arms and cross together.
This year, Steve and his dad returned to run their third Dopey Challenge. Even though they now go at their own pace and don’t always run the whole course together, knowing they’re both enjoying the same 48.6 miles is truly magical.
What makes the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend so special? “What sets runDisney apart from other races are the fun memories and experiences you have along the way. I enjoy meeting the rare characters, seeing parade floats, and capturing that sweaty picture outside of Cinderella Castle!” Returning to in-person running couldn’t have been come at a better time than during The World’s Most Magical Celebration. Seeing the Disney Fab 50 Character Collection—a project close to his heart—along the courses was a special moment for him and his Dad to share.
What’s next for Steve and his Dad? Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it’s off to train they go. Nothing is slowing them down and they continue to train and look forward to next year’s Dopey Challenge.