Everything You Need to Know About runDisney’s 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon

For the first time in 7 years, the runDisney is returning to California! This guide to the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon covers everything you need to know about the running events in Anaheim: dates, prices, details, medals, hotel recommendations, and our past experiences with the races through Disneyland and DCA.

If you’re unfamiliar with runDisney, it’s a popular series of running events for Disney fans of all fitness levels. The highlight is running through the theme parks before they’re open, going backstage, and courses filled with entertainment–including rare characters, parade floats, performers, and more. Diehard runDisney fans are also big on the medals and merchandise, which have unique themes each year and (like all things Disney) have passionate collectors.

There’s a reason why runDisney events have a hardcore fan-base among serious runners and Disney fans–because it’s awesome. I’ve done several past Disneyland Half Marathons around the Diamond Celebration, and am already registered for the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon. So obviously I’m a fan of running through Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Angel Stadium, and (to a much lesser extent) the streets of Anaheim.

With background out of the way, let’s turn to basics about the upcoming events. RunDisney returns to California with the fan-favorite Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend from January 11-14, 2024. The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend will offer a variety of events, including yoga, kids races, virtual races, and in-person race distances including a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Dumbo Double Dare Challenge in 2024.

Unfortunately, all of the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend events are now sold out. Every single event sold out within hours of opening to the general public in mid-February. I waited in a multi-hour virtual queue to register, and when I was able to purchase, one of the shorter races and yoga options was already sold out. About 30-45 minutes after I registered for the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon, all of the races were filled to capacity. There were a lot of people in the virtual queue who got totally shut out.

This is likely a matter of pent-up demand, as part of the (publicly unstated) reason why the runDisney events were discontinued at Disneyland previously was due to a lack of interest (and arguably oversaturation). Previously, it was not at all difficult to register for the Disneyland Half Marathon. Although it’s been several years, I’m almost positive I never registered on opening day for the races in 2015-2017. One of those years, I know that I made a fairly last-minute decision to run.

In any case, if you’re already looking forward to the 2025 Disneyland Half Marathon, we’d strongly advise paying close attention to when registration opens. Although pent-up demand is starting to exhaust itself for other things pertaining to Disneyland, it’s unlikely that the same will be true for runDisney events. There’s been an increased interest in these races at Walt Disney World post-resumption, and unless several more race weekends are added at Disneyland throughout the year (unlikely), there are still going to be a ton of runners competing for slots.

Now let’s turn to the finisher medals for the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon, as runDisney shared a sneak peek of these on September 18, 2023. I’m a big fan of all these, and love how they celebrate classic, midcentury Disneyland nostalgia. Anyway, here’s a first look at the race weekend’s line-up of fantastic bling that will be awaiting participants at the finish line:

Disneyland 5K

It’s a great start to the race weekend as Pluto joins participants in an un’fur’gettable time for the Disneyland5K. Participants will put one ‘paw’ in front of the other on a fetching 3.1-mile course that’s perfect for the entire family, earning this sliding finisher medal.

Here are other key details about the 2024 Disneyland 5K:

  • Price: $109
  • Date: January 12, 2024
  • Start Time: TBD Pacific Time
  • 3.1-mile course through Disneyland Resort
  • Beloved Disney Character sightings and entertainment throughout the race
  • 5K finisher medal
  • On-course and post-race refreshments
  • Participant shirt
  • Race bib
  • Digital Expo & Event Guide
  • Downloadable finisher certificate

Disneyland 10K

Birds of a feather … run 6.2 miles together! Participants joining our fine feathered friends, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck, will fly to the finish line to earn this ‘quack’tastic finisher medal.

Here are other key details about the 2024 Disneyland 10K:

  • Price: $149
  • Date: January 13, 2024
  • Start Time: TBD Pacific Time
  • 6.2 mile course through Disneyland Resort
  • Beloved Disney Character sightings and entertainment throughout the race
  • 10K finisher medal
  • On-course and post-race refreshments
  • Participant shirt
  • Race bib
  • Digital Expo & Event Guide
  • Downloadable finisher certificate

Disneyland Half Marathon

OH BOY! Finishing out the magical race weekend are hosts Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, joining participants for the Disneyland Half Marathon. Enjoy a 13.1-mile adventure through the Disneyland Resort and around the surrounding Anaheim Resort District before making your way to the finish line to earn this finisher medal.

