runDisney & Travel Agencies

A Brief History:

RunDisney has been working with travel agencies for many, many years.  Previously, an individual agency would sign a contract with runDisney for a specific amount of race registrations that they committed to sell.  So, when you saw an agency say, “We have 5 Dopey Bibs!” – that agency actually had five bibs to that race that only they could sell.  This is how the race registrations through a TA were refundable and/or transferrable when the “regular” bibs were not. These race registrations were completely separate and housed in a totally different system.

The program was successful… until it wasn’t.  Unfortunately, there were too many behind-the-scenes issues that led to runDisney’s ultimate decision to discontinue the program.

In its place, the current TA program was born.

Our Note to Runners:

Yes, a travel agent can book your package in advance of general registration to secure your race registration.  ANY travel agent working with ANY travel agency has the SAME inventory they are working with.  ALL of the rules and regulations will be the same, no matter what.

If you are looking for an agent, I urge you to find an agent you are comfortable with.  It would be best that the agent and agency has a strong history with runDisney – as these packages can be very complicated. It is most important to pick an agent that is extremely knowledgeable about the product so that you can be confident they will be able to be your advocate!

If you have a favorite agent who is less familiar with runDisney who you are loyal to – please use that agent!  In this industry, above all, we value loyalty!!  I run a separate group (runDisney TAs) specifically created to make sure all agents know what they are doing when it comes to booking these packages. It’s a safe place to ask questions and gain knowledge about the unique runDisney program. There are a handful of knowledgeable agents in the group who are willing and able to help answer questions and offer support to agents who are less familiar with the packages.

A Few Important Notes:

  • Please be aware of deceptive marketing practices.  If an agent says “we have X bibs” – that is simply not true.  ANY agent will have access to those race registrations.  If an agent says “we waive fees”, that is also deceptive – ANY agent will not require the 6.6% processing fee, as it is part of the way our packages are built.
  • If an agent is responding to every question on a sales post with “I will send you a message!” that is a MAJOR red flag. We should all be transparent and answer questions honestly in a public setting. The only need for a conversation to go to a private message is if it contains sensitive information (travel details, pricing, etc).
  • If you are working with an agent that says they can do “bib only” – please know they are most likely doing something behind the scenes to circumvent the rules and regulations. If this is discovered, your race registration will be canceled.  The same goes for agents who “guarantee” an upgraded corral placement.
    • In some instances, a travel agent may be working with a separate room block with a discounted room rate or they may be working with a charity to help them with unused race registrations – this is a different circumstance and should be made VERY clear by that agent.
  • There are actual laws in place that allow us to sell a certain percentage of race registrations in advance of the general on-sale date.  So, when you see that travel agents are “sold out” of a race before that race even goes on sale, do not panic!  There are still plenty of race registrations available, and your agent will work with you to help get you what you need.

In Summary…

I can see firsthand the number of new travel agents using runDisney to grow their business, which is great!  However, I do not believe Disney expected such an uptick in Travel Agent Packages, which is why these races are “selling out” as quickly as they have.  This is a good thing, but I know it can be frustrating and nerve-wracking!

There have been several new posts on the runDisney Run Marketplace from agents advertising their services with runDisney packages. Unfortunately, they have been full of deceptive marketing, scare tactics, half-truths, and flat-out incorrect information. I support any runner choosing whatever agent they want to work with but urge you to be cautious.

I personally became an agent in 2014 because I love this product and I love these races. My main desire is to make sure that this program stays successful.  The best way to do that is to ensure that the runners are well taken care of, and all agents are knowledgeable! I am proud to be a Certified Travel Associate with a bachelor’s degree in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management. I take my career as well as this industry extremely seriously and promise to do everything I can to maintain the integrity of the runDisney Travel Agent program.

We are honored to have such a longstanding relationship with runDisney. We have booked our runners in packages from Florida to California to Paris. We have worked as a contracted agency in the past, as well as booking runners in the packages through the Travel Company. We have also had the opportunity to work with several Charity Partners, and have experience with the Charity Runner program and fundraising aspect of races as well.

Runners – if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask! Of course, I would love for you to book your package with me or one of our agents at Park and Preston!

Agents – if you would like to be a part of our runDisney TA group, please request to join here. It is a great group where you are free to ask as many questions as possible. We will be most successful when we work together!