The runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend has officially returned to Disney World and there are a lot of runners celebrating!
The events began on Friday morning with the Princess 5K and today marks the end of the weekend, with runners logging 13.1 miles across the resort. The race starts before the sun is even thinking about rising at 5AM in the EPCOT parking lot and runners take to the streets, eventually making their way through Magic Kingdom and back. But, what if you’re NOT running any of the races and come to Disney to find out that, oh no, you’ve booked your vacation on the SAME weekend? Well, let’s take a look at the crowds we’re seeing!
The first thing that you want to keep in mind if you’ll be driving around Disney property during a race weekend is traffic. Disney closes a variety of roads for the race, so getting around is a bit more difficult. In fact, we even received a notification through our My Disney Experience app letting us know that “roadways and parking may be impacted by a runDisney event on Sunday” from 3AM to 1PM and that we should give ourselves extra time to get to our destination.
And, they weren’t wrong! When we drove into Disney this morning, we did notice that traffic was backed up, especially into Magic Kingdom…
So, does the traffic give us any clues into how busy the parks are?
Over in Magic Kingdom, we were surprised at how quiet the park actually was, especially for a Sunday morning. Here’s what it looked like on Main Street, U.S.A. shortly after we arrived.
We even managed to ride about three rides pretty early on with little to no wait time. For example, Pirates of the Caribbean had a 35-minute wait time when we checked in around 10AM.
And, areas of the park that usually are super congested with people were almost EMPTY. Just look at Fantasyland — we could see the ground!
However, around 11:30AM we did start to notice crowds starting to pick up a bit.
The crowds will likely continue to grow throughout the day as runners make their way to the park for photos though!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom was also feeling like a ghost town in certain parts of the park this morning!
Most of the rides had little to no wait times (though Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey were still upwards of 100+ minutes).
This park tends to be less popular among runners, and crowds remained relatively low into the afternoon!
And, what about EPCOT? Crowds were certainly a bit heavier here, as this is where runners end their race. But, Disney was doing a good job managing the larger groups of people and had guests who had already purchased tickets walk around the ticketing booths to the entrance.
And, surprisingly, once we were around the ticketing booth, the lines to get into the park weren’t too long.
Inside the park, wait times were a little higher here for some attractions, but it’s not unusual for Test Track to have a wait of over an hour. At around 11AM, it was 65 minutes.
So, what’s the key takeaway here? If you plan on visiting Disney World during a runDisney race weekend, heading to the parks early will likely mean that you face lower crowds — and, if you’re staying at Disney World resort taking advantage of Early Theme Park Entry will be even more of a benefit! Runners tend to be wrapping up their race or relaxing at their hotel during these early morning hours, so you’ll want to take advantage.
We’ll keep checking in with the crowd situation at Disney World, so be sure to stay tuned to DFB for the latest!
Have you ever visited Disney World during a runDisney race weekend? Let us know in the comments!