The runDisney Race Deferral Process

runDisney races are unique. You have to sign up for the races MONTHS before the actual event, usually within just hours of when registration opens.

This leaves room for life to happen. Work schedules can change. Injuries can occur. Sometimes, life just gets in the way and the runDisney race you signed up for 11 months ago may need to be post-poned until the next year.

For races of 10K or longer, you do have the option to defer your race registration to the next year (for the same race weekend). There is a deferral fee, currently $45.

runDisney Race Deferral

Both Krista and Megan were signed up for the 2014 Glass Slipper Challenge. Unfortunately, life got in the way for both of us, which meant that we both deferred our race registrations to 2015. Having just gone through the deferral process, we learned a few things along the way!

Deferral Process

To defer your race, go to runDisney.com and click on the race weekend you are signed up for. Click on the registration tab and scroll down to the deferral section. A link will appear for you to begin the deferral process. Keep in mind, a deferral is not a transfer, meaning the person who registered is the person who is deferring to run the race the next year.

When you click on the deferral link, you will fill out your information and pay the deferral fee as well as the registration fee for the next year’s race. Once you have re-registered for the new race, you will email your registration code and new confirmation number to runDisney to start the refund process. Once they have processed your request, you will then be refunded for the race that you are deferring. For example, we paid the $45 deferral fee as well as the $280 fee for the 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge (plus active.com fees – see below for explanation). We then were refunded for the 2014 Glass Slipper Challenge a few days later. (Note: Disney states it can take a few billing cycles for the refund to appear.)

runDisney Race Deferral

Things to Consider

There is a deadline that the deferral must be completed by. The exact dates will be listed on the registration tab on runDisney.com for the race weekend you are interested in.

Deferrals CAN reach a limit, not allowing any more deferrals for that race weekend. Unfortunately, there is no warning as to when this occurs. A general rule of thumb, the closer it is to the event (and deferral deadline), the more likely that the deferral limit will be reached.

If the race registration fee increases for the next year, you will have to pay the difference as well, up to $20. We both just received an email from runDisney this week that the cost of the 2015 Glass Slipper Challenge rose to $295. Therefore, we both had to pay an additional $15 .

Fees, fees and more fees!  In addition to the deferral fee (currently $45), you will also pay additional fees to active.com. A registration fee through active.com is part of your fees when you originally register for a race. However when you defer, you will pay another registration fee to active.com to register for the new race in addition to the deferral fee.  Your original active.com fee will not be refunded with the original race registration fees.

You can change your race during the deferral process. For example, if you registered for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon, you can defer to the 2016 Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge (and will have to pay the difference in race cost). If you “downgrade” your race, you will not receive a refund of the difference.

Pre-ordered souvenirs or pins are non-transferable to the next year. Therefore, you would need to call runDisney directly to see if they would issue a refund for these items. However, it is likely that you may also lose the money pre-paid on these item unless you can attend the expo to pick the items up.

WDW 10K

While there are clearly many costs involved in deferring, it is better than losing hundreds of dollars in registration fees! Also, be sure to cancel any travel arrangements you may have made as well!

As always, runDisney can change the policies – however this is how they currently stand.

 

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Club Level During a runDisney Race Weekend

As runners, we can be very particular regarding our eating habits during a race weekend. During our training, we have learned what foods are best and what to stay away from. Even during a Disney trip, we tend to eat a little lighter before the race. (After the race is a whole other situation!)

The Disney Dining Plan may be too much food during a race weekend. While you always have the option of bringing your own food with you, there is another great way to experience a runDisney weekend – Club Level!

Club Level during runDisney

Each deluxe resort offers a Club Level option during booking. While the cost is definitely higher, there are many amenities including:

  • Advance itinerary planning service
  • Access to an exclusive Club Level Lounge at your resort
    • Continental Breakfast
    • Afternoon Snacks and Beverages
    • Evening Appetizers and Wine
    • After-Dinner Cordials and Desserts
  • Evening Turndown Service

The resorts that offer Club Level are: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge and Yacht Club. There are various room types and views available. Most rooms are on the same floor as the lounge (with keyed access), however there are a few exceptions – specifically with the Contemporary and Grand Floridian Resorts. Coronado Springs also offers a business lounge option. While the offerings are less, it is another way to have access to snacks throughout the day.

During a runDisney weekend, the most important aspect of Club Level is the food. Throughout the day, you have access to food at the lounge. While they may not be enough for a full meal (with the exception of the bagels, cereal, fruit, yogurt and pastries for breakfast), they do allow you the opportunity to graze throughout the day.

Club Level

As a part of the 2014 Dopey Challenge, Megan and her husband chose to stay at the Wilderness Lodge – Club Level. With multiple races throughout her stay, this was a great option. They often had breakfast in the lounge, would share a quick service meal for lunch, have pasta for dinner and then get snacks and beverages at the lounge throughout the day. It offered a relaxing experience in the midst of many early mornings!

