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Don't Miss the Race to Register for runDisney's Upcoming Events

October 7, 2015, 10:01 AM · runDisney has announced its event schedule for 2016 and early 2017, including registration dates:

The most competitive part of any runDisney event is the rush to actually secure a registration for these races, which usually sell out within minutes of opening. All registration windows open at noon ET via rundisney.com.

Annual passholders often get access to early registration, so watch your email for that information, if you have (or can still afford) an AP.

Disneyland Half-Marathon: On sale Feb. 2, 2016 for the Sept. 1-4, 2016 event

Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon: On sale Mar. 15, 2016 for the Nov. 4-5, 2016 event at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend: On sale Apr. 5, 2016 for the Nov. 10-13, 2016 event at the Disneyland Resort.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: On sale Apr. 26, 2016 for the Jan. 4-8, 2017 event.

Star Wars Half Marathon - The Light Side: On sale June 14, 2016 for the Jan. 12-15, 2017 event at the Disneyland Resort.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend: On sale July 12, 2016 for the Feb. 23-26, 2017 event at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Star Wars Half Marathon - The Dark Side: On sale Aug. 9, 2016 for the Apr. 20-23, 2017 event at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend: On sale Sept. 20, 2016 for the May 11-14, 2017 event at the Disneyland Resort.

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Replies (14)

October 7, 2015 at 10:28 AM · The Paris half marathon goes on sale Oct 13th.
October 7, 2015 at 10:46 AM · Of all things that are a waste of upcharge money, this is one of them. Yet people can't wait to book and give Disney your time and money.
October 7, 2015 at 1:07 PM · Wow, look at all the formerly off-season weekends that are now shutting down city streets and crowding the parks.
October 7, 2015 at 1:16 PM · Yes, the races are expensive when compared to other non-Disney but there is much that goes on, logistically, for these races. Start with the buses from the resorts to WWoS for packet pickup as well as too and from the resorts and the race start lines.

There is the entertainment along the routes. Disney donates to the local HS bands to get them to come out early in the morning to play and cheer us runners on.

There are the characters, both face and costumed, who are paid to be there as well, most likely earning OT.

There are the refreshments served during the races as well as the post race food boxes.

Finally there is the all important 'bling', the race medals. They do a decent to amazing job on these. The regular half and full marathon medals are decent. However the specialty races like the ToT 10 Miler with the moving elevator on the ToT plus it glows in the dark.

All this, and more I am forgetting, is more then you get from your 'normal' non-Disney races like the big city marathons.

I can't wait to get my 4 medals for the Star Wars weekend in April. My son and I are doing the 5k (his first race) and then I am doing the 10K and half.

Did all that cost a pretty penny, yes it did, just under $500. Is it worth it? You bet you sweet you-know-what it is!

October 7, 2015 at 1:56 PM · Have to disagree that this is a waste of upcharge money. The opportunity to join others in a run around these iconic places is great. Considering the obesity epidemic in the US and other western countries, events like this encouraging fitness and a healthy lifestyle are far better than most upcharging events based on buffets of unhealthy foods, desserts , or a scramble to get as much candy as possible.

If the dates aligned with our plans next year, I would definitely be signing up for a half marathon at DLR. It would be great incentive to get into better shape and tackle my first half.

October 7, 2015 at 3:21 PM · I ran the WDW Marathon and the Disneyland Half Marathon last year and I recently did the last Expedition Everest this year. Of all the things you can do at the parks, these events are definitely not a wasteful upcharge. I was already a runner (not the fastest, but not the slowest) when I had first heard about the WDW marathon. Being able to combine running a marathon race and go through some of my favorite theme parks was a great experience. It was also neat to see some of the backstage areas that guests are not normally allowed to venture through. There are also plenty of opportunities to take photos with characters along the routes as well. Some of the character stops are outlandishly themed such as having a pirate ship backdrop with Captain Jack Sparrow.

The races are really popular now and depending on which ones you choose to do (especially the challenges) they can sell out within an hour. The majority of the people that are signing up for the races are not elite runners nor are they regular long distance runners. Like it was mentioned above, if a race like this encourages someone to get into better shape, more power to them. It makes for a great motivator to become healthier.

