Read on for my best RunDisney registration tips:
Ironically, when it comes to RunDisney sometimes it feels like the most important race is the race to register! Sign up for RunDisney events can be a little unpredictable, with some of them selling out in minutes and others having availability for months. Especially as things have been changing the past year there is some confusion and concern over how to successfully sign up for a Disney race. Though of course registration is never guaranteed and anything can happen, I’ve been through the process enough times (and plan to do it myself for the upcoming year!) that I thought it might be helpful to share my RunDisney registration tips.
I have been participating in RunDisney events since 2014. I’ve done one Disney 5k, seven 10ks, one 10 miler (back when that existed!), nine half marathons, and 2 full marathons (one that was part of the Dopey Challenge). So I’ve had to sit in front of the computer with that RunDisney registration anxiety enough times… I know how it feels.
Here are all RunDisney registration tips I’ve come across over the years to hopefully help you out:
Be familiar with registration dates and times
Registering for RunDisney time is of the essence, so you want to make sure you are ready to go the moment that registration opens. If you aren’t going to be able to find yourself in front of a computer constantly hitting refresh on a Tuesday morning at 10am, consider seeing if someone else might be able to help you out (to be honest, I’ve taken the morning off from work for a race I really want to get into!).
Disney will open up all the registration spots at once so if a lot of people all sign up as soon as they can, once the spots are gone they’re gone. Disney fans, think of it as if you are trying to get a dinner reservation at Be Our Guest – you’d make sure you’re ready to book it the first moment you possibly can.
What dates are RunDisney registration for 2022?
- Walt Disney World Marathon weekend – registration opens on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 10:00am EST.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend – registration opens on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 10:00am EST.
- runDisney Springtime Surprise weekend – registration TBA
Create an account ahead of time
In order to sign up for a RunDisney race you will need to have a Disney account. You can save valuable time by making sure you have an account set up, you know the password for that account, and all important information has been already entered. This includes saving a credit card to the account to make check-out quicker.
If you already have your account set-up it will auto-fill most of your information such as name, address, email, etc. There are some additional questions that will be asked which you’ll need to fill out so if you are prepared ahead of time with the answers for these you’ll save time instead of needing to think about it. These questions include:
- shirt size
- Emergency contact name/phone number/relationship
- Will you be completing in the military division?
- Will you be registering as an athlete with a disability?
- What is your anticipated half marathon finish time?
- Proof of time (only required if you plan to run the half marathon in less than 2 hours or the full marathon in less than 4 hours)
- If you select under 2 hours and proof of time: race name, date, location, race finish time, distance, and link to race results
- If you select over 2 hours: select your anticipated half marathon finish time
- Is this your first half marathon (for the half)?
- Have you participated in a virtual RunDisney event?
- Have you participated in a RunDisney event at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disneyland Paris?
- Are you an annual passholder? (If yes, which one?)
- Are you a Disney Vacation Club member?
- Are you a Disney cast member?
Tip: Put all of this info ahead of time in a google doc so you have it ready to go and can enter it quickly or just copy and paste.
You can add registrations to your cart one at a time
If you’re planning to register for multiple races yourself, or you’re registering more than one person, be aware that you have to add each registration to your cart one at a time. Luckily now you only need to go through the “check out” process once, but each registration you add will take a little more time. Here are a few RunDisney registration tips if you’re looking to sign up for multiple events.
If you’re registering yourself for multiple registrations:
- Decide which race is the most important to you and sign up for that one first. If you want to do the half marathon and the 5k but you know you’ll be devastated if you don’t get into the half I’d do that first. Some people also prefer to register for the race first that they think is most likely to sell out, though this can definitely vary depending on the race and how things change. Typically though the 10k sells out first, and then the 5k. Any challenges usually sell out before just a half marathon registration.
If you are registering yourself and someone else:
- You can do both registrations before going to check out to speed things up, but in that case it needs to all be one payment. If you are registering for a friend who wants to pay separately you’ll have to go through the whole process twice. Make sure you have all of the information above ready to go for each person you’re registering.
