Assuming you aren’t someone who currently hates runDisney for the evil, greedy corporate entity they are (as a stockholder I say “suck it,” as a runner I cry a little on the inside), you might be in the early stages of planning your trip to Disney for a race. To help you get the trip you want, and more importantly the trip you can afford, here are some suggestions for starting to prep for a Disney race weekend.
Plan Far in Advance with Hotels
The current reality is that Disney hotels book up early and it’s the cheapest room categories that go fast, especially for race weekends. Tip: If you can afford it, do a “room only” reservation at your choice hotel for the dates by calling 1-407-WDW-Disney or waltdisneyworld.com. The required payment at the time of booking is one night’s stay, the balance due at check in. This reservation can be cancelled a week before check-in with no penalty, so if you end up not going, you’re out nothing but you’ve gotten the room category/cost you want.
Weigh Your Options: Travel Agents, runDisney, renting points
Sometimes, the most affordable route for what you want isn’t through Disney’s regular reservation service. Especially in Disneyland, discount hotel rates at Disney hotels can really only be found through travel agents offering race packages. runDisney sometimes offers discounted tickets/hotel blocks, so it never hurts to ask them. A third option is to rent DVC points. It can save you a lot of money, but again, DVC members are big runDisney people and those rooms are usually full 7 months out from check in if not earlier, so you’ll need to plan on the DVC timeline of booking 11-7 months ahead of check in.
If the room you want isn’t available through general reservations, check with travel agents. I just signed up for Star Wars and was able to get a room at Pop Century for 2 nights through a travel provider.
Check Rates Before Picking a Weekend
If you’re flexible on what race you want to do, Wine & Dine can be over all cheaper compared to Princess weekend in hotel costs since Princess coincides with the tail end of Presidents’ Day weekend. Of the Disney World races, January (while no longer as cheap as it once was) can be more affordable.
The big take away for any race weekend anywhere: Book early for the most options and availability. Special promotions through race providers often have a cutoff date for discounted rates, so do some research and plan ahead.
Favorite places to stay when you’re racing?