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The Best Walt Disney World Hotels for Runners

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Whether you're headed to one of runDisney's four Florida race weekends or 'gramming your way around Walt Disney World another week of the year, you can keep up with your training at the Happiest Place on Earth. But with more than 30 Disney resorts and a dozen non-Disney properties offering perks like free transportation and extra hours in the parks, it's hard to know which hotel to choose.

These are the best Walt Disney World hotels for runners, offering the most perks including running trails with maps, fitness centers (nope, they don't all have them) and new, hotel-hosted fun runs year-round. (Related: What I Learned from Running 20 Disney Races)

So pop on your mouse ears, lace up, and get ready to run the world—Walt Disney World, that is.

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Disney's BoardWalk Inn & Villas

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Disney's BoardWalk Inn & Villas is one of the best Walt Disney World hotels for runners, offering a running trail, fitness center, weekly fun run, and proximity to runDisney events. From the BoardWalk, guests can run along scenic waterfront paths to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios theme parks, logging as many as 4 miles around the resort area. The hotel also has a full-service fitness center stocked with treadmills, hosts free bi-weekly outdoor yoga sessions, season-permitting, and a 1.4-mile Seaside Sprint Fun Run on Friday mornings (except during runDisney weekends). Separate from runDisney events, all Walt Disney World Resort hotel fun runs are untimed and cost $15 for guests 3 and older. Register same day on-site or call 407-WDW-PLAY. Depending on the hotel, you'll earn swag like a special pin, medallion or sweet treat—think slushies, doughnuts, and the like.

During runDisney race weekends, it doesn't get better than the BoardWalk. Many of the courses—including the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon, and Walt Disney World Marathon—run right past the hotel, making it easy for your spectators. You can even walk home from the epic Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon post-race party, which is at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Bonus: Grab a scoop at the on-site outpost of Ample Hills Creamery, named the top ice cream in America by the Food Network. (P.S. The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon made our list of bucket-list-worthy half marathons.)

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Disney's Yacht Club & Beach Club Resorts & Villas

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Across Crescent Lake from the BoardWalk Resort, Disney's side-by-side Yacht and Beach Club resorts also roll out the red carpet for runners. Striders can sprint the same running paths between Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios or hit the treadmills at the adorably named Ship Shape Health Club, which also offers massages and seasonal yoga classes. The 1.9-mile Regatta Run fun run takes place most Thursday mornings. If you're visiting for a runDisney event, you'll be a short bus ride away from the Epcot start or finish of most races. Plus, events like the Walt Disney World 10K and Disney Princess Enchanted 10K run right past the hotels. You can easily walk to the courses that run through the BoardWalk too, and walk home from the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon post-race party.

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Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotels

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There's no excuse to skip your workout at the Marriott-managed Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin hotels. Situated along the same pedestrian area as the BoardWalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club resorts, you have access to the same running paths. Plus, the hotels have all the wellness hallmarks of the Westin brand. Grab a running map with 1-, 2- and 3-mile routes or buddy up with the Wellness Concierge. Hop on a treadmill in the fitness center or take a live or on-demand fitness class, including Peloton. For $5 a stay, you can even borrow New Balance gear and shoes. There's also a dedicated lap pool with three lanes and full-service Mandara Spa for post-run pampering.

During runDisney race weekends, courses like the Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon, Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, and Walt Disney World Marathon go right past the resort. You get all the same perks of Disney hotels, including free transportation to runDisney events and a quick ride to the Epcot star and finish of many races.

Photo: Marriott

Waldorf Astoria Orlando & Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

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Within the gates of Walt Disney World, you'll find the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek on a 482-acre shared resort. Because both are official Walt Disney World Hotels, you'll get Disney hotel perks like extra hours in the parks and theme park transportation. For your daily sweat sesh, choose from 4 miles of paved paths and sidewalks or a row of treadmills facing the pool. During runDisney race weekends, both hotels offer special "Marathon Weekend" packages that include discounted rates complete with a coveted 2 p.m. late check-out, transportation to and from full and half marathons, pre-race breakfast with a send-off party, a runner's concierge, and more.

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Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Villas & Bungalows

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For best all-around proximity to Magic Kingdom, fitness amenities, and runDisney events, Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Villas & Bungalows are a top choice. A labyrinth of paths run through the hotel grounds and to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the Transportation and Ticket Center on either side, allowing for a combo of loops up to 3.5 miles. Guests can use the fitness center at the Grand Floridan, just one-third of a mile down the path. Plus, the hotel hosts a Pineapple Dash Fun Run seasonally around some holidays, when guests can race toward the resort's fan-favorite Dole Whip soft-serve ice cream. The Polynesian Village Resort also has some of the best healthy food options at the hotels, including sushi, tuna niçoise, and kale salads at Kona Cafe and the quick-serve Capt. Cook's.

