I have stayed on International Drive, but not whilst doing the Dopey. Ive never considered staying off-site during the races. I think at the very least, I would stay at a Disney resort for the nights before the half marathon and marathon, and then also the following night. I really cannot emphasise enough the convenience of the transportation between the Disney resorts and the event village, and then to the cooldown party in Disney Springs on the evening after the marathon. Its just one less thing to have to worry about.
Traffic getting into Epcot is usually very heavy on races mornings, but the buses bypass all of that. They also run non-stop, so you never have to wait more than a few minutes to board one. Then you have to decide if you'd want to drive after the marathon, considering you would've done 5km, 10km and 21km in the days leading up to it. Personally, I have enough trouble just walking after all that!!
Stay in one of the "value resorts". All-Stars Sports, Music & Movies, and Pop Century are all Disney resorts which come with the free transportation bells and whistles, and are a fraction of the price of the other more popular resorts. Having stayed in a few of them, I can guarantee that there's absolutely nothing wrong with them!!
As it stands, Im attempting the Coast to Coast Challenge in the space of a week by doing the WDW Dopey Challenge (followed swiftly by the Around the World Drinking Challenge in Epcot), and then flying over to Los Angeles for the Star Wars Rebel Challenge the following weekend.
Any other idiots out there with a similar optimistic/unrealistic idea?
In 2011, I got a bus from the New York Library to Staten Island. They do request that you book your a time, but they werent checking people when they turned up other than for a bib number, and everybody should have one of those!
You get there, queue for the first available bus, and off you go.
Fort Wadsworth (the start) is a cold place. Buy a cheap old jumper that you dont mind discarding at the start, and wrap yourself up! You'll probably be waiting around for a long time over there!