Disney Duck Races Remain Most Beloved Cast Member Tradition

in Disney, Disneyland Resort

Credit: coasterlvr Instagram, quinonez_family19 Instagram

Recently, Cast Members at Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris participated in one of their most popular traditions: the Disney Duck Races through the classic “it’s a small world” ride.

A design winner with Donald Duck at the Disney Duck Races
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

The Disney Duck Races began in 2008 for anyone who worked at the “it’s a small world” attraction in Disneyland. Early in the morning, before the Park opened, Cast Members would bring rubber ducks to the ride, decorate them in Disney themes, and race them through the waterway.

The race was opened to all Cast Members in 2011 and has quickly become one of their favorite annual traditions. This year was no different, except that it opened up to Disneyland Paris to celebrate Donald Duck’s 89th birthday. So let’s look at the creativity of the people who make your Disney Day magical.

Designs for the Disney Duck Races Are Adorable and Topical

Up Disney Ducks, Ahsoka Disney Duck
Credit: photographears Instagram, coasterlvr Instagram

Related: Disney Cast Member Compliments Cross 1 Million

When it comes to designing ducks, Disney Cast Members truly bring their all. Dozens if not hundreds of rubber duckies were decorated based on various themes. For Disneyland Paris, awards were given based on the different lands in the Park. Highlights included ducks dressed up as Carl and Russell from UP (2009) and another made to look like one of the attendants for “it’s a small world.”

Disneyland Resort also featured categories, but they were a bit more specific. For example, there was the “Most Like Donald Duck” category, which went to an incredible Angry Donald Duck, and an incredible Maleficent Dragon Duck that won the “Disney 100” category.

Maleficent Dragon (Murphy_ on fire Disney Duck, Splash Mountain Disney Duck
Credit: d23fan Instagram

There were also ducks designed based on events happening at the various Disney Parks. The now-closed Splash Mountain was well-represented, with one duck dressed as a ride attendant and others made to look like Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, and Brer Fox. Naturally, they all rode in the iconic logs.

As mentioned earlier, there was plenty of love for Maleficent in her dragon form. While this is partly because dragons are inherently awesome, most Cast Members were probably inspired by the unfortunate Fantasmic accident where the fire-breathing dragon, Murphy, caught on fire. One Cast Member went so far as to recreate that exact moment in duck form!

There were plenty of other Disney favorites that made their appearance known, including Star WarsNightmare Before Christmas (1993), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Figment from Walt Disney World, WALL-E (2008), Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988), and The Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Cast Members Race Their Ducks for a Good Cause


so much fun!! 🐤🦆🤍 #disney #disneyland #disneycastlife #disneyducks #castmember

♬ Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift

While the most photographable parts of the event are the fantastic designs, the real action takes place in the water. Around one thousand ducks are placed in the water of “it’s a small world” and sent on their merry way. While this seems like a simple enough journey to us humans, many ducks don’t make it out of the classic attraction at all.

This year, the winner was Stacy Wise, a horticulture manager who raced for the first time with her duck based on Ludwig Von Drake. Awards were also given for the second and third-place ducks, but the true highlight was for Instagram user izzyscope, who took last place with her duck based on Violet Parr from The Incredibles (2004). Maybe if she based it on Dash, things would have been different.

First and Last Place at the Disney Duck Races in Disneyland
Credit: Disney Parks Blog, laylat_ via TikTok

Related: Cast Members Risk Injury Trying to Help Guests During Ride Breakdown

While the Cast Members definitely have fun at the Disney Duck Races, the main reason for the event is to raise money for a cause. This year, all entry fees went to My Day Counts, a non-profit organization that raises money to “train people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities for success in life and work.”

This year, the Disney Duck Races raised enough money to finance 70 days of care this year. Overall, the races were a massive success creatively, competitively, and charitably. And next year, it will surely get bigger and better.

How would you design your Disney Duck? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Disney, Disneyland Resort

Comments Off on Disney Duck Races Remain Most Beloved Cast Member Tradition