Downward trend in runDisney?

IamTrike

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
One of the first MBA projects I worked on was helping a body glide type competitor. This would have been in 2016. At the time looking at the data available we could already point to a decline in the curve in total runners. Other areas of fitness were starting to pick up including Lacrosse and Crossfit. I'd say the global decline in runners definitely has an impact but I don't know that it's impacted races like NY, Chicago or Boston that much. With Disney being a destination Race I would have expected the decline in runners to impact it, but I was taken back at the drop off for this years marathon weekend.
I think the total cost for Disney Races could have an impact, particularly with the increase in tickets and room charges, but I think I would have expected to see a dip in park attendance too if total cost was having an impact.
I do think at least for Marathon weekend a decent portion of the drop is tied to the fact that last year was a big anniversary year and this year doesn't really have anything like that as a draw. Because last year was the 10th anniversary for the Princess a slower sell out for it could also be attributed to lack of anniversary years. Looking at Wine and Dine its half marathon attendance has been 2016 12658 2017 13181 2018 12477. So while there was a dip in 2018 its not huge.

Based on this info I think the drop in runners coupled, with this being an off year for Princess and Marathon Weekend are likely the biggest drivers.

Cost is probably a factor, but I'd guess its a smaller factor than other things. In general Disney as a company has been really good at optimizing cost to the cent to extract the maximum amount of revenue possible. I'd be willing to bet that they've got a pretty good handle on prices in order for them to maximize revenue. It doesn't matter most of the population says it's too expensive they just need enough people to say yes to hit a certain capacity utilization.
 

VAfamily1998

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
I really wish that Disney would mix up the theme for Marathon weekend. I mean, I get the tradition of it all (after all, I don't think Oswald was a well-received exchange for Pluto and the 5K for a lot of people), but as a repeat racer, I'd love it if they mixed things up. Lord knows they have enough franchise characters to select a different group for each race weekend for years to come. It would certainly reinvigorate my interest. I love my Mickey medals, but suddenly offer me a series of medals for Little Mermaid or Mary Poppins or Jungle Book or or or... and I'd be over the moon.
I actually was very tempted by the Oswald 5k medal!
I have a college age son who LOVES Oswald and has run several Run Disney races with me--he would have loved to run 2019 5k just for that medal. Unfortunately, his university (WVU) will already be back in session during the marathon weekend.
 
  • rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
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    Feb 20, 2013
    I do think at least for Marathon weekend a decent portion of the drop is tied to the fact that last year was a big anniversary year and this year doesn't really have anything like that as a draw. Because last year was the 10th anniversary for the Princess a slower sell out for it could also be attributed to lack of anniversary years. Looking at Wine and Dine its half marathon attendance has been 2016 12658 2017 13181 2018 12477. So while there was a dip in 2018 its not huge.
    The Wine and Dine 5K was by far the smallest runDisney race I’ve seen.
     

    AFwifelife

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 11, 2014
    A point that was brought up in rDr speaking specifically about 2019 Marathon Weekend was the timing of registration for it coming so soon after W&D this year. I’m assuming that would only affect a small amount but still leads to less signing up.

    I think costs rising on an already expensive trip with no effort in eliminating course congestion and the vast amount of construction going on is the primary reason people aren’t registering.

    Personally, it’s not that impactful yet. We can drive to the parks, have FL resident APs, and (with our own transportation) can stay off property easily. When we move again, there will need to be much more consideration put into what we register for because we will have to factor in airfare and transportation.
     

    croach

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2002
    One and done runners and the cost of the trip as a whole would be the biggest things to me. The cost of the races are one thing but they aren't necessarily out of line with other huge races. But the cost of the other things like rooms and tickets continue to go up and so repeat trips become tough.

    Have to wonder though if people are annoyed with the overcrowding of some of the corrals. It's probably not the largest factor but I'm sure people have to be irked with Disney backloading the corrals which leads to overcrowding on the course and the inability to enjoy all the character stops. So if the race is miserable and you can't enjoy the entertainment - what's the point.
     

