You exit the train station and the first question that comes to mind is: Where to now? We’ve been there, asking ourselves whether we should go to the hotel, the Expo or have a quick stop at the parks before jumping into the preparations for the runs.
If you’re wondering the same and would like to know how to plan your first day for the Disneyland Paris Run Weekend, we got you covered with our guide. We participated in the first 3 runs, so we know a little thing or two about how you can plan your first day for a stressless arrival. We want to make sure you know everything if you’re coming to the runDisney weekend.
On your marks. Set, go!
In this article
Start by going to your hotel, unless…
It is no secret that you’ll carry some luggage with you, especially if you’re staying for a couple of days and carrying some running gear or costumes. So the first thing I like to do is to drop my luggage at the hotel and freshen up a little before continuing the day. For those of you who are coming from across the globe, a little shower is probably the first thing on your mind!
Onsite hotels are within a 25 min walk from the train station (except for the Davy Crocket Ranch), security check included. You can also take a complimentary shuttle from the station to your hotel. You have approximately one shuttle every 12 min.
You can check-in anytime you want during the day if you’re staying in one of the on-site Disneyland Paris hotels. So head over to the reception of your hotel as soon as you can. Now be prepared since queuing can get a bit long at the hotels at rush hour. It can easily take you half an hour before you’re talking to a Cast Member.
While you’re waiting in the queue, get the passports/IDs ready for all the members of your room and take out your booking confirmation document. Don’t forget to print that one out at home! After check-in, you’ll receive a Magic Pass per party member with your Disney Park tickets, your digital hotel room key, access to the Disney guest parking, the Extra Magic Time and the swimming and fitness area if your hotel has one.
Important info about the room availability: The rooms are only available at 3 pm (4 pm for the Davy Crockett Ranch) and Disney has no official early checking service you could book. You can drop off your luggage at the hotel and hand it to the free luggage storage. We have been doing this frequently when arriving in the early morning. So grab what you need from your luggage, change your clothes if you feel like it in the hotel bathroom, and drop your luggage at the storage before going to the runDisney Expo.
A little hotel check-in tip
You might be able to grab a room earlier if the room is ready! I have been successful at getting my room when checking in around noon. This might not always work, but it’s usually the time at which your room will be ready. The trick is not to check in too early if you can.
You can also try to call or email Disney to explain your situation and ask for early check-in possibilities. Disney might not be able to help you out all the time, but it’s certainly worth a try if getting access to your room in the morning would make things easier for you. It has worked for us before, so give it a shot!
You can skip the hotel check-in if you don’t need access to your room right away
Disney has a service called Disney Express. You can drop your luggage at the station, and Disney will deliver your hotel check-in documents and park tickets then take your bags from the station to your hotel. On your departure, Disney will also take care of your luggage and transfer them to the train station.
This service is however not free and costs £14 / €17 per person. You can book the service on the official website of Disneyland Paris.
Head over to the runDisney Expo
Now that you’re luggage-free, you should head straight over to the runDisney Expo to register for the runs and get all the documents and goodies you need.
You’ll find the Event Arena on the map below, which is a 10 min walk from the train station.
If the Expo is organized like last year, you’ll find two queues at the entrance: One for those who have prepared their paperwork and one for those who haven’t. Show your registration documents to the race crew and you’ll be able to enter the Events Arena.
I can’t stress this enough: If you don’t want to wait in line to get into the runDisney Expo, I highly encourage you to download and print out your race voucher or any other item voucher purchased on the e-shop, like the Pasta Party, PhotoPass or extra goodies you purchased. A printed version on paper is mandatory for all of them.
You can always check for your voucher on your account through https://book-run.disneylandparis.com/ or in the confirmation mail you should have received.
Last year the organisation was a little late with sending them out, which caused a bit of a panic amongst us runners. We received the voucher confirmation the day before the Run Weekend. So have a plan B should they send it while you’re already travelling to Disneyland Paris for the Run Weekend.
An easy solution for this is to print your documents at the hotel before heading to the expo.
Note that you can print your documents at the entrance of the Expo. Be aware though that in France the keyboards are set in AZERTY. This can create confusion and many contestants over the last year queued up for quite sometime before being able to enter the Expo. Try to avoid that if possible!
