The first stop during any runDisney race weekend is the Health & Fitness Expo. Not only is this where you will pick up all of your necessities for the race, but it is also a great place to get you excited to run Disney!
The first stop at the Health & Fitness Expo will be Packet Pick-Up. Since Packet Pick-Up is not available on the morning of any of the races, you must do this at least one day prior to your race. Your “packet” is basically just your race bib with timing device attached and any items that you might have prepaid for during registration, such as a pin, necklace, jacket, etc… To receive your packet, you will need to bring your signed waiver (you can print them there) and a Photo ID. All runners must pick-up their own packet, so make sure to factor that into your travel plans.
From there you will head over to the main Expo floor to get your race shirts and gEAR Bag. All registrations include a race themed shirt. Participants in the 5Ks and Kids Races will receive a cotton t-shirt and all other participants will receive either a long sleeve or short sleeve tech shirt depending on the race. The gEAR Bag is a clear plastic drawstring bag that is what you will use to check any items during the race, so make sure you hold on to it.
Worried that the size shirt you ordered during registration won’t fit? No problem! runDisney has an exchange area set up where you can exchange your shirt for a different size. Make sure to try on your shirt before leaving the Expo to ensure the proper size.
After getting all of your official race gear, now is when the fun begins…the shopping! The largest booth on the floor is runDisney Official Merchandise, which is full of shirts, hats, glassware, headbands, pins, and everything else you can imagine branded for that race. If you have your heart set on a particular item, you should get there early as the booth can get crowded and items will sell out. Annual Passholders and DVC Members will receive their 10% discount here, so make sure to bring your cards.
Another popular booth is New Balance. runDisney and New Balance have partnered up for the past few years to design exclusive shoes inspired by your favorite Disney characters. In order to get these shoes, you must sign up for a spot at the New Balance Virtual Queue to secure a spot. Runners registered in a race that weekend will receive priority.
Each Expo generally has over 30 additional vendors where you can pick up any last minute race needs, test out a product you’ve had your eye on, or get taped up for the race. A few of my favorites are BeeCause Charms, Bondi Band, Raw Threads and Sparkle Athletic. They always seem to have fun items specifically for the Disney races.
Another great aspect of the Expo is the Speaker Series. Here you will find informational and inspirational talks from some of the leaders in the running world, including runDisney’s Running Coach Jeff Galloway and Nutrition Expert Tara Gidus.
At Walt Disney World, the Expo takes place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and a visit can be an endurance event in itself! Just look at it as a warm up for the big race because the Complex is so massive. Packet Pick-Up is in the HP Field House and the Expo is in the Jostens Center. During Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Champion Stadium is also utilized due to the large number of events.
At Disneyland, the Expo takes place at the Disneyland Hotel. Packet Pick-Up is in the Lower Level Exhibit Hall and the Expo is in the Upper Level Exhibit Hall. Of course there have been a few exceptions to Expo locations over the years, so make sure to check the runDisney website prior to arriving to any race weekend.
The Health & Fitness Expo is a great place to meet your fellow runners, learn about new products and get geared up for your big race. Make sure to set aside a good chunk of time to take in everything the Expo has to offer! Oh, and don’t forget to take advantage of some of the great photo opportunities while there.
What’s your best tip for experiencing the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo?