View Full Version : Effects of Jan. Marathon on parks

04-17-2004, 01:09 AM
I noticed we're going to be at SSR at the same time as the marathon in January. What kind of effect does the marathon have on park attendance and the transportation system?

04-17-2004, 07:06 AM

It's a fairly quiet time at the parks - I'm sure Disney planned it that way. I've been there once as a spectator and four times as a runner.

Many participants come for a long weekend and go... packet pick-up on Friday, family fun run Saturday morning, marathon and half on Sunday. For most of the crowd, hitting the parks is part of the weekend, but not the main event. The leukemia "team in training" runners are allowed to stay only a limited number of days, so they clear out shortly after the Sunday race.

Specially hired buses are brought in by Disney to transport runners and their families to the various events, so there is no strain whatsoever on the normal WDW system. On race day, the last buses to the starting line near EPCOT leave the resorts at 4:00 am. Spectators who choose to follow the course may hop the monorail to MK, but since the race starts at 6:00 am, it's too early to interfere with the normal Sunday park crowd.

By the time the parks are open, the runners are very spread out over the 26.2 mile course. There are cones set up and CMs posted to keep the course clear through AK, MGM and EPCOT. The park crowds are fairly sparse anyway, so it doesn't seem particularly disruptive. Most people cheer, though I once heard a guy grouse because he had to wait for a few runners to go by before he could cross the street.

After the race, runners tend to crash in their hotels, so don't expect them to crowd the parks (though the hot tubs might be a different story). For the next few days, there's a lot of limping and wincing - not much competition for the park commandos.

04-17-2004, 11:48 AM
I was there this January during the marathon and sunan was right. There were no crowds or problems with parks. On Sunday, the day of the marathon, I went into EPCOT and the only people I did see were the runners running the marathon! It is a very exciting and inspirational thing to see! If you can, you shoud take some time to go to the boardwalk on Sunday morning to watch the runners- very fun! Also- during the week we had walk on to almost everything. We rode TofT several times in a row because the crowds were so low.
As to resorts- we checked into BCV's on Sunday, the morning of the marathon. We arrived very early to check in, and did not get into our room until 4pm- which is the normal check in time anyway- so I don't really think it affected us with check in either.

04-17-2004, 12:37 PM
Only effect I can point to is the traffic SNAFU on race morning.
This January was my 3rd 1/2 and each year they improve the impact the race has on traffic. This year was the best yet.
Hopefully this trend continues.

04-17-2004, 02:38 PM
Tiggerfreak and sunan- what resorts did you stay at for the marathon? We're booked at BCV's - I'm doing the half in 2005, and am deliberating on just staying there the whole weekend (despite the costly points!) or staying somewhere else on the weekend and moving to BCV's on Sunday- marathon day, when the race is over. Of course, I don't like the points for the weekend, but I'm thinking for convience and rest, I'd really appreciate staying in the BCV's and not having to check out/in to avoid weekend points! What did you all do?

04-17-2004, 03:17 PM
We were also there this year during the marathon. We were staying at the BWV and the only problem we had was traffic and getting to the MK for breakfast at Cindys. We had a rental car but was told we needed to take a bus as many of the roads were closed in the AM. Buses were slow but we made it in time. After breakfast, the park was almost deserted. We did almost of all of Fantasyland in an hour. When we got back that afternoon around 2:00 pm the last of the runners were going through the BW, but were not a bother at all. In fact, it was fun watching them. It was a magnificent time to be there. Some of the Xmas decorations were still up and the crowds were so low. We stayed for a week. The weather was gorgeous and I couldn't have asked for a better stay. We normally go in October or December and love the holiday festivities but would go again the first of January in a heart beat.

04-17-2004, 04:43 PM
2005 will be my first time there as a DVC member. Though we've normally stayed at the Beach and Yacht Clubs in the past, the last time we had connecting rooms at the Swan. For our first trip home in January, we decided to splurge with a 2BR BoardWalk view for 8 nights... with Virginia, New Hampshire, Alaska and Japan represented. We can't wait!

As far as moving to save points, I can't imagine a worse time to change resorts than the day of the race. ("Are you crazy?" were the first words that popped into my head.) I'd sure hate to find myself without a place to immediately crash after getting up at 3 in the morning and running 13.1 miles! If you've got ressies at BCV, do yourself a favor and stay in one place. Surely, you're worth the extra points!

04-17-2004, 05:31 PM

In 2002 and 2003 we stayed at OKW. In 2002 the bus ride back to OKW took almost as long as it took me to do the 1/2 :eek:
So thinking that I could walk to VWL from the finish of the 1/2, we stayed there this year. But my soon to be DDIL who ran with me and my son, was feeling the miles. DW had parked in the lot next to the finish line, so we rode back. took about 10 minutes:teeth:
In 2005 I plan on running 26.2, have ressies for VWL, but will try to switch over to BCV or BWV at 7 months.

Good luck in your training and don't forget to bring a garbage bag to wear at the start ::yes::

04-17-2004, 05:42 PM
I know.... the smart side of me said- "stay in one place you won't be abel to move when you're done!" But the stingy part of me said- "but you can save more points and have another nice long trip if you just switch on race day".... silly me! I'll stay a BCV's and I won't fight it! Maybe I'll try at the 7 month window to change to BWV if it'll save me a couple points... but it will be one of the 2 either BCV or BWV for sure! now, if you could just indulge me one more time.....
I'm thinking it's gonna be a REALLY good idea if I get a message after the 1/2 marathon. When is the best time to do that? the day of the marathon or the day after? have you guys ever done a message? What kind is best for your aching body?

04-17-2004, 07:11 PM
Originally posted by TiggerFreak
Good luck in your training and don't forget to bring a garbage bag to wear at the start ::yes::

LOL! That's the advice I always give! And bringing your own is a good idea. We had trouble tearing the head and arm holes in the peculiarly-designed bag we got from the housekeeper at the Swan!

karebear1 - Massage is a terrific idea, preferably the day of, but the day after is okay, too. It will help your muscles recover more quickly. Unless you have some particular areas that need attention, tell the massage therapist you just ran the half and they'll know what to do for you. All you have to do is enjoy.

If you can't get an appointment, just enjoy that jacuzzi (if you have a 1-2B), or the hot tub at SAB.

04-17-2004, 10:01 PM
We were there this year in a 2BR Boardwalk view at BWV. It was great fun to sit on the balcony that morning and watch the marathon preparations and part of the marathon. In fact, we messed ourselves up a bit because of it - we had planned (based on posts for previous years) to head into Epcot at opening and stay till around 11, then take the monorail over to MK (several people noted that once the race was finished in the early morning at MK, the place was very quiet). Well, we got a late start and then the kids wanted to go to MGM. It was difficult to get to the boat at that point (10-11AM) because the bulk of the racers were coming through MGM and around to the boardwalk on their way to Epcot. Getting into MGM was a bit difficult also. Of course it was still fun all the way watching the runners and the cheerers!! When we got into MGM the characters were along the road waving and cheering the runners. That day in MGM was the most crowded we experienced that whole week. If I do it again I'll stick to my original plan of Epcot early and then hop to MK. Just stay off the roads if you can - everything else that week was awesome !:smooth:

karebear1 - I would stick with a good, old=fashioned, swedish massage after a workout like that !