While the expense is definitely higher, Club Level offers a new and unique experience to your runDisney race weekend!

 

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Best Character Meals for Breakfast

We all want to celebrate our runDisney race accomplishments! A great way to do so is by enjoying a character meal. Not only does it fill your hungry runner’s belly, but it also allows for great photo opportunities with your new medal! This series will include great character meal options for you to celebrate! 

After a 5K or 10K race (or even half marathon for the speedier runners), a big breakfast is definitely in order! A fun way to show off your new medal and accomplishment is at a character meal. Here are a few of our favorite character meals for breakfast!

Breakfast Character Meals

Tusker House

Join Donald in Animal Kingdom for this African-inspired breakfast. After a photo with the main duck, you can enjoy a breakfast buffet – along with visits from Mickey, Daisy and Goofy! The food at this buffet is your normal breakfast fare, along with some African-infused dishes. Don’t miss out on the Jungle Juice, a mixture of guava, orange and passion fruit. And if you time your meal later in the morning, you can enjoy a few lunch dishes as well!

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Dine with your favorite Princesses in this quaint restaurant in Epcot’s Norway pavilion. The Princesses rotate, however you are sure to have visits from a few of the following: Aurora, Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Jasmine, Cinderella or Mulan. The breakfast is buffet-style and includes eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, yogurt, fruit, baked goods and even a few Norwegian offerings. These reservations will go fast during Princess Half Marathon Weekend!

Cape May Cafe

Catch a wave with Mickey and the gang at the Beach Club Resort! This breakfast buffet includes your normal fare, which is great after a race! Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald – and maybe even Chip and Dale – will visit your table in their best swim gear. Be sure to bring your camera for some great photos!

Crystal Palace

Magic Kingdom transforms into the Hundred Acre Woods with Winnie the Pooh and his friends! The Crystal Palace is unique in that Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger visit you as you indulge in a breakfast buffet. The food is your normal breakfast fare, however the Puffed French Toast is a wonderful indulgence! If you have a free morning without a race, get a reservation before the park opens for some great photos with Cinderella Castle before your meal!

Tusker House

Character meals are great ways to get fantastic interaction with your favorite characters. Breakfast is a great time to do so – even if you are a little sweaty from your race! Eat up, get some great photos and enjoy your new medal!

 

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It’s no secret that runDisney events are full of smiles, magic and moments you will cherish forever! Megan and Krista have compiled their top runDisney moments (thus far) to share with all of you!

My running journey began over three years ago, however the allure of runDisney races began much before that. During my honeymoon, I saw people on the bus with medals around their necks. Little did I know that years later, I would be one of those people! Here are some of my top runDisney moments thus far.

Running with my husband. When I started running, my husband was always my cheerleader and supporter. He didn’t catch the running bug like me, and I was okay with that. However, I convinced him to run a local 5K with me, which then turned into him agreeing to be a part of my Dopey Challenge accomplishment! In January 2014, we crossed our first runDisney finish line together – the Disney Family Fun Run 5K. I look forward to a few more of these in the future!

Brent & Megan 5K

Finishing my first marathon. After my first half marathon, I remember telling people that there was no way I would run a marathon. Just over 4 months later, I was signing up for my first! I specifically chose the Walt Disney World Marathon because I thought that running from park to park would help make the 26.2 miles a little easier to tackle. In January 2013 (in the midst of the heat inferno), I put my hands up in the air with a huge smile on my face as I crossed that finish line!

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Learning the meaning of a fun race. I’ll admit that I am a competitive person. I always want to get a better race time. However, during the 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I learned an important lesson – sometimes a race is just about having fun! I stopped for photos with characters, I took in my surroundings and I enjoyed every mile. I make it a point to have at least one runDisney race where I do just that – leave the time goals behind and have fun!

Megan & Pluto

Completing the inaugural Dopey Challenge. When runDisney announced the new 48.6 mile Dopey Challenge, it didn’t take me long to decide I was going to take it on. I already had a marathon under my belt (and another planned the fall prior to the challenge), I had some friends to run with and I was excited for those 6 medals! I trained through the cold and snow. I ran numerous back-to-back runs. I even escaped the Polar Vortex. And in January 2014, I crossed all four finish lines and finished with pizzazz!

Megan Dopey Challenge

Making many friends along the way. One of the best parts about runDisney races are the friends you make. I am blessed to have numerous friends who I continually text and chat with, even though we live hundreds of miles apart. We all look forward to seeing each other at upcoming runDisney events!

Marathon Weekend Friends

While these memories will always be near and dear to my heart, I can’t wait to see what new moments are created as my runDisney journey continues!