I prefer the Florida races over the ones at Disneyland simply because the amount of time you spend in the Disneyland parks is minimal compared to how long you are running along the streets of Anaheim. There are some nifty distractions like the classic cars, Spanish dancers, and the high school marching bands, but you’re still running in an industrial area of Anaheim that isn’t very scenic. The courses in Florida are entirely on Disney’s property which allows for more character stops and scenic sights.

I’m not one to sign up to do a runDisney race every year though. They are a bit expensive and if you really just want to test the waters to see if you can run a specific distance there are probably plenty of races near you locally that you could try.

Now that there are two Star Wars races (one on each coast), I may have to sign up for them. Especially to get the Star Wars Coast to Coast medal. I would also like to do the WDW Marathon again because of the awesome journey through the parks and the fact it didn’t really feel like you ran 26 miles (until later that day).

October 8, 2015 at 10:13 AM · It's amazing to get the response when I call it wasteful. Unlike the other upcharges like desert events, the main event of the runDisney is running. There is no charge to doing your own run. The roads are paid for. The air is free. Disney is definitely charging for the intangibles that are at a great premium. Surely, you're getting the medals, the meet and greets, and you get to dress up. Is this worth $300? That's more than the price of the theme park admission where you already get this except for the medal. It is interesting that you're paying full price for half of a marathon.
October 8, 2015 at 1:16 PM · Ahh, the old "You're paying all this money for what is already free" argument. Two kinds of people make this argument. There's the people who purely enjoy exercise and don't need any motivation to do it, its benefits speak for themselves or there's a social aspect to it (I'll assume this is you). The other type are people who are lazy and don't do any exercise, and criticise anyone who does for whatever reason.

Most people who exercise like to set themselves goals, something to aim for in order to improve motivation and structure their exercise program towards something - hence organised sporting events like marathons and triathlons, events which cost money to run.

Considering that Disney's events are comparably priced to others, with the mild increase (only $200 for the Avengers 1/2 marathon at DLR, and $190 for the DW maratho) easily accounted for by the perks (entertainment, event shirt etc) and the fact that as it's not a charitable event road closures (in Anaheim) won't be subsidised by the city.

Any upcharging here would be minimal (particularly compared to other Disney events), and the overall benefit to the health of the community easily justifies this.

October 8, 2015 at 1:41 PM · "Disney's events are comparably priced to others"

Not really. Other half marathons races can range from $40 to $100 based on time of entry. The earlier you register, the cheaper it is. You're paying a premium of at least $100. If the entertainment, swag, and perks is worth it, then certainly go for it.

"Any upcharging here would be minimal (particularly compared to other Disney events)"

This is another distortion. The Halloween Party admission ranges from $69 to $84. The dessert events can cost $59 and up. The Disney World dinner shows like Hoop-Dee-Doo costs $67.99. These are all $100 cheaper than the marathon. Perhaps you can explain what you mean.

October 8, 2015 at 3:31 PM · I'm comparing the DLR half to urban half marathons, such as the LA rocknroll half and the Santa Barbara half (@$115 for early registration). These events, like Disney, have to close roads to run the event. This costs money, and I'm sure the Anaheim city / council won't give Disney any discount for these.

So the cost of running an event similar to Disney is normally around $100-120. Early tickets for a half (the princess one) is $175. Factor in the perks, entertainment and any city fees Disney has to pay for and that accounts for a fair chunk of the $50-7 difference. The other upcharge events also have people in the park buying merchandise etc, and (I believe) such as with the dessert have a minimal investment required by Disney. Also, you can't simply go for a half marathon run through Disney's parks.

I'd be interested to see the books, but I'd be surprised if Disney's net profit on the running events match many of the other events (which I do believe are overpriced).

October 8, 2015 at 3:50 PM · "Factor in the perks, entertainment and any city fees Disney has to pay for and that accounts for a fair chunk of the $50-7 difference."

I would not assume that. The entertainment and the facilities are already part of Disney's operations. The roads may be closed so the costs will be comparable to other half marathon costs, BUT a portion of the race is on Disney property so that is free to Disney. The difference is likely pure profit. You're paying for the experience and Disney's swag that they get cheap as part of their merchandising operations. There's nothing mysterious about it.

