So This Is New: runDisney Makes Expo Attendance Mandatory

I haven’t run that many races, but I’ve always attended race expos in the preceding days so I can pick up my bibs, shirts and any additional swag. Many race organizations allow others to do bib pickups for runners as well, which always thought was nice — many people have work or other conflicts, and with destination races, it can be hard to snag an extra day off.

runDisney has always allowed bib pickup for others, so as long as there was a photocopy of the runner’s picture ID and a filled-out waiver to turn in. Helpful, because sometimes it can get hard to get down to WDW or Disneyland ahead of these back-to-back race challenge weekends, and a few extra days on property can really add up.

Well, it looks like this is no longer the case. This is now on the runDisney site, on the Disneyland Half page:

DL Pickup


Oh. OK. Well, maybe this is just for Disneyland, I thought. I have yet to run a West Coast race but maybe Disneyland races have more locals, or something … surely WDW wouldn’t have the same policy, when so many people arrive on the Magical Express mere hours before their races.

Nope. This was on the Wine & Dine page:

W&D Pickup


I understand that as these races grow in popularity and they accept more runners, there are likely more instances of bib-selling and other improper behavior. But this seems kind of ridiculous. I’m honestly curious about the motivations behind this policy change … when did others picking up bibs and race packets become a problem for runDisney?

I’m not really sure on where I stand on the ethics of selling a bib/race entry. I can understand why runDisney or any other race organization prohibits it, from a liability standpoint. However, I think runDisney’s deferral policy is pretty ridiculous, expensive and difficult (my boyfriend deferred his WDW Marathon registration from this year until next, so I have a bit of knowledge about the system), and adopting a more lenient deferral policy — and keeping the packet pickup process more flexible — would probably score a lot of points with runDisney aficionados.

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7 thoughts on “So This Is New: runDisney Makes Expo Attendance Mandatory

  1. Personally, I used to go and pick up my packet and my sister’s (and vice versa) because one of us never has enough vacation days and she usually would rather spend time in the parks than at an expo, so this is totally unacceptable for us. I got her 10k bib in January because she flew in that night. If anything, I would like to see runDisney go the way of making life easier for their runners, and allowing people to do things like pay an extra $20 to have their packet delivered to their hotel if they’re staying on WDW property.

    If the issue were traffic for the vendors, I don’t see this as a solution. Given how much of a clusterfuck the expos can be, and how cramped they quickly become, I can’t see how forcing more people into the expo is going to make it a more pleasant experience, and I certainly am NOT in a shopping mood when I can’t even walk down the aisles. Maybe the vendors would get more sales and traffic if they offered better deals (like any at all), or if runDisney selected better vendors.

    I also think that if illicit bib sales are such a problem, runDisney should establish a bib exchange like the Marine Corps Marathon does, and allow people to transfer bibs for a 2 month period and pay a $25 fee to do so, especially given how expensive the race is and how quickly it sells out. I get it, you don’t want people selling their bibs because it’s a safety concern but at the same time, if you want to stop the behavior I think you need to offer people a viable, sanctioned solution. As someone who was tempted to buy a bib for Disneyland, I would much rather go through a bib exchange that was race sanctioned instead of a back alley facebook deal. (Coincidentally, the one time I DID run as someone else, they picked up their own bib and dropped it off at my hotel.)

    I wouldn’t normally fall back on “I paid for this so I’m entitled” attitude, but for what runDisney is charging for their product they need to start offering some better benefits and not making life more difficult for the people who have to travel a lot to get there.

    • I was wondering if any major races had some kind of bib sale/transfer program … it’s great that MCM does. Injuries and other life interruptions are pretty common.

      I’m super paranoid about flights being canceled or some dumb issue with packet pickup, so I’ve always scheduled time to be at the expo … so I felt kind of ridiculous writing this, like I was searching for a bone to pick with runDisney. I really try not to take the “I’m so entitled tack” either but this was honestly kind of a shocking change to me, and you definitely corroborate why I think this is really detrimental to runDisney participants.

  2. I usually fly in the night before the race so I don’t have to take an extra day (but I was also trying to squeeze in too many racecations anyway). The good news is they’ve always had (and I’m sure will be keeping) race morning pickup- they just don’t advertise it.

    In my experience, I don’t know of that many races that allow for deferral- so it might be expensive and a pain, but at least you’re not just losing money. I believe NYCM allows for deferral, but none of the other NYRR races.

    • WOW, I legit didn’t know race morning pickup was an option … I remember one time when a runDisney race (that I wasn’t doing) fell on a weekend with inclement weather and a lot of flight delays and cancellations, runDisney tweeted that race morning pickup would be available but that this was highly unusual and they were making a special exception for people affected by weather-related travel woes…

  3. This seems a little crazy to me since Disney is such a destination race. People are coming from all over the country and even all over the world to do these races. I had friends that did the Princess fly in on Friday and running the 10k on Saturday… now I would be worried about doing that because you never know what happens when you travel, you could be delayed, etc. I would’ve thought Disney would be more understanding about that.

    • I’m sure there are people who misuse the system and sell their bibs, but I’m willing to bet that the majority of people who have others pick up their stuff are just coming in late … or even have flight delays or cancellations!

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