Running at Walt Disney World While On Vacation – EPCOT to DHS

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When you’re training for a half marathon and go on vacation, you still need to find the time to get those miles in. One of the things I was really proud of myself for doing on my trip to Walt Disney World was running 12.5 miles! I must say that it isn’t easy to make the time to run while you’re at Walt Disney World. However, it can be done. So, this is part one of a two post series to tell you all about my runs at Walt Disney World. The first one is my last run….6 miles. I started at the International Gateway of EPCOT, ran around the path in the photo above and eventually made my way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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I was up early and took a cab to Disney’s Beach Club Resort. If you leave later in the day, you could take a bus from your resort to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and walk the path to the Beach Club area. However, I was trying to get this run in before heading off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. So, I had the front desk cast member call me a cab.

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I walked all the way to the International Gateway entrance to EPCOT. Although, when I got there a gate was closed. So, I couldn’t get all the way to the entrance. The nice thing is that the run started on a little decline. Honestly, as you can see from these pictures so far, it was a beautiful day to run. Since I started so early, there weren’t a whole lot of people out and about. There were a few runners which made me feel good about my choice. As I started, I realized that I didn’t plan well enough to figure out how to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. So, I’d have to wing it.

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As you know, Orlando isn’t a beach city. So, it was fun to run around a man-made beach! Do these views ever really get old?

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As you can see, the sun was rising and I got to run while watching this part of Walt Disney World wake up. I kept my run/walk intervals at 30 second run/1 minute walk and maintained that for the entire 6 miles. The start was a little rough as my legs were tired from 4 days of theme parks. However, as tired as I felt, it was good for my soul to be out running in this beautiful place!

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Eventually, the path winds up around the Swan and the Dolphin Resorts. There is a slight incline here. It was about this point where you can make one of two turns. One turn takes you to the boardwalk. The other takes you behind the Boardwalk Resort. I was unsure of which.

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I opted to take the turn towards running on the boardwalk.This brought back a lot of good memories from running the 2014 Walt Disney World 10K!

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By the time I got to the ESPN Club, I knew I was on the shorter path and would not be seeing Disney’s Hollywood Studios anytime soon. So, I continued on the path around.

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This little road winds back to where I started. The sign at the top of this post says that the loop is 0.8 miles.

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By the time I got back to the start, I learned that the sign is correct. There was no way I wanted to repeat this loop for 6-7 times. So, I decided on the second time around to try to find the path that would take me to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The first mile took me just under 11 minutes! I was happy with that.

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The second time around, I went over the two bridges that took me to the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. Once there, I discovered the path behind the Boardwalk Resort. A-ha! Since it had been almost a year and a half from the time I ran this route (the opposite way) for the Walt Disney World Marathon, I decided to head back over the bridge that brought me to the path behind the Boardwalk Resort.

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I continued with my same run/walk intervals along the river. Then, there it was! Disney’s Hollywood Studios stood off in the distance! I was really happy to know that I was finally on the right path!

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As I got closer, I finally saw the Tower of Terror!

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I had to grab a selfie! Two weeks before this run, I was running around Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Now, I was running to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Life is good!

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It wasn’t until I got around where the buses park that I crossed the end of the second mile. I know I should have been paying more attention to my time. I saw that I was over 22 minutes for the first two miles. However, I was also just enjoying the run and enjoying the fact that I was running in a place I don’t normally get to run. I ran around this Mickey and grabbed a quick picture before heading back.

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Love this Mickey! As I turned and went back, I thought back to the marathon and how much different it was to be running this path in mile 3 vs. mile 24. It was much more enjoyable. The path from Disney’s Hollywood Studios back to Disney’s Boardwalk Resort doesn’t give much room for people to cheer you along. I knew that I was slowing down and tried to reverse the trend.

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When I got to the point where you could turn and go behind the Boardwalk Resort or run on the boardwalk itself, I turned to run on the boardwalk. I knew this would take me back to where I started. Right about this point, I hit the end of the 3rd mile…33 minutes, 48 seconds. I was still over a 11 minute per mile average and slower than I’m used to. Taking pictures probably slowed me down a little bit. As I made my way back to where I started for the third time, I knew I needed at least one more lap to finish my 6 miles. Worst case scenario, I’d need to do the 0.8 mile loop again after running back to DHS.

