Disney has promised refunds to runners who registered for the Disneyland runs in 2018. Running events at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris resorts will continue as scheduled and are not affected by the pull-out in Anaheim.
So why is Disney cancelling these wildly popular events in Anaheim? The runDisney events — including the Disneyland Half-Marathon and other long-distance runs themed to Star Wars, Marvel, and other Disney franchises — typically draw tens of thousands of runners (and their families) to the resort, filling the parks and hotels on weekends that had been much less crowded before runDisney.
Disney cited construction projects at the resort — including Star Wars Land, the Eastern Gateway parking garage and new resort entrance, and the planned fourth on-site hotel — as impairing runDisney's ability to support a route through and around the resort.
“While construction for the next several years will impact our ability to deliver the runDisney experience our guests love, we are excited about our future as the Disneyland Resort continues one of its largest multi-year expansions,” George Savvas, a Disneyland spokesman, told the Orange County Register.
But runDisney race routes didn't go through the former backstage areas on which Disney is building Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Construction hasn't started on the fourth hotel, and there's no sign of it starting anytime soon. And the Eastern Gateway project is stalled, in part due to opposition from Harbor Boulevard neighbors who fear losing business as Disney builds a pedestrian bypass over the busy street.
A revamped Anaheim City Council has been more open to hearing community complaints about Disney in recent months and that might be in play here, too. The runDisney events generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for Anaheim, thanks to permits to close streets and police overtime to secure the route, not to mention increased spending and tax revenue in the city. Unlike at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris, the Disneyland Resort is not large enough for runDisney to plot a course that remains entirely on Disney property, so the events extend onto Anaheim streets.
That Disney cited construction that hasn't started as preventing runDisney events from going forward is the tell. By cancelling the events, Disney is costing Anaheim a lot of money — money that Disney is telling the city it will not get back until Disney's construction projects move to completion. The longer that Anaheim delays in letting Disney proceed, the longer that Anaheim loses out on that runDisney event cash.
The backstory on the Anaheim/Disneyland dispute:Tweet
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