Run Disney France – The Ultimate Guide for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend
So, you want to know more about Run Disney France at Disneyland Paris. This is a full-on guide on what to do for the race weekend, coming up to it and how to book, etc. So, how do I know all about this? Well, I was invited to a special weekend training with Paula Radcliffe and other fantastic people from all over Europe and I had the opportunity to go run in Disneyland Paris in a closed off park so here are some things you need to know:
Book a Place at Run Disney France
So, first off you need to go and book at http://run.disneylandparis.com. You have to decide whether you want to do a 5k run, whether you want to put your kids in a kid’s race, whether you want to do a 10k run, or the Half Marathon they are on different days. But for all the races you need to go and pick up your race gear on the 22nd of September 2017. So, the whole race weekend starts from the September the 21st 2017 which is the expo launch day. Then, you’ve got till Friday evening to go pick up your bibs and then they’ve got the 5k family run on Friday in the evening, it’s in the dark. Then, they’ve got the kids race which is for 1-12 year olds on the Saturday. And they’ve got their 10k also on the Saturday but at 7a.m, very early on the 23rd of September 2017. And then the Half Marathon starts at 7 on Sunday September the 24th 2017. And they have various prices, they all have ticket prices in order to take part and that’s quite normal for any race. It’s not a timed race and this year what’s really special is that the Half Marathon finishes inside the park and it is the first time anywhere– where there is around Disney whether it’s in the United States or over here in Europe– it’s the first time you can finish inside the park. So, it’s very very special. It’s a very very special event.
Book a Disney Hotel
When you book your race ticket you may also want to consider making it big weekend out of it or big week out of it and stay at a hotel and go to the parks. I would recommend doing all of those things. Why not? If you’re going to pay 75euros to take part in a Half Marathon you may as well go the whole hog. Book a hotel. If you’re gonna to book a hotel, I’d recommend the Disneyland Hotel in the actual park, New York Hotel which is the closest one next to the Disney village, then Sequoia Lodge Hotel and the NewPort Bay Hotel. Those are the three closest hotels to the Disney village and park. And the one inside the park is a lot more expensive, but you are in the park. I think there’s a lot of other perks too.
Now, security is quite tight. But if you have a room in a Disney hotel, you can go through a faster security check point and also you get to use the park a little bit earlier between 8 and 10 in the morning. The parks open till really late, but if you go through the normal public entrance, security takes a long time.
Getting the Eurostar to & from Disneyland Paris
If you‘re catching the Eurostar then try and get one of the direct trains especially if you have kids, because it’s a lot less painful, let me put it that way. It’s quite difficult getting out of France, if you get back to England. I don’t know what it’s like if you live in Europe and you catch trains from somewhere else in Europe from Disneyland Paris. But if you catch the Eurostar make sure you leave very, very, very early. Leave yourself a good couple of hours before your departure time, because there will be a lot of people, a lot of people trying to get on that Eurostar train. And you want to make sure you are one of the first people to get on that train…First! So, my top tip is get on that train early. We kind of made the mistake of leaving it quite late. The good thing is they will stick around even if the train is delayed by like 20 minutes, they don’t leave any passengers behind, even though they say they will they actually don’t. It’s a lie. But that’s only on direct train. If you don’t get the little train and indirect connection, forget it, they will leave you behind. If you get the direct train they will not leave you behind.
There’s only one train back to England and there’s only one train to Disneyland Paris from England that is direct, so make sure you get there early. It counts on the other side as well, from England to Disneyland Paris, but less so than actually going from Paris back to the UK. Get there early, book your tickets early because they are cheaper. If you have kid who is 0,1, 2, or 3 years old, they can travel for free, but they have to sit on your lap and only one child per adult. Between the ages of 4 and I think 11, there is a special price for kids. However, that price may not be as cheap as buying an advanced single adult or return adult ticket. So, bear that in mind, do look at both prices and see which one is cheaper. It’s possible that the child ticket can be more expensive than the adult ticket. You may also get it all as part of a package with your hotel, in which case do that. It just saves you a headache and then you will be at all protected and all that kind of stuff. Get travel insurance and remember to get your EHIC card if you are from the EU. And there’s probably something else I’ve forgotten, em, pack your bags.
Pack lots of stuff, but also take lots of spare luggage space. On the Eurostar each adult, regardless of whether they have children or not, ok, if your children are 0 or 1, 2, 3 years ago you don’t get any extra allowance. Kids between 4 and 11, I think are allowed 1 big suitcase. And from 12 years old and over, they are counted as adults, I think from memory and all adults get 2 big luggage, and one small luggage. I would recommend taking that second big luggage, because you’ll probably buy loads and loads of stuff at Disneyland.
If you get Disney Express which is a service that you pay for if you have a Disney Hotel or I think you get it free if you have a suite in one of the hotels. My #1 tip is to get Disney Express, because then you go straight to the park because you have your park ticket waiting for you on the Eurostar train (or at the Chessy station for other trains) along with your luggage tags. Then, after a day at the park, you just go straight through the village and to your hotel. Walking to your hotel around the lake via the village takes less time than using the shuttle bus service.
Main Areas of the Hotel
- Disney Express or at the Hotel it’s called Baggage – pick up your bags here and drop off to pick up at station when going home. Also tickets if you booked in advance.
- Reception which is for checking in, getting meal vouchers and doing the charge card thing.
- Concierge for sorting out a lot of things like housekeeping like if you need a cot or if you need to reserve a table at a restaurant or if you want to find out about stuff.