Here are other key details about the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon:

  • Price: $235 (SOLD OUT)
  • Date: January 14, 2024
  • Start Time: TBD Pacific Time
  • 13.1-mile course through Disneyland Resort and Anaheim
  • Beloved Disney Character sightings and entertainment throughout the race
  • Half Marathon finisher medal
  • On-course and post-race refreshments
  • Participant shirt
  • Race Bib
  • Digital Expo & Event Guide
  • Downloadable finisher certificate

Dumbo Double Dare

Don’t just fly to the finish line, SOAR! Participants going the extra mile can look forward to earning even more bling during the Dumbo Double Dare. Participants who finish both the 2024 Disneyland 10K and Disneyland Half Marathon on pace will pick-up this extra special finisher medal.

Here are other key details about the 2024 Dumbo Double Dare:

  • Price: $389 (SOLD OUT)
  • Dates: January 13 – January 14, 2024
  • Start Time: TBD Pacific Time
  • 6.2-mile and 13.1-mile course through Disneyland Resort and the surrounding area
  • Disney character sightings and entertainment throughout the race
  • 2 Finisher Medals and 1 Challenge Medal
  • On-Course and Post-Race Refreshments
  • 3 Participant Shirts
  • Race Bib
  • Downloadable finisher certificate
  • Digital Expo & Event Guide

Hotel recommendations are tricky for the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon because we don’t yet have the course map and it’s unknown what access will look like to the corrals. In the past, we always stayed behind the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure–those hotels are farther from the parks, but were an incredibly short walk to the starting line.

Of course, it’s been 7 years since the last Disneyland Half Marathon, so a lot could change. You’ll almost certainly want to book a hotel before the race map is released, as runDisney weekends always cause the prices to increase for hotels in Anaheim. It’s very rare for there to be last minute deals on hotels within walking distance. In the past, prices have spiked closer to race weekend–and the same thing still happens with large events at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Beyond that, our strong recommendation is to book something within walking distance of Disneyland. Speaking from experience, driving to Disneyland on race mornings is a pain and unnecessarily stressful, whereas staying nearby is a pretty smooth and simple.

If you’re doing multiple days in the parks in addition to the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon, the question of where to stay is simple: wherever you view as ‘best’ for doing the parks, too. See our Rankings & Reviews of the Best & Worst Hotels Near DisneylandThis post ranks ~60 hotels near Disneyland at which we have stayed, along with room photos, pros & cons, and other useful information. That also details how to score a good deal on a hotel that’s close to Disneyland.

If your primary focus is the runDisney events, consider somewhere near the intersection of Katella Avenue and Harbor Boulevard. This way, you can potentially get to the starting area through Downtown Disney via Disneyland Drive or the Esplanade via Harbor Boulevard. Even though we’re locals, this is the area where we’re booked!

If you’re looking for training resources for the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon…you’ve come to the wrong place! The photo above more or less encapsulates my preparedness philosophy, which is laid out in The Idiot’s Guide to runDisney. I think that title and the photo pretty much say everything you need to know.

On the plus side, that should underscore the notion that runDisney events are welcoming to individuals of all fitness levels! (Disclaimer: while I do consume an inordinate amount of In-N-Out and generally hate running, I also eat an incredibly healthy diet at home and walk a ton. So it’s not at all accurate to imply that my fitness level is low. I just don’t train for these races.)

Another topic that often comes up with regard to the Disneyland Half Marathon versus the Walt Disney World runDisney events is immersion. The Florida races, no matter how long, are entirely within the gateways of Walt Disney World. Sure, there are long stretches of roadway and the section to and through the ESPN Wide World of Sports can be brutal, but it’s all in the bubble.

That is not true with the Disneyland Half Marathon. Since the resort area is much more compact, there’s no realistic way to do 13.1 miles within Disneyland Resort. As a result, you venture out into the ‘real world’ of Anaheim, which can be a bit rougher and duller. You’ll go past boring office parks and industrial complexes, and see decidedly ‘unDisney’ things.

Whether this makes runDisney events at Disneyland Resort less enjoyable or magical or whatever is a matter of personal opinion. I’ve done over a dozen different races at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris and I’ve found them all to be special in their own ways. I will say that I think the courses in Florida are superior to those in California. I think that’s pretty undeniable, and is the general consensus among runDisney fans.

However, there are sections of the Disneyland Half Marathon that are cool. I love running through Angel Stadium, for example, and going around the Honda Center is likewise a neat experience. Beyond that, I will take the predictably pleasant weather of Southern California over the wildcard of Walt Disney World, where it can be hot and humid any day of the year. So on balance, if I had to choose a Walt Disney World or Disneyland runDisney event, I’m leaning towards WDW, but it’s still a close call. They’re both a ton of fun.

