By DVC Diva
Part of the reason I continue to exercise is to teach the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to my daughter. She has watched me run numerous races since 2009 and in 2014 she was so excited to finally join me in becoming a runner too! Well, leave it to Disney to figure out a way to incorporate the entire family, first with the Family Fun Run 5Ks and now with the Mickey Mile!
During the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend there is definitely a race for everyone…even down to an infant diaper dash, but if you have a “big kid” you may want to consider the Mickey Mile. The runDisney Kids Races are specifically designed for children ages 13 and under.
The runDisney Kids Races require online registration, just as the main event, and they do sell out quickly so be sure to snag your kiddos race bib early. For the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, the cost of the Mickey Mile was $30, which included a race t-shirt, gear bag, and participant medal!
One thing that is quite different during this particular race weekend that sets it apart from the others is that the Health and Fitness Expo is HUGE and covers the HP Field House, the Jostens Center and Champion Stadium. At the 2014 event, packet, race shirt, and gEAR bag pick-up for the runDisney Kids Races was located inside Champion Stadium. You can also pre-order runDisney Kids Race Commemorative Mickey Ears ($14.93), which can conveniently be picked up at the same booth.
Now, onto the races.
Each runDisney Kids Race race has its own start line at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, which are color-coded for all parents to find with ease. Each participant’s bib number also matches the starting flag for their distance. If you’re still having difficulty figuring out your way around, there is definitely no shortage of volunteers (that are posted everywhere) to answer any questions you may have.
The fun thing about the Mickey Mile is that it’s the only runDisney Kids Race that mimics the cross-country style of running that the “grown-ups” do. The start line is different than the finish line and the course takes the participants right through Champion Stadium!
This is a good thing and a bad thing because you can’t keep your eye on them throughout the entire race but the organization here is amazing so there’s nothing to worry about.
I waited in the bleachers to get this shot at the start…
Then I ran into Champion Stadium to take her picture while running through her first professional stadium but by the time I got there she was already inside. I did manage to snap a few though and she was all smiles!
Then (not knowing how much time I had) I ran back to the New Balance Track and Field Complex to catch the finish. Thankfully she’s not very fast and is more of a run/walker like her Mama so I had a few minutes to spare at the end. If you have a fast runner (and trust me, some of those kids run like the wind) you should be able to watch the start and finish but the stadium would have to be covered by someone else or you should just skip it. A mile goes faster than you might think and you definitely don’t want to miss the finish. It’s priceless!
The race was very organized and the first wave of runners started right at 12:30 p.m.
There are no “winners” in the runDisney Kids Races but the Mickey Mile participants are timed and participants can view their race times online at rundisney.com.
During the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend you can also choose between three separate dates for children to participate as all of the races are repeated Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
The race ends inside of the New Balance Track and Field Complex, with none other than Mickey Mouse waving in the runners on the final stretch! Participants get the full race treatment upon completion with lots of refueling snacks and drinks to choose from.
The children are funneled into the snack area, then immediately funneled into a family reunion area where only a parent with a claim ticket can enter and leave with a child containing the same bib tag as the claim ticket and it is well monitored.
I was VERY happy with our first kids race with runDisney and will definitely be doing them again. My daughter was so proud of her accomplishment and they get a pretty cute participant medal too to show off when they get home! Best part is, having Mickey Mouse wave you through to the finish. To me, Disney is all about making memories that you will remember for a lifetime and this memory doesn’t disappoint!