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Disney is Feeling the Sting of Late Cancellation of Running Events

15 Nov, 2017

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Social Media Backlash Showing It's a Small World After All When it Comes to Complaints

Has the princess craze passed?

Unlikely. But one thing is for sure: Mickey Mouse won’t be the course marshal in Anaheim in the near future.

According to an article in the Orange County Register, RunDisney, the Walt Disney Co.’s race organization, announced in mid-October that it is canceling its half marathon and other races at Disneyland Resort beginning in 2018. (Races at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain):

A Disneyland spokesman said construction of the 14-acre Star Wars Land: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland, and development around the resort area such as The Disneyland Eastern Gateway and a new four-diamond hotel in Downtown Disney, would affect future races since runners traverse a course in and around the Disneyland Resort.

The races bring in an estimated 25,000 people paying upwards of $195 to participate in a half marathon run. The races, usually held during off-peak seasons, are a boon to the local economy, generating $20 million to $30 million in revenue to Orange County, according to Disney.

Here’s one piece of news Disney lovers weren’t anticipating, though: the spokesman did not know when RunDisney would come back to hold races at the Anaheim parks again.

Fees paid by runners who pre-registered for race events in 2018 will be refunded.

The news had been the subject of debate for days, and had traveled the length and breadth of social media. The discourse, according to the newspaper, “grew rampant when about seven months ago Disney postponed registration for its popular Light Side Star Wars themed running event slated for January at the Anaheim theme parks.”

All in all, four race weekends were held annually at Disneyland. The last to be held this year, on Nov. 9 -12, was the Super Heroes Half Marathon weekend. Other race themes included Star Wars, Princess and Tinkerbell, with runners dressing the part.

And while registrations could be refunded, runners may face other expenses, including airfare and deposits on lodging. And that has definitely had a chilling effect on the mood of athletes when it comes to Disney. Those assets are – wait for it – Frozen.

Another sore point exposed by the Register article was a note from an Anaheim spokesman that typical Disney protocol is to give the city three to four months advance notice before a race weekend, since permits need to be filed and the city needs to provide additional police as well as to arrange for closure of some freeway off ramps and streets. City staff said Disney had not filed for any permits.

The Happiest Place on Earth just lost a few happy people.

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