Last week I had the opportunity to put some questions to the organiser of the inaugural runDisney event in Disneyland Paris, which takes place 23rd -25th Sept 2016. More accurately, your questions were answered, as there so many I didn’t want to leave any out, and kept mine to a minimum. You guys covered the important issues, or at least the things I would discoverer were important to you.
This is just the first Q&A and I will do be doing a follow up in a couple of months, so if you still have questions, or think of some over the coming days and weeks, just leave a comment here or email them over to me at email@example.com.
When did the idea of organising runDisney in Disneyland Paris first emerge, and what were the biggest obstacles along the way?
Disneyland Paris & runDisney have been thinking about the project for several years. However, operational feasibility in coordination with runDisney US and the local territory (SAN of Val d’Europe) was necessary to start the project which really started during summer 2013.
How different is the organisation in Disneyland Paris compared to the races that have been running for years in America?
Differences deal with some Legal policies (French Athletics Federation requirements, e.g. mandatory medical certificate to run a ½ marathon in France…), Administrative requirements (Prefecture, city councils, authorizations…) but also weather and Parks constraints.
Like in the US, we use all our internal partners expertise to set this weekend up. Each of them have skills and like any other special event we’ve already setup, they are great partners to work with.
Is this a one off, or are there plans to make this at least an annual event should it be successful? Have you been surprised at the huge level of interest, especially from overseas and in particular America?
The US level of interest was kind of expected, especially because it is the 1st international event for runDisney out of the US, and an Inaugural event at Disneyland Paris. If this first edition is a success, we would definitely look into making it a recurring event, but also potentially developing more events (especially themed events).
Can you tell us a bit more about the Chateau to Castle challenge, the special medal, and how people can become eligible for this and receive their medal?
Concept was based on the “Coast to Coast Challenge” in the US, for participants running an event (half-marathon or Marathon) in Disney’s Florida & California Parks, within the same calendar year.
The Castle to Chateau Challenge is based on the following : if a participant completes a half marathon distance at Disneyland® Paris and at the Disneyland® Resort in California or a half marathon or marathon at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida, in the same calendar year, he/she will receive an additional medal commemorating his/her achievement.
How successful were the travel packages and how do you feel the registration process went? Do you see room for improvement?
Package sales (including a stay in our hotels, park tickets and a bib for either the 5K or half-marathon), also sold by several channels (Central reservation offices & trade partners) was a Premiere for us. We faced some minor technical issues which have been solved efficiently & quickly.
We will definitely improve information & details on how the two phases of selling is working.
Why were prices for packages and race entry not released until the day of registration?
This is our sales strategy.
Pre-race / merchandise
Will there be opportunities to pre-order merchandise, for both participants and non participants?
We know that runDisney runners are looking forward to it and we are considering the opportunities, but we have not decided yet what product type.
What kind of exclusive merchandise will be available, and will this be limited or will stocks be plentiful? This is of particular concern to people coming over from America and worried that items will run out before they get a chance to purchase.
Specific merchandise for this Inaugural event will be available. Stocks will be determined based on the attendance of the event.
Is there going to be an exclusive Dooney purse like at other runDisney races?
Again we are looking into merchandise opportunities, but we have not decided yet what product type will be available.
How many bibs / race entries will be made available in January? Will it be first come first served, or will preference be given to certain groups such as AP holders or locals? Will the registration be online only, or via telephone too, and or other methods? When will more details of this process be revealed?
A third of the total bibs (for all races) are kept available for the January 2016 sales.
Process for registrations will be revealed at time of sales opening
How do runners submit their medical forms and estimated finish times – is it online or through the traditional post?
They will be able to submit it online, through the dedicated registration platform which will be launched soon.
The course is due to be announced next week at Wine and Dine – will it published online too? How much of the course for the 5k and half marathon will be inside the Resort, and in particular the Parks?
As for any running event, the course can be adjusted until the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances (ie road works, etc). For the 5K, race will take place mainly in the 2 Parks; For the Half-Marathon, half of it will take place on Disney property (Parks & Hotels area) and half in surrounding villages.
When booking, some were told that special insurance was needed. What is this insurance and how would people go about getting it?
As per any half marathon taking place in France, it is compulsory to inform participants that they can get a personal insurance. It is mandatory for the organizer to inform, not to sell it. Participants can check with their insurance company, considering that some personal insurance policies don’t cover potential injuries during a sport event.
When will the medal designs be revealed, and will there be a special one for people completing both the 5k and the half marathon?
Designs are under work and will be revealed closer to the event.
Friday 23rd September
Can you tell us more about the inaugural party in Walt Disney Studios, and what we can expect for the €79 entry?
Actually we can’t give out more info that has already been put on our website:
“Start to the weekend by attending this unique, private party, on Friday, September 23rd, 2016, at the Walt Disney Studios® Park. Disney Characters will be there, and you will have exclusive access to the main attractions and different catering offers… a magical evening not to be missed…..”
The entry will include the access to this private party, to the main attractions, a catering offer and entertainment.
If people land arrive on the Friday evening, do they collect for the bibs for the Expo that night or early Saturday morning, and where from?
We are considering those travel timings to determine the relevant final opening times for the expo, considering our operational constraints.
What will the Expo consist of and who will be exhibiting? Will New Balance be there selling runDisney trainers? Again, the question of stock levels is expressed as a concern by those travelling 000s of miles, and merchandise being a big part of the experience.
The Expo will be based on the same concept as the runDisney expos.
However, nothing is validated yet with the vendors & apparel / shoes partners.
Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th September
The most popular question asked, was will there be characters along the route and will there be rare ones out? Do you have any information on which rare characters might appear?
Magic needs surprise!
Part of the route goes offsite, and at other runDisney events the atmosphere created by spectators, school bands etc. adds a lot to the experience. What is planned for the offsite part of the race? Are things being done to build enthusiasm and support among CMs for the races?
We are working with the local communities on this topic.
As DLP Cast Mmembers are enthusiastic about this brand new event, we are sure they will also find ideas to support runners.
During the runDisney races in the US, Cast Members really support the runners !
How do spectators gain entry to the park for the race, at a time when standard tickets or APs wouldn’t allow them entry?
See FAQ on website. (Relevant section here)
Will Disneyland Park open later on race days (to non race spectators) or will part of the Park be cordoned off where the race route goes?
Parks opening hours will be respected. This is why race start early at 7am.
Will there be specific cheer spots for spectators, both onsite and off?
Yes there will !
Is there a limit to the number of races children can take part in and how long will the kids races go on for?
Kids races are based on age limits but the 5K family race being open to children of more than 5 years old (at time of the race), they can potentially run 2 races.
Will there be professional photographers throughout the race course, and or PhotoPass+ opportunities before, during and after the race?
We are currently working on this topic.
Race start time is 7am, and people need to be there 30 minutes before. Will it be possible for people to get food and drinks before this? Will snacks and refreshments be provided after the races?
We are working with our partners for the pre-race F&B offers. There will be post-race F&B offers as in all runDisney events. (Steve – F&B is Food and Beverage)
So there you have it – lots answered, but more information still to come nearer the time. I have to say, before all these questions came in, I never realised that the characters and merchandise were such an important part of runDisney. Anything Disney, especially Parks, admittedly focuses on these, but I thought there would be more actual running related questions. runDisney is all new to me, so it’s very much a learning process, as it is for a lot of Europeans too I would imagine.
Remember to leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any further questions you have.
Disneyland Paris runDisney website for information and bookings: run.disneylandparis.com