In Defense of Both Sides: my thoughts on runDisney and its future.

This morning, I read my friend Megan’s post about the reasons she is sitting out runDisney events for the foreseeable future. After a second read, a snack, and a third read, I have finally pieced together my somewhat complicated reaction to her post.

You see, I too began my running journey closely entwined with the goal of completing a runDisney race – my eyes were set on the 2011 Disneyland Half Marathon; but as fate would have it, I learned, just months before it – that if I could set my mind to completing the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon first, I could earn my Coast to Coast medal. So, as daunting as it sounded, I pulled the trigger in October 2010, just two months after my first race (a 5K) and began my 13.1 training.

Post- Minnie 10K, WDW Marathon Weekend 2014.

Post- Minnie 10K, WDW Marathon Weekend 2014.

Now, many people do not realize this, but when I first set my goal, runDisney did not exist – at least, not in the way that we think of it today. You see, the branding, introduction of Jeff Galloway as the official training consultant, and even the Facebook page – those are all relatively new (2010) additions to the mix of what was to become the newest blend of Disney magic and endurance events. Yes, you read that correctly – although the Walt Disney World Marathon had been “running” since 1994, its dominance did not quite pick up speed until much more recently, partly (I believe) due to the recent popularity of running, and the prevalence of social media.

Social Media: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In her post, Megan laments the drama and general sense of negativity in Facebook postings, group conversations and other communities that discuss runDisney. While I definitely agree with her (I had to distance myself as well, even as I attempted, several times, to balance out conversations with useful information, tips and advice) it is not something that I can pin entirely on, or is limited exclusively to, the runDisney community.

I know this will make me sound like an old fogey, but “back when I was starting out with runDisney,” there were no groups on Facebook. No hashtags on twitter. No secret groups snarking on random things, or, well, anything. I looked up my own plan to train for my first half marathon, I followed it, traveled to my races and relied on information in the official race program (which I received the day before the race, at the expo) and had a great time. That was it.

Today, we have so many amazing resources at our finger tips – from online communities to share training tips, forums to ask questions, and heck, even opportunities to tweet Jeff Galloway himself! We can look up course maps, watch videos on YouTube, and so much more! But, instead of appreciating these things, we start our complaints early when we can’t find a leak of waivers, or bemoan our supposed corral placement before it’s even announced, or stress about the 983,083 things that are quite honestly, out of our control (like the weather). While it is realistic that everything will not always be perfect, it is this sort of negativity that sets the stage for disappointment long before we even arrive under the Walt Disney World gates.

Don’t agree? Well, that brings me to my next point…

Arguing…just to argue

Some general themes that emerged over Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend could be summed up into these  three topics:

  • New Balance shoes
  • Corral Placements
  • Official Meetups

Now, I can see lots of sides/opinions/discussions about each of these topics, and believe me, many of the comments brought up in these discussions were completely valid. While I do agree the idea of these shoes is fun, I have to admit that I don’t really understand the frenzy behind them. True, I do own a pair of the 2013 versions, but this was pure luck, as I won them in a local sweepstakes.

I do honestly believe that this partnership between New Balance and runDisney is a good one. While many begin their endurance adventures simply with the goal of completing a race, or just soaking in the race weekend experience, many are excited to take their journey further, and search for ways to improve their future performance(s), whether that means more technical gear, a more serious approach to training, or any combination of the two. New Balance is a fantastic company, and locally, they are an incredible resource for many, going beyond purely the retail experience and truly emphasizing the importance of overall wellness.

On the flip side, the spectacle of new shoe releases, their overcomplicated (again, just my opinion) process to simply purchase shoes is quite simply, over the top. I personally will not jump through a hoop, let alone multiple hoops for the opportunity to buy something – but that’s just me; and really, this is not like it’s some new phenomena or anything, I mean, two words: Air Jordans.

My friends Kris and Mindy!

My friends Kris and Mindy! Disneyland 2013.