    Barca33Runner

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2014
    I’m going to keep doing Marathon Weekend every year. I love my January vacation.

    As for the drop in registrations, I think it walks hand in hand with the overall decrease in interest in road running. There was a meteoric rise in registrations about ten years ago and the natural result of such a rise is a gradual decline. I believe the drop in registrations for rD is more acutely felt because it’s such a “one and done” friendly venue. I think the anniversary year last year erroneously adjusted expectations for runDisney causing them to think interest was rebounding, but it was something they should have realized was an outlier.

    My fear is that because park attendance is such a runaway train right now that the easiest choice for Disney will be to shut failing weekends down and possibly shut down rD altogether. It would not shock me if in a couple years Marathon Weekend is all that survives. I think Disney would be far more interested in doing the easy thing of eliminating weekends rather than the hard job of figuring out how to make them work in an era of lower demand. That’s why I don’t picture a drop in price happening any time soon:guilty:.

    ETA: I think a reasonable drop in price could still allow the weekends to be profitable and drive a decent demand increase. I just don’t think the business side of Disney would be interested in such a concession considering they don’t appear to be having trouble filling rooms, reservations, and parks.
     
  • PCFriar80

    BCV/CT
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2004
    I'm retired so time off from work is not an issue. I personally love the timing of Disney Marathon Weekend. Right after the hustle and bustle of the holidays and during the dead of winter in CT. We used to go to WDW during Super Bowl Weekend, just because. We made the "adjustment" from Super Bowl weekend to Marathon weekend back in 2006. We're fortunate enough to own at BCVs so resort ressies are straight forward. I for one like the "air" that marathon weekend offers. I have run the 1/2 since 2006, detoured to the full in 2010 [ran and skated that one] and have added the 10K to my plan going forward. By doing so I've met a lot of nice people, in person and on the DIS boards, and hope to do so going forward. Cost is a factor as with any purchase we make so I'll adjust accordingly going forward, but for now I'll be on a 6:00 AM flight out of BDL on 1/9 for round 13 and already registered for the Star Wars 1/2 in April.
     

    cavepig

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 7, 2001
    I run Disney because I love Disney and would vacation there anyway so why not do a race too.

    I don't run a lot of races so I'm not having to split costs around to a whole bunch of destination or even local races. I can see some people that race all over all the time cutting back , especially if Disney has a vacation destination is as prime as it is for me.

    Now, I don't do all the weekends like some people do. I only did one this year and plan on two next year because cost.

    It is expensive, but I feel I get the value. I know others don't feel this way and have cut off the races. But for every few that stop, new people take their place.

    2017 didn't sell out much like this year so it's not new. I think Anniversaries play into it. Look at Wine & Dine though, 2016 sold out with the new challenge. People complained it was morning now and not worth it. 2017 didn't sell out, but then boom 2018 did. You really just can't figure out how sell outs will go.


    run few enough races that I just deal with the cost because I still feel like I get good value out of the experience. I've looked at other races in California and learned that runDisney is not dramatically higher all things considered.
    Same. I don't run many races at all and the experience is worth every penny for me.

    A point that was brought up in rDr speaking specifically about 2019 Marathon Weekend was the timing of registration for it coming so soon after W&D this year. I’m assuming that would only affect a small amount but still leads to less signing up.
    Marathon registration was in July. It didn't come near Wine & Dine.

    The big thing was due to the registration delay we had marathon open, 2 weeks later Princess open and 2 weeks later Dark Side open. Maybe more people picked and chose we them all close. Then has time is passing might add another weekend on.

    think it walks hand in hand with the overall decrease in interest in road running.
    I think road racing goes up and down all the time. I've been running so long and the spikes and declines are always there. People start, people stop, people start up again, new people start.
     