The resort offers a prime location for runDisney race weekends. Runners can walk to the start of races like the Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon and 10K and Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon and 10K. If you're running Disney's Princess Half Marathon, Walt Disney World Marathon or Half Marathon, your friends and family can roll out of bed and onto the course to cheer you on. Plus, you're only a five-minute walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center, where you can hop a direct ride on the monorail to Epcot for the start and finish of many other runDisney races.

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Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

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Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa puts the spa front and center with a full menu of massages, facials, and body treatments for tired runners, plus a 24-hour fitness center and seasonal yoga classes. Like the Polynesian Village next door, Disney's Grand Floridian offers approximately 3.5-miles of paths that weave through the grounds of both hotels along the Seven Seas Lagoon, with views of Magic Kingdom in the distance.

Running Disney Princess Half Marathon, Walt Disney World Marathon, or Half Marathon? Your spectators will be able to pop right out to the course to cheer you on, or ride the Monorail just one stop to watch you run down Main Street, U.S.A in Magic Kingdom.

Related: Why You Should Run a Women-Only Race

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Disney's Contemporary Resort

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Fitness Center? Check. Seasonal yoga? Check. Water aerobics? Check. Running path along Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon that connects to Magic Kingdom just a half-mile away? Check, check, check. Disney's Contemporary Resort checks all the boxes for a Disney-loving runner.

With a monorail station that goes through the hotel, getting around Walt Disney World on race day doesn't get much easier for runners and spectators. Plus, the Walt Disney World Marathon, Half Marathon, and Disney Princess Half Marathon courses run right past the hotel in the early miles of the race. Your spectators can cheer you on, then hop the monorail to catch you again at the finish.

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Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

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With cabins and campsites starting at just $55 per night, Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort may not have a fitness center, spa or yoga classes. But it does offer the most popular trail system at Walt Disney World. The resort's 3.1-miles of paved, gravel, and packed-dirt nature trails connect the resort's cabins, campgrounds, and Disney's Wilderness Lodge (where you will find a fitness center). Best of all, they're largely shaded—a blessing on a sunny, sweltering Florida day—and feel a world away from the hustle of the theme parks. The resort has hosted seasonal fun runs, too, like a Fourth of July 5K in 2018. 

Related: The Health Benefits of Camping Will Turn You Into an Outdoor Person

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Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa best hotels for runners

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Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa has a lot to love for runners, including a full-service Senses Spa and fitness center, seasonal sunrise yoga classes, and one of the longest trail networks in Walt Disney World. One loop around the resort is almost 1.5 miles, but the connecting Saratoga Springs Nature Path will take you over 1 mile to Disney's Old Key West Resort, where you'll find another 1.4-mile loop. You can string together nearly 5 miles on one out-and-back jaunt. (Pro tip: Heed trail signs separating the running path from cart paths through Disney's Lake Buena Vista Gold Course.) The 1.7-mile Derby Dash Fun Run on Thursdays is another perk. And you're a lightning-quick bus ride to the Epcot start and finish of many runDisney races, including events at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Star Wars Rival Run Weekend, and Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

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Disney's Old Key West Resort

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Like its Saratoga Springs neighbor, Disney's Old Key West Resort offers a 5-mile network of running paths between the two resorts, plus a fitness center and water aerobics classes for cross-training. The 1.9-mile Southernmost Point Fun Run, named for the southernmost point in the U.S. in Key West, takes place on Wednesday mornings. And you're just a hop-skip-and-a-jump via bus to the Epcot start and finish of most runDisney races.

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Disney's Port Orleans Resort

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The French Quarter outpost of Disney's Port Orleans resort hosts the most popular weekly fun run— the 1.5-mile Beignet Dash. Yep, you can chow on donuts at the finish. You won't find a fitness center, but you will find seasonal yoga classes and a 1.7-mile trail around the resort along the Sassagoula River.

Related: What Running In the Heat Does to Your Body

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Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

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Currently under renovation, Disney's Coronado Spring Resort is the next great fitness destination at Walt Disney World with boot camp, yoga, and water aerobics classes coming soon. (Yes, you can still stay there in the meantime!) A .75-mile promenade circles Lago Dorado, and another 1-mile loop tours runners through wetlands on the outer edges of the resort.

Photo: Disney

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