Meet @runDisney: Putting the “Demand” back in “Supply and Demand’

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Never underestimate the obsessive nature of:

  1. A Disney Fan
  2. A Runner
  3. A Runner who is a Disney Fan

The Dumbo Double Dare sold out today in less than an hour. Much less than an hour, actually. Forty-two minutes to be exact.

Credit: runDisney
Credit: runDisney

With Disneyland only hosting two runDisney events, and only one “Challenge” event in the course of a year, it’s no wonder that they sell out so incredibly quickly.

And they’ve found a new and exciting way to capitalize on that demand. Fans of runDisney noticed that a new event had quietly been added to the runDisney website this week:

Credit: runDisney
Credit: runDisney

You know, that sounds a lot like the extremely popular runDisney Meet Ups initially offered as a perk for those fast enough to get an email to runDisney milliseconds before everyone else at a time announced by surprise via Twitter and the Disney Parks Blog.

Gasp! They monetized the Meet Ups?

Of course they did. I’m not sure why people are so surprised. There was obviously a rabid interest in participating in these events – people crashed the Disney Parks Blog repeatedly. Facebook fights broke out over who should or should not be allowed to attend. It was ugly. And nothing runDisney did seemed to satisfy people – they invited bloggers to this social media event – that was ‘unfair’, they added more spots – it wasn’t enough, they didn’t offer a Meet Up at all during Marathon Weekend – people were outraged that they runDisney had wasted their time by not announcing that they weren’t holding a Meet Up, therefore keeping them captive at their computers all day. And besides, how dare they start charging for the Meet Up? Who is going to pay for that?

Sold Out

I mean, really.

Do I think it’s kind of a bummer that this free thing is now gone? Sure, it was neat. Am I surprised or angry? Of course not. I thought runDisney did a great job in organizing an event that cost them money every time they did it and I thought it was really cool that they did it. But come on. Do you honestly think the event is going to be worse now that they’ve paired with Runner’s World, the premiere running magazine in America, and now that they will be working with a self-sustaining, event specific budget?

All runDisney owes us is the race that we pay for. Everything else is magical gravy.

My one and only runDisney Meet Up
My one and only runDisney Meet Up

Happy running, everyone!

Would you pay for this kind of Welcome Event, or would you save your pennies for something else?


tabethawells View All →

I am an actor/writer/director based in Chicago, IL.

12 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’m torn on paying for it during my next race. I think my only reason to pay for it, truthfully, would be to get the early access to the merch…and even then, for more than $90 (when converted to Canadian dollars for me), it hardly seems worth it. I think my only wish would be to be able to pre-order items for the expo. The crowds feel like a Black Friday sale (at least it did to me at DDD) and it would have been nice if I could’ve pre-ordered what I want and just picked it up, rather than fight through people to find the stuff I want and have other disappointed. Just my two cents.

    • See, that’s interesting. For me, the merchandise thing is an interesting perk, but not a deal breaker for me. But then, I wasn’t at DDD last year and I hear the crowds were ridiculous. I don’t think it would be as bad on a non-inaugural year.

      Pre-ordering items may come, who knows? They started doing it for the Dooney purses.

      Now if the Welcome Event turns out to be anything short of a warm up run through the park and talks by running experts that you wouldn’t normally hear at the Expo, then I’d question it’s value.

      Since I’m not doing DL this year, I guess I’ll have to wait and hear!

      • The crowds at DDD were definitely insane and would make pre-ordering worth while. I am still 110% sure, people would buy more than what the pre-ordered anyway. I just found the whole thing was just grab anything and everything you could want and then ditch what you didn’t want at the register and it was just plain old stressful doing things that way, amongst people grabbing at stuff.

        I agree that the Welcome Event is definitely a wait and see situation. I think that the other major stumbling block for me in terms of participating, aside from the cash, would be getting up at 5:30 for a “warm up.” lol. It’s hard enough doing runDisney races in the middle of the night…nevermind getting up for a “warm up.” hah!

    • Me too – my guess would be around 100 or so. I think any more than that would be hard to manage through all the offerings (ride, ‘warm-up’ talk, shop).

