A lot of people have noted that the price for a runDisney race has increased dramatically over the last few years. (BUT DOUBLE CHARACTER STOPS!) $40-$50 per race over a 3 year period without any real improvement in amenities, swag, or other tangible things runners can point to and say “Well, now at least I get this.” And a lot of people are, justifiably, annoyed and mad over the price increase that became apparent when runDisney released the prices for the Disneyland Half Marathon–$205 before Active fees.
My feelings on these price increases are multifaceted and rooted in the fact that Disney is my default vacation anyway.
I don’t normally factor in the cost of travel for runDisney races. The thing is, I approach race weekends with the attitude that I was going to Disney World anyway, now I am just planning on going on a weekend when I can do something else, too. I went to Disney the second weekend in January for 4 years before I started doing the marathon, so for me this is like an added activity as opposed to just doing an entirely new trip on top of what I was already spending.
This makes it harder for me to justify going when I want to go just for a race. This approach makes it easier to swallow the cost increase at, say, marathon weekend. It’s a lot harder if I want to do a quick trip to do another race, say, the Darkside Challenge. After crunching those numbers, it became apparent that it was just flat out way too expensive to go for a quick weekend trip just to run the race.
I annualized my Disney costs. I now own DVC points and I’m annual passholder, so this means my trips are pretty much paid for once a year when I renew my annual pass and pay my DVC dues. My points and annual pass mean that for hotel and park time, I pay $1,375 total annually for both the November and January trips, which is less than half what I paid to stay rack rate at the Boardwalk for Dopey in 2014.
And lastly, my park habits have changed over the years. My sister and I used to go on every single ride and jam as much as possible into a 4 day trip. Nowadays, I like sitting by the pool and just hanging out at the hotel a lot. I’m ok with spending less time in the park and an early bedtime never bothered me. The races end up accommodating my Disney park schedule anyway, so they they’re not taking away from what I enjoy doing but just adding to it. It’s also become a weekend I get to spend with friends I don’t normally see on a regular basis so any weekend with Kellie is a weekend well spent.
For all these reasons, it’s easier for me to swallow a price increase. The reality is, though, I also make choices. I cannot afford to go to Disneyland every year in the manner that I want to go because staying at the Disneyland Hotel costs too much, so I simply don’t go. I opt out of doing the Darkside Challenge because “going down for a quick weekend” ends up costing around $1,000 and the Star Wars Disneyland edition would be an insane proposition (both financially and in terms of annual leave from work) immediately after Dopey. A significant part of the reason I’m doing Princess again is that I now go with my family, so it’s a family trip but even my father has balked at the rack rate for a room at the Boardwalk.
With the price increase, I think if nothing else it just forces people to consider these things and think about what else they’re missing out on to make a race weekend happen. For people who, up to now, have done every race weekend… Well, you know, maybe you need to re-think that and that’s not a bad thing. Critically thinking about where and how I spend my money is productive, it’s positive. I substituted Disneyland this year by putting in place a savings plan to go to Hawaii in 2017 because I was stuck in a blizzard watching Hawaii five-0 (and, uh, ever since I heard Aulani takes DVC points…).
Price increase thoughts? What’s a race that’s just too expensive?