Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Preview
We are officially registered for the Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon and Disneyland Paris 5K! This post covers some of our initial thoughts about planning for the race weekend, what we expect from this new runDisney* (in spirit, if not name due to Disneyland Paris’ corporate structure) event, and other random thoughts. Given that we want(ed?) to do Disneyland Paris’ 25th Anniversary, we were initially hesitant about doing the Half Marathon. However, a weak Euro relative to the dollar and economic fallout from terrorist attacks in the French tourism industry, we figured we could do a 2016 Europe trip relatively inexpensively. Plus, I’m a total sucker for dat race bling, and I really want the Castle to ChÃ¢teau medal!
When race packages went on sale last October, we reviewed the pricing, and determined that it was ultimately more money than we could justify spending. With over two-thirds of the race bibs being allocated to the travel packages (and smaller race fields than their U.S. counterparts) and this being an inaugural event, this made us worry that we would be shut out of the race.
After much confusion, rumors, and delays, bib-only registration finally went on sale earlier this week. We were at our computers hitting refresh well before the official start time. This being runDisney* and Disneyland Paris, we expect there to be *ahem* hiccups, and who knew if sales would accidentally start early. Instead, they started about 10 minutes late, and the system was slow as molasses once registration did open.
Fortunately, we got through and were able to register within 10 minutes of online booking opening. Sarah registered for the 5K, and although I was only going to do the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon (since there’s no special challenge/medal for doing both), I made an impulse buy on the 5K. At that price–as compared to US runDisney events–they are basically giving the event away! We didn’t book the add-on party or rice dinner, and are still debating about both. (They sound fun, but again, money.)
The initial allotment of bibs for both races sold out within the hour (although more have since become available sporadically–check here if you’re interested in registering). While that stinks for anyone who got shut out, as a fan of Disneyland Paris, this was somewhat exciting. Overbuilding hotels has been an albatross around the neck of Disneyland Paris since its opening days as EuroDisney, and has stifled development at what is otherwise Disney’s most beautiful resort. Adding runDisney* events to otherwise low seasons has helped fill hotel rooms at Walt Disney World–maybe it will eventually do the same for Disneyland Paris!
Now, the planning begins…
The biggest question for us is hotel. We would really love to stay on-site and Newport Bay Club is our top choice given its recent top-to-bottom refurbishment, but the prices are simply too high right now for us to be able to justify that. We are hoping a good special offer becomes available, or a sizable Annual Pass room discount.
When it comes to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, runDisney weekends sell out on-site rooms and, in the case of Disneyland, cause a serious spike in room rates for nearby off-site hotels. However, with the smaller race field and significant hotel inventory we are thinking that there will still be a surplus of rooms, and thus discounts, offered at a later date.
In the interim, we will be booking in Val d’Europe at a cheaper hotel with free cancellation. We’ve stayed in Val d’Europe before (at the Relais Spa Val d’Europe) and these hotels are both cheap and within walking distance to Disneyland Paris (10-15 minutes to the front entrance of Newport Bay Club). If you’re ever visiting Disneyland Paris and want to do it on the cheap, search for “Serris Val d’Europe Station” on the hotel booking site of your choice.
Alternatively, we are really curious about Marriott’s Village d’lle-de-France and Radisson Blu as nicer options that aren’t much more expensive, but only if they offer race-day shuttles. At present, this is unclear, but Radisson is a Partner Hotel, so there’s a chance it might. They are too long of walks to Disneyland Paris and out of the question, otherwise.
Tickets aren’t an issue, because we will almost certainly be purchasing Annual Passes. As we cover in our Disney Parks Ticket Tips & Tricks posts, the breakeven point for a Disneyland Paris AP is only a few days, and with a return visit likely for the 25th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris within the next 365 days, this one is a no-brainer for us.
Then there’s dining. Not something we need to figure out now, as this isn’t like Walt Disney World where you have to book ADRs 180 days in advance. It’s much more laid back. However, we want to come up with an itinerary beforehand that includes 1-2 highly recommended meals. Several readers have told us the impression that we are too hard on Disneyland Paris dining, so we want to give the most esteemed restaurants a chance to see if they can help redeem the place.
Right now we are considering Yacht Club Restaurant (check out this awesome review from our forums), California Grill (check out this video of the new-look of the restaurant), and maybe Agrabah Cafe (check out this video). We are open to other suggestions, so if you have a favorite, please share in the comments (links to reviews or photos would also be appreciated!).