Be online early on registration day
At least as of right now, registration opens at 10am EST. Perhaps the most important of my RunDisney registration tips is to be online earlier than that. You should plan to be on a computer before that to make sure everything is ready to go, and then you can try refreshing early in case it pops up. Sometimes the link won’t appear until right at 10am, but in the past it has been there earlier as well, even 10-15 minutes before. I’d start checking at 9:45 and just keep refreshing until you see it.
Tip: Once you actually click through the registration link and are placed in a virtual queue, DO NOT refresh the page. At that point you will still have to wait but it is holding your spot in line. Refreshing will cause you to lose that spot and start over.
Have multiple devices
Some people will swear Chrome is always faster than Firefox, or they have better luck on their laptop than their cell phone. What I’ve learned is that there is really no consistency with the way I’ve gotten through, and most other people I’ve talked to have experienced the same. Your best bet is to have a couple of devices and browsers in case that day one happens to be working a little faster than the other. I usually pull up all 3 of the internet browsers on my laptop and then have it on my phone as well.
Only enter necessary info
Most of the items listed above in the registration section are required, but there are some things you can go back and enter in later. One of these is proof of time – you can add or update that after registration. If you don’t want to do it at the time of registration make sure you select that you’re going to run it in over 2 hours. Otherwise it will require all of that proof of time info.
After the first registration page when you go to check-out you’ll also see a page for pre-ordering commemorative merch. Even if you want to buy something I recommend skipping it for now as you can easily go back in and add that stuff after you register. Head to the bottom of the screen and just hit next. Then you’ll be on the check out page and it will first ask if you want to donate to charity – underneath that is where you actually can enter your payment info. I’ve found sometimes Disney will auto-fill this with the card I keep on file but sometimes it doesn’t happen so have your credit card info ready as well.
Easier said than done, but don’t let the anxiety get to you on registration day. If you get in to the virtual queue and it says you have an hour wait, don’t panic! Many people see long waits and either get through early or there is still availability once they are through. If you use all of these RunDisney registration tips you will increase your chances of being successful, but even doing everything right is not a guarantee.
And if it makes you feel better, have a back-up plan. I deal with high anxiety but plans are one of the best ways I deal with things. So I have a few different scenarios depending on how things go. If I’m registering for the Princess race weekend and my goal is to do the challenge but then it’s sold out, what will I do? I make sure I know my options. If the challenge is full I might register just for the half marathon. What if everything’s sold out? Then I’ll try to register through a charity (more on that below). If that still doesn’t work – I’ll think about treating myself to a different race weekend or something else.
As runners who love Disney, it feels like getting in for RunDisney registration is one of the most important things. And if it doesn’t work out you can absolutely be upset… but I try to focus on other things after awhile or maybe a different experience I can treat myself to if I don’t get registered.
Tip: Have a back-up plan if you are not able to get exactly what you want, and as Walt would say – “keep moving forward.”
Feeling overwhelmed? A travel agent can help you book and plan your trip – and it doesn’t cost you anything! I’ve helped hundreds of people plan their magical vacations – contact me today to get started.
Look into RunDisney registration with charity bibs
Another option to register is going through a charity. In the past a number of charities have race bibs that they offer if you fundraise a certain amount. Things are a little bit different this year and the list of charities has not been posted. What we’ve heard from the charities that participated in the past is that many of them got turned down this year but they may have the opportunity to get bibs later. There are some charities that have confirmed they are getting bibs this year but they haven’t been able to open registration yet – so keep an eye out.
Every charity has their own requirements, but typically the way it works if you register through a charity is that you sign up for a certain lower price (say around $50-100) and then agree to fundraise a certain amount of money. That amount varies a lot by charity and the race distance but it will always be higher than the cost of registering through Disney. For example, registration for the half marathon might require $1,000 of fundraising. You can fundraise however you’d like but if you don’t meet the minimum amount you’ll have to pay the difference. So it’s definitely more work, but keep in mind you could be helping out a great charity as well.