Second – corral placements. Okay, I admit it – seeing that letter can really boost or dampen your spirits, but seriously: it is JUST a letter. I’m not the biggest math buff, so I am glad that someone else broke it down, but again – corral placements are done, first and foremost with guest safety in mind. Sure, it bummed me out a bit that you can no longer do corral changes at the expo (especially since you have to register so far in advance – though you can still email until pretty close before the event) but when events get so large, sometimes it’s best to reduce any sort of “extras” as much as possible. So, unless a completely blatant error takes place (say, a sub-4 marathoner in the last corral or something) I do trust my safety to Disney in this regard.

Lastly, and most *sigh*-inducing: the meetups. At Outrunning the Monorail, I have written so many posts on the last iteration of these events that I have lost track, (What is a Meetup and why should I care?, How to get into a runDisney meetup, twitter analysis on the meetups...the list goes on) and yes, I was fortunate enough to participate in two of these events (I chose one on each coast – the 2012 Wine and Dine Half Meetup and the 2013 Tinker Bell Half Meetup, both on my own accord, doing it the old fashioned way (refresh! refresh! refresh!) and again, yes I would not trade these experiences for anything – for the special attention runDisney paid toward us, plus the truly priceless fact that I was able to meet so many incredible people – both from previous online experience, or just for the first time, face to face.

Cheesin' for the photographers!

Neverland 5K with my mom and sister, 2013!

I treasured these experiences so much that after two meetups, I went into a sort of “retirement” and did my best to help others “get in.” If others chose to try again, and attend, that did not bother me – I just wanted to even the playing field for anyone that wanted to get in, and I did this through the previously mentioned blog posts and offering to tweet/text people when I saw the announcement – and I am proud to say that this helped several people, and many sent thoughtful notes of thanks, which truly warmed my heart. I always saw these special meetup opportunities as “special extras” and it was fun sharing the information.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and I began to really view, first-hand, the negative tide of attitudes somewhere around 2013 Princess Half weekend and seemed to have gone somewhat downhill since then, really peaking at the first iteration of a nighttime meetup (2013 Wine and Dine) and all out crashing early this year when no meetup was announced for the 2014 WDW Marathon Weekend.

The ugly words I saw about people upset at runDisney for “not telling them” felt weirdly personal to me. Who were these people? Why the sense of entitlement? I mean, I understood how much people wanted to go, but to complain about something that was never even alluded to was kind of out of hand….and then Tinker Bell came and went without a meetup. Everyone was confused…until the news of a special “Welcome Event” for 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend – an $89 event that sounded a lot like the meetups of the past.

What came then was truly the biggest surprise to me: the amount of backlash that was directed toward Disney about its greed at charging for a once-free event…and I get that, I mean, I too wish I had a money tree planted in my backyard, but honestly – if I were Disney, I have to be honest: I would have charged for these long ago, too. Which brings me to my last point…

Money, money, money

Yes, this is the thing I definitely agree with Megan the most. Heck, it’s a big reason I will never run Dopey, but that’s the KEY POINT here – we all are adults. We can all make our own decisions. Sure, we can sign up for all the races, buy all the swag, pay for all the race retreats, and eat all the expensive food, but WHY? Because someone else is doing it? Because you saw someone’s review and don’t want to miss out? Whatever the reason is, just think about it: is someone forcing you – beyond the race registration fee – to spend all your disposable income in one weekend (or in the case of WDW Marathon Weekend – more like a week) on ALL THE THINGS? No. And if they are, you should reevaluate your relationship to this unspoken person.

Running past Everest!

Running through Animal Kingdom, WDW Marathon 2013.

runDisney is something, to me, that is still in its infancy, and sure, I read about people talking about “breaking up” with the series, or trying other things – and that is all good. This does not offend me one bit – and until runDisney goes back to its struggle to fill hotel rooms and registration slots (even as recent as 2011, Marathon Monday was a thing) I can promise you one thing: prices will rise. It’s okay to take a break, and you know what, it’s also okay if you still want to run all the races in a year – the power to make these decisions is our own (okay, maybe also our spouses, but I digress).

