As you guys know, I’m a bit obsessed with runDisney. And specifically running at Disneyland..
It’s my jam, and I make no apologies about it.
I like to think of myself as the go-to girl when it comes to race information that you can’t find on the runDisney website.
I don’t work for runDisney, but…
So it made sense that when Avengers didn’t sell out (hey- look, it’s STILL open!) that people would start asking me questions.
“There’s a lot that went “wrong” with Avengers- let’s wait and see what happens when Star Wars opens for registration.”
And that happened yesterday. And Star Wars didn’t sell out.
Alright guys, so…
Two races at Disneyland have not sold out immediately.
Is there a Disneyland runDisney problem?
I’m going to break it down through my eyes. These observations come from reading blogs, being active in Facebook groups and the DisBoards, and from running 10 runDisney weekends to date. I believe them to be informed guesses- by no means do I have any proof or reason to think I’m correct in any of the assessments.
But I also don’t think I’m talking out of my ass completely here either.
Here’s my race recap. I didn’t hate the weekend or the experience overall. In fact, I was a fan of the course- which is TOTALLY not the prevailing opinion! On a personal note- I struggled through the first half mightily. I’ll admit to being solely focused on NOT pooping my pants, and was forgiving of some of the issues that others expressed.
When I rank the Disneyland races, Avengers is last- and y’all know I love me some Thor!
Here’s what I see as “wrong” with Avengers.
1. Time of year.
Having a race hot on the heels of Wine & Dine, a race many runDisney enthusiasts absolutely ADORE, makes travel coast to coast in a week tough. Plus it’s right before Thanksgiving, another big travel time period for Disney fans. If you have to pick and choose a race to skip, I get why this is the one.
2. Locals know.
The greater Los Angeles area has a zillion point three people in it. At least.
And probably half of them are runners, and half of them are Disney fans.
So why can’t the LA peeps fill up the race? Because they KNOW that the weather can be sketchy AND that Disneyland is generally busy the first weekend that holiday decorations are in place.
They are also blessed with an abundance of races in the local area. There’s no reason for them to spend $199 on a half marathon just to get some pixie-dust sprinkled on top.
Remember: Disneyland is a locals park, meaning many, many, MANY of the peeps you see in Disneyland are annual pass holders and have been for years. They can get pixie-dust on a random Tuesday and don’t need to run 13.1 miles to get it.
3. Choices doubled.
Last year Disneyland doubled the options for runDisney. Most peeps (again looking at the locals) are not feeling the need to run all the races, and now have options. I’ve seen many say they ran Avengers last year, so this year they are doing Star Wars. There does not seem to be a prevailing “I’m running ALL the Disneyland races” sentiment in the groups.
Unless you are me. Ahem. Because: Disneyland.
4. The course, characters (theme) and weather.
The course: about 2 miles inside the parks. That’s all.
That’s NOT what you want from your runDisney experience.
The characters & theme: 4 Marvel characters. That’s all.
That’s NOT what you want from your runDisney experience. And no Iron-“Dude”? Come. On.
The theme is up for debate. Some feel the Avengers aren’t a big enough draw for runners- and that it cuts out on the female contingency. Others (ahem- me!) say… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye’s arms, Thor, Black Widow, THOR… and that’s just the 4 we saw.
Marvel has a deep character pool- I say, runDisney, dive on in!
The weather: we ran in the insanity of the Santa Ana winds. This isn’t always going to happen, but there’s no guarantee that it won’t happen again that time of year. It might be enough to keep people off the course altogether.
Here’s my race recap of the Star Wars half marathon.
Hands down- and I’m not alone in this praise- it was the best runDisney weekend EVER. It seems some of the Avengers mistakes were corrected for this race: time of year is better, the course is flat and fantastic, characters were plentiful, the weather was gorgeous.
All good things.
Then why hasn’t it sold out?
1. Time of year.
It follows directly behind the BIG mama of race weekends for runDisney folks: Marathon weekend. Those Dopey runners are probably hoping they never see another castle, much less another race through one.
This was one of the reasons I did not run Marathon last year. I chose Star Wars instead.
A lot of people cite costs and that runDisney keeps increasing the cost of the races. I think we jumped that shark when the price went from $120 for a half up to $140+ a couple of years ago.
I do think money is a factor though. This race comes right after Christmas AND that Marathon weekend… chances are, credit cards are starting to groan a bit from the expenses incurred during this time.
3. runDisney Enthusiasts live on the East coast.
This is purely speculation, but the feel I get from my Facebook groups is that runDisney is heavily supported by those who see Walt Disney World as their home park. They will travel multiple times a year to run a race in Orlando, but limit their time to Disneyland as a one and done- or maybe once a year.
Even the pull of the Force can’t get them to cross three time zones to run in California. Which brings up another point…
4. Rumors of an East coast Star Wars race.
It’s like a million WDW runners cried out in pain and were suddenly silenced when Star Wars was confirmed on the West coast. Okay, not silenced, at all. They just started begging for a Star Wars East race.
So here’s the rundown on that: the rumor mill says a Star Wars East coast race will be announced this summer. Most likely happening end of April, beginning of May. Just in time for Star Wars Weekends to kick off with an Imperial race.
RUMORS… but you gotta admit they make a lot of sense from a runDisney standpoint to go ahead with this plan.
Do I think it’s happening? I’m going to plead the 5th on this one.
But the fact that people BELIEVE an East coast option for this theme is coming may be keeping them out of the registration frenzy. They are holding onto their Republic Dataries (money for those that don’t speak Star Wars).
Where does this leave us? As of this morning (9:30 AM PT) the races look like this:
Bottom line: I feel like runDisney is possibly hitting a slight downswing in the Disneyland market. Hey, what goes up, must come down, right? It’s simple supply and demand: you saturate a market, and you will have a slowing of growth as the bubble pops.
I think both races will eventually sell out. I don’t think runDisney is in any jeopardy of losing money on either race. There’s no major problem with the Disneyland races.
For the consumer, I see this as a GOOD thing. We can now sit back and breathe on registration day instead of feeling that panic that’s been prevalent over the past 2 cycles.
What do you think about the lack of runDisney sell outs at Disneyland? Do you have any other reasons for the slow down?
Patty Holliday has been running Disney since 2011. She knows just about every tip, trick, and hack there is to cover the runDisney Magical Miles at Disney World and Disneyland. She knows every mile isn’t *always* magical- but with training, tips, and a little bit of pixie dust, they can be a lot of fun! You can also find her at noguiltlife.com and noguiltfangirl.com