I ran around the Beach Club Resort again and back down the path towards Disney’s Hollywood Studios. By this point, there were a few people running who I would run by and could tell they were doing a few loops as well. One of the ladies I ran by was wearing a Princess Half Marathon shirt. The numbers of runners out and about was growing. Half way between the Boardwalk and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I finished my 4th mile! 45 minutes, 52 seconds. Ironically, this time was kind of close to my 6 mile loop back home.

As I approached Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the second time, I noticed people getting off the buses. It was getting near the time for DHS to open. There was a tour group posing for a picture around the Mickey. So, I just had to run around them. I didn’t take any pictures during the 5th mile because I wanted to finish the 5th mile in under an hour. So, I focused more on my running for this mile. It worked. Mile 5 finished on the way back to Disney’s Boardwalk Resort….58 minutes, 7 seconds.

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The sun was out at the start of my 6th mile, but the temperatures were still cool. I love this view!

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As I made my way back, I decided to stop for a photo of the Swan.

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I ran around the boardwalk area again and back towards EPCOT’s International Gateway entrance. It looked like there was a little more activity. So, I turned to see if anything was going on.

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I went as far as I could. EPCOT was not yet open. So, a cast member turned me around. Of course, I had not intention of going in. However, I was in the last tenth of a mile.

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Ah, France in the background as I finished my 6th mile! The total time was 1 hour, 9 minutes, 58 seconds. I did slow a little in the last quarter-mile. This time as not my best time

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However, with a pace that was still under 12 minutes per mile, I’ll take it. I ran a route I didn’t know completely and had tons of fun. I’ve had much slower 6 mile runs before. So, all was not lost.

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Afterwards, I walked around a little.

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The Beach Club Resort is so beautiful!

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After grabbing this quick selfie, I had to decide how to get back to my resort. The decision that won out was to take the boat that you can catch to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and take a bus back to my resort from there.

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Here I am waiting for the boat!

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I got on the boat and hoped no one would mind all the sweat from running 6 miles.

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The views from the boat were pretty cool!

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As we made our way towards Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I got to see other runners on the path I had just run.

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The boat docked here and I made my way to the bus parking. After finding where the All Stars Resort bus would pick up, I waited and waited. I got a little nervous after 10-15 minutes with no bus. I kept seeing buses for other resorts. None for mine. Right as I texted my wife about my situation, a bus pulled up and all was saved! There aren’t many people who are taking the buses from theme parks to the resorts at that time of the morning.

EPCOT to DHS 6 Mile Run

This is what the run looked like for me.Although I don’t have the official stats because of my derailment, I believe the path is around a mile and a half between the two theme parks. So, it’s around three miles round trip. If you are at Walt Disney World and need a place to run, this is a wonderful and beautiful place to run. I took a cab from the All Star Movies Resort to Disney’s Beach Club Resort. It cost $12 for the cab ride. If I knew better, I would have taken the cab to Disney’s Boardwalk or The Swan Resort to save a little money. However, $12 isn’t too bad. This route gets two thumbs up from me!

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9 comments on “Running at Walt Disney World While On Vacation – EPCOT to DHS
  1. I’m going to be doing this exact route in a couple of weeks when I am down there. Can wait for this awesome scenery again!

    • gloucks7 says:

      Have fun running there! I wish I could do it again! I am a little jealous that you’ll be there for a Star Wars Weekend, though. Have fun!

  2. We’re thinking about walking the path between HS and Epcot on our trip for Wine & Dine (dinner at Le Cellier after a day in HS) so it’s good to know more about the path. It can be so hard to get miles in WDW! Great job!

    • gloucks7 says:

      Thanks! When I ran between EPCOT and DHS, I was surprised to see how short the path was. I actually thought it would a longer path. It would make for a fantastic walk to dinner. One of these years, I will have to make it out for the Wine and Dine.

  3. great job! i am debating if I am going to run while I am there next month because I am worried about the heat but we will see. I am definitely going to do strength training while I am there.

    • gloucks7 says:

      If you get up early enough, it might not be too bad to run. Just check the weather beforehand. It’s so much fun to run at Walt Disney World!

  4. Thank you so much for posting a close-up of the NB trail sign! I had recently seen it somewhere else, but couldn’t make out the exact mapping of the trail. I know the trail has always been there, but It’s so cool that NB and Disney finally mapped the trail for people 🙂

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