So, if you made it to the end of this monstrous post (almost 2000 words, whew) I give you serious kudos. Maybe I  should issue a special, commemorative, spinning medal with it 😉


59 thoughts on “In Defense of Both Sides: my thoughts on runDisney and its future.

  1. Nicely said Krissy. You’ve summed up my feelings way better then I ever could have so I’ll just add my “ditto”. I am taking a runDisney break but not for the reasons many others are. Last year was my 40th birthday and my gift to myself was to run like a crazy girl and travel internationally 4 times to do this. My bank account doesn’t want me to repeat this, but not so much because of the registration fees, I pay almost as much for local races, but because of the travel costs. I did just run Tink and that was my runDisney weekend for the year. I’ve got my eye set on WDW Marathon weekend for 2016 and that will most likely be my next Disney race. After that, who knows. I love all things Disney and will never swear off anything Disney related for good but I am taking a wee break. I’ll be back though!

    • Sarah – happy belated birthday, and thanks for sharing your opinion here! I am so glad that you felt comfortable sharing your thoughts here. I hope to see you in 2016 🙂

  2. Great response. Even now living 22 miles (maybe less) from Disneyland, I can’t fathom paying $195 just for the half (good thing it sold out quickly; I didn’t have time to jump). I loved my W&D experience in 2012 and glad I did at least one runDisney event – but I think the pricetag alone has been enough to turn me off.

    I’ll take YOUR special commemorative medal though. 😉

    • ❤ I feel ya on the fast sell out times! Does make it easier to resist, lol 😀

      I can't wait to start designing said medal!! 😉

  3. My first half marathon was also Disney World in 2011. Coincidentally I signed up on early October and a college friend and I used it as an excuse to meet up and spend a fun weekend at Disney World (it was the first half for both of us).
    I haven’t run another runDisney event since. I have followed them closely and wanted to run them. But I can’t justify the cost.
    I loved my runDisney experience, but when i think about how many other races I can run instead for the same or less cost, I can’t justify it.
    That said, I am planning to run Wine & Dine this year. But this comes after almost four years of no runDisney events.
    I’ll be interested to see where the organization goes in the next few years. I’ll also be interested to see how different the experience is.
    You can only run Goofy so many times before your bank account gets burned out.

  4. The price increases both me simply because when I did my first princess, 2009?, you seemed to get more bang for your buck. I am running Princess and on the fence about Wine and Dine. RunDisney is expensive but I do love the races!
    Meet ups, I don’t know if I would pay for the new version however I do like that they offer it. Lots of people do not work on a computer and with the meet ups filling up in 20 minutes there were people that wanted to go but never would have had the option.
    The backlash after princess last year was out of control!
    I will definitely keep runDisney races on my calendar but maybe not as many. I want to check out a few others too.

    • ” I want to check out a few others too.” <– Agree! There are so many amazing events out there!!

  5. I ran Disney Marathon back in 2008. I remember the cost was over $100 and I balked at that. But it turned out to be worth it because the race was great, well-supported and fun, and I got my first BQ. So it’s always had a special place in my heart. I recall my husband came out and cheered me on in two locations, which was awesome. Some of my girlfriends just completed Tinkerbell and told me that Disney is extorting money at every angle, now even charging spectators to watch runners from the park. It seems to all be about squeezing as much money as possible out of not just participants but their families and friends, too. But you’re right, we are adults and have a choice. And as I told my tinkerbell-running friends, there are plenty of races to choose from. If we simply vote with our feet (pun intended), Disney won’t have any option but to stop this madness.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, A!

      “If we simply vote with our feet (pun intended), Disney won’t have any option but to stop this madness.” <– this summed it up!

