runDisney Dopey Challenge Tips

As a Dopey finisher, I wanted to impart some wisdom from my personal experience last year that may help you get through the four races as best as possible. Here are my best runDisney dopey challenge tips:

Dopey challenge tips

1.) Sleep: I know it can be so tempting to close down the parks and stay up late watching fireworks, but trust me on this one. By the 3rd and 4th day the early wake up calls were REALLY getting to me. I was IN bed at 8:00 every night. I didn’t always fall asleep right away but I made it my goal to have the lights out by then. The week or two before Dopey I went to bed early every night and woke up earlier than normal to prepare myself for the races.


2.) Hydrate: Last years races were HOT and HUMID. In an effort to not be dehydrated, I drank at least one Gatorade every day and guzzled water non stop. Remember, you CAN bring water into the parks, as long as it isn’t in a glass container.


3.) Stretch/ice/foam roll: I left room in my suitcase for my foam roller and ziploc bags for ice. I foam rolled every day, and got ice from the hotel for sore spots. I also stretched in my hotel room. I knew if I wanted to stay as injury free as possible these things were a must.


4.) Relax: This was the toughest one for me. I was really excited about being in Walt Disney World and wanted to go go go. Luckily we made the smart decision to hit EPCOT after the 5k for a couple of hours, then took a nap and hung out at the resort the rest of the evening. After the 10k the next day, we went to Hollywood Studios for about two hours then took another nap, and after the half marathon we didn’t go to any parks, just rested and relaxed. It was tough the first two days as I wanted to go go go, but I was so tired after the half, I was glad I took it easy in the afternoons.


5.) Stay informed: Make sure you read the official race program you will get at the expo to check times for buses, race start, and information for spectators. Keep an eye on the runDisney Twitter account and Facebook page for emergency information should it occur about different procedures due to inclement weather, etc.



6.) Stay organized: I put each costume in a giant ziploc bag, and had a separate carry on bag for all of them in case my luggage got lost. I also carried on my running shoes. Every night before the race I would lay out my entire outfit, plus breakfast, fuel, etc. so all I had to do was change the next morning and not rummage through my suitcase looking for things!

My husband and I chose to not take character photos during the 5k as lines were super long, but we still ran at an easy pace. We followed the same guidelines for the 10k, but did stop for pictures during the half and full marathons.

Make sure you check out my packing list vlog before you go, and don’t forget to have lots of fun and take plenty of pictures, it is an amazing experience! If you have any questions about my approach to Dopey, feel free to leave them in the comments. Finally, you can read my closing thoughts on Dopey in a post I wrote after coming back from the race weekend.

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QOTD: What are you most looking forward to about marathon weekend? Do you have more dopey challenge tips?

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  1. Thanks so much for these tips! We are only doing parks the days of the 5k and 10k, and we will be napping every day. I’m so sad you won’t be there! 🙁

  2. I’m “only” doing Goofy this year. Its my first WDW Marathon Weekend and I’m excited to get down to Disney World, but I keep forgetting that I have to run a whole bunch of miles while I’m down there. The ziplock bags for ice is a great idea, I’m definitely going to have to do that!

  3. Great tips, especially the one about plenty of sleep! I’m still a bit traumatized from Goofy so I don’t think Dopey will be on my horizon any time soon! This might sound silly, but I love this year’s Marathon Weekend merchandise and that’s one of the reasons I’m sad I’m not running any of these races. 😛

  4. One year I will be a Dopey finisher. I love the RunDisney races, but I’ll definitely need to save my pennies for that one. And I’ll be sure to remember this list when I do.

  5. Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie says:

    Those are all great tips! This marathon training season has been so hard for me, so I’m just wanting to get marathon weekend over to an extent. : /

  6. Wow, Heather- these are some great tips that I didn’t even think of! I’m running Goofy this year and hadn’t considered trying to go to bed earlier before vacation to help me sleep. I was worried about being able to fall asleep early and that would definitely help! I also like the idea of adding some Gatorade each day. It would help my electrolyte balance and make it easy to get more fluids in. Thanks for your info!

  7. I am not running Dopey but am running Goofy and am very nervous about it. I would love to talk to you more about strategies for back to back “big” races!

  8. Ziploc bags – writing that on my packing list! Thanks for the tips! I feel like I should know by now what to take but I keep seeing things recommended that I had never thought of!

  9. Thanks for the great tips! Ziplock bags are coming with me for sure! I’m doing the half (getting my coast to coast medal this year!) and this will be my first at WDW. I’m so excited! We planned for going to the parks after the run not the days before so hopefully that helps!

  10. i love this! I have been trying to catch up on sleep before heading out on Sunday for Dopey. I had not thought about ziploc bags for ice-I will definitely stick them in my bag

  11. My mom and I are planning on doing the Dopey Challenge next year in 2018. I love reading all your blogs and knew that when we chose to do the Dopey, I would come here and look at all your tips and recaps again. Thanks so much for all this helpful information. We did the Glass Slipper Challenge last February, so Dopey will be a whole new and exciting experience!

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. runningwithsass says:

    runDisney Dopey Challenge Tips

    While I am jealous of everyone about to head to Walt Disney World for marathon weekend, I am NOT jealous

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