Dopey Challenge 2014: Family Fun Run 5k

My first leg of the runDisney Dopey Challenge (running 48.6 miles in four days) was running the family fun run 5k.

family fun run 5k

I was excited because this race started later than other runDisney races, yes, at the late hour of 6:15 in the morning. This meant I got to “sleep in” until after 4:00! I decided to dress as Minnie Mouse, because I knew a lot of people were doing Minnie for the 10k, so I wanted to be different and chose her for the 5k instead.


We hopped on a bus from our hotel and made it to the start. We were running a little late, and ended up towards the back of our corral, corral C. (the corrals were based on your estimated marathon finish time, and apparently Dopey runners were pushed back into farther corrals for all the races than they should have been).


When the race began, we still had to wait over 20 minutes to start. I could tell it was going to be a frustrating race as I overheard people saying they were walking the whole thing, etc. and I knew the course was very narrow in the beginning.


We finally started, and literally, people crossed the starting line and began walking. Hear me out, there is nothing wrong with walking a runDisney 5k, or any 5k… I think it’s awesome that so many people were out there at all, but runDisney has got to come up with a better system, or people need to be honest about their times and move to the right corral or the back of their corral to walk. I felt like it was definitely a safety hazard, and that there should have been more corrals spaced 5 minutes apart instead of less corrals spaced 10-11 minutes apart. I think the 7,000 Dopey runners made this race way too big and runDisney should make a separate Dopey 5k and family fun run 5k. I thought it wasn’t fair to the families and kids who wanted race photos with characters but because there were so many participants, there was no way to do that unless they stood in character lines longer than at the parks.


So our corral started, and we began going through the parking lot, weaving in and out of people, running in the grass, just trying to keep a running pace at all. We finally hit mile one, and made it into EPCOT where the course opened up a little bit, ah, running room!


We had not decided if we were going to stop for photos, but after seeing the first ones we knew we definitely would NOT be stopping. With the added number of participants, the photo lines were SO LONG. Dopey was on the course (still not sure why) and his line was easily 200 people long.

Speaking of characters, I only counted 3-4, and one character line didn’t even have a character at it when we went by! I remember running the Royal Family 5k a couple years ago and there was a princess at nearly every country, so I was kind of bummed by the lack of them.


We ran around the World showcase, keeping an easy and comfortable pace, and just kept on going.

I honestly don’t remember this race too much, just looking down a lot so I didn’t trip as we weaved around people. I remember the pretty torches being lit around World Showcase, and just running, running, running! The finish line was in sight, and I couldn’t wait to cross that same spot on Sunday after the full marathon.





We finished in about 35 minutes, collected our first of six medals, and I was finally able to meet up with Dani in real life! It was great to finally meet her, and we were both dressed as Minnie!


Oh, we also had to get our 5k finisher wristband so that we would be eligible to get our 10k band the next day.

We went back to the hotel, showered, ate breakfast, then headed back to EPCOT to spend the day in the park. We didn’t stay all day though, we still had three races to run!

QOTD: What are your thoughts on crowded races? Should there be more corrals? Less people?

For more info on running a 5k with runDisney, visit their website.

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  1. It’s definitely frustrating to have to weave so much during the first few miles of a race. My first half marathon was like that, and it made the first 2 miles really annoying. It’s too bad they don’t have specific walkers corrals.

  2. Oh no! I hope this doesn’t happen for the Royal Family 5k next month. We won’t have any Dopey Runners to worry about so that should help! We are really looking forward to stopping along the route to take pics so I hope that lots of characters are out. I totally agree with you that Disney has got to come up with a better way to manage the increasing number of runners, it’s just not safe when you start cramming too many people in (especially when there’s a mix of walkers and runners- and kids!).

  3. I never thought about that being the reason it was so crowded…Dopey runners walking to take it easy. It was very frustrating though especially during the half. I couldn’t run at all in the castle. Everyone around me was walking and it was so congested! The photographers couldn’t even take pictures it was so crowded. So no running through the castle picture of me. 🙁

  4. lauren@golaurengo says

    Yikes! Its tough when you actually want to race, yet the field doesn’t give you the ability to do it. Still impressive that you did 48.6 miles in four days…, so maybe the slow 5k was a good thing!

  5. Less people would always be ideal but I don’t see disney turning anyone a way because that is more $ for them. I think your idea of having a separate 5K race for Dopey challengers is a good one ( at least is theory)! Is there some kind of “rule” walkers to the right, runners to the left? In longer distance races I have often done the run/walk method but I always make sure I am on the side of the course cus I don’t want to be walking right in the middle.
    Also, where are you standing in world showcase in that top picture? Cute!

  6. I really hope they fix the corral system for next year! I’d be really upset. I’m glad you finished but sad you couldn’t get a Dopey pic. You looked great though!

  7. I think they do need two separate 5K’s if they offer Dopey again. 7,000 timed Dopey’s changes the atmosphere and I heard people say there weren’t that many families in the 5K this year.

  8. I thought the corrals for the Dopey Challengers were a mess! Like you said I especially felt bad for the families that thought they were participating in a “family fun run” because that is definitely not what this was, it was completely taken over by the Dopey runners and the lack of characters was really disappointing.

    I think the Disney races are just too big for some parts of the courses they use, there are spots that get VERY narrow and it makes it very difficult to run. Hoping they make some corral changes for next year!

  9. I’ve read quite a few recaps of people saying that Disney needs to do something different with all the Dopey participants. I wasn’t there, but based on the info, I definitely agree with you – a separate 5K is a good idea! That stinks that there weren’t more characters on the course – 200 people for one line is absolutely ridiculous! Hopefully the other races were much better with more mileage to space everyone out more.

  10. I’ve read other bloggers make similar comments about the corral and the length of lines for the characters (not to mention a distinct lack of characters). Such a shame!! I love running the 5K as that is my chance to take it easy and stop for all the photos. I hope RunDisney is listening to the feedback and considering separating out the Dopey 5K and the Family 5K. For the amount that the 5K costs as a standalone race I would be really disappointed.

  11. Ugh – that sounds like kinda a mess. I hate congested races and my pet peeves is walkers who don’t start in the back or who walk 4 abreast. It’s just dangerous!

  12. I agree. There should be a walker specific corral. And I think walkers should be instructed to keep to the right since I think most of them aren’t aware of course etiquette.

  13. Sorry it was so crowded…sounds like a fun run, though. I think it’s crazy there weren’t more characters out! For Royal Family, there were SO many!! Congrats on part 1!

  14. That is just crazy to me that people in Corral C…walked from the beginning…what?!?!?…I did the 1/2 on the Saturday…and I ended up having to weave in and out of walkers for the better part of the race, but that was my own fault…’cause I opted to stop for pics at every single character

    • Yes. It was surprising. Literally stepped over the starting line and started walking 3-4 people across as a family. It was like a giant wall we couldn’t get around!

  15. First of 6 medals? … you are my hero

  16. I completely sympathize with how you felt, Heather. We opted to walk the 10k, but purposely started in the back of our corral and stayed to the far right of the course in order to leave plenty of room for runners. During the half (which was my big race of the weekend), all I wanted to do was run but so many people were walking, which caused me to have to weave, run on the grass, or not run at the pace I wanted to. The most frustrating part was when we encountered walkers walking 3-4-5-or more people across the course, especially when we left Magic Kingdom, completely limiting our ability to get around them. So frustrating!

    • yall did it exactly right by starting in the back and staying to the side. Sadly not everyone received the runner etiquette memo!

  17. Anna-Leigh says

    As a runner, who has participated in the Family Fun Run 5K before, I have to say that the Dopey challenged changed the atmosphere of the race. It was no longer a race focused on families being together, but a race focused on being the first leg of the Dopey Challenge. This is to be expected given that they announced that out of the 10,000 5K participates, 7000 were doing the Dopey challenge. I completely agree that there should be two 5K’s. I walked in the 5K with my mom because that is all she can do. We were in corral C and even walked for the entire course. Yet, we finished in 40 minutes. The 5K gives me the opportunity to cross the finish line with my mom, not to run for a PR.

    • That’s great you ran with your mom! I’m sure yall were courteous and stayed to the side and were not at the very front of the corral. Walking is totally fine!

  18. I LOVE these dress up runs! They give you 10X more energy because you feel so doofy and funny wearing a cute little outfit. And if you see others wearing funny things, that only fuels you even more! So weird how that works!

    What’s also amazing about an early morning run… When it’s over 1/2 the country still isn’t even awake! HA! You accomplished something huge before a majority of the people have ever scrambled eggs!

  19. I really appreciate your honest review of this race! Sorry it was so frustrating in the beginning.

    • I always try to be honest. Don’t get me wrong I lloovveee runDisney but I want to be credible as well, so honesty is the best policy!

  20. I’m kind of surprised at the excitement over disney races. I don’t think there is anything in the world that would make me want to stand in a line of 200 people to get a picture with a character. However, crowded races didn’t start to bother me until I started running races to beat my personal best. Haha. I started as a walk/jogger and so if it was crowded I was likely in the back anyway and just there to have fun. Now I care less about the “energy” of the event, and prefer smaller, less crazy events.

    • They aren’t all like that. I was in corral A for Tink and waited no more than 10-20 seconds per photo, tops. The 200 was b/c it was Dopey so all the Dopey runners wanted a pic with him. I just thought he should have only been at the half or full and put a character that Dopey ppl wouldn’t flock to at the 5k lol.

  21. Yep — I hear ya! I was one of the crazy people in line for Dopey…and let’s just say the amount of time it took you to complete the 5K was the amount of time I stood there for a picture, haha. It really wasn’t the most exciting course in the world, and I was totally surprised by the lack of characters, but the fact that I had trouble running ANYWHERE (and I started in B) was really the worst part about it. I agree with your suggestion — two separate 5k races!

  22. I have yet to run a family 5k run!

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. runningwithsass says:

    Dopey Challenge 2014: Family Fun Run 5k

    My first leg of the runDisney Dopey Challenge (running 48.6 miles in four days) was running the family

  2. […] went to bed early, and got up to run the Family Fun Run 5k the next morning. After the race and breakfast, we headed to EPCOT for the […]

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