      There will, of course, always be sour grapes.

  2. I hear ya. I’m not even remotely surprised — but, still, it is a little disappointing! I only made it into one meet-up, so I’m thankful I got to do it at least once. I won’t pay for it; in this case, I really can’t, because it does mean flying out a day earlier, an extra night in the hotel room, etc.

    • True, it’s a bit of a bummer. But then the vitriol that was starting to grow around who got into each meet-up was also a bummer.

      I wouldn’t re-arrange my schedule around it either (then it goes from an extra $89 for the event to an extra several hundred dollars for the HOTEL and the event)

  3. If Tinker Bell is any indication on how the upcoming Disneyland expo event will go down, it will not be the chaos that was experienced in 2013. They had a very orderly line outside the hall. It looked daunting, but moved quickly. Once inside the expo, it was easy access to the merch. They didn’t let too many inside the merchandise area at once.

    On another note. Form a purely corporate perspective, I am not surprised RD decided to charge for a meetup. I’m sure it will be swell for others to experience, however, the ride on soar’in and pre expo access to the merch isn’t a perk for me. Nor is the shirt for that matter. From a marketing perspective, I kind of feel that there should be enough merchandise for anyone at any time during the weekend. I mean, come on Run Disney…order enough to go around. They certainly aren’t novices at what sells during these events. The unfortunate thing about TInk is that I heard reports of sold out items on day 2 of the expo, and on day 3, I saw there was virtually nothing left. (mugs, tees, jackets, hats, gone). I don’t find this acceptable. RD knows the numbers attending.

    If I went to a meet up, what would be worthwhile to me, would be the talk. I’ll keep my ears/eyes open after DL and see how it went for others and perhaps re-evaluate. My thoughts at this moment is that it will likely be much larger than the meet ups in the past, and perhaps, not as magical due to the numbers. It really was a ‘Willy Wonka golden ticket’, and even though I never got to experience one of these meet ups, I enjoyed reading about people’s experiences and kind of felt it was something a select few could really cherish….without a price tag. There are so few of these moments nowadays.

    • Well put, Deb. I think runDisney has been playing ‘catch-up’ this year with regards to handling merchandise supply (starting with when they started offering the Dooney bags in advance).

      I think a non-inagural DDD Expo will look a lot different than last year’s inaugural.

      And you’re right to say that the talk is the special part of the Meet Up. I found the experience of running alongside Dick Beardsley was amazingly special, and hearing Jeff Galloway, Bart Yasso, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Bill Rodgers and Desiree Davila speak – THAT would have been worth $89 alone.

      I’m not saying those exceptional athletes would be at every event, but with the relationship with Runner’s World, you can be sure there would be some other, similar inspirational speakers.

  4. I guess I’m surprised that people were surprised it (the Welcome event) sold out so fast!! The *only* downside I see, as a runDisney runner, is the early expo entry for people who may not be runners — those “ebay sellers” who scoopy up the goodies and leave nothing for people who want something to remember their event. Though, it seems like after DDD runDisney got the message and don’t put everything out in the first hour! So hopefully that won’t be an issue.

    Having to pay for a meetup does take the magic away a little, but when I do Dopey next year I plan to blow my retirement and go whole hog – Race Retreat, Platinum Cheer package for my dad and, hell, maybe even the meetup for me and Pops!! He would love the experience!!

    Personally, I am shocked, kind of, that DDD sold out as fast as it did – faster than last year with NO pre-reg at WDW or Tink…the only Pre-reg were the Visa/DVC/AP folks.

    ps – love the 20th t-shirt you’ve got there!!

    • I think they’ll be able to keep control over the group of pre-shoppers. I don’t see them letting someone buy out an entire stock of something… Or at least, I hope not!

      I think Dopey is worth the extra pampering – my husband did Dopey last year and I did Goofy, and we were so happy we had the Race Retreat… so very happy.

      And the meet up looks pretty cool – I loved the experience when I got in for free, to the point where I don’t think I’d have a problem paying for it. I don’t care so much about the shopping, but the access to “dynamic warm up” and the athletes? Super cool.

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