As we approach the 2023-2024 runDisney race season, preparing for a race weekend can be unlike packing for a normal Disney related vacation. Whether you are running one race or every single event during the weekend, you are going to need various things to be prepared.

As a seasoned runDisney veteran (over 50 runDisney races under my belt) I have learned what I need and what I don’t need for these weekends. That’s not to say I still don’t overpack though. When it comes to a race weekend more is often better than less. Not to mention that you will get race shirts with your races and you will likely buy things on this trip so you will need space for that. Things can also change rapidly and you may need to pivot on short notice. Let’s break things down!

Things to Consider For Your Carry On

I know some often travel with just carry ons only and that may work if you pack lightly to begin with. That said you likely will need all the space you can get. Of course essentials like your ID, wallet, purse, or personal things are a given to have on your being for any trip.

  • Digital Waiver and Expo Pass
  • Running Shoes
  • Race Outfit
  • Phone
  • Running Watch
  • MagicBand/Admission Ticket
  • Race Nutrition
  • Body Glide or similar products
  • Running Belt/Vest/etc.
  • Running Hat/Visor
  • Headphones/Earbuds
  • Charging Cables
  • Battery Pack
  • Medication
  • Sunscreen, Makeup, or Personal Care Products
  • Sunglasses

Now everyone is a little different. I for one do not wear headphones in race. It’s allowed and many people do but it is discouraged by race organizers and there is enough going on especially at runDisney races that I don’t need it. What a person uses for running also varies slightly. I will use a vest for nutrition while training but in race I do not wear one because on course nutrition is sufficient for me. Now if these are things you need definitely pack them and definitely pack them in your carry on. Your race essentials are things you should have with you in the event that something happens.

It inevitably happens to some but you do not want to end up buying new running gear the day before a race, especially things you may not be used to. The age old adage is “nothing new on race day!”

Now when it comes to full weekend events like a Two Course Challenge or the Dopey Challenge, I always bring at two pairs of running shoes. depending on space at least one of those shoes is in my carry on. It would be a nightmare to have my running shoes lost in transit and be forced into a new pair I haven’t broken in or at least walked around in.

Things to Consider For Your Suitcase

That brings us to your main suitcase. Now if you are highly skilled and can manage all of this in carry ons, more power to you! I cannot. I need usually several bags to get me through a runDisney weekend. Here are the things you should consider for your suitcase.

  • runDisney Race Costumes
    • Costumes repair items (scissors, glue, sewing materials, etc.)
  • Park Shoes
  • Park Accessories (Ears, Jewelry, Hats, etc.)
  • Park Outfits
  • Park Bag
  • runDisney Cups
  • Toiletry Products
  • Swimsuit
  • Sandals/Flip-Flops
  • Socks/Underwear
  • Extra Layers (Sweatshirts, Light Jackets, etc.)
  • Pajamas
  • Snacks/Food Items for Pre-race or Post-race
  • Ponchos
  • Throwaway Clothes
  • Recovery Tools (Foam Roller, Massage Gun, etc.)
  • A “Nicer” Outfit

If you are like me, costumes for runDisney races are a big thing and those certainly cannot all fit in a carry on. Many times my costumes have to have some assembly on arrival as well. This is where those costume repair or assembly items are needed. Singling in on shoes, I bring AT LEAST four pairs of shoes to a runDisney weekend. That includes running shoes but I never wear running shoes outside of the races. If it rains, or my shoes get wet I need other options. Your race shoes also need a break from your feet especially if you are running more than one event.

Some of these items are common sense but are still necessary and essential. I have forgotten pajamas on more than one occasion because it’s typically an afterthought compared to the rest of these items. One time I forgot a toothbrush too. One more thing I want to mention is the “nicer” outfit. Whether it is your first 5K, a marathon, or the Dopey Challenge, you just accomplished a major event. Go celebrate! I typically do this with a nice meal somewhere but it could be a number of things.

I know I couldn’t possibly have covered every item one may need for a runDisney event. I know many will probably need items not listed or not need items that I did list. Either way, I hope this gives you an idea of what to expect when you take on your runDisney race event.

Let me know what items are essential for your runDisney vacations.

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