  6. Krissy, I couldn’t agree with you more. Both your and Megan’s posts resonated with me today. As a runDisney newbie (my first races were during Marathon weekend last month although I was at Marathon weekend in 2013 ChEARing on my husband during his first full marathon), I see both sides of the coin. What each of us has to do individually is weigh the pros and cons, and our personal decision probably isn’t the right decision for somebody else, and vice versa. Its truly unfortunate that some of the drama that unfolded on Social Media in the weeks before and after Marathon weekend occurred, and honestly, the drama pushed me away from full participation in the groups for awhile. However, I truly appreciate the groups for the one reason I joined them, and that’s for the support that so many members of the groups provided me with right when I needed it. But as you pointed out, the Social Media drama isn’t just centered around runDisney events (I’m starting to see it creep up with Rock ‘n’ Roll as well as other races), but I think its been most prominent lately with runDisney because of the two recent race weekends.

    • Thanks, K. I hope the negativity hasn’t turned you off from the events – they may not be perfect, but they really are special 🙂

  7. I don’t really keep up with runDisney groups/blogs/whatever, but I think you covered both sides pretty well. I also think the way people react here parallels what happens in most communities. People who get involved in things when they’re still relatively small and less mainstream start to feel like they’re entitled to the way things “used to be” and fight and complain about change. When they don’t get what they want, they huff and puff as if it was some sort of personal dissing. People will become elitist over anything they can. I’ve seen it happen in every single community I’ve ever been a part of. It’s just how people are.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, A! I agree with what you’re saying about trends and change – it does make you wonder if people are this passionate about all aspects of their lives – because really, if people took serious stuff more seriously, you’d think we could have cured cancer or something by now – hah, seriously though, I just hope one day people will realize that kindness counts…

  8. I have sort of a different outlook on this than a lot of people, because I don’t have a specific loyalty to the Disney brand, even though I live within a half hour drive of Disneyland. I’d already had two full marathons and two half marathons under my belt when I did my first Disney race in 2007, then I did it again in 2009. Back then, it was just another local race alternative. It cost slightly more than, say, the Orange County Half Marathon, but only by about $25 or so. The race would take months to sell out, not hours like it does now.
    When Disney introduced Tinkerbell out here, it was clear a demand was brewing, but I didn’t see the real craziness start until Disneyland 2013. I had friends wanting to run their first half marathon, and not having done Disneyland since 2009, I had no idea that it would sell out so crazy fast. We all got in, but I found the experience to be less than I remembered, what with the expo being nuts and the course being overcrowded.
    Last week I addressed this same issue of how social media has affected Disney races on my own blog.
    My perspective is that the people rushing to register are as responsible for the problems as runDisney.
    This year I did WDW for the first time and TinkerBell. It’s time for a break. I don’t like being a member of the mob.

    • Jen – thank you for your post! I read your blog and this resonated with me so much: “These races are luxuries. People who can afford to do them already have a certain level of privilege and disposable income. Getting upset because you can’t get more is so ridiculous to me!” <– YES! I don't understand why people become so upset that they cannot spend more money.

  9. This an awesome post, Krissy! I started my running journey with RunDisney in 2010 and fell in love with Run Disney. It wasn’t until my first princess half in 2012 that I fell in love with running. I think it’s great Disney offers running events and always will, but I’ve noticed RunDisney sort of creates a barrier between those who truly love running and those who love the idea of RunDisney…or should I say tricked out medals. As much as I love RunDisney, it’s an annoyance for to hear friends say they registered for a race because the medal is “pretty” or “heavy”. Anything to get people up and moving is excellent, but for me I know it’s hard to relate to my colleagues who say they love running yet the only time they “run” is on race day! I’m starting to explore new races and honestly, I loved space coast more than I did wdw marathon!

    • ” As much as I love RunDisney, it’s an annoyance for to hear friends say they registered for a race because the medal is “pretty” or “heavy””

      THIS! Yes, I agree, A. We share that love of the sport, and bling is definitely just a fun extra. I hope we can run together soon.

  10. Great post Krissy! I did my first WDW marathon in 2004, and have basically gone back every other year for marathon weekend as part of our family vacation. I enjoy the Disney races for what they are, but there are people who will always find something to complain about I guess! I also don’t get the frenzy about the shoes and the angst about corrals–I just go to run and enjoy the Disney fabulousness. 🙂

    • Yes, totally agree, Beth! We are a breed of minimalists I guess! I just love seeing friends (like you) and running! Everything else is extra….

