Hi, fellow runDisney fans!
Today I'm blogging about my favorite photo spots, tips, and tricks for getting the best insta-worthy pics during your runDisney race and vacation! I hope you enjoy reading along, and if you use any of my photo ops...please let me know! I'd love to hear how your pics turned out. :)
1. CASTLE BLING
I realize I'm starting a bit backwards here, but these are my favorite POST race photo ops to date! This past WDW Marathon Weekend had the most beautiful and cooperative weather for post race photos! I spent at least an hour walking around the Castle and Hub Grass area in MK to explore plenty of picturesque spots.
The best time to explore this part of the park is during "golden hour". This is when the sun starts to set and serves up a soft light with less harsh shadows AND less heat. :) My favorite spots to take pictures with my medals are off to the left side of the castle (no crowds here), and near the hub grass where you can hang your medals along the fence. This year I went for a fountain background because less people were walking behind my photoshoot. The "medals along the fence" photo op is one of the more popular for all race weekends because the scenery is iconic.
My new favorite photopass stop is located on Main Street just leading up to the castle. You can either pose as a "T" with your medals dangling down from your arms OR go for the look I did, where you sit on Main Street with your medals spread out in front of you. The cast member who took my photos shot at least three to four candid pics and was incredibly helpful laying out my medals for me. Don't forget to purchase Memory Maker in order to download all your photos from that weekend! It's well worth it, I promise!
2. INDIVIDUAL MEDAL SHOTS
You'll definitely want to get individual medal shots with your beautiful bling! I loved posing with all the medals proudly displayed on my arms, but I also loved seeing them enjoying their own spotlight. Hold your medal up and get the castle in the background for the ultimate post-race bling pic! I also love traveling to Epcot with my medals to take pics in front of Spaceship Earth and with the Festival backdrops. #aestheticgoals These pics are especially crucial if you ran through the castle on race day (not all race courses go through Magic Kingdom).
If you have a favorite character - I found the little statues surrounding the hub grass area at MK to be quite charming and unique! Bonus points if you can work your way around to the Walt and Mickey statues (located in front of Cinderella's Castle) for a shot of your medal with Walt reaching out to grab it! Warning: there will be plenty of families wanting this shot as well, your best chance for a less crowded pic will be 10-30 minutes after the parade.
It's also super fun to wear your runDisney merch after your race and take pics with the medal that matches the shirt or theme of the weekend! For example: I loved wearing my Dopey Challenge Hoodie and runDisney pink leggings for photo ops with my medals. I also loved placing my Marathon 2020 Finisher hat alongside my medals and of course wearing it on and off throughout the day at the parks.
I highly advise visiting the parks after a race because you can proudly wear your medal(s) and congratulate others on their race as well! It's so fun! Plus, it gives you the chance to walk around and diffuse any post-race stiffness. It's also fun helping first time runDisney folks take their first medal pics. :) EVERYONE will be taking photos, so don't feel embarrassed or stress about being emotional. It's a special achievement and it earns you the right to be proud and take photos! And of course you can always pose literally minutes after you've earned your medal because you'll still be in costume. :) I also highly advise showering and changing before you head off to the parks. Hehe
3. POST RACE PICS
You've done all the hard work, so now is your chance to slow down and enjoy all you've accomplished! Running in any race, big or small is a HUGE deal. Slow down and don't rush through the finish line (unless you're trying to PR of course). Try to get some photos right after you finish so that you may update friends and family that you made it past the finish line! It's also super fun to get a pic receiving your medal from a runDisney volunteer. PS all of the runDisney volunteers are super friendly and plenty of fellow runners would love to help you take a photo! This specific photo op is especially fun if you're running with a friend or family member who's running their first race. (BEST RACE EVER) Snap a photo of them (with the medal being presented) for a candid shot they'll cherish forever. I also highly suggest removing Mickey Ears before receiving a medal haha. Also, make sure to stay moving after the finish line so you don't get run over! There's plenty of room off to the side to slow down, walk, and take selfies LOL.
