Non-Marathon people visiting during the marathon..

Jackie H.

It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how!
Aug 18, 1999
My family & I plan to visit the world January 2-9th. The Marathons are the weekend of Jan 8th. I just saw on another thread (in the resort forum) that the CSR and WL stanard rooms are all booked for that weekend! WOW! I had no idea that complete resorts would fill up so early!

So here are my questions:

Will the parks be busy, or will everyone be running in the marathons?

Will I be able to find a room somewhere I can afford? Our plans were for BC if we can get a good rate or CSR...but if things are busy, will they even offer discount rates?

I was thinking we could make our final plans in the fall, am I badly mistaken?

Also, how can we avoid the marathon? I think there is a website, but I don't know what it is.....will the marathon affect our park touring plans? If so, what should we do?

Thanks for all your help! :goodvibes


DIS Veteran
Jan 19, 2002
We've been at WDW a couple times during the marathon. It only affected park touring a little during the actual marathon itself, because the course goes through all the parks. CM's protect the course itself so that park visitors don't get in the way of the runners - it can make a little hard to get around the park while the race is going through that park. But that doesn't last long. The marathon does tie up bus and car transportation that morning and can cause delays getting around on the roads system for a while, but again that is resolved by the afternoon. Outside of the runners in the parks the morning of the marathon, the event itself had little or no impact on crowd levels at the parks. I don't have much to offer about room availability - WDW seems to be generally more booked this year than in past years, so I would certainly try to make reservations as early as possible.


Queen of the Smilies
Feb 21, 2000
Hi Jackie!

We were able to get a great AP rate of $49 a night at POP for the marathon this past January. As someone who participated in the half, we didn't spend a *ton* of time in the parks - gotta save your legs for the big day. ;) Based on the time we did tour the parks though, I would consider it an ideal time to visit because we had minimal waits and saw everything we wanted and some!

The Half marathon will be on Saturday this year, with the full being on Sunday, so that may help with the traffic getting too and from the parks.

Personally I would grab a room now at the rate you can afford, and then hope for a deal to appear. Keeping calling because there are cancellations all of the time.

Have fun!

Bill From PA

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That
Nov 8, 1999
I found the parks to be uncrowded on Marathon Day, but plan your park touring plans with the race in mind. We walked to MGM from Dolphin that morning and had to keep to the grass as the runners were using the path. Once there (MGM) we had a few delays getting from one part of the park to another due to having to wait for runners to pass. It wasn't bad and didn't take long and the crowd itself was light. I'm not complaining, I used to be a competitive road racer myself so I don't mind allowing passage. We got the major attractions at MGM behind us by noon and hopped to Epcot where the last poor souls were still straggling in. I think I enjoyed my Tennants at the R&C more after witnessing the parched runners.

Bill From PA


<font color=FF99FF>The Tag Fairy prefers to remain
Feb 19, 2003
My sister and I were there during the Marathon in 2004. We didn't even know it was going on until we got there (there was a memo on our table at our hotel).

I don't know what you consider "busy," but no, the parks will no be busy. We walked on almost every ride (I believe the only real waits we had were Test Track and Mission Space, but they weren't the longest, the longest was for House of Innoventions).

You should have no probably booking a room. When we booked, we used a discount code, and there were rooms all over the place still open.

Truthfully, except for memo we got in our room and all the tee-shirts and stuff, we didn't really know it was going on. They said that they change bus routes, but it didn't take any long to get to the parks. We never saw any of the runners until the day we left, and that was at the airport.

You are worried over nothing. If you want to see crowds, go during spring break! ;)


DIS Veteran
May 16, 2004
The races start really early (at 6:00 AM last year) so that by the time the parks open, people are pretty much through, at least with the half marathon. Some of the walkers in the marathon were still walking after the park opened, but people didn't seem to even notice that they were still out there, except for the little orange cones to mark off the path where they were trying to walk. A lot of the marathon is run outside of the park on access roads and the like.

I've been in January during marathon weekend, and go in the summer as well. Even during the marathon weekend, it is much less crowded than during the summer.

Jackie H.

It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how!
Aug 18, 1999
Thank you, thank you, thank you! :teeth:

I greatly appreciate your responses and re-assuring me about the crowd levels. We always try to go during an off-peak time and I felt like this would be like that.

But when someone on the resorts board said CSR was full except for suites and all the standard rooms at WL were gone as well :scared: it gave me a fright!


DIS Veteran
Sep 19, 2004
We were there during the marathon a couple years ago. As others have said, the parks didn't really seem any busier than normal for that time of year. We were fortunate enough to stay at BWV on that trip so we didn't have to deal with the hassles of bus transportation that morning. If I remember correctly, we walked to the Studios and had no problems. WDW does give you a very informative note in your room listing what roads will be closed, etc. We didn't have any problems, so I wouldn't be discouraged from going at that time. ::MinnieMo


Disneyland here we come!
Aug 31, 2000
We'll be there this Jan, and have been in Jan 2004. This year the format is changed, usually the expo @ WWOS started on Friday, the Family Fun 5K was run on Sat am and then the Kids races afterwards. Then on Sun, the full & 1/2 marathons were run with the same start time (6am).

In 2006, things will be different. The expo will start on Thurs and run thru Sat, the 1/2 marathon will be run on Sat am, followed by the Family Fun 5K and then the kids races. The full marathon will be run on Sunday.

A couple of the running groups I belong to have lists of people and their tentative travel dates. It appears that more people are going to come before the race and stay for the weekend, then check-out on Monday, instead of coming in on Fri or Sat and leaving right after the race on Sun in previous years. I don't think it will affect things too much, except perhaps for Epcot on Sat since the kids races might run into the afternoon. However, this is in the Epcot parking lots and that shouldn't affect your park touring.

Considering how low the attendance is in Jan I wouldn't worry about it too much. If you'd like more info on the marathon weekend just visit the official site:


"It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."
Sep 6, 2003
We particpated this year and plan to next year. The parks were very pleasant and we had an awesome year the two races are split which could change the experience......

~ there could potentially be TWICE as many runners there to run. With them running together they could only accomodate so many (@ 10,000 each race) and now they potentially could have @ 20,000 each race. More runners = more people and more rooms. I got a great rate this year, am thinking there may not be too many bargains next year.

~ the roads will be shut down for two mornings instead of one. Saturday will be less time because it is the half, but still two mornings of diversions.

~ last year we had to pull the kids out of school to go. This year many of the southern schools at least are off all that week, so I anticipate regular visitors in addition to runners.


DIS Veteran
Feb 17, 2000
Whatever you do, DON'T drive on the Disney roads during the Marathon. I made that mistake this year--it took me 1 1/2 hours to get from my hotel (Poly) to MGM Studios. (NO--I'm NOT exaggerating!! The traffic was bumper to bumper--absolute gridlock.) Disney has signs up warning of traffic congestion--but this was far worse than congestion. The buses were stuck in this mess also--so even taking the bus to the parks wasn't a solution. My suggestion--on Marathon morning, sleep in, have a nice breakfast at your resort, go swimming (if possible), relax!!. By early afternoon the roads are fine. As others have mentioned, the half and full Marathons will be run on different days this year. The half marathon is usually completed by late morning--it's traffic from the full marathon which involves all four parks that seems to cause the worst problems.


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