Just one quick scroll through my blog and you’ll see that I’ve been a big fan of the RunDisney races since I ran my first one back in 2014. My first race would turn out to be the final running of the Tower of Terror 10-Miler. A month later, I ran my first half marathon with Wine & Dine (the race is affectionately known as the “splash and dash” amongst those who ran it.
For the next five years, I would be an avid RunDisney fan, flying from coast to coast to complete and absurd number of races (while spending a more absurd amount of money). I felt the investment in my overall health was worth it. Over those five years, I was in the best shape I’d been in my life.
It has been three years since my last race, which was in April 2019 with the now defunct Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend. I was set to run the WDW Marathon at the beginning of this year but the rise in COVID cases and the fact that I was booked to speak at a school a week after the race, I didn’t want to run the risk of getting sick and losing the work. Thankfully, RunDisney was kind enough to give me a refund in the form of a gift card which I’ve very slowly been working through over the past year.
Flash to April of this year when the 2023 WDW Marathon weekend went on sale. It’s the 30th Anniversary of the Marathon and the 10th Anniversary of the Dopey Challenge and I was all about it. Unfortunately, I was on a plane when registration opened and the web site had crashed and was down for most of the day. By time things were working again, the races were 100% sold out. They have reopened here and there since but not the Dopey, which is really the only reason I’d do the weekend if the option presented itself.
With the onset of the pandemic, RunDisney finally began offering virtual options for their races but I’m honestly disgusted with how much they are charging for them.
For those unfamiliar, a virtual race is one where you do the miles on the honor system and they mail you the medal(s). With Disney you’ll also receive the race shirts that you would also receive at the in-person races.
Now. RunDisney races are expensive. If you’ve run them before, the price tag is understandable. Live entertainment and meet and greets all along the course, top notch water and recharge stops along the route, and the experience of running through world class theme parks and sometimes behind the scenes.
100% worth it in my option. I was fully prepared to drop nearly $700 to experience the magic and the fun of the Dopey Challenge again.
For reference, the race costs for the weekend:
Half Marathon: $213.20
Goofy Challenge: $431.73
Dopey Challenge: $660.92
If you are a runner a like to do races, you’ll know that these prices are ABSURD. But you’re paying for the experience.
Here’s what pisses me off. The price of the virtual races. Again- you are paying for the medals and the shirts to be sent to you and that’s it. That’s all you get. Here are the prices:
Half Marathon: $125.79
Goofy Challenge: $293.15
Dopey Challenge: $511.68
Say it with me now:
For reference, the OUC Half Marathon which takes place in December and is a fantastically fun race is just $100 and that’s if you wait until the last minute to book it. The price as of me sitting down and writing this is $90 and the starting price when registration opened was $70.
So the virtual prices are just absurd. Beyond absurd, they’re disgusting.
I’m sure there’s some corporate, bureaucratic reason for the prices but I’m not buying it.
Overall, the prices for the races have made them unrealistic for me. In Orlando alone we have a number of amazing races that are significantly cheaper. I’ve been lucky enough to spend five years running the Disney circuit and I’m sure there will be an exception along the way, but I’m pretty certain my RunDisney career has come to an end.
I never say never because my sister really wants to run a race and she wants that race to be Disney. For her, I’ll do it because it would mean her and the rest of her family coming down for a visit and we’d be doing more than just running.
They’ve also recently announced that the Disneyland races will be returning in 2024. I actually loved those races more than anything run at Disney World so I could be convinced to return to California. At the same time, I know the first races back with be a battle just for registration so might not be right away that I make my return.
The moral of the story, if there is one, is that I miss running races and I want to return to it. I just don’t think it’s going to be at Disney.
1 comments on “I’ll Likely Never Run Disney Again”
I share the same feeling about the crazy prices for virtual races. Also, these race organizers should be ashamed for being so greedy. Also (part 2), I do not know who in their right minds would be willing to pay that much for a virtual experience. My take is the increase in virtual race prices is to offset many of the races that some organizations had to cancel during the pandemic.
I already think that in-person races are too pricey, but I understand that race orgs have to pay for permits, police and emergency staff, and other race logistic. Buuuuuut, at least you get an actual race experience with an in-person race (eg NYC Marathon). Who wants to pay $100+ to run around their neighborhood for 26.2 miles. I take that back. At least with running NYC Marathon virtually, you will receive guaranteed entry for the next year’s marathon.