For those who don’t know, during the Neverland 5K at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend, there were no character stops available on the course for runners. There are a few different rumours flying around as to the reason behind this last minute change, but the backlash was fairly substantial. Here are my thoughts on the matter..
The Tinkerbell weekend was my 5th RunDisney event, and race #9 and #10. I’ve been doing RunDisney for two years now, and while the characters are certainly a perk, the reason I participate is just to run.
During my first year of events, I didn’t actually stop for any of the character opportunities, and I still had a great time taking part in amazing events in incredible locations. Characters aside, you get exclusive access to almost empty parks, as well as a lot of backstage areas, which are pretty damn cool. Also, while the character ‘meet’s are cool, they are incredibly rushed. You’re pretty lucky if you get a few words out of the characters in the process of in-photo-out-go, for which you’ve probably queued 10-15 mins for, if not longer.
When I heard there were no characters out for the 5K, and may not be any for the 10K, I was a tiny bit disappointed, but having run this particular course before it didn’t bother me because I know its my favourite out of all the RunDisney courses that I’ve run, and to be honest, the little runner voice inside my head was actually pretty excited by the thought of running a better time, as stopping for 3-4 characters generally bumps up my finishing time by about 20-30 mins.
I can appreciate that Disney races do come at quite a premium compared to other races, and that participants have high expectations for the on course entertainment, but I consider the characters to be a perk and not a requirement, and in the same way that events can be cancelled with little to no notice due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, other changes can be made with no notice.
This is all just my opinion on the matter, and the fact is, I’m just happy to be in Disney, and grateful for the fact that I’m able to run.