Is Club runDisney Worth It? Why Fans Are Selling Out This Exclusive Membership

by | Feb 29, 2024 | Disneyland Parks, Walt Disney World Events, WDW Blog

Considering becoming a Club runDisney member? Discover why this exclusive membership is the ultimate ticket to seamless race weekends and coveted perks.

Whether you’re a first-time runner, a hobby jogger, or have been running your whole life, runDisney lets you combine your love for running with your love for all things Disney. Over the years, runDisney events have gained a massive fan base, with thousands of people lining up at the start line for the six runDisney in-person events (and even more for the virtual events) each year. 

With so many people ready to lace up their shoes and run through Disney World’s and Disneyland’s parks, it can be stressful just to get an entry into the races because they sell out fast. And, once you’re in, you still have to face the crowds to secure the coveted race weekend merchandise, pick up your bib, and ultimately start the race. But, now there’s a way to speed ahead and leave all those worries behind – Club runDisney! This exclusive membership has become popular among avid runDisney-ers since it was introduced in 2020. But, why is Club runDisney selling out every year? And, is it right for you? Here are a few reasons why you should (or shouldn’t) consider buying into Club runDisney!

What is Club runDisney?

Club runDisney was created in 2020 as an exclusive membership for runners who want a little more out of their participation in race weekends. The year-long membership rewards dedicated runDisney fans by giving you access to special perks during the registration process, expo, and the races themselves. It also comes with some extra merchandise and an exclusive virtual race.

Currently, there are three different membership levels available for those joining Club runDisney, including Silver, Gold, and Platinum. 

Silver Membership

The Silver membership is the most basic level and costs $279 for the 2023-24 season. Anyone signed up at this level receives:

  • A Club runDisney jacket, membership card, and magnet
  • The opportunity to participate in that year’s Club runDisney Virtual 10K to earn a finishers medal
  • Tier 1 pricing year-round for all the races in the season, so you won’t have to worry about any price increases if you don’t sign up for a race early enough. 
  • Club runDisney designation on your race bib
  • Early access to renew your membership annually

Gold Membership

The Gold membership is the next level up offering all of the same benefits that Silver members get plus a few extra perks including: 

  • An exclusive member pin
  • Guaranteed registration for each runDisney race weekend during early registration
  • Early access to the runDisney merchandise shop 

It cost $613 to be a Gold member in the 2023-24 season.

Platinum Membership

And the highest membership level is Platinum. It costs $959 in the 2023-24 season and includes all of the benefits that Silver and Gold members receive, plus the following:

  • Two guaranteed registrations for each race weekend during early registration
  • An exclusive packet pick-up area at the expo
  • Upgraded corral placement for each race you register for

Now, it’s important to note that the cost of becoming a member is in addition to any races you choose to register for, and there is no Club runDisney discount. Additionally, the membership is only good for one racing season (usually October to September), so you’ll need to renew your Club runDisney membership each year to receive the perks. 

So, are these benefits really worth the extra cost? Let’s dive into each one a little deeper!

Club runDisney Benefits & Why They Are (or Aren’t) Worth It

Member Welcome Kit

The Club runDisney Member Welcome Kit is given to all members regardless of what level you sign up for. It includes an exclusive Club runDisney jacket (which is usually an athletic material), a membership card (which you’ll need during race weekends), and the finishers medal for the Club runDisney Virtual 10K. Gold and Platinum members also get a member pin.

Is it Worth It?

Do most of your park outfits consist of a runDisney race shirt and athletic shorts? The member welcome kit was basically made for you! The jacket is a comfortable athletic material that you can easily wear to the parks, run in, or even race in, making it something you’ll likely wear often. Plus, you’ll get to hang a new medal on your wall once you finish the virtual race to show off your efforts.

However, if you don’t care much about race shirts and medals, this probably isn’t too appealing to you. Is it a nice perk? Sure, but you likely aren’t in it for the gear.

An EXTRA (Free) Race

Every Club runDisney member gets entered into the exclusive member Virtual 10K, giving you an EXTRA race in your runDisney season! Like all runDisney virtual races, you can complete the race at any location of your choice, on any day, and at any pace you choose – no course time limit! You’ll be automatically registered as a member and can print out a custom race bib, start and finish lines, mile markers, and a finishers certificate on Disney’s website to make it feel even more “official.”

club rundisney

Photo Courtesy of Disney

Is it Worth It?

If you ever need the motivation to get out the door and get your run in, the Virtual 10K can serve as an extra motivator between all the runDisney in-person events. Plus, it’s totally free with your membership (compared to Disney’s other virtual races, which are an additional cost) and can be a fun way to involve your family members in your love for running at home. 

However, if you’re not a fan of virtual races, this may not be a benefit that makes the membership worth it for you. If this is the case, we suggest considering opting into the Gold or Platinum membership levels since they come with more perks that may make the cost more worthwhile.

Tier 1 Pricing

As a Club runDisney member, you’ll be able to register for any race events at the cheapest price (also known as Tier 1 pricing) year-round. This means that you won’t have to worry about paying more when the prices shift to Tier 2 prices for non-members after a specified date (which is usually closer to race day).

Is it Worth It?

The registration window for runDisney events usually opens at least 6 months before the race weekend, and it can be hard to commit to a weekend at Disney that far out! If you’re someone who can’t plan that many months in advance, this can be a huge benefit because you won’t have to pay more if you wait to decide on what races you want to do. In fact, you could sign up the week before the race and still pay the same price as someone who registered when the window first opened.