We’re also excited about our first visit to Disneyland Paris for Halloween, as the decorations they normally do look fantastic! Beyond that, we are really excited to be around so many Americans experiencing Disneyland Paris for the first time. I adore Disneyland Paris, and think it gets a bad rap mostly from people who have never been. French sensibilities about hospitality differ from what you’ll find in the U.S. parks, but making the effort to memorize 2-3 sentences of French and apply them as appropriate does wonders in terms of how you’re treated. (In any case, just look at how many Americans treat many non-English speakers with disdain and tell me we don’t have a serious problem with Americentrism…)
As for the race weekend and events themselves, I have high hopes. While I think there will be some growing pains and organizational missteps with the event (as we’ve already seen), those don’t give me much cause for concern. This is the first runDisney* event outside of the United States and Disneyland Paris could use help in terms of attendance, so I think race organizers will be doing everything they can to make a very strong first impression in terms of substance.
I expect a really well done course with a lot of entertainment and rare characters. Disneyland Paris has an excellent Entertainment team, and when they are given the chance to shine, they do very well. Hopefully runDisney* gives them that chance. I hope and assume the event organizers understand the significance of positive word of mouth and buzz via social media and in the runDisney community and set this event up for success in the long-term.
Past events have proven runDisney travels well and has a legion of enthusiasts/addicts with disposable income, and buy-in from this group could mean huge things for Disneyland Paris’ future. (No pressure.) I think a lot could potentially ride on this event, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.
Beyond this, I am hopeful that there will be a really positive energy and sense of community that permeates the entire Resort throughout Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend. I think the Walt Disney World Marathon generally brings a good atmosphere to the Florida Resort in early January, and I expect that to be heightened in France.
This event has been a long time coming, and it’s something for which many runDisney fanatics are excited. I’m hopeful this leads to a palpable energy around the weekend. Likewise, I suspect this will be the single largest gathering of Americans ever at Disneyland Paris, and I hope we represent our homeland to our foreign hosts with dignity. (If you intend upon being rude, that’s cool too, but please wear this. 😉 )
As you might be able to tell, I’m really excited and maybe my expectations are a bit high right now. In the last couple of years, I’ve seen myself become an accidental runDisney addict, and I’m really looking forward to getting in on something runDisney* from the beginning. Expect more updates as I start training (haha, good one! I’m doing the Disneyland Half in September, so that is my probable training for this) and other details of the trip are solidified.
I hope to hear from others who are planning on doing the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon either in the comments below, or in the thread we have going on the forums.
If you’re running the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon and want help with the basics of planning a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide. Want to see more photos or read about Disneyland Paris in agonizing detail? Check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Report!
If you’re planning on getting into runDisney, read my runDisney Race Reports (plus other running-related posts). Also be sure to check out my runDisney Packing Tips post for what you should use to train, and what to carry on race day.
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Did you register for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon or 5K? Thinking about doing the race next year or down the road, instead? Other thoughts about Disneyland Paris? Questions about the event or visiting the Paris parks, generally? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below!
I know this post is a few years old, but my husband and I are wanting to register for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon this September and like you, want to save a bit by not staying on property. Do you by chance remember how close to the race registration opened for RACE ONLY? Were you notified ahead of time, or did you have to keep checking back? We really want to experience this race, but would like to stay off property. Any advice would help. Thanks!!
I will be doing the 5k, me and my partner will be dressed as Stitch and Angel. We cant wait. We are staying on-site at the Sequioa lodge hotel, but we always do. This will be my 25th visit to disneyland paris and my first rundisney event. We will be going to the launch party on the friday night in Walt Disney Studios.
Hi! I will be running the half as well. I’m from Belgium, visited about 8 times now, but it will be pur first visit whitout the kids…
I cant seem to find any information about buying the commemorative items. can anyone help with that?
I’m a little late in reading this post but I’m shocked no other Canadian has come out against Americans masquerading as Canadians!!
I’m registered for both races and am really looking forward to visiting DLP for the first time, running the inaugural races, and getting my Castle to Chateau medal. If you have any meets, I hope you allow Canadians!
I am so excited for this race! I have a long love affair with runDisney events and am so happy this will be my first half marathon. My mom & I will be first time DLP visitors from Southern California. We booked a package last week through DLP (we paid for our bibs a few weeks prior when they finally went on sale), staying at the Newport Bay Club. We were both in sticker shock for awhile, but finally decided to stay on property after realizing it would take forever to release booking availability for DVC rooms.
I also really want the Castle to Chateau bling, and hoping to get in the Avengers half In November since I feel the DL half will be to close to the DLP Half. I hope the event weekend runs much smoother than what they’ve had to offer so far, as RunDisney is always top-notch!
Any more thoughts on where to dine the night before the big race….Or where to refuel afterwards, perhaps with a large glass of champagne?
Have you considered dinner at Inventions, at the Disneyland Hotel. Its a character meal and the buffet is amazing. More choice than you can imagine and amazing French deserts. Book asap though as its hard to get a reservation. It has views of the park/ castle from some seats. We stayed in the DLH last time we visited and had characters using a room a few doors down from ours to do the stairs performance. But unfortunately they don’t do this anymore.
Did you find availability for Marriott’s Village d’lle-de-France? We looked at booking there for August and they were already full 10-11 months out.
