Each year, runDisney’s signature Walt Disney World and Disneyland Half Marathon races sell out within hours of open registration. Every single 10K, from every runDisney weekend series, seems to sell out within minutes. These runDisney events are incredible. The unbridled popularity is not surprising, despite the inconvenient trend of entry fees. So, why did the Avengers Half Marathon, which takes place in a mere sixteen days, come up short?
The Disneyland Avengers Half Marathon did not sell out. At around 80 percent capacity, it is not likely to do so by race day, in two weeks. Might be a runDisney first. The 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon, which isn’t until next September, will sell out the day registration opens to the public. So, why the discrepancy? Between the two races, the only glaring difference is the theme.
Of course, there is no shortage of rabid Avengers fans. Apparently, they possess a far deeper enthusiasm regarding super heroes than for distance running. Popularity must not automatically drive participation. In light of upcoming runDisney events, this is more pattern than anomaly.
Disneyland’s Tinkerbell Half Marathon, running May 8, 2016, is only 70 percent full. This is rather surprising, as this weekend is a perennial success. The Walt Disney World Star Wars Half, April 17, is also at 70 percent. This is inexplicable. People would line up to receive a Star Wars-themed hernia operation. How is demand for a Disney/Star Wars special event not exceeding supply?
Two economic theories suggest (stay with me) prices are too high, or the market has been saturated. While price could easily be an issue, remember most runDisney races sell out instantly. Regarding the market, then, Avengers, Tink and WDW Star Wars do come pretty much right on the heels of other, massively well-attended runDisney weekends.
Distance also looks to be a factor. At present, the full-length Walt Disney World Marathon hasn’t sold out. Again, these signature events draw better than Taylor Swift. That one of the races, even a punishing full marathon, has any availability is inconceivable. Meanwhile you’d have to donate a kidney to get into the 10K. The 10Ks have become the goto race. Their shorter than a half marathon to a point that renders them still enjoyable. The 10K course is also a considerable upgrade. They run almost exclusively through the Disney Parks, skipping much of the tedious road miles.
Disney is undeniably brilliant when it comes to most things, but marketing absolutely. This definitely applies to runDisney. When the two annual race weekends became almost prohibitively popular, the schedule of events was quickly expanded, and now features eight bi-coastal events. The 70 percent participation figures will not escape the attention of the Disney powers that be. Our hope for their proposed solution: more 10Ks and more traditional Disney theming. A price reduction wouldn’t kill anyone, but Disney is also no stranger to making money. Can’t even really complain about that. If they charged less, it would be harder to get in.