  11. Looking for my medal for finishing! 😉 Love the post! I agree with so much of it. I have been saddened by the negative outcry for some runDisney dealings, but I still love the events! I think the reason they cost so much is Disney puts so much more into it. Other races are expensive as well, and as you stated we have the right and the choice of how we spend our money. If you think it’s too much, don’t do it, but don’t put the rest of us down who want to be a part of the magical experience. I never try for a PR at a Disney race because it is just that, an experience. I mean at what other 5k do you get to see fireworks and Tinker Bell fly? That costs money! And it was worth it to me.

    Thanks for your candid honesty.

    • Thank YOU for taking the time to comment, Debbie. It’s always so rewarding to share experiences and stories with friends new and old – and I look forward to meeting YOU sometime!! 🙂

  12. Great post Krissy! And I did read it to the end! My very first race ever was at Disney so it holds a special place for me, but at the end of the day it IS a business like anything else and it’s main goal IS to make money! As long as people are willing to pay for overpriced merchandise, overpriced Pasta, overpriced races, and private potties, than Disney will keep increasing the prices! Yes, I am guilty of paying for these things, but I do not complain about it because I know it is Disney and I enjoy my experience!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Meranda! i definitely agree with you – premium experiences = premium prices.

  13. You can’t see me, but I’m giving you a standing ovation.

    I think people’s expectations are not very well managed when it comes to runDisney, and I get a little perturbed when people seem to feel entitled to “magic”.
    Things change. Events change. Some go away, some return, sometimes new things are introduced, but no-one is owed anything.

    It’s just so weird, but it follows that “Disney-obsessed” nature that folks get thanks to the internet (as you’ve said). People get this “checklist” of things that they must do that are “special”. “Go to Whispering Canyon and ask for ketchup, rush to that store in the Magic Kingdom and wake up Tinkerbell, stand in this *exact spot* for Wishes for the best view, get into the meet up, line up early for shoes…”. If they don’t get those extra special super secret bonuses to their trip, vacation ruined. If they don’t have THE BEST OF ALL THE TIMES, then they had the worst time.
    I feel like it’s that contingent that’s taken over the dialogue and it’s gotten a little troll-y.
    In the end, they are the real bummers. Not runDisney.

    • “f they don’t have THE BEST OF ALL THE TIMES, then they had the worst time.”

      You took the words right out of my mouth…it is definitely a weird cycle!!

  14. Great post, Krissy. My first Disney race was the 2009 marathon, and umm yeah, A LOT has changed since then to put it lightly. But like I commented on Megan’s post, this isn’t just a runDisney issue. I think a lot of big races are getting ridiculous price-wise (I have guaranteed entry into NYCM this year and don’t think I can swing the $255 registration + travel even though I’ve wanted to run it forever). I used to belong to other groups and there was runDisney-esq drama around the Boston marathon back then too. But, like you said, it’s up to us to ignore it! I like the social media aspect because I like connecting with others who like the same things as me (duh 😉 ). If I can’t make a race, I want to see pictures and hear stories of those who ran it! But once things start getting dramatic, I click that little x in the upper right hand corner — amazing how that works!

    • ” If I can’t make a race, I want to see pictures and hear stories of those who ran it! But once things start getting dramatic, I click that little x in the upper right hand corner — amazing how that works!”

      And THAT is one of the reasons I heart you, J – you tell it like it is 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  15. You absolutely hit the nail on the head. As a cast member myself, I’m lucky to be local to the area. Being the first year I really got into the runDisney craze, I found myself wrapped up in the whole “run all the races” mentality but have since realized that no matter how infectious the environment is and what my fellow runner friends may be doing, I simply cannot keep up with the entry fees. When it comes down to it, running is something so personal we hold with ourselves, and I think we should have the same attitude when it comes to deciding whether or not to continue signing up for races. We know what’s best for ourselves – physically as well as financially…it’s just fighting the urge that’s the hard part!