 

 

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The official kick-off to a runDisney race weekend is the Health & Fitness Expo! The Expos have grown substantially in size, bringing crowds of runners to experience all they have to offer. So how do you navigate the Expo and make the most of your time? Here are a few of our tips!

runDisney Expo

1. Have a plan. A few weeks prior to the race, runDisney releases the official race program. Inside, there is a map of the Expo as well as a list of the vendors and speaker series. Look it over and decide what you want to see! This will help determine when you should go to the Expo. Is race merchandise most important? Going earlier on the first day (with the crowds) may be the best for you. Have a certain speaker you want to listen to? Plan your Expo time around that. You also can make a list of vendors you don’t want to miss!

2. Leave your kids behind. While there are a few things for the kids to do (specifically the Inspiration Station), the Expo can be quite crowded, which means you need to keep an eye on those you are with. If you plan on spending a lot of time at the Expo, it may be best to have someone else take your kids to the pool or parks while you enjoy the Expo!

3. Take your time. There is a LOT to see and experience at a runDisney Expo! Photo opportunities, vendors, speaker series, Inspiration Station – the list goes on and on. If you are short on time, the most important thing to do is get your race packet. If you have the time, plan on at least an hour or two inside the Expo to see all there is to offer. (Keep in mind that there is also transportation to and from the Expo.) The good news is the Expo goes on for multiple days – so you can always go back!

4. Have a budget. The vendors are plentiful (with the exception of the Expedition Everest Challenge Expo) which means there is a lot of running gear and clothes that will catch your eye. By going in with a budget ahead of time, you can bypass certain booths and head to the ones you are the most interested in. Some vendors will have discounts, which helps with the cost as well. (Note: You can use your annual pass or Disney Visa card for discounts at the official runDisney merchandise booth.) There are some items that can only be purchased at the Expos – that will help focus the budget as well!

5. Bring your patience. The rumors are true – the Expo can be very crowded. The runDisney merchandise and New Balance shoe areas can be insane. Be sure to bring your patience along! Stay positive, encourage each other and set an example.

runDisney Expo

IMPORTANT CHANGE – Starting with the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2014, you MUST pick up your own race packet at the Expo. Bring your signed waiver and photo ID.

No matter if you are taking a quick trip to pick up your packet or making a full day of it, there is a lot to see and experience. Let the energy of the Expo take over and enjoy it!

 

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Monorail Resorts vs. Epcot Resorts

When it comes to race day convenience, you can’t go wrong with the monorail or Epcot resorts. However, how do you decide which you should choose for your upcoming runDisney race weekend? Take a look at our guide to determine which is best for your family!

Monorail Epcot Resorts

Monorail Resorts

The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Polynesian Resort and Contemporary Resort all have the added benefit of being on the monorail line. Take a walk to the monorail station and you can hop from resort to resort, go to the Magic Kingdom or head to the Ticket & Transportation Center to go to Epcot! Disney’s Highway in the Sky is fun for all.

For the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend, a monorail resort can’t be beat. The races are held early in the morning and start in Epcot. By staying at a monorail resort, you have the added benefit of taking the monorail to Epcot instead of a bus! Another plus is that your family can stay behind at the resort, then take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom (or other locations) to spectate. Since the races also end in Epcot, after you are finished, you can also take the monorail back to the Ticket & Transportation Center and back to your resort!

  Monorail Resorts

Epcot Resorts

The Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort and Boardwalk Inn include a very close proximity to Epcot. So close, in fact, you can walk into the park through the International Gateway in less than 5 minutes from your resort! You can also take a ferry boat (or enjoy a 15 minute walk) to Hollywood Studios.

For the Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend and Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, the Epcot resorts are best. (Note: All Epcot resorts may NOT be race host resorts. Be sure to check the runDisney website prior to booking your resort to see which will offer race transportation.) Although you will still need to take race transportation to the start line for these events, you will be able to walk back to your resort when you leave the after parties!

Epcot Resorts

These resorts offer a variety of room types that are sure to suit every family or group! The Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Beach Club and Boardwalk do offer villas for those needing more room, or who are part of the Disney Vacation Club. Your family can also splurge for a theme park view room at the monorail resorts. (If you do, the Contemporary offers the BEST theme park view rooms!) Also, concierge level rooms are available at all monorail and Epcot resorts, offering a continental breakfast, snacks, appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, desserts and beverages which is a great option for the running families who are on-the-go!

All of the monorail and Epcot resorts are deluxe resorts, which means their price tag is higher. If you are wanting to spend a little more during your race weekend, these resorts are great options. However are they necessary? Absolutely not! As long as you stay at a host resort for race weekend, you will have bus transportation available for the Expo and races, as well as to all of the parks.

If you could choose, would you stay at an Epcot resort or on the monorail? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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