I recently registered for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend (Lumiere’s 2-Course Challenge), and I was shocked at the emotional roller coaster of the registration process itself. I happen to be running that weekend with 5 friends, and we were all so eagerly awaiting the day we could officially register and start the countdown to November. As the day approached, we knew it would be popular, but we had NO IDEA what we were in for.
Phase 1: FEAR “How fast will the race sell out!?” I know it’s hard to imagine, knowing that there are tens of thousands of slots available for the races, but runDisney races, at least in Walt Disney World, do sell out – and FAST. So be ready! At 10 minutes to registration time, my friends and I loaded our computers, logged into Active.com (the race registration management site), and made sure our credit card and profile information was complete and correct. We made sure we were on the runDisney Facebook page as well as the Wine & Dine registration page on the official runDisney website. Often the official website will have so much traffic that it goes white and you can’t get to the registration link – which is why it’s a good idea to also be on Facebook, where runDisney posts a link to register. We have had much better luck with the Facebook link than the website.
Phase 2: SADNESS “I’m in the queue to register….” This part of the process took about 8 minutes for us, even though we had all clicked the link on Facebook within 10 seconds of it being posted. You see a little running man and he travels with AGONIZING slowness across the timing bar, showing you your place in line. Don’t go out to the kitchen for a soda here, because you don’t know when he will have his power gel and scoot quickly to the front! You’ll want to be there right away because when you enter the registration page, you have 15 minutes to complete it before you get kicked out to the back of the line. The good news is, if you’re in the queue, you’re likely to get a spot in the race you want. The queue does fill up, which is why it’s important to jump into the line immediately when registration opens.
Phase 3: ANGER “The page won’t refresh!” This one you don’t have to worry about as much if you’re prepared with Facebook, because it’s more of a problem on the runDisney website. If you don’t have Facebook, you can also try searching the race in Active.com and being prepared to sign up there. Just keep trying, and try to be patient as the website copes with the flood of traffic. It’s very easy to panic or get frustrated at this phase, but do your best. Technology isn’t perfect, but chances are within a few seconds you will be landing on the page you want.
Phase 4: DISGUST “HOW much is this race!?” We all know runDisney races aren’t cheap. But, I was surprised how fast extra costs added up! Active.com charges a fee to process your registration, and of course Disney doesn’t miss a chance to sell merchandise – you’ll be able to add in pin bundles, hats, tumblers, Dooney & Bourke purses…it can add up FAST. Clothing merchandise that doesn’t fit can be exchanged for size while supplies last, and anything you buy and don’t like can be returned once you get there. If you think you want it, buy it now because it’s a guarantee that you’ll get it. We all know how crazy Expo day can be and nobody wants to fight for their souvenirs! In the end though, the experience is worth the money. Disney puts on amazing events, and you won’t be sorry you did it.
Phase 5: JOY “I’m in!!” So once you complete your registration, you get the wonderful “Transaction complete” screen and confirmation email from Disney (and Active.com). Then you just need to wait the 7 months between registration and race day! You’ve done the hardest part (no really), so get going on your training! True story: my friend Amy and I work together and on registration day, we went through this agony together and afterwards, we were STARVING. We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and a few minutes after we arrived, a woman rushed up to meet the lady in the table across from us. As they hugged, the new arrival said, “I tell you, registering for that half marathon is more stressful than actually running it!” Amy and I looked at each other and asked her, “Wine and Dine?” and she said, “YES! Did you get in!?” We all shared a laugh of understanding and went back to our meals.
BUT WHAT IF YOU DON’T GET IN!? Sadly, not everyone who wanted to race in November was able to buy their bibs on registration day. So what now? I must caution you that Disney does NOT allow transfers of bibs, so if you are approached by an individual with a bib to sell run in the other direction! You can be banned for life from Disney races if you are buying or selling bibs illegally. Fortunately, there are options. Disney allows certain authorized travel planners and charities to sell bibs as part of their group program. Check the runDisney website for details or to find authorized resellers. That does come with a few strings – you’ll probably need to book a travel package or do some fundraising, so make sure you’re prepared for that if you go this route. And if you miss out on the race this time, there’s always the next one!
(Images ©Disney, Meme created by and used with the permission of Tara Wieland.)
Aly Miller is a lifelong Disney fanatic. She recently discovered the WDW Radio Podcast and became a member of the WDW Radio Nation. When she isn’t obsessing over all things Disney, she and her husband run Chad Miller Auto Care, an independent full service automotive repair shop in San Antonio, TX