Did you know that Disney World Resort has more than just theme parks? Gasp! It is true. In fact, Disney has so much to do outside the theme parks, you just might want to spend some of your next trip out and about instead of schlepping it with all those other hot, sweaty park attendees.
One of the nicest bits about Disney World, and further, staying at a Disney World Resort, is all the incredible outdoor areas they have manicured and perfect for your vacationing entertainment. Although most people may not consider jogging to be part of a happy holiday, there are a few of us who love the idea of jogging around and exploring new areas of the Happiest Place on Earth. For those people, and even a few who would just like to meander through some picturesque promenades, you have the running and walking paths at the resorts.
Some of the walking and running paths are ones you will not want to miss, others not so much. Whichever trail you go with, a good tip to remember is to run early in the morning and take it easy. Early morning runs are good since Florida is, well, ridiculously hot. Also because it will be easier to run early in the morning when your feet have the energy and the path is less obscured. Secondly, running super fast along these paths could cause a collision with the other path patrons and leave you a bit too sleepy for the rest of your incredibly eventful day!
These paths are great for year-round use and will take you right next to the Sassagoula River. It is also one of the longer path options at the Disney Resorts. The first part of this trail will take you by all the beautiful southern colonial mansion inspired hotel buildings and keep you under the shade of about 1,000 oak trees around a 0.7 mile loop. If you opt to make the run longer, you can jog the distance between the Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside Hotels. This path will take you next to the river for a mile there-and-back.
This is easily considered one of the prettiest paths on Disney property. Be warned though, there will be mosquitos and bugs in the summer months, especially early in the morning. Thankfully, this path has enough shade that you could run it in the afternoon without too much heat resistance and far fewer bugs. The main path runs from Wilderness Lodge to the Fort Wilderness Camp Grounds and is about a 2.5 mile loop. There are also plenty of smaller paths branching off this one that take you throughout the Fort Wilderness property.
The Caribbean Beach Resort has a running path that takes you around the lake. There is plenty of shade and some very pretty views. Caribbean Beach Resort is known for its tropical birds that can be seen in the mornings along this path. The entire loop will take you about 1.4-miles and past Old Port Royal. This is a super good thing to note since you will most likely (and hopefully only figuratively) run into a few early morning coffee goers depending on the time you run.
The EPCOT resorts include Swan and Dolphin Hotels, Yacht and Beach Club, and the Boardwalk Inn. All of these are grouped together and connected by paths along a waterway. This is one of my personal favorite places to stay since EPCOT and Hollywood Studios are a quick walk away. If you are lucky, you can also see firework shows from each resort while sitting in the comfort of your hotel room!
Of course, with so many hotels and fun in one area, there is bound to be some great paths! When it comes to running at the EPCOT resorts, you have plenty of options with some of the greatest inclines Florida has to offer- bridges. The course ranges from less than a mile to over 3, depending on which you choose to do.
The run directly around Crescent Lake is 0.8 miles, to Crescent Lake's path from the Dolphin hotel is 1/4 mile, the Yacht and Beach Club run is 1.3 miles, The Canal run is almost a mile, and a run around the whole EPCOT resort area is 2.4 miles. Together, you are looking at a solid 5-mile run without treading the same path twice!
I very good tip for this area is to either run late at night or early in the morning. Firstly, these paths have very little shade, and secondly, the Boardwalk is a busy area from afternoon till night.
Although all of Disney resorts have paths and perks of staying there, the ones above are my most recommended for running. The reason some of the more well know parks did not make the list (sorry Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian) is either because there is very little shade or it is just too busy.
Magic Kingdoms resorts have great paths around the Seven Seas Lagoon, but there is virtually no shade. If you enjoy running in the sun or it is a chilly day, this could be a fantastic option. The views from the path are great and there are many times you can see lots of the Magic Kingdom.
As for Pop Century and Art of Animation, the running path is around the Hourglass Lake. This is about a 2-mile run but will take you into some less desirable parking areas. It would be very wise to review the map before starting this run. You may even want to pause your music during parts to avoid any issues with people and their cars.
Coronado Springs (although a beautiful resort and one of my faves) did not make the list because the running path is busy around the pool and lobby areas. It is also not very shaded for most of the way. So sorry Coronado.
If there is a favorite path of yours that you did not see listed here, please let me know in the comments! I am always up for new areas of Disney to be explored and would love a jogging adventure on our next trip!