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Top 10 Tips for a Magical Dopey Challenge

Top 10 Tips for a Magical Dopey Challenge

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The Dopey Challenge is one of the most rigorous runDisney events but also one of the most rewarding. Prepare like a champion so you can cross every finish line strong with these 10 tips.

#1 Costumes

Hyacinth Hippo Fantasia
Credit: Disney photopass

Part of what makes runDisney races magical are the fun costumes that participants wear. Disney has updated costume guidelines so make sure that your costumes follow these rules.

The most important thing to remember is that your costume needs to be functional. What may be fun to wear to a costume party may not make an ideal outfit to run many miles in.

Our 3 top costume tips are first, order your costumes early. Many popular companies that feature Disney running dresses, shirts, and costumes receive a rush of orders near key race times. Order early to prevent delays.

Second, do a run at home wearing every piece of your race costume. Make adjustments if needed and try the costumes out again at home. A small chafing may seem like a small irritation until you are running 26 miles in it.

Launchpad runDisney
Credit: Disney photopass

Third, have fun with your costume choices. My (Donna) husband and I wore complementary costumes for our first Dopey Challenge. For the 5K, we dressed as Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, for the 10K we were Belle and Gaston, and for the half-marathon, we were Russell and Kevin from Up.

For the full marathon, we both dressed as Dopey. Preparing for our costumes was so much fun and we loved seeing the great costumes of fellow runners.

#2 Transportation Options

DeSantis-Ordered Inspections of the Monorail Begin in Disney World
Credit: Monica

runDisney events start early. Correction: they start REALLY early, and transportation is a big factor for these early morning races.

Disney Resort guests can enjoy complimentary bus transportation to and from the races. Be sure to check the Disney Resort lobby for the exact location and time for bus transportation.

Guests at monorail resorts will use the monorail for the half marathon and full marathon. Staying at the Contemporary for the 2024 Marathon Weekend, we found the monorail to be the slowest transportation option.

Guests staying off-site or those Disney guests that prefer can drive and park at EPCOT.

#3 Packing Checklist

runDisney marathon weekend
Credit: Donna

If there was ever a time to make a packing checklist, this is it! I (Donna) recommend using packing cubes or a bag to keep each day’s costumes separate and organized.

Think ahead for possible inclement weather. We enjoyed packing disposable ponchos for rain and also for warmth on cooler mornings. Hot Hands are also a great investment for cooler mornings.

If you place these close to your chest it will help to keep your core body temperature warm. When you start running, you can toss both the poncho and Hot Hands as you warm up.

#4 When to arrive

runDisney Expo Dopey Challenge
Credit: Donna

All participants need to pick up all of their race materials at the runDisney race expo. Since the races start in the early morning, this means you will need to arrive the day before your first race to attend the expo.

If you are completing the Dopey Challenge, you will attend the first day of the runDisney expo. In the past, guests must join a Virtual Queue for the first day of the runDisney event.

You must be near the Walt Disney World Resort to join the Virtual Queue. It is important to arrive early enough on this day to join a Virtual Queue as the runDisney Expo usually closes around 8:00 pm on the first day.

#5 Best Park Plan

Partners Statue
Credit: Disney PhotoPass

I (Donna) participated in both the Princess Half-Marathon Weekend and the Wine & Dine Half-Marathon Weekend. While completing these earlier challenges, I knew we would need to adjust our park plans with four early race mornings.

We enjoyed Disney’s Animal Kingdom on our first day and visited the runDisney expo that evening. For the shorter races, we rope-dropped the parks since we were already awake and ready to go.

After the half-marathon, we had a rest day at the resort and this was much needed. We rested and did a bit of laundry after so many race days. This was the perfect plan to be prepared for the full marathon the next day.

#6 Be Prepared

runDisney marathon weekend medals
Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Do yourself a favor and prepare the night before. We had our race bibs attached, and all of our costumes laid out along with our ponchos, Hot Hands, and breakfast.

Prepare your costumes and everything you will need for your race the night before.

Typically at Disney, we close down the parks, but we were prepped and in bed every night at 8:00 pm. Trust me that I wanted to stay in the parks longer, but this was what we needed to be ready for that early 2:00 am wake-up call the next morning.

#7 Race Courses

Credit: Disney Photopass

runDisney offers a great race experience. Along the race course for the 5K and 10K, participants can enjoy water and sports drinks.

For the half-marathon and marathon additional offerings are provided such as Sports Beans and bananas. If needed, there are many Advent Healthcare tents along the race courses.

The morning of the marathon we were even able to hop aboard Expedition Everest as we ran through Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We were able to enter through the Lightning Lane entrance and waited approximately 5 minutes.

#8 Race Course Characters

Credit: Disney PhotoPass

One of the best parts of the runDisney events is the characters. Participants can meet many of their favorite and even rare characters at these races.

In my (Donna) experience the shorter distances such as 5K and 10K have longer lines and fewer characters. The longest lines tend to be at the beginning of the race course as well.

Typically the line for photos moves really quickly. I like to prioritize rare and my most favorite characters and skip some of the others.

#9 Victory Celebration

Dopey Challenge
Credit: Disney PhotoPass

When you cross each finish line, you will receive a medal. When you cross the final finish line for the marathon be ready for all the bling.

After you complete the marathon, you will receive your marathon medal, the Goofy Challenge medal, the Dopey Challenge medal, and a pair of commemorative Mickey Mouse ears. You may want to head straight to the busses with your arms full, but hear us out.

At almost all Marathon weekends, Dopey greets guests at the Pre-Race area. With your new shiny Dopey Challenge medal in hand, stop by and take a quick picture with Dopey before heading to your resort.

After a shower and a good meal, head to the parks and take a few celebratory pictures with your new ears and all of that new medal bling.

#10 After Dopey

Dopey Challenge 2024
Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Congratulations, you did it! It is impressive to complete just one of these races in a weekend, but you just completed 4 races in 4 days.

No matter what your finish times were, you just completed a very rigorous challenge, and your body needs time to recover. Take time to rest and take in the great accomplishment that you just completed.

This is simply my personal opinion, but try not to schedule another race for the same month you completed the Dopey Challenge. You have our permission to take it slow as take those first few recovery runs after Dopey.

Using a Travel Agent can help you navigate the ins and outs of planning! I am here to help! Please fill out this form and put my name (DONNA) in the Special Request box.

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