RunDisney Cancels All Disneyland Events for 2018


The rumors have been flying around for months but on Wednesday, October 18, runDisney made it official: all runDisney weekends at Disneyland will be on hiatus beginning in 2018. This includes Star Wars: The Light Side, Tinker Bell, Disneyland Half Marathon, and Super Heroes. This year’s Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend will still take place on November 9-12 as scheduled.

Here’s the announcement that was posted on the runDisney blog,

We have heard from many of you over the past few months regarding registration for runDisney race weekends at Disneyland Resort. We greatly appreciate your loyalty and dedication to our runDisney race events and want to share the following update with you..

Given the level of construction to support the ongoing Disneyland Resort expansion, we have been working hard to determine how we can continue providing our West Coast participants with the best possible runDisney experience, which is designed around the ability to run throughout our resorts while enjoying entertainment offerings and characters..

After careful consideration and weighing all possibilities, we have made the very difficult decision to place all runDisney race weekends at Disneyland Resort on hiatus beginning in 2018. This includes the associated Coast to Coast Race Challenges..

Anyone who has registered for one of these races will be contacted directly by runDisney today by email and will receive a full refund for registration fees and for any commemorative items they may have purchased..

While news of this hiatus is sad to share, we are so thankful for the magic and memories you have helped create at our race weekends through the years. We look forward to hosting the upcoming Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort November 9-12, and we hope to see many of you there..

We encourage runners to continue to visit for other race opportunities. A full schedule of races at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Paris are currently still being offered, in addition to our virtual race series. Guests with questions can contact [email protected]

We’ve known something was up for a long time: first runDisney put registration for Stars Wars: The Light Side Half Marathon Weekend on hold back in March, and then a 2018 date for Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend failed to materialize at all. Other dates also came and went – the most recent being submission of Proof of Time for Star Wars was due on October 10. Hard to submit Proof of Time when you can’t even register!

So the announcement wasn’t a surprise to me at all. Even so, I’m upset and angry, feelings that I know I share with many of you. For me it’s largely the timing. It’s clear to me that they’ve known this for a long time, yet they chose to wait until the race date was only three months away to make a definitive announcement.

I’ve already received an email from runDisney, since Lee and I registered for Star Wars back in January, taking advantage of an early registration opportunity offered to those of us who participated this year. The email contains most of what is quoted above, with this information added:

You will be fully refunded for your registration fees and for any commemorative items you may have purchased with your original form of payment. This will be reflected on your next billing statement. In addition, if you have any questions at all, a Disney Cast Member can assist you at 407-939-iRUN (4786), between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., EDT, seven days a week, or you may email us at [email protected]

It will be interesting to see if the race weekends do in fact return in the future. While the 5K and 10K races have sold out quickly, the half marathons have not been selling well in the last couple of years. And with the decision this year to replace race volunteers with paid temporary employees, I think the quality has suffered. Lee and I have cut way back on the number of runDisney events we participate in, and I know a lot of the rest of you have as well.

Maybe runDisney has “run its course” in California. I guess time will tell.

What do you think about runDisney’s decision?

N.B. On Thursday morning I received an email from informing me that my registration fee, including’s $21+ processing fee, has been refunded to my credit card. – Laura

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Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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7 Replies to “RunDisney Cancels All Disneyland Events for 2018”

  1. I tend to think that at least one signature race will come back eventually, when they have the parking garage, new hotel, star wars land, etc. done.

    Personally, I think that the reason why the registrations are down everywhere for Run Disney is that as they kept adding races, they just stopped being as special. If you have one big event a year (like WDW had for many years) then it’s really special and maybe you do it every year or every couple of years. But when there are Run Disney events on both coasts constantly, it’s just not as special and so you get sick of the same thing over and over. And you spread out all the people that are interested into to many events.

    That’s why I think that they will eventually bring back one signature event and it will go well and probably sell out.

    On a related note, I think you’ll see less events in the future for WDW. They are not filling up a fast. They’ve crossed the line and they have too many now. Pulling it back a little bit will correct the balance and keep the cost vs. benefit ratio back in line.

    A freeze in prices for a couple years wouldn’t hurt either.

  2. Hi Laura, Thanks for your article. We will miss the Disneyland races too. Wish things had been handled differently – lack of communication was terrible. Hope the races will return in a few years with a lot more “magic”! I always enjoy your race weekend articles, and hope you and Lee will be able to go to the WDW races.

    Laura replies: Thanks, Julie. Lots of frustration from many runners. I know many of us hope the races will return better than before.

  3. I’m so disappointed I won’t be able to pay hundreds of dollars for something that humans have been doing for free since the age of cavemen 🙁 #getanewhobby

    Laura replies: Hi Bob. That’s certainly one way of looking at it. 🙂

  4. Run Disney was what got me into running, but…. as I branched out a couple of things became apparent. Disney charges a LOT more than other races and in some ways delivers a lot less. Pre and post race experiences just are often subpar to other races. So at DL where you don’t have the ability to put Disney Characters every few miles on the half, it’s hard to justify the pricing once you have the special medal. I have my Coast to Coast and while I would eventually probably have gotten the Star Wars special medal, the pricing had put me off.

    The way this was dealt with, allowing registrations and then cancelling is another black eye for Run Disney IMHO.

    I think Disney may have priced a lot of us out and that’s going to be a problem for them in California where they don’t have control of the whole course to spin the Disney magic (Not that they want to do that as we saw this year when they took the characters off the 5K race course!)

    Laura replies: Hi Carol. Thank you – very well-said. It seems like Disney has forgotten that the reason runners are willing to pay the higher price is because of the magic. So perhaps it’s to their credit that they realized they can’t provide that at the Disneyland races any more?

  5. Laura, we are so thankful that we did the Light Side this year and also got the Coast-to-Coast and Kessel medals. Since we live in Florida we don’t do the races at Disneyland except for this year, so we aren’t really affected by the cancellation of the races. However, runDisney didn’t just make this decision to cancel this week and I think it’s very poor management on their part that they waited so long to inform people of the cancellation. They’ve known for awhile that the race wasn’t going to happen. There’s been rumors of IT issues within runDisney that was delaying registration to problems with Anaheim politicians. I feel bad for all of the people who waited to get their Kessel medal next year or their C2C. If people had been given this information they could have changed their plans, but now it’s too late. I have very little faith that the races will return.
    We had planned on doing the Tower of Terror race in 2015. RunDisney didn’t announce until after the 2014 race that there would not be anymore Terror races. if we had know that 2014 was the last year we would have adjusted our plans. But thanks to lack of information from runDisney we missed out on that race. Truly doubt that the Terror races will ever return also.
    I truly appreciate your honesty and viewpoint,

    Laura replies: Hi Cindy. Thank you for sharing your well thought out comments. I’m sure most of us think that runDisnry should have done a much better job of communicating. Unfortunately that’s never been something the Disney company is very good at doing.

  6. I don’t think this has anything to do with construction. That’s just the excuse Disney is using. I think it has everything to do with having to pay ‘volunteers’. I don’t think they are making the margins that they think they need to make in order to keep in going. I think the future of the races at Disneyland are in jeopardy.

    Laura replies: I agree that it’s not the construction…not so sure about the replacement of volunteers being the reason. But as most of the half marathons have not been selling out, I think you’re correct that they haven’t been making as much money.

  7. I’m just glad I did my Coast 2 Coast last year. Wonder what this will do for WDW races? Will they sell out more quickly now? Only time will tell.

    Laura replies: I also feel badly for those who had planned to do Coast-to-Coast or the Kessel Run Challenge next year.