WDW Marathon 2018 – race

Nicki and I got up super early in the morning to be on the first bus. I know it’s not Nicki’s thing and I appreciate that she accommodates my pre-race anxiety. I decided to go with the classic Mickey look for this race. I wanted minimal since it was a full marathon. Nicki took my pre-race picture in the common area before we went outside to find the bus.

There were several buses lined up and waiting once we got outside.

We ended up with seats towards the back of the bus we boarded. We got a bus selfie before we left.

Once we arrived at the staging area, there were already many people. Lots more going through the bag check line than I expected.

Then we made our way to the stage area where the character pictures were happening. Nicki opted to sit on the bleachers while I waited to get my picture. I should say, it was cold out. I had a throw away blanket and jacket. Nicki had a fleece blanket, too.

My first picture stop was Pluto.


Official photo

Next came Donald.


Mine was better than the official.

I think at this point I checked in with Nicki. After sitting for a minute, I noticed Goofy’s line wasn’t bad and I’d rather be waiting in line than sitting. So, I got my picture with Goofy.


Official picture

At this point, the lines were too long to do anything else. I hung around by Nicki and got a picture of the announcers when they took the stage.

As soon as we thought corrals were open, we went to visit the port-o-potties. I gave my blanket to Nicki at this point since I knew I wouldn’t be using it. I was just using the jacket.

There was water by the port-o-potties.

Then we started the long trek to the corrals.

I saw this sign along the way. I’ve always thought of them as speed plateaus and not bumps when they are elongated. Nice to know the official name.

Nicki was a corral ahead of me so we split apart since mine started the left side of corrals. I was in G.

Since I was early, I got to the front of the corral.

After standing in the corral for about 20 minutes, it was finally time for the National Anthem.

I think at this point, I had a couple approach from outside the barriers on the right and ask if they could jump the fence in front of me. I told them they needed to go around to the entrance. They proceeded to go a few people behind me and find someone who allowed them to fence jump. They ended up right by me at the start. I truly hope they both should have been in my corral or ahead.

They brought Mickey, Goofy, and Donald out to help start the race.

I’m not sure if this will work, but here is a video of the official start of the race.

start video

Eventually, they made a walkway from our corral to the A entrance and we were led across.

The announcers got us ready. I ditched my jacket over the side of the barriers.

Then we were sent off to fireworks.


I should mention they did the waved start here. So although it didn’t seem like a lot of corrals, some corrals had many waves within them. That’s also why I wanted to be up front in the corral.

We ran straight along the road around EPCOT as most races start (except Dark Side). I loved this billboard along the road.

There was a high school band on our left.

I should say, I had set my watch to 30:30 intervals and was trying to follow it as best I could from the start. Before long, we found the first water stop.

For those that have read my race reports before, you know I run carrying my own water bottle and sip as necessary on the course. I also make it a point to get water and Powerade (when available) from each water stop. This makes my water last longer and makes sure I’m hydrating enough.

I was happy to see Mile 1 and was optimistic at this point.

They had some stilt walkers on the uphill section.

Then we took the right ramp to Magic Kingdom.

I think due to construction, there wasn’t much along the road this time. Mile 2 was almost in sight of the Magic Kingdom parking lot entrance. You can just make it out in the background.

I got a selfie with the Magic Kingdom parking entrance.

There was a medical tent amidst the construction on the other side for those that didn’t heed the speed bump warning.

Then came the first character stop with Mater and Lightning McQueen. The line was less than 10 people so I waited.


Official photo

Mile 3 was on our way around the parking lot.

Water stop #2

Just on the other side of the water stop, the 5k mark.

As we rounded the corner in the parking lot, I saw some characters I’ve never seen before for picture, Scrooge and LaunchPad. Apparently, they’ve been out for marathon weekend before but I don’t normally run this race. I had to stop. If I remember correctly, the line was less than 20 people.


Official picture

The line was too long at the next character stop so I opted for a drive by picture. It was 3 villains; Evil Queen from Snow White, Malificient, and the Queen of Hearts. I love that I got the runner dressed as Else that was running with the dog carrying Olaf in the picture as well. I saw them a few times on the course.

Soon we could see the TTC.

There were many buses dropping off in this area.

We ran under the road and back up on the other side.

Then we went through the ticket booth area.

After turning right, we found a high school band. This is the area where the Japanese drummers are at Princess.

Mile 4 was just before the fence.

After we went through the fence was water stop #3.

We came out on the road to the Contemporary.

We ran under the water bridge and walked back up the other side. I can’t remember if the DJ was up on the bridge or not.

As we passed the Contemporary, one runner was throwing his warm clothes to someone. I believe the people waving both arms were Robert and Kathleen.

We turned slightly earlier than I’m used to into the bus drop off area.

There was one team cheering in this area.

Mile 5 was on the walkway to the main entrance.