Nice article, as always. If you had to choose between Marriott and Radisson, I would recommend Radisson Blu since it has a free shuttle but the times can sometimes be annoying. The Marriott isn’t really popular by Disneyland visitors since it doesn’t have a Shuttle and is pretty far away from the parks. My all-time favourites are all located within Val d’Europe: L’Elysée and Ibis. L’Elysée is right next to the shopping center (very nice because of the Auchan supermarket) with a free shuttle bus included. They sometimes have great sales on their website, so keep an eye on it (like 60 EUR per night). Ibis is really standard but the best bargain in this area – I’ve never seen any cleaner rooms on my last international trips and the beds are very good compared to those rather uncomfortable french matresses. Another plus point: it’s located right next to the RER station. I’ve heard also very good things about the Hipark which also shares the same shuttle with L’Elysée. Very big apartment rooms, very modern – a lot of European Disneyland Paris fans love to stay here – and I need to try this one day, too 🙂 Anyway, enjoy your trip to Disneyland Paris. I’m really excited what DLP has in store for their first running event.
Hipark Serris is great and also walkable to the parks 🙂
I’m booked for the 5K, and also considering the Friday night party. Whilst I’ve been to Disneyland Paris quite a few times, this will be my first solo trip, so lots of new planning challenges! Train tickets booked, debating hotels and annual passport. Really looking forward to it, and hoping it is a sign of better things to come for Disneyland Paris.
I am super excited to be running both the 5k and half at Disneyland Paris. I am a huge RunDisney fan. This will be my first trip to Disneyland Paris and Europe. I too am staying in the town of Serris and wound up booking a flat rental through TripAdvisor which came out cheaper then a regular hotel room. Tripadvisor also said they guarantee the booking. I am looking forward to the trip! See you there!
I didn’t even realize that you could book flats through TripAdvisor–that’s good to know! We considered booking through Airbnb (lots of options in the area), but ultimately with low prices for a standard hotel and only a 3-night stay, that seemed like a better option.
I also didn’t know you could book flats through tripadvisor. That is good information. We rented a place through VRBO.
Right and wrong on the dining Tom!
As a couple of others have suggested, Blue Lagoon is the best restaurant on the property with the Yacht Club being next. The park food generally is sub-standard. It’s gone from being excellent to all but inedible as they struggle to make ends meet. All the resort food used to be exceptional – the French love their food!
Operating profit is a real issue here – over the last 7 years refurbs have slowed and they’ve reduced parade lengths, floats and closed all live shows. They also save staff by manning fewer cars/trains causing queue times to increase. It’s a shame because it was excellent. I’ve been a lot but not recently and I’m hoping the 25th Anniversary will reinvigorate the place.
Hope you have a fantastic time at the DLP RunDisney event! I can recommend Hipark Serris which is a favourite of ours (and cheaper than Relais Spa) and definitely Inventions for dinner! 🙂
Thank you so much! When I was looking for 5k tickets it was sold out, now there are available! I would have never gone back and check if you didn’t tell me just now to do so!
we vouch for the Radisson Blue! It’s an amazing hotel, we love staying there and I’m hopefull they will have the shuttle there for you. We ourselves are going to stay in the Parks en Suites inn, with two kids of 1 and 2,5 years we need the extra room. If you stay there, I can drive you to the event, If you don’t mind having a kid on your lap!
For anyone willing to save a bit of money on the annual passport, you may look for a sponsorship (“parrinage” in French). You get 10% discount and the sponsor gets a free renewal if they find 3 people to sponsor. Win for everyone. But you must not have had a passport in the last 3 years to get the discount and you must have had the passport at least for 6 month to sponsor.
Disboards have a thread dedicated to people looking for sponsors.
Hi Tom, what were your thoughts on the Relais Spa Val d’Europe? This is on my short list for an adults only trip next year during the 25th anniversary. I wasn’t sure if it will feel very outside the “Disney bubble” or if it’s still good since it’s in walking distance.
We liked it. Aside from a weird design quirk whereby the bathroom sink got wet while showering (which very well might be fixed by now), it seemed fairly new, moderately trendy, and nice–especially for the price we paid.
I don’t know that you’ll feel like you’re in the “Disney Bubble” since the area is a non-descript French town (think suburbia), but it is a nice, safe area.
Disneyland paris is one of my favourite places to go, last year I tried some new resturants and I have to say, one of the best places we ate was the Blue Lagoon restaurant, the one you can see when going around pirates of the carrebian. Amazing atmosphere and the food was to die for!
I totally agree about the food at Blue Lagoon in DLP being too die for!! It was SOO good when we were there and my mouth waters just thinking about it!
We dined at Blue Lagoon in 2012 and were less than impressed with it. Maybe it was an off day, but I’ve had the same type of experience with the Blue Bayou at Disneyland. In part at least, the restaurant gets by off of its ambiance, which can be a crutch for the cuisine.