    QueenFernando

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 11, 2016
    If we weren't local, I would never have started doing runDisney races. Which is a bummer because I absolutely love them. Princess HM is the reason I got back into running. The cost and time associated with travel would be too much though. That's why DH and I did the Kessel run challenge this year. I had to have that Millennium Falcon medal, and when they created the virtual run part for it as opposed to a coast to coast challenge I signed us up. I was afraid they'd bring back the Disneyland races and it would pop back to coast to coast.
    If I'm going to travel for a race it will be the Vacation Race series in the National Parks. We love doing family vacations to the parks anyway. I'm currently trying to schedule a few of these over the next few years.
     

    Barca33Runner

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2014
    I think road racing goes up and down all the time. I've been running so long and the spikes and declines are always there. People start, people stop, people start up again, new people start.
    I agree, I just meant the most recent spike coincided with the proliferation of destination races in a way that perhaps it hadn’t before. I very much expect interest to wax and wane in the future, just don’t ask me to predict when and why those changes happen.
     
  • Sleepless Knight

    Jedi Knight Seeking His Jedi Princess
    Joined
    May 15, 2008
    I blame this board and all of you, by the way.
    That's okay. I blame this board for making sure that the seed of running a marathon didn't get yanked from ground immediately after it was planted.

    I’m with ya. If it wasn’t for runDisney I don’t think I would have an AP right now or go as frequently as I do.
    runDisney is the very reason why I have an AP to Disney World and will have taken 2 WDW visits in less than 365 days.

    With Disney being a destination Race I would have expected the decline in runners to impact it, but I was taken back at the drop off for this years marathon weekend.
    I wonder if any of the drop ties into WDW currently having quite a few projects under construction. Meaning, if you're going to visit Disney World in the next 18 to 24 months for your only Disney owned vacation for x number of years, why visit in January 2019 when if you wait a year or two, Star Wars will be open and quite a few other things as well. Obviously, Disneyland has very different demographics than Disney World, but there are all sorts to deals to be found right now if you're willing to visit before Star Wars Land is open. How many people are definitely planning on Disney World, but waiting for Star Wars Land (and other things) to open first? If such a person views a runDisney event as an every few years thing, that factor could definitely influence their decision.
     

    Simba's Girl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2000
    Another consideration for the 2019 Marathon Weekend and the last W&D is that people aren't seeing the value in them because of the vast amounts of construction going on in the parks. Perhaps interest will tick up again when SWL opens and the construction in Epcot is finished? I guess this goes under the "value" category.

    I'm with you Ryan, January is the most convenient time for us with DD1 in college now and her sisters still too young to be home alone without supervision.

    I had no idea that road running was taking a downturn. It seems in my part of the country I see much more people running than I used to.

    Overall, I really think it's the cost.
     

    ChattaDIS

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 13, 2010
    I think the decline is a lot of reasons. I don’t think the costs when it comes to the overall entry fee is that unreasonable given how well you are taken care of during the race. The cost of the whole package is what’s too much. I repeatedly tell people if you want to run your first half or full that it’s a great place to do it as the amenities are great and it is a reasonably friendly non threatening environment.

    With that being said once I got my skill level improved I found other races a lot more enticing to run like NY which is on the same cost level and possibly cheaper as it doesn’t entail park tickets and such. I found it somewhat tiring of people looking for an angle to try to cheat the Disney system to get a leg up on stuff like better starting placement to ensure they make the cut off times. I understand why people do it but it hurts the honest runners.

    Disney is such a congested race compared to others it almost becomes unpleasant. Not to mention the humidity and unpredictable Florida weather. With all the training longer races take I fear a good thunderstorm or hurricane could ruin everything
     

    rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
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    Feb 20, 2013
    I had no idea that road running was taking a downturn. It seems in my part of the country I see much more people running than I used to.
    It’s not a large downturn but it’s there. Major races are still getting the people because they likely always will but some smaller local races are seeing less.
     