    • “We know what’s best for ourselves – physically as well as financially…it’s just fighting the urge that’s the hard part!”

      I can relate! I know that I told myself “just” Everest and Wine and Dine (no Tower) but it is hard to resist sometimes, being local.

  16. A well thought out post – thank you for taking the time! Some random thoughts: I’m 100% with you about the shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a pair of the Cinderella ones, but they fall into the category of “nice to have” rather than “will rearrange my life for them.” I’ve never gotten in to a meet up, so I guess I have no opinion either way. And the expense- I really feel like this issue is not confined to runDisney ( Rock N Roll and Nike women’s come to mind) but I feel like Disney is an easy target. That said, I carefully pick and choose my races and for a “splurge” race, I go with Disney because it really offers a unique experience and the best darn medals. I do fear that the steep price may discourage people though, which saddens me because I’ve witnessed so many people begin their running journeys with runDisney. But I don’t know what the solution is because races are expensive, especially ones with so many great on-course features. Anyway, I don’t really have a point. But great post and I’m rooting for you to join me as a first- timer at Boston 2015!! (I read a few of your other posts)

    • Audrey – thanks for your kind words. I definitely agree with you – I hope that newbies are not discouraged! Seeya in Boston ❤

  17. Thank you for posting this. My biggest “issue” I have is people judging other people for what they are willing to spend their money on! Who cares if I want to save up to register for an “expensive” race, if you don’t want to run it- don’t. I run 2 MAYBE 3 races a year. Some people run a race every weekend. Even if they are inexpensive, it adds up. I don’t judge my people who buy expensive shoes. I don’t judge people that drive expensive cars. I don’t judge people that buy expensive purses. Why would anyone have an issue with what people spend their money on (and I am well aware that this issue spans FAR beyond RunDisney race registration)? I don’t know. I agree RunDisney is expensive, but like you said, I am an adult and can decide on my own if I am willing to spend the $ to play. FWIW I am not running a RunDisney this year race because I am trying to save money 😉

    • Well said, Anya! We all have our splurges, and we should never judge others in any aspect of life – and money is a really touchy one, for sure!

      I hope we can meet up at a future event – friends are what make it all worth it for me 🙂

  18. Really excellent post Krissy. From shoes to corrals to RUNNING ALL THE RACES!, you hit it all. Shoes: while they may be awesome and cool and all, like you, I am not about to jump through hoops to buy a pair of running shoes that I don’t run in. My time is valuable and I can think of more fun things to do at Disney World than stand in line, wait for a text to stand in line to buy a pair of shoes. Corrals, eh. I’m not there to win a race, it’s all about fun. As far as cost goes, it is what it is. Pay and run or don’t. Rock n Roll events aren’t exaclty cheap (and they don’t have Mickey Mouse high fiving you at the finish line). You get what you pay for. It’s a race-cation for us. A once, maybe twice a year event. That being said, we will be back and both my wife and I will be running Goofy in 2015. And who knows, Coast to Coast might just happen in 2015 too.

    • Yahoo! Thanks for the great comment, K. I just had to get it all off my chest, and glad that it resonated with others.

      See you at Goofy, I can’t wait!!!! 🙂

  19. I run Disney b/c I like it! I enjoy running through the parks and the in between parts. I like the character photo stops. I also like their medals. I tried to get into one meet up, and it was so stressful, once was enough! I didn’t even consider trying to get into the Wine and Dine one. While I would have loved to get into one, it was not the end of my world and my spirit was not dampened. Yes, the price tag is high, it is Disney after all, but it’s a choice, no one is forcing anyone to do it. I also use it as an excuse to visit my favorite place in the world and have a vacation around it! The drama over so much of it that you see on FB and in groups, is ridiculous I think, and I just “walk” away from any that I see! I enjoy running in Disney and I will do it as long as I want and can! And it’s fine to take a break! Just like it’s fine to take a different vacation! I don’t think Disney is going anywhere!To each their own, but grudges shouldn’t be held over stuff that people get so upset over. I think you did a great job on this post!

