Best Resort Recommendations: runDisney Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend

In my experience, the Tower of Terror 10-Mile Race Weekend is an often overlooked event – perhaps it’s due to the distance of the main event (10 miles, instead of 13.1, making it ineligible for the Coast-to-Coast Race Challenge), or maybe, just a hectic time of year for guests to visit the Walt Disney World Resort – but if you ask me, this specially themed race weekend is truly fun and “out of the ordinary” enough for it to warrant a second look!
Meeting the gravediggers at the Happy Haunted 5K.
I experienced my first Tower of Terror 10-Mile Race Weekend last year (recap here) and if it weren’t for me aiming for the Chicago Marathon the very next weekend as an “A” race for the season, I’d definitely be there again. From the lower crowds at the expo, to the challenging course and great mix of character greeting spots of the Happy Haunted 5K (recap here), it’s a fantastic alternative to the craziness of the bigger race weekends and offers what I believe to be one of the most VALUABLE benefits of ANY event that takes place at the Walt Disney World Resort: the ability to safely (and legally) walk to your corral for the 10-Miler!
Now, all you veterans of Disneyland races might be shaking your heads now, as ALL of the West coast races offer this, but for us here in Florida, we’ve grown accustomed to the idea of boarding a bus or monorail HOURS before the start of a race (as early as 3 AM for Marathon / Princess Weekend starts at 5:30 AM, or 7 PM for the 10 PM start of Wine and Dine) – but all of these races start in areas inaccessible to regular pedestrian traffic. This is NOT the case for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler, which stages its start area in the parking lot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a location that may be easily accessed by foot from any of the resorts in the BoardWalk area – the BIGGEST and BEST reason that I would wholeheartedly recommend the following resorts as your top choices for accommodations during your next Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend:

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas (host resort) – this is where I stayed last year, and it also happens to be my #1 recommendation! Not only is it gorgeously themed, but it is literally on the walking path toward Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My friend Morgan posted this great walking guide that illustrates just how easy it is to walk.
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort (host resort) – this resort is just a stone’s throw from the walking path, and boasts what just be the most incredible pool areas on Walt Disney World property – perfect for relaxing before the race, or the next morning!
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – although the Yacht Club is not considered a host resort, it’s location is adjacent to the Beach Club and is just as convenient to walk to and from the resort to the start and finish of the race. Just remember to walk to the Beach Club if you require transportation to the expo, 5K, or other race weekend events.
  • Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin Resorts – the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin are operated by Starwood Resorts, which means they share many of the fantastic benefits of Disney operated resorts (like Fastpass+ and Extra Magic Hours) but fall under the umbrella of another hotel family, and so are eligible for benefits offered to the Starwood Preferred Guest program, among other booking discounts and offers. Although they are also not considered host resorts, it’s a quick walk to the bus stops at either the Beach Club or Boardwalk for race specific transportation.
Each of the resorts mentioned above are in the “deluxe” or “villas” segment of categorical pricing, and while I would again tout the benefits of their luxurious amenities and convenient location, if they are just too far from the restrictions of your budget, there are still a handful of great options for your stay. Just be sure to stick to the list of “host resorts” from runDisney, which include the following:
Value Resorts
Value resorts.
  • Disney’s All Star Music, Disney’s All Star Movies or Disney’s All Star Sports – if you are not planning to spend much time in your room, there is absolutely nothing wrong with staying at any of the All Star Resorts! Each offer fun theming, a large food court, and convenient bus transportation. Additionally, All Star Music offers family suites, which sleep up to 6 in one room, and include a kitchenette!
  • Disney’s Pop Century my Value pick – although it’s in the same category as the All Star Resorts, Disney’s Pop Century is a little newer and smaller, which means a slightly friendlier layout, which may make for less walking (especially helpful when you’re on your feet all day – either in the parks or running the races). Side note: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is located just across the lake from Pop Century, so you could technically stay there and use runDisney transportation for race events, but it would be a bit of a hike.
2013-11-09 14.25.39