Finally, one thing that I think is curious about the 2024 runDisney race calendar is the timing of the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Disneyland Half Marathon, which are only one week apart. While the former is occurring as normal, the latter is moving to the opposite side of the calendar, having previously been held in the early fall off-season.

This is probably disappointing for some runDisney diehards, many of whom previously planned on running both races. That’ll now be difficult to accomplish with only a week separating the events, except for those with the most relaxed winter breaks.

There are a number of other potential explanations for why both the Walt Disney World Marathon and Disneyland Half Marathon are scheduled for the first half of January 2024. The best explanation is that tradition dictates the timing of the WDW event, and attendance projections determined the scheduling of the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon.

Walt Disney World’s Marathon has long been scheduled for the first two weeks of January in an effort to draw crowds to what was once the sleepy off-season. Crowds used to plummet in early January, as tourists headed home from holiday trips. It was a sharp contrast to the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, with attendance and wait times more than cut in half in the span of a few days.

That’s past tense not just because of the Walt Disney World Marathon, which has been buoying attendance for years, but also because of Annual Pass blockouts plus Osceola and Orange County winter breaks. Honestly, I’ve been surprised that Disney hasn’t moved the Walt Disney World Marathon to later in January because of that.

It’s possible that’s precisely the scenario that led to Disney moving the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon from early September to mid-January. For one thing, the early fall off-season is not as pronounced as it once was. Halloween Time has exploded in popularity, and Oogie Boogie Bash is a big draw. By contrast, mid-January is still relatively uncrowded at Disneyland Resort.

On top of that, we now have dates for the 2024 D23 Expo will be held in August 9-11, 2024. That’s its own huge draw, and it’s possible/probable that Disneyland wants to space out these events, as diehard nonlocal fans would take separate trips out for the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon and 2024 D23 Expo if they’re in January and August…but not if they’re less than a month apart in August and September.

My guess would be that scheduling the race weekends during the least busy time of year and not coinciding with other major events is why the 2024 Walt Disney World Marathon and Disneyland Half Marathon are essentially occurring back-to-back. In the past, runDisney might’ve hesitated to do this, especially as the Disneyland races were waning in popularity.

However, their calculation for the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon was likely that there’s more than enough pent-up demand to easily fill this race even without the runDisney diehards who cannot or will not do both. And given how quickly every single event sold out for the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon–within hours of going on sale and with a still-full virtual queue–they were correct.

Another explanation that’s plausible is that the City of Anaheim only gave them a handful of options, and this one was the most viable. This will be an attractive explanation for those who are sympathetic to Disney, and is one that passes the smell test because standoffs with the Anaheim City Council were one big reason why runDisney events stopped being held at Disneyland. (Construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was simply a face-saving excuse.)

The difference now is that the City of Anaheim is much more sympathetic to Disney’s interests than the one in place back then. After a series of standoffs, Disney and the City of Anaheim reconciled in 2018 and have had a much better relationship since. And by reconciled, I mean that Disney invested heavily in getting its preferred candidates elected.

Disneyland has had zero issues with the City of Anaheim since then, and it’s very difficult to believe they would with race scheduling. Even beyond more pro-Disney politicians, Anaheim and its residents learned how dependent it was upon Disney in 2020-2021. The local vibe has changed a lot in the last few years. So, while possible, I’m highly skeptical of this (potential) rationale.

Ultimately, we’re really looking forward to the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. Honestly, I was starting to lose interest in runDisney towards the end of its run in Anaheim, as the events had started to stagnate. I probably would’ve taken a break from the Disneyland Half Marathon had that decision not been made for me by runDisney. Judging by falling registration numbers back then, I wasn’t alone.

It seems like the hiatus–both the deliberate one at Disneyland Resort and the involuntary one induced by the pandemic–has breathed new life into runDisney races. RunDisney has been crushing it with these lately, and if they can continue that run, it’s likely that the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon will be a ton of fun. As a very casual “runner” who dislikes the act of running but very much enjoys “themed things,” I’m hoping for something that compels me to keep lacing up my shoes at Walt Disney World and Disneyland once again!

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and many other SoCal cities!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Excited about the 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon schedule of races? Thoughts on the mid-century inspired finisher medals for the various events? Already looking ahead and planning on doing the 2025 Disneyland Half Marathon? Disappointed that the two flagship events at Walt Disney World and Disneyland are only one week apart in 2024? Which race(s) will you run? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary or recommendations? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

4 Responses to “Everything You Need to Know About runDisney’s 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon”
  1. Gabby September 21, 2023
  2. Gary B September 18, 2023
  3. Bambi September 18, 2023

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