Orlando, FL

The Disney Runner - The best long running trails for your vacation, Part 1, Resorts surrounding Magic Kingdom

Flour, Eggs and Yeast

Written by Theresa Vitale

If you’re that person who craves a run at the start of your day to get your head on straight, regardless of if you’re on vacation, welcome, you are not alone! If you’re a local to Orlando and a current or aspiring runner, also welcome because the Disney trails are some of my favorites to run as a local myself. You’ll find my tips and tricks on how to access the trails, along with my top resort choices if you’re a fellow runner or an aspiring one.

Trail from Magic Kingdom towards Grand Floridian at sunsetImage credit: Theresa Vitale

The Long Run

If your budget allows, the best hotels to get in that long run have to be along the Disney monorail. These include the original resorts that launched alongside the opening of Magic Kingdom back in 1971, The Polynesian Resort and The Contemporary Resort; and the resort that opened a bit later on in 1988, The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The reason these are my top long run starting points is because of the ability to jog between all three of the resorts along the path that also provides access to the entrance of Magic Kingdom and the Ticket & Transportation Center. Well lit, a feeling of being enveloped in the Disney bubble of safety and a path that provides a run that can easily be looped, creating a higher mileage count. I've listed out the miles below according to Disney's Running Trails site and they are approximate distances.

  • Ticket and Transportation Center to Polynesian Resort = .5 mile
  • Polynesian Resort to Grand Floridian Resort = 1 mile
  • Grand Floridian to The Contemporary = 1.5 miles
  • Round trip distance if entire loop is completed = 6 miles
Map of Running Trail option at The Grand Floridian along pathImage credit: Theresa Vitale

Running Trail from The Wedding Pavilion to Grand Floridian ResortImage credit: Theresa Vitale

My favorite time to do The Long Run Path

At sunrise, or sunset, this path is extraordinary. It’s peaceful with the sound of birds overhead its’ many trees with old fashioned light poles that remind me of being within a Mary Poppins movie, even if only in my imagination. The time as the sun rises or sets allows you that moment to begin your day with a clear head; or at the end of the day to relieve the stress after one too many outbursts of tears that the heat can bring on in a theme park.

Tips & Tricks for the Long Run Path

If you’re a nighttime runner, be wary of the drawbridge that opens between the Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian along the running path. We’ve gotten caught here twice as the Electrical Water Pageant makes its' way along the winding water way to the Seven Seas Lagoon, preparing to bring magic to guests in view. The approximate time the drawbridge remains open, cutting off the other side of the path, is almost ten minutes so if you’re amid a long run and find yourself in this position, my recommendation is to do a lap, turning yourself back the other direction, until the bridge is down again. For planning purposes on avoiding this detour, check the local time of this nightly water show as the drawbridge will open up about 20 minutes before start time based on our experience.

If you’re a morning runner, avoid park opening of the Magic Kingdom which sits between the Contemporary Resort and Grand Floridan. As you can imagine, beginning up to an hour before park open, the entrance area begins to get crowded with the thousands of guests ready to see Cinderella’s Castle. I personally love getting my run in early so I can enjoy the rest of my day, knowing that, maybe, just maybe, I’ve burned off enough calories to enjoy that Mickey Mouse ice cream bar. To plan well, I'm linking the calendar of park hours here for Disney Parks in Orlando, Florida so you can enjoy this path in the morning.

Running Trail from the Grand Floridian towards The Contemporary Resort passing under monorailImage credit: Theresa Vitale

How to Access this Running Trail

If you have a resort reservation at any of the above mentioned Disney World hotels, you're golden as you can easily lace those sneakers up from your room and hit the ground running. If you have a resort reservation at any of the other Walt Disney Resort locations, you can take a bus from your hotel to Magic Kingdom to begin your trail run. Keep in mind, that only the avid, dedicated runner will likely want to partake in this activity of bus travel to run this long path. If you're on Disney property, you likely will have access at your hotel of choice to a jogging trail provided by Disney front desk cast members, although possibly not as long in mileage. According to the Disney website, you can request a running trail map upon check-in at your hotel. We'll be reviewing each of those resort running paths in the coming months on NewsBreak as training gets underway for the Walt Disney Marathon this January 2023.

If you're a local, or staying off property in Orlando, and you want access to this running path, there is a way to work this in. Queue Disney Dining. Reserving a table at one of the resorts mentioned above for a breakfast following your run is the best way to gain access. We’ll be doing a deeper dive into our favorite breakfast spots in a future NewsBreak article to reward yourself following that long run. Not wanting to sit down in a restaurant after that run? You can request a to go order instead from the cast member at the host stand, but be aware, you will want to ensure they know you had a reservation initially so you don’t get dinged for not showing up.

To book a Disney Dining Reservation: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/#/reservations-accepted/

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We have deep rooted connections with food, travel and friends. Drawing on our experiences, follow us as we keep you up to date on local news, openings and events of all kinds. In addition we will share food, drink reviews and recipes you can enjoy out and about or at home. Look forward to cookies, cakes, seasonal treats including cocktails, and visiting theme parks like Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens to share some of the best foods of their limited time events throughout the year. We are ready to share tips, tricks and the best places to visit when you're in Orlando! Kindly, Theresa and Cam

Orlando, FL

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