October 8, 2015 at 4:38 PM · I am an avid marathoner / pace coach who have run over 20 marathons and 35 Half-Marathons. Below I have placed what I believe are the PROS/CONS of the event

PROS
- WDW Marathon Weekend - Bar None one of my favorite runs. Usually fantastic weather, awesome transportation, cool sense of achievement when you walk the park with your medal, and awesome fitness expo.
- They are held (OBVIOUSLY) on weekends that are the least crowded. Ensuring a full weekend and day for runners to enjoy the park
- WELL ORGANIZED EVENT - Very good crowd control, start lines / finish lines, medical tents, crowd support, water&nutrition stations, cheer squads, etc
- Fantastic Medals - I have to admit they are amazing
- Very Novice Friendly (Which is also a CON) You don't have to be an avid runner to enjoy the event.


CONS
- ANY Disneyland Half - Although I cannot fully blame RunDisney for this, Most of the halfmarathons held at DLR are rarely in the park but due to lack of space. BUT ONE THING THAT STILL IRKS ME UNTIL TODAY is the fact that the OFFICIAL DISNEYLAND HALF is held in AUGUST which is primarily a hot and humid day in the 90s which is dangerous.
- TOO ORGANIZED EVENT - Sometimes RunDisney can be overly strict with their events that leads to nuances aka the strict time predictor and corral placement system. In other words, you are placed in a corral closer to the front if you are a 'faster' runner proven by previous finish times to alleviate stampeding during the race. Disney is super strict because you have to 'predict your time' up to 8 months in advance and if you run a faster marathon after you are still held to what time you predicted.
- TOO EXPENSIVE - Entry Fees are off the chart for a single race, even more insane for a "Challenge" race. They official race gear and clothes could be better for the price they are, then again who are we kidding.
- RIDICULOUS CHALLENGES for MEDALS - They are trying to get you to spend over $350 to run consecutive races on consecutive days in order to get a limited edition medal. EVEN THE MOST AVID MARATHONER would reconsider running a DOPEY (5k, 10k, 13mile, 26.2 mile) on consecutive days unless you are at the UPMOST SHAPE. Its hard enough to run a marathon, and it leads to injury and health risk if you run 39.3 miles without training for over years.
- TOO NOVICE FRIENDLY - Again, RunDisney always tries to over advertise their challenge races but forget that you really need to train for them. This is where I lean to think they are mostly after your money. Even race consultant Jeff Galloway insists that these challenges are NOT EASY and not for the novice runner yet RunDisney always pushes these type of events. Ironically, over 75% of the people who run these challenges are mostly novice to new runners (evident by sell out) who have no idea what they signed up for thus making it harder to register for those who can actually do them. Most of them have only run a few races, or even, a few miles at one time because I have been openly asking everyone that I encounter on these races what tips they have for me. I have run the Dopey challenge several times and always witness injuries. Dopey alone will set you back over $650 and when you realize you're in too deep in the race it will be too late. Also, SUPER STRICT time limits will cause a lot of novice runners to be 'swept up' or injured thus leading them to not get their medal or disqualified.
- THEY SCHEDULED A RACE during BOSTON MARATHON WEEKEND ?!?!? - Running the Boston Marathon is a bucket list race because of the fact it takes years to qualify to even participate. The most coveted marathon in the world is where the both amateur and pro athletes alike run together. There is an unwritten rule to not host a race on that weekend so that the entire running community in the world can tip their hats to the ones who are running. This one really convinced a lot of runners that RunDisney was in it for the money and turned off a lot of people.

All in all, I actually like running Disney races but they are too expensive and also too hard physically. Then again, if I were in charge I cant say I wouldn't do the same too if more and more people are pouring money.

October 8, 2015 at 4:38 PM · The entertainment and facilities aren't necessarily part of normal operations, the runs are started before park opening to minimise impact on operations, which involves overtime, and significant amounts of the entertainment occur out of park, which is not normal operations. Sectioning off car park for finishing area, transport to and from local hotels (on and off-site), entertainment in the finishing area. Reading race reports from runners, the overall experience is above and beyond normal runs. There is cost to all these things, hence the higher expense.
October 8, 2015 at 5:24 PM · Entertainment is just a marginal cost. If they are indeed overtime, that's from a base hourly wage of $10. I doubt it since the performers don't work overtime and this is a slow period. They are simply sent home after a few hours. As mentioned above, the events are held over a few days. They use their existing staff outside the parks. They hire tons of casual employees with irregular hours. The event lasts a few hours in the early mornings and they are over quickly. I did hear that Disney hires an outside company to manage the races. I'm sure they are a small separate cost.

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