I first heard about runDisney sometime in 2014, before running was a part of my life. It sounded fun, but I couldn’t imagine running 13.1 miles, let alone through Disney World. I told myself it wasn’t for me, because I wasn’t a runner and I’m not a devoted Disney fanatic. Fast forward two years later, I’m running regularly and am having a blast picking outfits that match the theme for my race events. I found a fellow MRTT runner who has done several runDisney events and drilled her for info when we met up for the RibFest 5-Miler back in June 2016.
She gave me some recommendations for hotels to stay in (ie: on property, for the shuttles), and she gave me a heads up about registration. That was kind of it. I am a planner… this wasn’t enough for me. Everything else I’ve been figuring out accidentally or by trolling other blogs.
In an effort to help you avoid your best sad princess impression, here is some of (what I would consider to be) the most important stuff that no one tells you about registering for a runDisney event:
- Commit to registering for the run before registration opens. If you’re on the fence and eventually decide that you think you’d like to do a runDisney race, don’t expect to be able to register in the days after registration has opened. It took something like 9 minutes for the 2017 Enchanted 10K to sell out the day registration opened, and the half marathon wasn’t far behind it. Or maybe it was the other way around… I’m not sure. Either way – it is highly unlikely that you will be able to register even one day after registration opens for a race at Disney World. (Turns out, races at Disneyland don’t sell out as quickly – but better safe than sorry!)
- Sign up for a free Active.com account before registration opens, if you don’t already have one. And SIGN IN a few minutes before registration opens. When you click the link on the runDisney website to register for an event, it redirects you to registration through Active.com. By already having an account up and running, you don’t have to stress about this added step.
- Go to the runDisney registration page and HOVER. Yes, that’s right… navigate to the runDisney website, select your race of choice (ie: Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend, Wine and Dine Weekend), click on the “Registration” tab, and keep refreshing the page (keyboard trick for Windows users: hit CTRL + R to refresh the page instead of mousing to the refresh button in your browser) until registration officially opens and the link on the page goes live. I had an off-site meeting for work the day the Princess Half Marathon Weekend registration opened up and had to make sure I was done by 10:50 so that I could find myself a quiet corner with WiFi and privacy so I could FREAK OUT while I waited for registration to open up at 11:00am EST.
- Be prepared to make poor money choices and register for more events than you originally planned to. I was only planning to register for the Princess Half Marathon, but then my mousing finger “slipped” and I ended up dropping $320 on the Glass Slipper Challenge (AKA: the Princess Half AND the Enchanted 10K)… having never run more than a 5K in my life, I sat in my private corner and hyperventilated over the prospect of running 6.2 and 13.1 miles over a 48-hour period. I cried, too. Like… a nervous-but-excited-but-holy-shit-what-did-I-just-do cry. SO. MUCH. MONEY. SO MANY. MILES.
- Consider ahead of time whether or not the Race Retreat is of value to you. Having never run a Disney race, I figured the worst that would happen is I wasted $120 on a warm place to chill, bathrooms, and food. Seems like it’s kind of worth it to me… I already dropped $320 on the Glass Slipper Challenge… what’s another $120? It’s all good.
- Know ahead of time whether or not you want to purchase any of the commemorative items. Something I didn’t expect when I registered was that there would be items available for purchase, including pins and jackets. I was tempted, but since I hadn’t budgeted for these things and had already blown the extra money for the race retreat, I skipped these. When I went back into my registration later, almost everything had sold out. So if you want pins and jackets (and other stuff, I just forget what it all was), you should probably plan to buy them when you register. (Note: your race registration DOES include a commemorative shirt, a race bib, and a medal, so it’s not like you’re leaving this event with nothing tangible!)
- Be aware that there are NO DEFERRALS. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen in the eight months between registering for a runDisney event and actually running it… but be aware that runDisney does not allow deferrals. You just need to be mentally prepared to accept the financial loss if you’re unable to participate in a runDisney event, for any reason. This might be different if you’re running for a charity team, I’m not sure. But if you’re straight up paying for your race registration out of your own pocket, it’s a risk you have to take.
So this is the most important stuff that no one tells you about registering for a runDisney event. Now pick your event, and good luck with registration!
I will be posting more runDisney knowledge over the next few weeks – I hope you find the information helpful!