Moderate Resorts

  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – festive and fun, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort truly transports you to a tropical paradise – and with rooms a notch above in decor and size than value resorts, this is a great alternative for those who are looking for a little more space to spread out and relax (see this visual guide of the comparisons of room sizes, from value to deluxe).
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside – not only does this resort feature both quick and  table service dining options, it is the only place on property that you can currently stay in Princess “royal” themed rooms!
  • Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter – my Moderate pick – connected by waterway (boat) and walkway (foot) to Port Orleans Riverside, this quieter side of the resort is supremely walkable (the bus stop is not too far for any guest) and you can carb load with beignets!
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Villa Resorts

  • Disney’s Old Key West – my non-Boardwalk area Villa pick – the first Disney Vacation Club Resort, this sprawling property is an incredibly well-themed representation of the laid back locale it borrows its name from. The accommodations are the largest you will find in any of the villa resorts and Olivia’s, its table service dining location, is home of some of the best breakfast ever!
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – equestrian fans rejoice at this 19th-century interpretation of Saratoga Springs, New York. The rooms here are well appointed, the grounds very walkable, and anytime you can stay footsteps from a full-service spa, that’s a great reason to celebrate!
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Deluxe Resorts

  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – one of the original properties of the Walt Disney World Resort, at the time of writing, this resort is under some pretty major construction to both modernize and expand its offerings. A South Seas paradise in its own right, it is a fantastic choice for guests who prefer close access to the Magic Kingdom.
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort – my non-Boardwalk area Deluxe pick – slightly offset from the “monorail resorts” of the Polynesian, Contemporary and Grand Floridian, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a wooded retreat, closely themed after the grand lodges of the Pacific Northwest. Connected to the adventurous Fort Wilderness via a multi-use trail (read more here), it’s a destination vacation in itself, complete with an erupting geyser.

TAKE NOTE: A “host resort” designation is very important for runDisney race weekends, as it indicates that there is event transportation to race events, such as the expo (held at the Wide World of Sports) and the race start and finish areas for both participants and spectators.

transportationIf transportation is not a concern of yours, you are certainly welcome to enjoy your runDisney racecation at any other resort location (or even off-property), however, you are responsible for planning your schedule accordingly, as not to become stuck in traffic delays. Additionally, with the the Villains Bash finisher party raging on until 3:30 AM, it can be challenging enough to stumble out of the party, let alone attempt to find your car and drive it back to wherever you need to go in the wee hours of the morning.

No matter where you choose to stay, you can rest assured that your Tower of Terror Race Weekend experience can be made a lot less TERRIFYING with a little planning!

Have you ever run the Tower of Terror 10-Miler? Where did you stay? Where would you stay if you could stay anywhere on property?

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory


  1. Great recommendations. We are staying at Wilderness Lodge for the first time. Everyone seems to love it there and hopefully we will too. Unfortunately, the boardwalk area properties were all full when I got around to finding a hotel.

    • You willLOVE LOVE LOVE it!! My 2nd favorite property in a domestic Disney Park (my fave is Grand Californian – and they have lots of similarities)

  2. Very informative. We are staying at POFQ for the first time in November after a back-and-forth between that and POR. Decided to go with smaller layout since it’s easier with a toddler. GOOD LUCK in Chicago! I have tons of friends running so I’ll be cheering for all of you.

  3. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the Boardwalk when we stayed there in February – it’s a beautiful resort, and so convenient for this race!!! I’m looking forward to my first stay at the Wilderness Lodge for this trip – glad to see it’s one of your favorites!! 🙂

  4. The Boardwalk would be awesome. I’ll be staying at the new Grand DVC, which I’m super excited about! But it’s not a host hotel. So I’m going to be walking over to the Poly for transportation.

  5. As always, you are completely and magically thorough Krissy! We stayed at Disney’s Beach Club Resort last year, and just loved walking to the race, and home from the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash. After running so many races in Disneyland, it is such a pleasure to be bus-free at Walt Disney World for this event. Like you, I’ll miss those Grave Diggers this year!!

  6. We’ve stayed off property the last two years. While the busses were great it meant we were sitting around in the parking lot from very early on. This year we are staying at the Swan just so we can walk!

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