ChEARS to YOU friends & family; runners can’t do it without your support! As we roll into December, your runner is probably gone all the time, training with those long runs. You’re up next! Now it’s time for you to get ready to do your part and we have a training plan, if you will: how to cheer the Disney World Marathon. We’ve put together a list of locations for the cheer squad to line the marathon course.
One of the best parts of runDisney races is the incredible crowd support.
That is probably the biggest perk of running here in my book.
Sure, characters are cool and the medals are definitely awesome but I don’t run in a ton of races with the same level of cheering as I do at Disney.
And it really can make a huge difference.
ChEARS to YOU! How to Cheer the Disney World Marathon
My mom and husband were spectators during my very first Disney race, however, I ran right past them without realizing they were there and they didn’t even bother trying to make it over to the finish line.
For the Marathon last year, we were all a little overwhelmed with the options and so I told them to not even bother trying.
Man, did we miss out.
Spectating during the races, specifically the Marathon, doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s actually quite easy to get around and map out a way to catch your runner in several areas of the course!
A quick note: the 2018 Marathon map has not been released. We don’t anticipate too many changes to your cheering options, however. The “usual” places will most likely still be on the course.
Option 1 to Cheer the Disney World Marathon: Just Do It
Thanks to runner tracking, you’ll be able to get text alerts when your runner passes the following points during the marathon: 5 miles, 10 miles, half marathon, and 20 miles.
During the half marathon, the alerts are 5K, 10K, and 15K.
The runner tracking link will become available closer to the race start date.
If you know the course map and know how fast your runner runs… you can time out where and when to go.
Option 2 to Cheer the Disney World Marathon: ChEAR Squad – GOLD Package
This package for spectators available with runDisney comes complete with a runDisney ChEAR Squad bag, blanket, and cowbell.
There are reserved viewing locations near Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park (but be aware they are first-come, first-served), as well as reserved Finish Line ChEAR Zone seating (including actual seats on the bleachers, beverages, and restrooms).
There is a one-day package for $65 (choose between the half marathon or the full marathon) or you can get a package for both race days for $85.
The Gold Package can be purchased here.
Option 3 to Cheer the Disney World Marathon: ChEAR Squad – Platinum Package
This package comes with all of the same things in the Gold Package plus entry into the Race Retreat.
The Race Retreat is a private hospitality tent near the Finish Line which includes live video feed from the race and access to the results, a private restroom, character meet & greets, a post-race brunch, and a designated area to meet your runner after the race.
This could especially come in handy if the weather is unseasonably cold or unseasonably warm and it could very easily be either of those two!
The one-day package for the Platinum Package will run you $120, and the two-day package is $180.
Click here to get your Platinum Package.
Cheer the Disney World Marathon: Where to Watch Your Runner
Navigating the marathon course doesn’t have to be more difficult than running the marathon itself.
You can easily get to several different viewing areas to support and cheer on your runner (and all those other strangers, too).
- Start Line. Skip this! There is no viewing your runner as they start the marathon. You can accompany them to the Epcot parking lot and staging area, but once they need to move into the corrals, you won’t see them again until they are on the road!
- TTC/Polynesian Resort/Hollywood Studios option. One suggestion is to take the monorail from Epcot to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC), walk over to the Polynesian Resort, and then take a bus from Polynesian over to Hollywood Studios to see your runner in the final few miles of the race.
- Grand Floridian/Shades of Green location. Another popular spot to watch is along the road outside Grand Floridian. You can’t park at the Grand Floridian, but you can park at the TTC and take the monorail to the Grand Floridian. Or hit the monorail after cheering in the Magic Kingdom.
- Magic Kingdom options. Speaking of Magic Kingdom: that’s probably the most popular spectator spot. The actual ChEAR Squad section at the Magic Kingdom is directly in front of the castle. If you do not have a ChEAR Squad Package, you can still find a spot on Main Street or near the castle.It’s important to note that the viewing area near Cinderella Castle (which opens at 5:30 am) does not require a park ticket to enter the Magic Kingdom, however, you will need a ChEAR Zone wristband to enter the ChEAR Zone area.
- Animal Kingdom. Another great place to watch runners is just outside the Animal Kingdom Park entrance. You don’t need a ticket, there’s plenty of room for spectators, and there’s both coffee & transportation nearby. You can take a resort bus to the Animal Kingdom starting about an hour before the park opens or drive into the parking lot if you have a car.
It’s also traditionally the halfway point, so you can legitimately yell “You’re HALF WAY THERE!” without people wanting to punch you in the face.
- Hollywood Studios parking/bus area. This is another great place to catch sight of your runner as they move into the final stretches of the race. Take a bus from any resort to Hollywood Studios and watch for runners exiting the park. They run down a path that takes them to the Boardwalk.
- The Boardwalk. This is where the “victory lap” of the marathon starts. The general rule of thumb for runners (particularly the ones in the back of the pack) says that if you make it to the Boardwalk, you are clear of the sweep zone. Some of the best friends and family cheer locations can be found here! If you are staying at any of the resorts in this area, it’s a great place to walk out of your hotel, cheer, and head back in for a coffee refill as needed.
- Epcot. Epcot is a great place to cheer as it’s the final mile of the race. You will need a park ticket to cheer inside Epcot.The World Showcase offers food and drink for everyone watching the runners go by. And don’t forget to grab them a big pretzel or margarita for their victory lap if they are into that sort of thing!
- The Finish Line. This is located in the Imagine Parking Lot of Epcot. You can line up along the fence, or on the bleachers if you have a ChEAR package. Your runner will finish, recieve their medal and refreshments, and can meet you back in the staging area parking lot afterward.Protip: the parking at Epcot is free before 7 am; if you arrive afterward, you will be charged the daily parking fee.
And please, please, please… don’t forget to bring a funny sign!
I hope this helps you know how to cheer the Disney World Marathon!
Are you cheering the Disney World Marathon this year? What’s your game plan for locations and signs?