However, it’s worth noting that most runDisney events sell out on the first day that registration opens (sometimes within only a few hours!). Some spots do open up over the months leading up to the races, however, having access to Tier 1 pricing year-round doesn’t really benefit you if you miss the initial registration window and the race is sold out.

Early Access To Renew Your Membership

If you like Club runDisney and want to keep your membership running into the next racing season, you’ll get early access to renew your membership before sales open to the general public.

Is it Worth It?

This benefit is really only worth it if you plan to renew your membership annually.

Guaranteed Race Registration (Gold and Platinum Members Only)

All Gold and Platinum members are eligible for early registration for every runDisney race weekend. Gold members are guaranteed the opportunity to buy one registration in each race weekend, and Platinum members are guaranteed the opportunity to buy two registrations in each race weekend during the early registration window. 

It’s important to note that this perk only guarantees entry into one of the race weekend events. So, for example, as a Gold member, you can register for the Fairytale Challenge during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, but you won’t also be able to register for the 5K. Instead, you’ll have to wait until the general registration window opens to get a spot.

Is it Worth It?

If the thought of Disney virtual queues for tickets starts to make your palms sweat, this is a perk you’ll be thankful for. The guarantee that you’ll be able to register for at least one race during each runDisney race weekend can ease the stress and ensure that you get to participate in all of the races you want that year. This can also be beneficial if you like to do the runDisney challenges because these tend to sell out faster than the individual races during general registration.

However, if you only plan to run one race in the year and have flexibility on what race you do, you likely don’t need guaranteed race registration.

Early Access To Merchandise (Gold and Platinum Members Only)

On day 1 of the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo, Gold and Platinum members can arrive early and shop in the runDisney Merchandise Shop before the general public. Just note that the early access window is only a few hours, so you’ll need to be at the expo early.

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Photo by Maria Salerno

Is it Worth It?

If you enjoy bringing home some souvenirs from your race weekends, this is a huge benefit! The merchandise line for the general public at the expo can be hours long (especially on the first day) and select items tend to sell out fast. So, if you want to be able to shop the full race weekend collection and not have to worry about your size being sold out, getting the Gold or Platinum membership is a must.

However, because early access to the merchandise shop is only available for members early on the first day of the expo this perk isn’t worth it if you’re not able to get there in time. Remember, the expo usually starts on the Wednesday or Thursday before the race weekend, so you’ll have to add an extra day to your Disney trip to access this perk.

Expedited Race Packet Pick-Up (Platinum Members Only)

As a member of the top Club runDisney tier, you can skip the long lines at the expo to pick up your packet and head straight to Club runDisney Headquarters! Here you’ll be able to pick-up your race packet without the crowds. Plus, there are even some exclusive themed photo opportunities and complimentary beverages available.

Is it Worth It?

You’re likely combining the runDisney race weekend with a Disneyland or Disney World trip, so the faster you’re through the expo, the faster you can get to the parks! However, if you plan to visit the expo on day 2 or 3, the lines for the general packet pick-up area don’t tend to be long, which means that you don’t necessarily need the expedited experience.

Upgraded Corral Placement (Gold and Platinum Members Only)

Upgraded Corral Placement is one of the most popular perks Gold and Platinum Club runDisney members receive. If you’re not familiar, each runner is placed into a start corral that they must begin the race with on race morning.

Depending on which group you’re placed in, you have more (or less) time to complete the race due to the course time limit. Essentially, the higher your corral placement, the more time you have, and the lower your corral placement, the more likely it is that you get swept off the course (and can’t complete the race) if you’re not fast enough.

With Club runDisney’s enhanced race-starting group placement, anyone who doesn’t have proof of time that qualifies them for an earlier start group will automatically be placed into a higher group than they would otherwise. So, for example, you’d be in corral G instead of K, getting you onto the course more quickly.

Is it Worth It?

If you’re worried about completing the races in the 16-minute-per-mile course requirement or want a better chance at finishing the race early in the day so you can get to the parks quicker, the splurge for a Gold or Platinum membership is likely worth it for you. However, if you already qualify for a higher start group corral placement based on your proof-of-time, then this won’t impact your race. Any member who qualifies for a start group based on pace will remain there and not be bumped up to an even higher start group due to runner safety regulations.

And, there you have it – all of the Club runDisney perks and who can benefit from them! Before you make the splurge, it’s important to consider if these perks will actually give you much of an advantage and make a difference in your runDisney experience. You don’t need to be a member to have a great runDisney experience, but it can also be a game-changer if you’re an avid Disney runner!

Posts by Jenna Saxton

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Jenna is a contributing writer at WDW Magazine and stay at home mom. When she's not chasing her toddler around the parks, you can find her out for a run or curled up with a book. She has contributed to multiple Disney and travel blogs including Eat Sleep Cruise, 365 Atlanta Traveler, Disney Food Blog, and AllEars.
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Authored by
Jenna Saxton

Jenna is a contributing writer at WDW Magazine and stay at home mom. When she's not chasing her toddler around the parks, you can find her out for a run or curled up with a book. She has contributed to multiple Disney and travel blogs including Eat Sleep Cruise, 365 Atlanta Traveler, Disney Food Blog, and AllEars.
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