We ran straight towards the right entrance to the park. I must say I liked this better than coming in through the side backstage area. I know this was due to construction, but I hope they keep it.

They had what I would assume are the rope drop entertainers on the train station. They had mics and were encouraging us on our way. I loved this addition.

Then we emerged onto Main Street with all of the Christmas decorations still in place.



It really is breath taking.


Love that the official photographers caught my sense of awe perfectly.

The lights were still on the castle although it’s almost too light to see them.

We turned right and ran through Tomorrowland.

Buzz Lightyear was in front of his ride, but I was not waiting in line.

We rounded Tomorrowland and went towards the Tea Cups where I found Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.


Official photo

I texted Nicki while I was in line to find she was stopped in the Tomorrowland restrooms. She did not catch up before the picture but did get her own. I ran ahead. The course continued into the circus area where I found Swammi Donald but decided not to stop.

By the Little Mermaid line, I found Sebastian with a line of less than 5 people.


Official photo

Lots of people were taking pictures with Gaston’s fountain.

We ran to the left of the carousel towards the castle.

Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drisella were at the base of the castle before we ran through. Their line was too long to stop.

We ran through the castle to see this great view of Main Street.

The photographers got a picture of me exiting the castle.

I stopped for a castle picture.

And finally had a great jump if my shirt hadn’t come up so far.

I rejoined the flow heading into Liberty Square.

We ran by the reopened Hall of Presidents.

I stopped in my normal restrooms between Frontierland and Adventureland.

Woody and Jessie were taking pictures by this restroom, but they had a line.

Mile 6 was as we veered right towards Thunder Mountain.

We made a sharp (almost U) turn in front of Thunder Mountain and went back passed Splash Mountain. I believe it was closed since there was no water coming down the falls.

There was a DJ in this area. The people you see are the ones behind me heading toward Thunder Mountain.

I had been texting with Nicki and think I hung around the train until she caught up to me.

There was a stilt walker from the parade in from of Malificient’s float with a long line.

In this backstage area came water stop #4

In the middle of the water stop was the 10k mark.

As we turned left onto the road, there was a medical tent and parade bus.

A bank of port-o-potties was after the security gate.

Next we found a DJ.

A fire truck was out at this left turn. The fire station is the building on the other side.

Mile 7 was just before the Grand Floridan.

The penguins were out by a carousel horse. Nicki was not willing to stop and there was a line.

Robert and Kathleen were in the Grand Floridian area.

This group all had flamingos and some great signs.


Next we found the wedding chapel guys that have a glass slipper during Princess. Since I was Mickey, I felt no need to stop this time.

There were some Christmas decorations up by the entrance to Shades of Green and the golf courses.


Vacation Genie was taking pictures by the Mickey golf cart and I wanted to stop. Nicki told me to stop and catch up with her.


Official photo

This became our mantra going forward. I would stop for a picture and then catch up to Nicki again. Next came Mile 8.

I saw another character stop that was a first, that characters from UP. I had to wait in a short line but it was worth it.


Official photo

A well used medical tent was next.

Then we left the main road and turned right.

Just after the turn was water stop #5.

Along this back road was a stop with several cars from rides that no longer exist at WDW. Mr. Toad was always a favorite of mine so I had to get a picture in the car.


Also along this road were a few groupings of things that provided nice distractions.

We made it to Mile 9.

More distrations

Next we found these streetmosphere people representing the now defunct Adventurers Club.

We made it to the 15k mark!

I saw the next character stop and had to wait. I even waited while Hades came back from a short break.


Official Photo

Next we went through a backstage area few people ever see… the Reedy Creek management area. Some parts did have a distinct odor.


Mile 10 was along this stretch

Water stop #6 was just before Animal Kingdom.


There was a bank of port-o-potties on the other side of the water.

I think it was shortly after that picture that Nicki told me to go on ahead. We had been mostly walking (except my catch up after picture stops). Next we exited the Reedy Creek area through a raised gate.

We turned right at this DJ for a longer than you think out and back section.

Mile 11 was on the first stretch

At the turnaround were a couple announcer/DJ people and rainbow flags.

Then came the long stretch back.

I did see the balloon ladies starting this stretch as I was ending. It was definitely disconcerting.

We turned right at the light. You’ll notice the parade bus. I think they had just swept a bunch of people at this point.

Another unusual character I had to stop for… Clarabelle. Luckily there was only one person ahead of me.

Medical tent and some port-o-potties

Mile 12 was in this area

Next came a fuel stop. They were handing out packages of Energy Jelly Beans.

There were some performers from the Lion King show on the left.

Then we entered the official backstage area of Animal Kingdom.

We turned right on backstage roads.

This is where we found a few animals to distract us.


We made it to 20k

I realized we were running next to the Rafiki’s Planet Watch train.

