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runDisney Races: A Primer

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So you want to runDisney? I am totally behind this idea and hope you get to experience the most magical miles during one of the runDisney race weekends. Here’s some basic information about the runDisney races that can help you understand how a runDisney event is different from other road races.


Original post shared on May 22, 2013; Edits and updates made December 2023.

A friend posted a blog talking about what she’s learned this year about runDisney races. I thought Erin wrote an excellent post summing up the main points a new Disney runner might learn.

With her permission, I’d like to share and comment on some of her points.


rundisney race costume as Mary Poppins and chimney sweep with Louis from A Princess and the Frog


A Primer on runDisney Races

From Erin’s Road to the Princess

1. Some Disney Races Sell Out REALLY FAST

There are some things to note about this. At one time, the races sold out lightning quick. You needed to be as fast as Dash from the Incredibles to get in.

And then things chilled out a bit and it wasn’t too hard to get into a race. 

But… we’re back to lightning McQueen sellouts. 

Currently, all of the weekends- especially the Princess Half Marathon Weekend – sell out incredibly fast.

The Springtime Surprise seems to be the one that sells the slowest. 


princess half marathon medal for the runDisney races


Disneyland races are back this year and the demand is HUGE. 

Expect the new Halloween Half to sell out super quickly as well. 

Check out the runDisney registration tips to learn how to have the best shot at them.


2. Disney Races Are EXPENSIVE

But some things are special for Disney. How many races have character stops along the course and fireworks for each starting corral?

How Much Does a runDisney Weekend Cost?

Shenanigans says: My Visa is still laughing at me for the last runDisney race weekend. Yep. It just is. You are paying for quality medals, entertainment, shirts, and first-rate on course support. 

Fireworks happen at the Disney World property, not at Disneyland however. 


Walt Disney World Half marathon characers runDisney Donald Duck


List of Characters You Might See On the Marathon Course


3. runDisney Corrals

The starting corrals at runDisney races are a source of confusion and anger for many people.

Disney requested an estimated finish time. You must submit proof of time if you plan to complete a half marathon race faster than 2:15.

Also, time must be submitted by the deadline since no time estimates will be taken at the expo. 


Corral H at runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon one of the runDisney races


Shenanigans says: My first race, this was a huge issue- the whole corral placement drama. I was freaking out. I think that’s a normal concern, so I get it. Submit your proof of time, and get to the corrals early if you are placed in the back!


4. Pacing and the runDisney Balloon Ladies

Disney does require you to maintain a 16mm pace; otherwise, they will remove you from the course.

The runDisney balloon ladies are real and start as the last people and walk at 16mm.


princess half marathon runDisney balloon ladies selfie at the runDisney races

Sarah was a Dead Last Start runner in 2018 at Princess Half Marathon. This means she lined up with the Balloon Ladies on purpose to prove that you can run from the back!


If you fall behind them, a bus will come and get you and you will be taken off the course. You do still get a medal as of 2018 even if you do not finish.

Shenanigans says: The funniest thing was listening to Jeff Galloway talk about the balloon ladies.”Think of  them as the real Disney Villains on the course!” I met them on the course once at the tail end of my one and only runDisney Marathon.

Walt Disney World runDisney Balloon Ladies at the runDisney races


5. runDisney Preregistration Perks

Disney used to offer preregistration for certain runners. This was usually Annual Passholders, Disney VISA credit card holders and Disney Vacation Club (DVC members).

That meant you could often beat the rush when it comes to registering for runDisney races.

Those perks are no longer offered. The only group that gets early registration is Club runDisney.


Disney World Annual Pass Disneyland Annual PAss


6. Bib Transfers and Deferrals

This can be confusing with runDisney races. But it’s been simplified: you can’t transfer or defer a race anymore. WhompWhomp. Once you bought the bib, you are either running or eating the cost of the bib.

Thanks for the great insight Erin!

For more runDisney information, check out these additional posts!

The Ultimate Guide to runDisney

10 Essential Tips to the Princess Half Marathon Weekend

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Julie Franklin

Thursday 23rd of May 2013

Nice recap!

Jennifer Pug Pug

Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

Thanks for this! My husband has been less than in love with the runDisney prices, but... it's a great family vacation, even if he doesn't want to run. And you're right, you are getting quite a bit for your money. Or at least, so it seems. I'll be able to comment more on that in October. ;)


Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

oohhhh-- can't wait to hear about Tower of Terror! Hope the prices aren't the only scary things... muuuhahhhaaaa


Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

Great post!! Wish I could be doing Princess next year, but I am going to be doing Tinkerbell and we are planning a non-running vacation too (GASP!!) lol


Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

what the whaaaattt?? The horror! I actually caught myself scoping out Hawaii options the other day. Non-running Hawaii options! Or I could just stay at the Poly and call it close enough, right? ;)

Jennifer K.

Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

I'm new to the early registration thing, but they did require the first digits of the Visa card earlier this year to register for DW 2014.


Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

That was new- and I salute them for doing it! Seems fair, right?


Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

Love your post! Also a RunDisney fan, my first being Princess 1/2 2011, but I can only get away to do 1 per year! Hoping to do C2C in 2014- Princess at WDW and Labor Day at DL.


Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

Thanks! Princess 2011 was also my first. :) Good luck on C2C

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