runDisney race weekends are a ton of fun; what they aren’t though is cheap. For those of us who love to run in the magic, we know this very well! How much does a runDisney weekend cost? Here’s a breakdown for your rundisney budgeting purposes.
Scrolling through Facebook the other day, a blog post by my brilliant friend, Jen caught my eye.
Against better my judgment, I decided to sit down and add up what it costs for me to run a Disney race.
Oh boy, do I really want to do this? Ha ha ha. Just kidding.
To clarify, I DO write this down every year.
Like most families, we have a budget when it comes to travel, and we don’t just jet off whenever we choose. We make specific choices when it comes to budgets to be able to afford the Disney trips we make. Similar to this:
Look familiar? I know it does. Ha.
So How Much Does a runDisney Weekend Cost?
In my head and on my budget planning spreadsheet, I keep most of the actual out of pockets costs pretty tight. Somewhere around $600 per runDisney race weekend.
Whoa, no way, right? You’re right. This excludes race fees. I have a separate line item on my budget for the races I run. The $600 comprise my hotel and general travel expenses related to a race so far away.
But do I really stick to that number? Do I? Really?
I’m going to use the Princess Half as my East coast example. Costs are much lower for me when I head to Disneyland thanks to transportation from Arizona and hotels costing a bit less. Plus I don’t eat #allthefood when I go to Disneyland. I also don’t stay on property there, and I can get a car for $30 for the weekend.
Walt Disney World is where my money seems to fly out of my pocket. So let’s look at a Walt Disney World resort race.
rundisney weekend cost 1: Race bib $2300
Kidding. I ran for charity, so my out of pocket was $0.00 in this case. I was asked to raise $2300 for the charity, however.
Normally it would be $380ish for a Glass Slipper Challenge bib.
I wasn’t going to run the Princess this year, partially due to the race bib sticker shock. But when the charity option was presented, I decided it was something I wanted to do. I’m so glad I did (and thank you AGAIN for all the support!).
If paying for the very high cost of the runDisney races holds you back, there are many charity options available for each race. Find one that calls to you and go for it! You will not regret it.
As you may know, many travel agents offer bibs these days, and some will work with you on a payment plan.
In fact, ahem, I’m a travel provider myself. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are looking for a race bib. Current situations with runDisney often change, but we are happy to work with you any way we can.
rundisney weekend cost: Lodging $285
total for four nights at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
We got a great deal by renting DVC points. I roomed with 8 of my besties, and we split the costs.
I cannot recommend David’s DVC Rental enough! (affiliate link) This is a great option for anyone looking to shave costs but stay deluxe.
If you want a quote, click on this link or the button on my sidebar and it will take you right to them.
If rooming with friends is an option for you, DO IT. The laughter we had alone was worth any bathroom sharing we had to do!
If you are champagne tastes with a beer budget, consider renting points and splitting with a bigger group.
We had perfect accommodations and the bonus of “running” into Jason Bateman on the way out of the hotel.
Alright- I didn’t meet him, but the girls did. (And yes, I’m still pouting).
I paid for my portion of the room in June, so by the time February rolled around I had “forgotten” all about it and felt like I was staying for free. #DisneyMath
rundisney weekend cost: Airfare $12 for the 9/11 fees
I used my trusty Southwest Visa frequent flier points to cover the airfare for this one.
Oh wait, plus $16. Wifi both ways.
We could cut this expense out, but we aren’t savages, are we?
rundisney Weekend costs: Transportation around Walt Disney World $25
When you arrive at MCO, you can hop on the very convenient and very free Magical Express to get to your resort.
I love this.
And when you stay on property there is the option to use free bus transportation to the parks.
Sometimes, however, we run later than we meant to and chose to use Uber. Here’s my guide to using Lyft and Uber in Orlando if you want all the details on how we do it!
If you haven’t used Uber before, you may want to consider it. It’s best when you need to go from resort to resort and want to avoid making a bus transfer at a park. Example: you are staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge but have dinner at ‘Ohana in the Poly.
Uber will cost you about $10 one way and save you an hour of travel time. It’s so worth it.
Here’s a handy little referral link that gets you a FREE RIDE the first time you use Uber. And I get one too- so hey, we both just SAVED money on our runDisney trip.
Check that shiz out!
rundisney weekend cost: Dining Um… a lot? $200ish
I had a great roomie who drove over from Alabama with a carload of groceries and water.
That helped cut costs down a bit as far as breakfasts and hydration concerns went.
If she hadn’t done this, we probably would have ordered through Amazon Prime (affiliate link)
or Walmart for resort delivery.
Delivery of many items is free with Prime (SO worth it!) or with Walmart if you spend more than $50.
But I still ate out a bit. According to my credit card bill, I spent a total of $200ish on meals and drinks.
So, yeah, my food was almost as much as my room.
That’s something to think about for future planning. If I can scale back my love for expensive sit-down dinners, I could make this whole trip a heck of a lot cheaper.
All in, for my trip to the Princess Half Marathon, I spent $538.
See? I’m not crazy; I did keep things under my $600 threshold.
Did you, really, Shenanigans? Really?
Nope. Not even close.
#DisneyMath as follows that was conveniently left out.
If we add in the race bib (as most of us aren’t running for charity) then the total bumps up to $918. Ouch.
I also left out expo expenses. I don’t spend a lot at the expo.
My race shirts and medals are my souvenirs, because, don’t we already pay enough for those suckers? Lawdy.
I think this year I bought a gift for a friend, but that was it. And since it was a gift I planned to purchase outside of WDW (it just happened to be THERE, so I saved shipping) I didn’t count it in my expenses.
What else is missing?
rundisney weekend cost: Theme park tickets, of course!
I bought an annual pass in January during Marathon Weekend.
This cost me $798. Sounds like a lot- and trust me, it felt like a lot when I bought it- but in the end, I “saved” money with the Annual Pass. Ha. Is anyone buying that one?
Here’s the math:
I ended up with three runDisney trips scheduled at Walt Disney World this year. Initially, it was just going to be Princess, but Dark Side was announced, and I added on Marathon somewhat last minute.
Plus there’s a blog conference is happening at the Contemporary Resort in the fall. And my pass will still be good for Marathon Weekend 2017. Huzzah!
At this point, I’m looking at 20 park days for the year of my pass. Essentially the park tickets now cost $40 a day instead of $100+.
Again with the spreading out of costs, right? I just “forgot” about $160 spent toward the Princess Half trip since I had already paid for that Annual Pass in January.
#DisneyMath: it’s a real thing, yall!
Real total of my Princess Half racecation: $698. Not too bad, but not quite the under $600 I was going for either.
Let’s say I don’t have access to frequent flyer miles and my room needs to be a value resort split two ways. I also do not have an annual pass in this scenario. My costs might look more like this:
GSC bib: $380
Room: $250 (yes- this is almost as much as my AKL lodging! Eeep!)
Flight from Arizona: $375 (if you are lucky)
Tickets: $346 for 4-day single park tickets
Real costs are more like $1550 rather than my $698 example.
All this is to say: no, you aren’t imagining things. Disney races can add up and cost quite a bit.
But can it be done a little less expensively than rack rates? Sure. Strategy, planning, and a little help from friends and frequent flyer programs can make all the difference.
P.S. See, honey, I DID “save” money this year! 😉
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and my Travel Agent status. If you happen to use a link or book travel through me, I make a little money. Thanks for that! (I mean it- sincerely).
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 most of them are pretty full of pixie dust at Disney!