RunDisney registration tips FAQ
How fast do RunDisney races sell out?
This varies wildly, and with things changing a bit and no one really knowing how many people Disney will allow at the events right now it’s hard to predict. Certain races are typically more popular than others (Princess is usually the most difficult to register for). In the past I’ve seen races sell out within an hour, and others that are around for weeks or even months. If you can sign up as soon as it opens I recommend that because better safe than sorry.
Which RunDisney races sell out first?
As I mentioned above this can really vary and it’s especially hard to predict right now. That being said, in general the Princess half marathon weekend sells faster than any other race weekend. In terms of distances, the 10k almost always sells out first, then the 5k, then the challenge(s), and then the half and/or full.
Do I need to go through this whole process to register for RunDisney virtual events?
Yes and no. The registration process is basically the same, and there are a certain number of virtual bibs, but at least so far they typically haven’t sold out quite as quickly. If you have the ability to be on as soon as registration opens I would, but at least try to do it that day if not. Also keep in mind the virtual races have a separate registration date from the in person events.
Does my RunDisney registration include park tickets?
Nope. Most of the races run through a theme park at some point but that’s the extent to visiting the parks that you get with registration. If you want to visit the theme parks during the day you’ll have to buy tickets. You can buy tickets standalone or package with a resort stay – as a travel agent I’m happy to help you figure all of that out, just send me an email.
What if I already booked a resort reservation but wasn’t able to get a race bib?
You have a few choices, but sadly Disney is not going to register you for a race that’s sold out just because you already have resort reservations. Basically you can choose to go on the trip and not participate in the events, or cancel it. That’s why I always recommend booking a Disney resort because they have a great refund policy. (If you are going off-site make sure to read everything about cancellations and refunds). You could also look into the charity bib option mentioned above.
Do I get a discount on tickets or resort if I registered for a RunDisney event?
Nope. Years ago this was offered, but the races became so popular that Disney didn’t need to offer any extra incentive to sign up. What I’ve learned about Disney in general is that they will only offer discounts and deals if they have to. If races are selling out this quickly they don’t feel the need to offer a discount on anything.
Do annual passholders and DVC members get early registration?
Not this year. Previously these groups always had an early registration date 1-2 weeks before it opened to the general public. That option is gone this year so you’ll have to register with the general group.
I’ve heard I can get a RunDisney bib through a travel agent. Can I do that?
Unfortunately, Disney is not providing any race bibs to travel agents this year. If that changes in the future it’s a great option because a travel agent can help you book your trip and plan everything at no extra cost – and they traditionally have gotten bibs early so you can get registered in advance. If this returns keep in mind that you do have to book a room and a race bib, you can’t just get the bib.
Is there ANY way to register in advance?
The only way is to be part of Club RunDisney, which currently isn’t taking enrollment. So at this moment, unless you already signed up for that program, there’s no advance registration. There are also tiers of memberships: silver, gold and platinum. Silver doesn’t get any advance registration. Gold has the opportunity to get “A guaranteed opportunity to purchase one spot in the half marathon or greater distance each race weekend through early registration.” Platinum gets “A guaranteed opportunity to purchase one spot in one distance each race weekend through early registration.”
Not to insert too much of my personal opinion, but I would not recommend joining club RunDisney for advance registration. The prices are high (platinum is around $800 to join). The benefits are paltry for that amount of money. I personally believe Disney is trying to leverage the anxiety over both registering and getting a good corral with this program (platinum members also get upgraded to a better corral which is a whole different rant for me). Again just my opinion but I’d prefer to spend that $800 elsewhere and not let Disney take advantage of us.
I hope these RunDisney registration tips are helpful to you for any upcoming events. I will keep this post updated with any new information or changes that come along – and good luck!
Have you signed up for a RunDisney event before? What are your best RunDisney registration tips?