We veered right

After crossing the railroad tracks, we entered Animal Kingdom park.

Rafiki and Timon were greeting people.

We ran to the left around the Tree of Life. My selfie with the tree wasn’t great.

Mile 13 was a welcome sight!

There was a cast member stationed to take pictures with Everest in the background… no wait. Of coarse I had to stop.

There were guests in the park at this point. However, I noticed King Louie in a gazebo just off the course. No one was waiting, so I ran up for a quick picture.

They got a good shot of me still running entering Dinoland.

In Dinoland there were a couple streetmosphere people with mics talking to us.

We exited Animal Kingdom through this open gate. I will point out there were some heavily used restrooms just before this.

As we exited, we ran around a pond. There were port-o-potties and water stop #7.

I ran into my running friend, Vanessa, working a this water stop and had to get a selfie.

As we got to the main parking lot, I saw a parade bus.

Mile 14 was just before the main entrance.

Then we ran by the front entrance. Look at all the people trying to come in to the park.

We veered left at the bus area.

There was a medical stop towards the far corner of the lot.

A high school band was entertaining us as we made the turn.

I loved this guy’s sign.

Along the side I saw the grave diggers. They had a short line, but I had to stop. I know I was getting a little anxious at this point.


Official photo

After we left Animal Kingdom, we found water stop #8. Since half the road was closed, I’m sure the people on these buses mostly from Animal Kingdom Lodge area were annoyed at how much longer it was taking to get anywhere.

Mile 15 was along this stretch of road.

The 25k mark was on an uphill section.

They had a video screen showing clips from movies.

At this point, we ran by a McDonalds

and we could see the highest areas of Blizzard Beach.

These shirts made me laugh.

RODS was out in this area with pictures of kids being helped.

On the left we some announcer/DJ people dressed like Hippies.

Just after them was Mile 16.

Then came another fuel stop with the jelly beans.

Then a very welcome water stop #9.

The had some trampoline guys trying to distract us from the uphill.

I think this is the main road to Magic Kingdom. I believe most of this backup was from the closures for the race.

There was a medical tent on the left.

We were making our way to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. You can see all the people ahead of us leaving that area.

I think it was somewhere in this area that I found out Nicki had been swept just outside Animal Kingdom. She said she made it to the halfway point. Taking advantage of the sandy median, they had Pluto with a dinosaur skull.

Mile 17 was along this road.

Then came another much needed water stop #10.

We made a right at the light towards ESPN Wide World of Sports.

The entrance sign had a welcome message.

We turned right into the first parking lot area.

There was a band in this area. Sorry for the blurry picture.

Water stop #11 was as we entered the field area.

Mile 18 was also along this path.

Soccer Minnie was taking pictures on the field, but her line was too long to stop.

I think this is where Jamie found me. She was hurting and my body was about done, too. So, we stayed together urging each other along. We entered the track area.

The track was a little springy which my feet welcomed. Sport Goofy was in the area but had a line.

After we left the track, we found the 30k mark.

Jamie encouraged me to make a bathroom stop since I needed one, but there was a line and I didn’t want to lose that much time. Next came tables of bananas.

It was followed immediately by water stop #12.

Mile 19 was on the outskirts of our trek.

This DJ gave us false hope. He told us the balloon ladies were a lot further behind us than we knew them to be.

I liked this sign joke. They had many of these along the course.


We went through this gate and realized we were where the buses had previously dropped off for the Expo.

There was a medical stop.

These great spectators were a nice diversion.

We made our way back through these gates.

We went around on the walkways.

Baseball Mickey and Donald were out but we didn’t want to stop.

Since there was no wait, we stopped for a picture with Joy and Sadness.


Official photo

Then we made our way into the baseball stadium.

We ran around the edge of the field.

This band was in the closest stands.

They were taking a break because the band in the farthest stands was playing.

Apparently, we had enough left to run by the photographers at the far side.

Mile 20 was just before we left the stadium. I should say we did not see the balloon ladies at this point.They were still outside the stadium.

We exited the stadium to find water stop #13.

There was a DJ and people representing different teams (including my alma mater of Florida State) as we turned right by the main entrance.

A member of one of our online groups was handing out thing in the parking lot.

There was a DJ back out on the road.

Mile 21 was just before the turn.

Then we turned left onto the main road.

At this point, I was having trouble doing more than walking because I needed to use the restroom. I knew the balloon ladies were not too far away. So I saw some port-o-potties that were open and stopped.

I worked my way through the crowd to get back to Jamie.

We took the second ramp on the right by the medical tent and the 35k mark.

At this point in the race, it was a pretty brutal uphill.

Sarge was encouraging us more towards the top.

We could see the Star Wars land (Galaxy’s Edge) construction.

Mile 22 was a welcome sight.

Water stop #14 was needed and welcome after my potty stop.