    • Thanks, Maggie!

      ” I also use it as an excuse to visit my favorite place in the world and have a vacation around it!”

      YES! Disney is always a great experience for me too, so I love that you see that positive side, too.

  20. You know Princess 2013 was my first half and first run Disney event. I signed up for Tink and PHM this year as a way to get away while my husband was deployed and a good girls weekend. I have only attended Tink expo and didn’t stay long. I can not agree with you more on all of the points. All of the positive social media I read to decide on PHM13 is not really floating out there like before. I love Disney and runDisney. I have one more run Disney race on my bucket list, but I have a lot more places I want to racecation to and with two of those equalling one runDisney.. I better start growing my money tree 😉

  21. I will take your commemorative pin/medal and raise you a waterbottle? hehe i agree on a few points and your logic on price rising is something i thought also… doesn’t make disney any cheaper hehe. i love the rundisney events i have been fortunate enough to attend (first marathon and first half among them) but I am not sure I will return next year just due to shear cost (but that is my choice). Often times, I don’t understand the arguing and getting upset over corral placement or a number of other things. meh. disney is the happiest place on earth.

  22. Great post Krissy! While I do love the runDisney events simply because I feel they are very “newbie-friendly” and fun, I nearly give myself a concussion from face-palming so hard every time registration opens up for their races. The whole HURRY HURRY HURRY IT’S SELLING OUT FAST bothers me more than anything. I’m not made of money, so because these races are a big chunk of money (even for a local like me), my husband limits me to one race a year. I also acknowledge I’m not a hardcore runner, so I know I’m comfortable with smaller races like 5K’s. The Tower of Terror 10 Miler was the farthest race I’ve done and I discovered that 10 miles is probably my limit. I once dreamed of a day I’d do a runDisney half, but now I really don’t have a desire. The 10K’s? Yep–that’s for me. But now that I know this, I have to budget for this ahead of time so I don’t miss out. I guess I am lucky that I’ve tuned out any negativity and drama that I am just starting to hear about. I don’t need all the extras or add-ons at these events. Yes, these races are expensive. But I choose one, choose it wisely and I have no complaints. I’m just happy to be there.

    • “But I choose one, choose it wisely and I have no complaints. I’m just happy to be there.”

      I totally agree, M. Treating the experience as a singular special thing is what is missing from many attitudes when it comes to these events – both participants and event organizers. We really should celebrate it all and not feel the need for MORE MORE MORE.

  23. Great post Krissy. I have only run one runDisney event (Goofy ’08) and it was long before runDisney is what it is today. At the time I thought the event was expensive, but it doesn’t even compare to today’s prices. The event was a lot of fun, but I feel like they have become more about ‘getting in’ and checking off the events rather than enjoying it while you are there. Curious to see how it all changes in the future.

    • Great perspective, E. I know that when I worked at Disney (06-10) I was not quite a runner yet, so a lot of these things went right over my head! I hope that things can get back to less drama, and more fun like they should be 🙂

  24. I run Disney because I love Disney. I see the races as just another way of making some great memories and challenging myself at one of my favorite places on the planet. Like everyone else, or so it seems, do I think the prices are getting out of hand? Absolutely! Do I get the nagging feeling that Disney is starting to take advantage of a runners due to their very unique market? Unfortunately, yes. I’ll still continue to occasionally run their events (if I can get in!), and enjoy my time at the parks, but I won’t feel like I’ve missed out anything if those events only occur once every few years.