- Souvenir Shop. There’s a shop where you get your photopass+.
Disneyland Paris Charge Card
The Disneyland Paris charge card is a little contactless card which you get to keep and take home with you as a souvenir. It is a little charge card that you can use to pay for stuff in Disneyland and get all the stuff sent back to your room automatically which is fantastic. Which means you can pick it all up in one go and take it home with you. This thing requires a bit of form filling and credit card authentication. You can have multiple cards too for your family members if you plan on doing different activities on some days. For every 380 euros they just debit your account. So, if you spend 200 euros they just debit your account when you leave. If you spend 390 euros they debit it once you cross over 380 euros and then the rest when you leave and so on. So, this charge card is contactless. You stick it on the machine and you enter a pin that you set when you got one of these things. You can get this at the Hotel reception.
Disneyland Meal Vouchers
You can also full-board, half-board which are your meal options and you get vouchers which allow you to eat lunch and dinner and breakfast at certain places. If you don’t want to eat at one of the designated places you eat, you can use the vouchers at face value. Currently, one of the yellow ones, a child is worth 16 euros I think, and adult ones are worth 28 euros. But, you can get that all bundled in with your hotel package. So, if you like just reserve and book in your hotel there to eat. If you are riding a lot and you know you are going to ride or you are going to watch the illuminations, go eat in the park, but reserve your hotel and restaurant stuff before you go, because it gets booked up. They get really busy, just call up or email the concierge at your hotel to book.
In the village (which doesn’t require a park ticket) are Coffee bars and Vapiano and Starbucks, and some other sandwich places. McDonalds too.
Disneyland VIP Fastpass
Certain rooms will allow you to have one of these things as well which is VIP fastpass. And if you can afford it, I’d recommend getting it only because you get to go on the rides — there are 10 rides I think where you can just go straight on pretty much. You flash your VIP fastpass and then they let you on– you don’t have to queue. That is for rides like Big Thunder Mountain and Aerosmith – so cool! The next one down from that are ones with fastpass, range with fastpass. And fastpass allows you do pretty much the same thing, except you don’t have to go straight on. And I think there’s limited amount of fastpasses that you get, like three per park. And what happens is you go up to machine and it spits out a time for you to go back to queue up for your fastpass. The queue is very very short. So, you don’t like ride under 10 minutes, really cool.
Disney Hotel Easy-Pass
When you check in to your Disney Hotel, at the bottom of your registration form it says easy-pass and that allows you to go into the park between 8am and 10am. That is very cool. So, even if you do not have fastpass or VIP fastpass you can get into the park or the Studios between 8 and 10, before the general public are allowed in.
Disney PhotoPass+ Card
What the Photopass+ card allows you to get your photo taken and then it allows you to have all of the images digitally downloaded onto your account and which you can retrieve later. It’s available on all the big rides and the meet & greet areas where you meet the characters like Mickey and Donald Duck, and Buzz Lightyear, etc. You have a whole year to download the images off the web or you can view them from an app which can sync up with your account. And that you get in the Disney shop, but you can pre-register the app before you go.
The 3 sections of Disneyland Paris
There are three different sections to Disneyland Paris. One is the Disney village. Anyone can go in through there once you’ve passed your security. And the best security gates to get through are the ones from the hotels. Disney village has a huge range of themed restaurant and cafes to go to. And if you ever want to go to a Disney shop without having to pay for the entry of a Disney park or a Disney studio ticket, then fear not because there are lots of shops out here to do with Disney, lots. And there are lots of people wearing Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse is everywhere.
There are 2 attraction parks, The Disney studios and the Disney park. The Disney park is bigger and the original one and it’s got the castle. And the studios are based on movie things.
There’s a full massive program which you can download online of all the different events that are going on at Disneyland Paris anywhere near the park. Or you can use the Disneyland app to find out where all these things are taking place and what time they are taking place. I would recommend doing all those things.
Disney Paris Illuminations
The illuminations, you can’t miss them. Don’t miss it. Go and stand in a really nice spot. Central Plaza is the best place to stand and get there for like 8pm, stand there for a couple of hours. It’s gruelling, I know, it’s horrible, but when it gets to 10pm or it might be later if it’s in the Summer or September. It might be 11pm or it might be 9pm. Just look up the event beforehand. You want to really watch those illuminations, they are really really good. And when I say illuminations, it’s like a big projection thing that goes onto the Castle and then you’ve got fireworks, and it’s all themed with music. It’s truly magical and if you’ve got kids with you, it’s something to remember and not miss. Don’t miss it. Don’t miss it.
The Run Disney Paris Race Weekend
You want to gear up properly. I think with the race bib you get a race T-shirt on the race weekend. Wear racy stuff. And if you want to wear a costume, wear a ‘costumey’ thing. Then, have a breakfast if you eat breakfast before you run. And then go around running around the Disney park. The courses are really really cool, There will be crowds of people cheering you on. There will be characters to take photos with and there will be a special edition photopass+ edition for the weekend where they use your bib number to send you all your run pics.
Ok, I hope that was a comprehensive guide to a race weekend between the 21st and the 23rd of September 2017. Hopefully, you will be there and you’ll have fun. Do enjoy the rides. My son’s favourite (he is three by the way) is Big Thunder Mountain. He loves that train. My favourite is the Aerosmith Ride. So, if you go along, go check out those rides. If you want to see a good show then I can highly recommend the Motor Stunt Show. It’s very good.
That’s the guide. I made a video with footage from the course below. Good luck on your race weekend!