This week’s Tuesdays on the Run is all about racecations and budgets! My two favorite words! Well minus the budget, because it usually rains on my racecation parade. But they’re necessary, because as fun as my runDisney races are, I refuse to put my family in financial hardship.
Truthfully, runDisney races are the only racecations I’ve taken. I’ve run other races, but they’ve been local. I’ve been fortunate to be local to other cool race series like Nike Women’s Half and Divas Half Marathon Series.
Well I read my friend Patty‘s post about how much a runDisney weekend really costs. And she used real numbers. I thought well frickety frack, when you put it that way…it’s a lot of money. And to see it all laid out like that, it hurts.
I’ve been an Annual Passholder for a couple of years, and it was more justifiable to me to not have to purchase Disney park tickets every time, because that adds up really quick. When a renewal was less than $500, and I was running at least 3 or 4 races a year, it made sense. I could find cheap airfare from Dallas pretty easily (thanks Southwest!), and I was splitting rooms with friends. So in my magical Disney head, I’m thinking I’m spending about $500 each race, which is totally reasonable, right?
Well then I start rooming with high-rolling friends who like Walt Disney World Resort Deluxe hotels and like to eat at table-service restaurants every meal. Then my races got even more expensive, creeping up on the $1000-$1500 mark for a solo trip, which is crazy. I used to take my whole family to Disney for about $2500. We only had 2 or 3 kids, but still.
I’m completely cool with Disney’s Pop Century Resort and quick-service restaurants. I fueled with a Nutella and Fruit Waffle from Sleepy Hollow for Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon and was fine. Maybe not my smartest meal choice, but I also do not need a $50 buffet.
So back to whether it’s “worth it.” It depends on what you’re looking for. For a first-timer who is looking for a great race experience to give them a positive attitude about running and having fun, yes, absolutely. The runDisney races are what encouraged me to start running and have helped me to continue running. Along the way, I found best friends, fellow Disney addicts, motivation to continue running, a love of running costumes, and a whole lot of bling.
When you’re planning a runDisney racecation, the necessary things you’re budgeting for are race bibs (registration), lodging, transportation (free if you stay on-property at a Disney hotel), and food. The extras are expo items, souvenirs (for yourself and for your kids if you feel guilty for not bringing them along), Disney park tickets, Universal park tickets (if you decide to hop on over to see one awesome Harry Potter, just sayin’), extra tours, dessert parties, etc, etc…
For the repeat runDisney customer like myself, unfortunately the value is decreasing. The races are still fun, definitely. But when you’re used to an experience and you just see all the prices go up like the cost of park tickets, annual passes, hotels, race fees, and you see the offerings decrease, you really have to question the value of your dollar and how you’re spending it. I can only speak for myself, but dang runDisney, the amount of characters on the course is decreasing, it’s the same old same old, race information isn’t timely anymore, and things just seem thrown together. It’s hard to get questions answered, and a lot of the time, information is inconsistent.
The positives that I haven’t seen slack are that course volunteers, bathrooms, water stations, and first aid tents are plentiful. Those are helpful especially to an inexperienced runner.
And then I start thinking about memories like these…and you start playing on my emotions, runDisney. These memories are with me forever. I mean, can you put a price on that? Marketing at its finest.
Will I still runDisney? Absolutely, because that’s where my people are. That dang Princess race keeps sucking me back over and over, because that’s when I can see the most number of my girlfriends in one place, and that is priceless. Maybe runDisney knows that. Maybe they know they’ll always have a market with loyal fans and new runners who want a magical experience.
Bottom line – I can’t quit them completely, it really is a fun experience, but I am cutting back. My budget needs to make room for new experiences and new racecations. Anyone have any suggestions?