Hear Me Out – I Think runDisney Registration Needs More Tiers

runDisney photo op

Read my latest screed on why you don’t need Club runDisney here!

Raise your hand if runDisney race registration stresses you out. Everybody? We all raised our hands? Yeah, I figured as much.

Heck, I’m planning a Dopey 2025 run – which you may notice is more than a year away – and I’m already a little freaked out about registering. I was thinking about hotel selection for the trip the other day, and hit upon the idea of renting DVC points. But you can’t cancel your room if you rent points, and what if Dopey is sold out by the time I get into the registration site?

runDisney sign


If you’re new to the runDisney game, you might be confused right now. Most races either open up for registration wholesale, or if they’re very popular they’ll run a lottery. Well, runDisney is very popular, but they eschew a lottery in favor of an every-man-for-himself, Taylor-Swift-concert-tickets-style bib drop.

In theory you could argue that this is technically no more or less fair than any other standard distribution method. The people who care most will hunch over their computers at the appointed time, and luck will take care of the rest just as a lottery would. This is still stressful, but such is life.

What one might fail to take into account, however, is how dang glitchy Disney tech can be. On more than one occasion the registration queue has failed to open at the appointed time, and people who rearranged their schedules to accommodate the initial plans were forced to walk away without even getting a chance. Luckily this has never happened to me personally, but it could.

Then of course there’s the question of whether or not you’ll get through in time to snag your preferred race bib in the first place, which has led to all sorts of many browser’d and device’d hacks that, let’s face it, probably muck up the works for everybody. But that’s how the game is played, so what can you do?


Well, what you can do is drop a cool $600+ on a higher tier Club runDisney membership, which nets you various and sundry perks but most importantly the opportunity to register for races before the general public, I think usually a week or so in advance. This still isn’t a 100% guarantee; it’s my understanding that these registrations are capped lest Club runDisney members take everything. I’ve heard of cases of members still not getting the challenge bibs they want. Also, did I mention the $600+?

Also, membership opens up in a similar fashion to the bibs themselves, at an appointed time, and when they sell out (always), they’re gone. So if you want a membership in advance of a particular registration weekend, you better plan in advance.

As much as I don’t really see hundreds of dollars of worth to Club runDisney, I must confess I have been tempted here and there to drop the cash just for the peace of mind. But then again, Disney and runDisney by extension are already so expensive… I just can’t seem to justify the cost when things usually don’t end up so bad anyway. Famous last words, right?

Still, without a Club runDisney membership I am left to hardscrabble and stress with the rest of the hoi polloi on public registration day. But does it have to be this way?

runDisney 13.1 sign


Back in the pre-pandemic, pre-Club runDisney glory days, there were still ways to register early for races: if you had a DVC membership or an Annual Pass, you got a head start on registration much like Club runDisney does now. And I think that should come back. Club runDisney first, DVC/AP second, general public third.

Perhaps you are thinking: hold on. Sure, if you’re DVC or AP that’d be great for you (when I’m an AP which isn’t always!), but you’re only going to make things worse for the general populace. And isn’t that what we’re lamenting in the first place?

Well, yes and no. I mean, yes, it would be giving another portion of the runDisney pool an advantage. On the other hand, it would mean that by the time the third, public round of registration, the virtual queue line would be shorter and the notoriously glitchy tech wouldn’t be nearly so slammed. And naturally the AP/DVC bib availability would be capped just like it is for Club runDisney.

Heck, if runDisney was really smart about, they could use the data collected by each round to subtly manipulate bib availability. If the 10K is sold out but the challenge is dragging, maybe they could break up some bundles into 10K and half for the next registration round. Likewise, if the challenges are flying but the marathon isn’t moving, bundle more bibs. Play with the numbers while you still can, and everybody wins!

Plus that’s an extra opportunity to work out the technical kinks in advance of the larger general registration date. And if you don’t think that’s important, have you even runDisney?

WDW trip report - WDW Marathon photo op


A three-tier system, as opposed to the current two-tier, would help relieve cyber congestion during registration, give the team an extra chance to shake out technical difficulties, provide perks in an era when the DVC/AP advantage is shrinking, and even allow runDisney to play with bib distribution. I know Club runDisney rakes in the bucks, but I truly believe that a second registration tier would be advantageous for everyone. I just hope runDisney is listening!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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