  25. For me the corral situation was about fairness. For the half for dopey I was in a coral with ppl who run an hour slower than me, and I literally had to nearly walk the first 1.5 miles. I def hope they fix the situation.
    Yes runDisney races are expensive, as are a lot of races. I totally agree that no one is (or should be!) making anyone run, an d as long as dumbo keeps selling out in 42 minutes, the prices will continue to rise.
    runDisney has it’s problems as do most race series, I just think a large number of people are on a current bandwagon of saying they aren’t running their races anymore, they are mad, so on and so forth and it’s creating a mob. While I cringe every time I hit that register button, I can’t fault them for having a great business model nor for other people causing drama (not their fault). I ran a bunch of runDisney races this year b/c there were several I have never done that I wanted to do before some other life things got in the way, but I plan to only run one or two a year from here on out, not b/c I am angry, tired of drama, or anything else like that, but just b/c there are other races out there I want to run. i’m not entirely sure where I am going with this (haha) I believe in telling them when concrete things need to be fixed and wanting a solution, but some of the thins people are complaining about aren’t actually “broken” things if that even makes sense? Am I rambling? Ha.

    • Agree, H! There are totally differences between empty complaints and true, constructive criticisms.

  26. What a great post. There are so many people I know that run these events that are completely in the dark about all things social-media-drama related, and I’m thankful to be around the energy of their ignorance is bliss minds that can simply enjoy runDisney events.
    So many valid points made all around between you & Megan, but it really does boil down to the choice we make as adults – how we choose to spend our resources, which races we choose to run, and how much fuel we add to the fire.

    Well said, Krissy!

    • “but it really does boil down to the choice we make as adults – how we choose to spend our resources, which races we choose to run, and how much fuel we add to the fire.”

      You just summed up everything! Def agree. M.

  27. I was a runner long before my love affair with Disney parks began. But like so many, I have become enamoured of the parks experience (DVC member, AP holder etc) and it’s become a part of my family’s yearly travels.

    So when I first stumbled upon the Disney races back in 2008, it seemed a match made in heaven – combining my love of running with my love of Disney. Sold!

    So for me it is a major bummer that the races have become so cost prohibitive (and yes, like many, I also blogged about this, but I jumped ship back in July when the Tink 2014 prices were announced), not because I cannot afford “one” entry fee, but I have a family of 5 who ALL enjoy the Disney races (who doesn’t love the novelty of running through Disneyland at dawn, before the park opens). So multiply the entry fee by 5 and OUCH!

    BUT as I said, I was a runner first, and I have been lucky enough to experience some amazing events around the southwest. I’ve seen local race directors work like mad to make a great race experience, for FAR LESS than runDisney charges. As I’ve watched runDisney grow over the past few years, I feel like they’ve taken something I love (running) and turned it into a profit-making machine (yuck).

    As a Disney park tourist, I choose to buy into it. As a runner, it’s a turn off. There aren’t many other amusement parks out there that compare to Disney parks. But there are many, many running events out there that meet or – dare I say it – surpass the runDisney experience (again, I’m talking as a whole). Ideally, new runners will use a runDisney race as a “gateway” experience, and transition into other running experiences that focus more on the run, less on the experience. Because when someone really “becomes” a runner, well, talk about a magical moment!

    • “Because when someone really “becomes” a runner, well, talk about a magical moment!”

      I could not agree more, Kim! Seeing these amazing transformative moments firsthand can really make all the negativity melt away. I am fortunate to have experienced my own, as well as seen others do the same.

  28. Pingback: Five Things Friday | LNRB for Miles

  29. Thanks for sharing, Krissy. Its funny, I was trying to explain to my sister and boyfriend just how funny the forums and groups are to me. At first, they were helping me become really excited about my return to runDisney events! But the more I listen in, the more I’m just baffled at what everyone is saying. There’s a lot of catty-ness… but mostly its the obsession over ever small detail and how upset people seem to get at the smallest details. I don’t know if I have an appreciation for how well run runDisney events are because I’ve done a TON of other races that are not well put together – part of me wonders if the majority of runners in the runDisney events haven’t done a lot of races outside of Disney, so they are used to expecting (or wanting) white glove treatment. I’m not sure… either way, I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way about some of the things I’m hearing/witnessing.

    And you’re 100% right. At the end of the day, I’m choosing to spend my money through runDisney and I’m doing it for my own enjoyment! And that makes me happy with everything and anything I’m getting myself into that weekend 🙂

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