    BigEeyore

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2008
    1) Race weekends tend to be "off weekends" - meaning kids are back in school, which makes a trip to WDW less intriguing for those of us with kiddos. This year, SW coincides with spring break and isn't sold out yet, so not sure how much of a factor this is. This year's marathon weekend was at the tail end of Christmas break so we were able to all go as a family, and the races sold out very fast.
    2) The lure of anniversary years is real (and people sitting out non-anniversary years is equally real)
    3) Construction (as others have mentioned) - I think a lot of people are waiting for Disney to wrap up the extensive construction before coming back. They have so much in the works that will be opening up over the next few years - why go now when you could wait a year or two and see all the new stuff?
    4) The generic feel of the race weekends now - including the merchandise in this. There used to be so much unique merch for each race weekend - I did every single race weekend this year and it was all the same stuff, just a different logo on it. All of the 5K courses are the same with the exception of W&D. They recycle their half and 10k courses too - WDW is huge - wish they would mix it up a bit!
    5) rD might need to sweeten the pot a bit - discounts on park tix, free race photo downloads, etc
    6) Cost - sure, the half put on by your local running store is going to be dirt cheap compared to Disney - but at least for me, I don't mind paying more with Disney because I know I am getting more. I don't do rD races to get a time, I do them for the experience. I do the local running store half to get a time. It's comparing apples and oranges.

    Thanks for prompting the discussion!
     

    rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2013
    1) Race weekends tend to be "off weekends" - meaning kids are back in school, which makes a trip to WDW less intriguing for those of us with kiddos. This year, SW coincides with spring break and isn't sold out yet, so not sure how much of a factor this is. This year's marathon weekend was at the tail end of Christmas break so we were able to all go as a family, and the races sold out very fast.
    2) The lure of anniversary years is real (and people sitting out non-anniversary years is equally real)
    3) Construction (as others have mentioned) - I think a lot of people are waiting for Disney to wrap up the extensive construction before coming back. They have so much in the works that will be opening up over the next few years - why go now when you could wait a year or two and see all the new stuff?
    4) The generic feel of the race weekends now - including the merchandise in this. There used to be so much unique merch for each race weekend - I did every single race weekend this year and it was all the same stuff, just a different logo on it. All of the 5K courses are the same with the exception of W&D. They recycle their half and 10k courses too - WDW is huge - wish they would mix it up a bit!
    5) rD might need to sweeten the pot a bit - discounts on park tix, free race photo downloads, etc
    6) Cost - sure, the half put on by your local running store is going to be dirt cheap compared to Disney - but at least for me, I don't mind paying more with Disney because I know I am getting more. I don't do rD races to get a time, I do them for the experience. I do the local running store half to get a time. It's comparing apples and oranges.

    Thanks for prompting the discussion!
    3- I do wonder how races will be affected by SWGE.
    4- I agree with this. I did like some of the Wine and Dine stuff this year but merchandise has been rather meh lately.
    5- I am surprised they haven't tried something like free race photos or something this year but not sure how they would do that since photo pass is connected to the parks as well.
    6- also agree, I don't run these for time its all about the experience.
     

    Keels

    The Official Keels of RunDisney
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2008
    I’m planning to buy a Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour pass tomorrow - mostly because I already have race plans for three of the weekends with friends, but also because it gives me a reason to check out new places for run trips.

    At $599 for 10 RnR events of my choosing, it’s a great value to me. Plus, all the blings.
     

    rteetz

    Rumors and News Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2013
    I’m planning to buy a Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour pass tomorrow - mostly because I already have race plans for three of the weekends with friends, but also because it gives me a reason to check out new places for run trips.

    At $599 for 10 RnR events of my choosing, it’s a great value to me. Plus, all the blings.
    I didn't even know that existed.
     

    Keels

    The Official Keels of RunDisney
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2008
    I didn't even know that existed.
    Yup.
    Has a bunch of VIP perks and extra swag too. All of that for cheaper than one Dopey registration. And most of the race weekends have a two-day Challenge (5K and 10K/Half/Full), and some even offer marathon relays.

    I’ve done some RnR events before and have enjoyed them, so I’m looking forward to branching out.
     

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