park crowds marathon weekend

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by kermit116, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. kermit116

    kermit116 "Here you leave today and enter the world of yeste

    Jun 27, 2010
    I'm trying to plan a family trip to WDW on January. We were considering going down on a Thursday and coming back on a Monday evening or Tuesday morning. The weekend we were thinking about turns out to be marathon weekend (Friday-Sunday). We can't travel at the end of January, and I don't want to go down there over MLK weekend because I assume crowds will be worse over over a holiday weekend (even in January).

    I'm wondering just how bad crowds would be in the parks over marathon weekend. Also, would I be better off moving our trip to start on Saturday and end on Wednesday?

    This will be a first trip for a number of our family members, so I'm trying to avoid crowds as best we can in hopes of seeing as many attractions as possible during our short trip.
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  3. RandFamily

    RandFamily DIS Veteran

    Aug 1, 2008
    We have been at the world two different times in January during the marathon. In the morning, the parks were EMPTY! The crowds picked up a lot in the afternoon, but tapered in the evening. Nothing like summer or holiday crowds, though. And it's cool so every thing is more tolerable!

    It was fun to see all the racers with their medals, and we caught the end of the full marathon at EPCOT and it was exciting. The only hassle is getting to the parks on the day of the full marathon because they close many roads. Just ask at your hotel for the best travel plan.
  4. Tarheel girl 1975

    Tarheel girl 1975 Supposed Former Fastpass Hoarder

    Jul 16, 2008
    We were there over Marathon weekend in 2009. The parks will most effected on Saturday and Sunday, so move your trip back if you can. We went MK on Saturday. It was pretty uncrowned that morning, but it took us over an hour to get there. We rode Dumbo at 11am. There was a 10 minute wait. It did get busier towards the end of the day once the runners arrived at the park. We also went to Epcot on Sunday. The marathon isn't over until 11 or 12, so the runners have right of way, but it was fun to be able to see the runners and cheer them on.
  5. mountdew1

    mountdew1 DIS Veteran

    Oct 30, 2007
    Crowds over Marathon weekend really aren't that bad. A chunk of runners won't go to the parks the day of the race. Fairly understandable after running 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Others of course will. The biggest impact will be 2 things. First, runners occupying hotels. Figure 50,000+ runners plus their familes. Not all go to the parks, but many will stay on property. So they help to fill rooms and non park restaurants. Second, getting around property early AM Sat/Sun, but mostly Sunday. Road closures will make it difficult to get to place. Sat will mostly be an issue if you have an early AM flight, or like a 7AM breakfast reservation. Sunday can be a bit more of an issue depending on where you need to go. The runners will be starting at 5:30 each morning. Each morning the last runners should be going past the Contemporary around 7:30, 7:45. Until the last runner goes through, the road over there is a single lane, so they let like 20 cars go in each direction, and then switch. So any Chef Mickey reservation prior to like 8 would require you to leave early to make sure you get there on time. MK early AM dining shouldn't be too bad as they will more than likely drop you off at the TTC and have you take the ferry or monorail (but remember to build in that extra time as well) Those are the only real issue on Saturday as from the MK the runners go back to Epcot. You may have a slight delay heading into Epcot prior to 9 AM. Sat the last runner should be finishing by around 9:30, and they will be going through the front part of Epcot while the park is open so just watch out. Sunday, runners will be in AK, DHS, and Epcot while the parks are open. So getting to any of those could take a little longer, but not terribly so as the runners are fairly spread out by then. Just take care to avoid the marked paths the runners are using, and pay attention to any CM/volunteer providing directions on when and where to walk.
  6. Deb & Bill

    Deb & Bill DVC-Trivia Contest, Apr-2006: Honorable Mention

    Mar 20, 2000
    As long as you aren't trying to get to the MK for rope drop or earlier on Sat or Sun morning, you should be okay. There will be a lot of closed roads around the world on Sunday and part of the world on Saturday, so just stick to Disney transportation.
  7. disnut8

    disnut8 DIS Veteran

    Jan 21, 2005
    :thumbsup2 Totally agree. We were there for the marathon this year (with the grandkids doing the runs on Friday - great experience for the youngsters and very affordable and they get "swag"). Anyway, stick to Disney transportation since the bus drivers know which road will be limited, plan a little extra time to get to the parks and you'll be fine. We had to alter our walk around World Showcase just a bit because the runners had the right of way but Disney has this whole thing down to a science.

    This was our first marathon experience and while we noticed everything and were slightly delayed, this was done in the best possible manner. I'd go during that time every year if I could - crowds were low.
  8. Dizzytime

    Dizzytime DIS Veteran

    Apr 6, 2008
    If you're staying on site, I would recommend the Thursday arrival because the resort hotels will just get busier toward the weekend, but otherwise I think the park crowds starting Sunday may be a bit slower since many of the runners will be leaving that day.

    We come from CA. We usually stayed at Beach Club, have been there a few times over marathon weekend in Jan and loved every minute of it. Maybe we give a little more planning as where to be when, but we always give that a lot thought, anyway.

    I hope you have a great time, and I think you will!

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