We turned right towards the Studios. Notice the amount of bikes and buses. The balloon ladies weren’t too far behind us. I had just barely seen them when I took my potty stop.

We turned right to enter the Studios.

Water stop #15 was in the backstage area.

Mile 23 followed shortly.

At this point we knew we had to finish. We power walked this uphill into the park and the Fantasmic area.

Inside was the chocolate stop.

I tried to get one of everything. Oswald was here but no one could stop or they would be swept.

There were a ton of candy wrappers on the ground.

Robert and Kathleen were waiting as we entered by Tower of Terror. They offered me snacks, but I didn’t need anything and didn’t want to stop. Here’s why.

Yes, the balloon ladies were passing us as we went by Tower of Terror. We used up our reserves to keep ahead of them when rounding the turn onto Hollywood Blvd.

We tuned left at the Crossroads. These were the bathrooms I was originally going to stop at. I’m glad I didn’t wait.

We went around to the front entrance.

Then out the left security entrance as everyone was making their way into the park through the rest.

We went around the Sorcerer’s Apprentice topiary.

Then along this walkway.

That bus did sweep many people too far behind us. We followed the screen corridor and didn’t leave room for the balloon ladies to get around.

It was a little congested.

There was a DJ before the bridge (and apparently one of the balloon ladies got in front of us.

Water stop #16 was just before the Boardwalk resort.

Mile 24 was also in this area.

More congestion getting to the boardwalk.

There was a medical stop right before the boardwalk.

Then it opened up a little.

You can’t see her balloon because the wind was not nice, but the balloon lady is in front of us to the right. We tried to stay with her through this stretch because we didn’t want to take any chances.

I thought I recognized this spectator, but didn’t have time to find out.

Still with the balloon ladies in the Yacht and Beach club area.

The uphill before entering EPCOT was a welcome challenge.

We went through the construction gates.

On the other end of the gondola construction area were these guys cheering us on.

There was a medical stop as we rounded the corner to the right.

Then water stop #17 was in the backstage area before entering EPCOT.

We came out in the United Kingdom to lots of people cheering.

The cast members had their flags.

A view of the World Showcase from a welcome patch of shade.

Mile 25 was on the bridge to France.

I should say we were pretty sure we were safe in EPCOT. So, we walked the rest of the way. The French cast members were out.

Jasmine was meeting and greeting in Morocco.

We caught the end of the Japanese drum show.

The Americans had flags on short poles.

Italy also had a street performer out.

German cast members were on the left.

I loved this sign on the right… and my feet were pretty sore at this point.

Mulan was meeting and greeting in China.

Many cast members from Norway were cheering.

These three were singing songs from Frozen loudly.

I think this is where the photographer got a good shot of us and our walk.

The Mexicans on the left in the shop were using Maracas to keep us going.

Originally, Robert was going to have a margarita waiting for me at Mexico. Once I got to the Boardwalk, I told him to forget it. I was afraid it would make me sick. Turns out, it was a good thing because they were having a hard time getting there.

It’s hard to see, but I know at least Donald from the Three Caballeros was taking pictures.

Notice all the guests trying to get around to the countries in the small area that was allotted to them.

We turned right at the entrance to the World Showcase and headed towards Future World. We actually saw these photographers and posed.

We went right around the stage.

Then we continued to the right at Spaceship Earth.

We took a right here to exit the park.

As we exited, we found Mile 26.

The gospel choir was on both sides of the course.

We saw the stands that mean the finish is ahead.

Then we could see it!

Somewhere in this stretch, Jamie told me she thought she could run across the finish line. I was feeling good enough, too. The announcers are to the right and Chip and Dale were at the finish line.

We finished!

This was the area just after the finish. You know your behind the balloon ladies when it’s this clear both in the chute and in the stands.

I think this girl put the medal around my neck.

They were giving out the mylar blankets.

There was still Powerade and bottled water left for us.

Then we got a nice surprise, special Mickey ears for the anniversary.

I think I left Jamie at this point since she needed to go get all her challenge medals. I went through the snack tent area and got my snack box and banana.

Then I waited in line and got my I did It picture.

Since I wasn’t super happy with that one, I doctored up my jump picture in the app.

I met up with Jamie again as I exited the picture area. She was talking with a group of our online running friends. I chatted for a few minutes and then said goodbye to Jamie. I headed towards my bus and Nicki found me on the way. Once we boarded the bus, I got a medal selfie.

My official time was 7:33:27. Considering all the stopping and walking I did, I’ll take it. This one was never for the time. I’m glad I did it once, but I think a marathon is too long for me. I’ll stick with half marathons for the foreseeable future. As marathons go, this course is relatively flat and has a lot of great distractions. I would have no problem recommending this race to others who are interested in doing a full marathon.

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About kristincooke

I am a mother of 2 that started running in 2012. I also enjoy baking and some crafts.
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