From 5Ks to a marathon, and even kids runs, held at both the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Disney has created unique race weekends that every member of the family can enjoy. As the series continues to expand (there are eight race weekends and counting), runDisney remains focused on providing additional creative ways to bring new runners into Disney parks and to the sport itself. Former Olympians to first time runners can experience the legendary Disney entertainment and guest service, while ultimately celebrating their accomplishments with a Disney vacation, and this is what makes the runDisney business so magical.
And this magic has translated to popularity and growth… Since 1994, runDisney has become one of the largest race organizers in the United States, both in terms of number of events (9) and number of runners (163,900-plus in 2013). Between 2012 and 2013, the total number of participants at runDisney events increased nearly 40 percent. Additionally, virtually every runDisney race weekend sold out in record pace, some within hours.
There’s also a substantial economic impact that runDisney events bring to the community. The Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals takes place during the spring at Walt Disney World Resort. With some 40,000 participants, it is considered to be the second largest women-focused race weekend in the nation. And the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which happens every January, is considered to be one of the largest race weekends in the country. More than 50,000 runners participate, bringing with them some 50,000-plus spectators for a total attendance of more than 100,000 coming into the Central Florida area. In Anaheim, it’s estimated that the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend drives approximately $20 to $30 million in additional economic activity locally, attracting thousands of out-of-area runners to Southern California.
Runner’s World magazine identified Disney races as the perfect races for new runners – there’s less pressure, no required qualifying time, and guests can enjoy a Disney theme park during their race. Also, there’s plenty for the family to participate in from family fun run 5Ks and kids races, to health and fitness expos and guest speakers, making runDisney events appealing to various audiences.
runDisney is leading a widespread trend of race organizations offering multi-race challenges. runDisney offers the “Dopey Challenge” during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend where participants must complete four races in four days for a total of 48.6 miles, as well as the “Dumbo Double Dare” during Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend where participants must run 19.3 miles – a 10K and Half Marathon – over two days.
runDisney offers a number of amenities to runners and their families that really set runDisney races apart from others. Participants can take advantage of the VIP Race Retreat during the Walt Disney World Marathon and Princess Half Marathon Weekends, which includes a designated tent at the race with brunch, WiFi, TVs, Disney character meet and greets and more. There is the ChEAR squad, which helps guests cheer on the runners with cheer signs, noise-makers and even special viewing areas. There are also several pre-race and post-race parties inside the theme parks that provide exclusive experiences for runners and their family and friends.
With all the unique experiences that runDisney provides participants, the result continues to be a winning finish. To start training and to sign up for a runDisney event, visit www.rundisney.com.
- Since starting in 1994, runDisney has become one of the largest race organizers in the United States, both in terms of the number of events (8) and the number of runners (163,900-plus in 2013).
- Virtually every 2014 runDisney race weekend sold out in record time. Most notably, the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon race weekend sold out in just over 12 hours. The runDisney 2014 inaugural events – the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon and the Star Wars Half Marathon presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation – each sold out in about two hours while the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon sold out in less than two days.
- The WDW Marathon Weekend is considered to be one of the largest race weekends in the United States with more than 50K total runners and approx. 50K spectators, bringing the total attendance to more than 100K.
- The Princess Half Marathon Weekend is considered the second largest women-focused race weekend in the nation.
- Nearly every runDisney race weekend experienced growth in the number of race registrations in 2013 compared to the previous year, including a 33 percent jump for Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend and a 32 percent increase for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend.
- The total number of runners at runDisney events increased nearly 40 percent from 2012 to 2013.
- Website traffic to the runcom site increased 47 percent in 2013 in comparison to 2012. The runDisney Facebook page has more than 396K “Likes’’ and the Twitter account has more than 61.7K followers.