RunDisney has announced the cancellation of two in-person race events: 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon. Virtual events will be held in their place, similar to what has been offered for the 2020 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.
While this ultimately doesn’t matter to us on a personal level since we were not registered for either and isn’t even remotely surprising, it’s nonetheless disappointing to see. Marathon Weekend is a big deal, and one of the longest-running events at Walt Disney World. When registration first opened and capacity was dramatically reduced, that seemed like it would bode well for the event. Apparently that was not enough, especially with so much future uncertainty and the need to plan events far in advance.
In the grand scheme of things, this is definitely not good news for Walt Disney World’s quest to resume normalcy, but some guests will undoubtedly be happy with this news. Marathon Weekend causes a crowd spike at a time that would otherwise be off-season, so non-runners with trips planned for the first week in January 2021 will probably breathe a sigh of relief.
RunDisney indicates that they have based the decision to cancel the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon on the unique circumstances of hosting a road race experience on this scale under the “current environment.”
Participants who registered through runDisney.com will have the option of receiving a full refund for the race. Participants who have booked through a charity or tour operator should reach out directly to that organization. Runners who booked through the Walt Disney Travel Company may call them at 407-939-4786 (407-939-IRUN) for available options.
Those who are registered with a U.S. mailing address may convert their existing registration to the new virtual event that can be completed from home, or wherever.
This could even (unofficially) include Walt Disney World, for those who want to do 32.75 laps around Crescent Lake or 29.11 laps between the Poly and Grand Floridian (or ~15 laps between the TTC and Magic Kingdom once that full path opens).
Normally, I’m skeptical of and cynical about runDisney’s “Virtual Series” as a cash grab and a thinly-veiled way to buy (admittedly cool) running medals. However, 2020 already sucks enough without strangers on the internet criticizing your hobbies. If you want to do something that will bring you a few hours of healthy joy, you do you. There are far worse ways to spend money, and I’m guilty of partaking in many of those.
Eligible runners who participate in the Walt Disney World Marathon or Princess Half virtual races will receive a medal for each distance they complete and the option of a race shirt, in addition to the satisfaction of completing the race for which they’ve trained. Registered participants will receive an email beginning September 23 with instructions on how to make their registration selection before October 7, 2020.
For those who would still like to register for the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend virtual events, runDisney will open additional registration opportunities on Thursday, September 24 at 10 am Eastern.
2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Refund Option
Runners registered for the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend who select the refund option will receive a refund back to their original form of payment for the following. If you no longer have your original form of payment used when registering, contact runDisney by October 7, 2021 to receive a refund via check or a Digital Disney Gift Card for the following:
- Race registrations (Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, Challenges and Kids Races)
- Commemorative merchandise (automatic refund – no virtual option)
- Processing fee
Additionally, any registered participant with a shipping address outside of the U.S. will automatically receive a refund back to their original form of payment. At this time, participants without a valid U.S. shipping address are not eligible for the virtual option.
Refunds from runDisney can be expected to be processed by mid-November 2020. If you haven’t received your refund by then, please visit the “contact us” section on runDisney.com.
Donations made to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will not be refunded and will be delivered to those organizations as originally planned.
2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Virtual Race Options
All registered participants with a valid U.S. shipping address for the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend or 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend who purchased their registrations on runDisney.com will have the option to participate in a virtual race. Participants who select this option will receive the following based on their registration(s):
- Race distance medal(s)
- Option of event tech shirt(s)
- Digital Bib and finisher certificate
- Digital Toolkit including start/finish line and mile markers
- Digital Goody Bag
- Virtual playlist
- A Digital Disney Gift Card for select races
Guests with a U.S. mailing address who already have received a refund for their registration may still register to participate in the virtual race option by registering again.
Digital Disney Gift Cards for Select Races:
Eligible athletes registered for the Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, Goofy or Dopey Challenges during the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend or 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort will receive a Digital Disney Gift Card.
Digital Disney Gift Cards from runDisney can be expected to be processed by mid-November 2020. If you haven’t received your Digital Disney Gift Card by then, please visit the “contact us” section on runDisney.com.
Castaway Cay Challenge:
The 2021 Castaway Cay Challenge will transition to a virtual event. However, the January 11, 2021 Disney Dream cruise has not yet been cancelled. If you need to make adjustments to your sailing, please contact Disney Cruise Line at 1-800-951-3532 or your Travel Professional.
Club runDisney Charter Membership:
Guests who purchased the inaugural year of the Club runDisney membership will receive a second year of membership at no charge.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Disappointed by the cancellation of the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon? Does this surprise you, or did you see it coming? Planning on doing any of the virtual races? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!