Post race photos are also great if you're looking to celebrate immediately after your big race! Once you're out of the finish line shoot and past the water and Powerade stations, you then receive a "snack box" and bananas from volunteers. If you're doing a runDisney Challenge (multiple races), this is where you'll receive your other finisher medals. Right after this, you'll head to a photopass area with runDisney backdrops where you can hold up "I Did It!" signs. These are usually shorter lines, and really fun if you want a professional pic with each medal you receive. These photos get linked to your memory maker on the My Disney Experience App, but you may also ask a cast member or friend to take your photo at this location free of charge.
Once you are back to where you hung out all morning before the race AKA usually Epcot parking lot, you can purchase additional food and/or drinks. A lot of post-race beer, champagne, and coffee are usually offered to runners and spectators. Get yourself some bubbly and celebrate with friends and family. YOU DID IT! Also, PLASTC CHEESES CUPS are given to you FOR FREE! What a time to be alive. I also spotted some Mickey shaped donuts last race weekend, so don't forget to have credit card, ID, and/or magic band with you!
You can also take post-race photos with characters who were out before the race began. Sometimes these are the better photo ops because you can pose with your medals and the character interactions are so fun! More on that to follow!
4. FINISH LINE PHOTOS
These photo ops are often the most coveted of all the runDisney race photos. Disney Photopass cast members line up on either side of the finish line like paparazzi eager to get you that finish line portrait. Sometimes the runDisney gods are in your favor, and other times you run behind a large group and get short-changed. It's no one's fault really, everyone wants that epic finish line photo. My best advice is to pick a side early on, be aware of the crowd around you, and try to find a pocket of space that allows you to get out ahead of the crowd. This may require a short speed up, so save a little extra energy for the end! It's also easier for the announcer to mention your name when you're not apart of such a large group of runners. Break away from the crowd as best you can, but be thoughtful of personal space and others crossing the finish line.
I haven't mastered a certain finish line pose yet, but I will stay away from jumping at the finish line. I think it's always best to cross the finish line with a smile and play it safe! I would hate to come down and twist an ankle right at the end! One day I may actually look right at the photographer, but until then I will relish in the fact that my happiness is always very apparent!
Make sure to also look for certain characters at the finish line and don't be scared to go in for the high-five! If a great finish line photo is your #1 goal, then make sure you have your bib in clear sight and go in with a game plan! There are photopass photographers seen AFTER the finish line as well, and if your costume and/or exuberance is inspiring, they may even ask you to stop and pose for the runDisney website!
5. PARK HOP PICS
One of the coolest things about a runDisney race is the chance to run through the theme parks. The WDW Full Marathon allows you to run through ALL four WDW parks plus Blizzard Beach (new this year). These are often the most exciting moments of the races along with crossing the finish line. Some of my favorite photopass stops that should not be missed are in front of the castle, running through or down the castle walkway, running down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios, and stopping for favorite character photos!
The most popular characters can be found before the races, and usually it costs standing in line for up to 30 minutes. Since you're waiting for the corrals to open anyways, this isn't a terrible option especially if you want a picture with a certain character or princess. I usually stretch and drink water while I'm in line, and it actually does make the time go by a bit faster. Characters usually have special costumes on depending on the race weekend, which makes them "rare" and worth the wait! If you miss them in the beginning before the race, they usually can be found in the same spots after the race with a shorter wait time.
Character photos are what really makes the races much more enjoyable and gives you a chance to rest and just enjoy. You are running through the happiest place on earth, so take it all in and experience as many of the fun options you are given! You'll never regret a photo with the main mouse himself!
7. FRIEND AND FAMILY PHOTOS
Another fun way to celebrate your race is with photos of friends and family before and after your run! Sometimes the pictures aren't as great so early in the morning when it's super dark out, but definitely make sure to get some "after" photos! Nothing says runDisney like sweaty hugs from your best pals. Make sure you chEARs to those new medals, you've done GOOD.
One of the best parts about runDisney races are the people you get to experience them with! I feel so honored to be apart of such a large community of such spirited and kind-hearted people. I've met so many fun and inspiring individuals through runDisney, and so many of the relationships continue to grow. Take as many pics with them as you can, they're the ones who deserve to be apart of your huge accomplishment!
