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runDisney’s Problem on the West Coast

runDisney's Problem on the West Coast Run-Disney-Logo

On March 14th, 2017 registration for the Star Wars Light Side Half Marathon weekend was supposed to take place. Quietly and surprisingly, runDisney announced just before the registration time that it had been postponed indefinitely. Runners were caught by surprise but not concerned at that time. Runners who had raced in the 2017 weekend were sent early registration emails for the 2018 Light Side weekend and some were able to sign up through that email. Over the coming weeks, after registration was supposed to happen, those who were signed up via early registration noticed some changes in the names of the races online. The weekend would be renamed the Resistance Half Marathon weekend. runDisney fans assumed this was the reason for the delayed registration.



Time continued to go on and registration was never announced for Star Wars Light Side. Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend happened in May 2017 and some expected the race changes to be announced during that. Nothing was announced or said by runDisney. After Tinkerbell weekend, registration was announced to be on hold indefinitely for the 2018 Tinkerbell weekend. Runners really started to take notice then. runDisney Facebook groups discussed endless possibilities, places like the runDisney board on Disboards.com created threads specifically to discuss what possibly could be happening. People were starting to question if Light Side and Tinkerbell race weekends would even happen in 2018.

runDisney's Problem on the West Coast rsz_sdjf345 rsz_sdjf345



Then comes Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend in September 2017 and everyone was expecting there would be an announcement as to what would be happening from runDisney. Speculation was rampant, everything from cancelling two of the four weekends to adding a full marathon into the mix instead of the two races. runDisney announced nothing during Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and runners started to really get upset that nothing had been announced since March 2017. New information that led to even more speculation came from a couple of Los Angeles Times articles regarding the current tense relationship between Disneyland Resort and the City of Anaheim. Disney has been trying to gain approval from the city for months regarding the Eastern Gateway parking expansion. This project was set to open in time for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge crowds.

On October 18th, 2017 runDisney posted on their blog that all 2018 races have been cancelled at the Disneyland Resort. runDisney stated construction as a reason for the cancelling of the races in 2018, however, they seemed to leave the door open that it possibly wasn’t the only reason. Anyone who had been signed up for a 2018 Disneyland Resort race would receive a full refund of their registration. This news came less then 3 months before the Light Side Half Marathon weekend was set to take place and some who had been registered for that also had flight and hotel registration booked already.

Runners who had planned to run Disney’s Coast to Coast Challenge can no longer do so. That challenge is now also cancelled, as you needed to run a half marathon or greater on each coast. runDisney still has the Castle to Chateau Challenge which has runners race the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon along with a Walt Disney World Half Marathon or Marathon in the same calendar year. These challenges would allow runners to earn an extra medal for running both races.



Social media and the Disboards lit up when the cancellation was announced, however, most knew and expected the news. What upset people most is the fact that runDisney waited since March 2017 to announce anything regarding the future of Disneyland Resort race weekends. These weekends drew a lot of people and according to the OC Register brought in between $20-30 million for Orange County. Speculation continues as rumors of Disney and Anaheim’s heated relationship continue. Many believe that this cancellation directly involves those issues. Some even believe Disney used the cancellation of the races as leverage in negotiations with the City of Anaheim for their upcoming projects.

Earlier this year I wrote an article discussing how runDisney handled the weather cancellation of the 2017 Walt Disney World Half Marathon incredibly well, offering many options for runners who were signed up. Here, with the decisions made on the West Coast, they took a step back in customer service and communication. For a company that wants to you to plan six or more months out for your vacations they allowed very little notice to people who wanted to enjoy the Disneyland Resort race weekends.



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