Go grab your Disneyland Paris Run Weekend runner’s kit
Congratulations: you’ve now made it inside the Expo! Look out for the booth accepting your voucher number to pick up your runner’s kit.
- If you’re doing the 31k or 36k challenge
You should get everything in one stop, meaning your gEar bag, bib and T-shirts.
As a 31k/36k challenger, you’re only getting one BIB for all of your races.
- If you’re doing one or more races but none of the challenges
You’ll need to stop at each booth representing the races you’ll do. Each booth will give you a kit, including the gear bag, one bib for each race, and a t-shirt for each race as well.
To collect your runner’s kit, you must be able to provide the following documents :
- Voucher with bib number
- Valid photo ID (driver’s license, passport, Military ID, Government issued ID)
- All participants under the age of 18 have to bring the parental approval waiver completed and signed by a parent or legal guardian. You can download the approval waiver over here http://run.disneylandparis.com/practical-info/waivers-and-insurance-policies
If you wish to pick up someone else’s runners kit you must show all the documents listed for each participant:
- Your valid photo ID
- A copy of the valid ID of the person you are picking the bib for
- The original printed voucher of the person you are picking the bib for
- A power of attorney signed by the runner. This document must show your first and last name, plus the runners first and last name. Mention the exact type of service(s) the person is picking. runDisney doesn’t provide a specific template for this.
A little story about last year is that we forgot one of those documents at the hotel! Going back and forth between the Expo and the hotel made us lose some precious minutes in the parks and it is something you want to avoid.
You should also know that you must pick-up your runner’s kit the day before the races, except for the Disneyland Paris 5K and the 36K Challenge.
Your corral (the departing group you’re assigned to) will appear on your bib with a clear letter. The corral you’re assigned to will determine the hour you can start the run. You will find the corral opening times in the runner’s kit you’ll receive with your gEar bag.
A little note about your gEar bag & t-shirt size
The use of the gEar bag you receive at the runDisney Expo is mandatory to deposit your personal belongings qt the drop-off on the day of the race. Disney will make no exceptions because of safety reasons. Flask-belts, however, are allowed.
As for the t-shirt: If it doesn’t fit, you can always ask for a change. We’ve had to do it last year and could change without any issue, as long as the stocks allow for it of course. Better try that t-shirt on before you leave the Expo!
Get park access for your travel companions
If you have friends or family members that are not running and that would like to cheer for you in the parks at Main Street USA or the finish line at Walt Disney Studios, you can ask for a special bracelet that gives access just for that. There is a little magic just in that.
There is one bracelet for each run per person and location (departure or finish line).
My tip is to go get them as early as possible as those spots are desired by a lot of people. We had trouble last year to get bracelets for Friday, as most of the bracelets were already given out due to limited capacity. There were many disappointed people.
If you don’t manage to grab a bracelet, you can still cheer for the participants from around Disney Village, so don’t despair.
Take a picture to finalize your registration
Now that you have your runner’s bag and documents in order, the last step to complete your registration is to go take a picture of yourself. You’ll find the photo booth easily with multiple official Disney photographers ready to take your picture. Say cheese!
Time to shop!
Did you order any extras like the Pasty party, PhotoPass or Merchandise? Bring your printed vouchers to the check-out of the shopping area of the Expo and exchange them for your items.
And if you’d like to do some shopping, there is a shopping area at the end of the Expo with exclusive merchandise for the runs. You’ll find plenty of limited edition t-shirts, pins and running accessories.
Finally, you should go and find your name on the wall (if it’s still there this year!). It is a big printed wall with all the names of the participants. A great spot to take a selfie to kickstart your weekend!
Before exiting the Expo, you can walk around the stands of the exhibitors or skip it altogether as there is not much to see.
Finally, you can go and enjoy the parks
Now that you’re set for the Disneyland Paris Run Weekend, all you need to do is to go and enjoy the parks.
I usually go and drop the bags and merchandise back at the hotel, before heading straight to the parks. I usually make a little detour for a well-deserved coffee at Starbucks in Disney Village.
Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to help you out!
See you at the starting blocks! Are you participating in the Disneyland Paris – Val d’Europe Half Marathon?