8. EXPO FUN
Before any Disney race, there's a runDisney Health and Fitness Expo. You must go if you're a runner, because you have to pick up your bib at the Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports location in order to participate in the race(s). Before you pick up your bib, you'll want to head into the Arena first to purchase official runDisney merchandise! Head here for fun photo ops and character meet and greets as well. For princess weekend, they usually have Cinderella's carriage out where you can pose in front of it with her footmen. During WDW Marathon weekend, you could get free temporary tattoos of select Disney characters. Merchandise will be everyone's top priority aside from getting their race bibs. Get your merch, and then have fun checking out fun photo backdrops and vendors at the Visa Athletic Center.
Throughout the complex there are specific photo ops where you can hold up your bib and take pics. The Visa Athletic Center has plenty spots to hoist your bib and commemorate the weekend with more merchandise. Now is the time to carry around champagne and shop to and take pics to your hearts content. (This is also THE spot to get any kind of last minute costume item you may need!)
My favorite runDisney expo pic was with cardboard Dopey and his buckets of diamonds. Dopey Challengers lined up for almost an hour to get this photo op! 100% worth it, might I add.
Bib photos are also really easy and fun to take. Hold up your bib in front of the many runDisney backdrops. You'll find plenty to pose in front of, and each race/medal has it's own particular spot along the pathway leading up to The Field House (bib pick-up). Another fun option is to pose with your bib and drink of choice. Boomerangs are also a great option to do with your bib or during a celebratory Disney drink toast among friends! The photo limit does NOT exist.
9. Fun & Fancy Flatlays
A lot of my favorite and memorable photos are the pics I snap of my costumes prior to the race. These photos have become a runDisney tradition of mine, because I'm able to remember the nervous jitters, the anxious excitement, and the fun of running in costume.
A lot of runners do "flat" photos of the outfits they will be running in (gear, bib, and all), while others just take a pre-race selfie or mirror selfie. I've done both, but I'm a really big fan of laying out my costume the day before or the morning of, and snapping a pic for the gram. I've done flatlay sneak peaks, I've done flatlays 15 minutes prior to jumping on the race day bus, and this past WDW marathon weekend I took my first post-race flatlays with my medals and race shirts.
It's certainly a lot of fun to post these pics to your IG or FB story to let your friends and family know that you're getting ready for your big race! Trust me when I say that you'll get so many words of encouragement and praise! I also loooove seeing everyone's flatlays on Instagram! Make sure to tag #runDisney and use the race weekend hashtag so everyone can be inspired by your outfits!
If you're celebrating a special anniversary, birthday, or first visit in addition to the race weekend, get on Etsy and get crafty! I put together a "Princess Party Pack" for my family who ran with me during my birthday weekend (Princess Half Weekend) last year! Small and creative "thank you's" are a great way to celebrate your weekend with the people you love most. It's important to remember those special moments and small gifts with photos! Your friends and family definitely won't mind posing with you.
10. Celebratory Food, Drink, and Merch
My last but certainly not least option: pics celebrating your big race weekend. These are pics you have a friend or family member take so you can enjoy your food, drink, or merch while holding up your medal or just enjoying your big accomplishment. I currently have 6,000 photos on my phone, and I can tell you about 4,500 of them are runDisney photos. LOL. I just love having those moments to look back on, what can I say? A good way to end the weekend is by getting a pic with your favorite Disney World food, drink, or both! End the weekend on a sweet note, and get yourself a Dole Whip or Churro (Mickey bars are up there on the list as well, just a tad too messy for pics).
Don't forget to pick up an "I'm Celebrating" Button at Guest Relations and various spots around the resorts or parks. You have a lot to celebrate, and no runDisney weekend should go un-celebrated! These buttons are free, and a cast member can help you write what you want on your button.
Also, get yourself a damn Mickey Balloon. They're actually the cutest for photos and well worth the $12. Plus, it's super fun to hand them off to a kiddo once you're done taking your pics.
And if you're SUPER into photography like I am, then you'll want to have some professional pics taken! My cousin Carrie and I did a photoshoot in Magic Kingdom for my birthday during Princess Half Weekend in 2018. It was so much fun, and you'll have those memories to hold onto forever. Celebrate big, my friends.
I can't wait to see all your runDisney achievements! Please tag me in a post if you used this blog for taking the perfect race, and race weekend pics! Follow me over at @fitfabdisney on Instagram for more runDisney fun! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!
See ya real soon!