A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Working with a Travel Provider for a Disney Race

on January 29, 2015

One option when you’re registering for a runDisney race is to work with a travel provider for your race registration and other arrangements. For the Star Wars race weekend, I decided to go this route and I thought some of you considering the same for future trips might like to know a little about how it worked.

I decided to go through a travel provider for a couple of reasons:

–          First and foremost, by working with the travel provider, I got registered before they actually officially opened registration. That meant I didn’t have to worry about being able to log in while I was at work or the race selling out before I could get through, all of which I was (justifiably) concerned about as this was an inaugural race.

–          Secondly, the package offered by the provider I chose (GET Travel) matched, for the most part, what I would be interested in doing anyway in terms of park tickets, hotel choice and number of hotel nights, so it really wasn’t costing me anything extra (other than the Wookie Welcome party, which I wouldn’t have done otherwise) to use them. The cost for the Wookie Welcome party ($99) was mostly offset by a discount they offered on park tickets, so I wasn’t paying much more than if I’d done everything myself and skipped the party.

If I hadn't used the travel provider, I wouldn't have gone to the Wookie Welcome party and wouldn't have gotten this photo, so that's something, right?

If I hadn’t used the travel provider, I wouldn’t have gone to the Wookie Welcome party and wouldn’t have gotten to hang out in an essentially main street, so that’s something, right?

I’m comfortable enough booking my own travel arrangements for things that I didn’t really need a travel agent to help with that, but for some people that may be another bonus in that they take care of arranging  your tickets and hotel stay.

Not having to worry about getting in during the registration rush was really the only plus of this process for me, but it was a big one and definitely worth it. I would absolutely work with a  travel provider for a race in the future.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for a control freak like me, though. A couple of things that caused me stress:

–          I couldn’t complete the process online and had to call, which took several tries before I got someone who could get me signed up.

–          After being initially responsive to questions on email when I was feeling out the idea, answers came much slower once I was officially registered. My biggest concern, as it was the first time I’d ever done this, was being sure I didn’t skip some other step I  needed to take on registration day to be sure I didn’t miss my shot. That kind of reassurance is something you’d like very quickly as registration approaches and it was slow coming (but did eventually come – I’m just a control freak).

–          I really didn’t get communication from runDisney until we got very close to the race, at which point the travel provider turns in their final roster for their registrations. It felt a little odd to be out of the Disney loop and I had a little fear that I wasn’t really registered  until I finally got something from runDisney.

On June 12, two days after registration opened (and sold out!) for the race, I got an email from the travel provider with a form asking me all of the Active.com questions like shirt size and proof of time. I was relieved to see that Coast to Coast was an option to select for the race, as I hope to use this race as part of my Coast to Coast medal with Wine and Dine this year.

I was also able to update my proof of time in the fall, which I assume went through correctly given my corral placement, to reflect my time on the Peak 2 Peak 10 mile race. Instead of emailing TrackShack like I’d done for Princess, I emailed the travel provider and they updated the information. You don’t have direct access to your registration during this process, so they handle everything. Again, this caused a little angst for a control freak like me, but it all worked out.

I paid the travel provider for the registration at the time I registered and then had to pay for the rest of the package (3 hotel nights at a Disney property, 3 day park hopper tickets, Wookie Welcome party) before the trip. I did get a final statement showing I’d paid everything and had my registration noted, which was reassuring, and shortly thereafter started getting runDisney emails. Be aware that for most of the travel providers, the race registration part of the package is non-transferable and non-refundable. Be sure you clarify that with your particular provider.

When I got to California, the only extra stop I had to make because I’d worked through a travel provider was stopping to pick up my park ticket at a booth in the Expo. This was down in the lower level with the packet pick up and Wookie Welcome party booths, so it was a quick and easy stop. Otherwise, it was just like any other packet pick up I’d done. I’d gone online before the race (about a week before), looked myself up and printed my waiver. My name was in all of the binders for the race and the Wookie Welcome party without any notation or extra step I had to take because I’d been registered by the travel provider instead of registering myself.

Random Disneyland pic of the day: I came out of Sleeping Beauty's castle and found the Queen just hanging out by the well! No line or anything. Loads of character interactions in Disneyland!

Random Disneyland pic of the day: I came out of Sleeping Beauty’s castle and found the Queen just hanging out by the well! No line or anything. Loads of character interactions in Disneyland!

I would definitely work with a travel provider again and may for Wine and Dine weekend. The biggest plus is avoiding the registration rush and so long as the provider has a package that meets my needs, that’s absolutely worth it as crazy as runDisney registration has gotten!

A couple of tips:

–          Be sure you know the terms of refunds and transfers, so you know what you’re getting into. I don’t know if you’d be able to do a deferral if you needed to, so ask your provider and factor that into your cost and possible travel insurance decisions.

–          Be sure you know exactly what the package they’re offering entails, as every provider is going to be a little different. If you’re going to pay for a lot of extra frills or there are going to travel restrictions/specifications different from what you’d normally book, it may not be worth it.

–          Be sure to check out the provider’s reviews. While we’d hope nobody would be linked to the runDisney official provider site if there were any questions about the level of service they’d provide, I still did some checking around before I booked through GET Travel. I had a good experience with them, with everything handled correctly. The only downside to this whole process was my own stress about the uncertainty since it was my first time doing this. Hopefully I’ll handle that better next time!

Have you ever used a travel provider to book a runDisney race? Thoughts or recommendations on travel providers for the Walt Disney World races? I’ll definitely be looking at those options for Wine and Dine when its registration comes up in March.

PS Given that my blog post today was going to touch on my control freak and over-thinking tendencies, I thought it was funny that this was my quote in my Happiness Project email today:

“Humor is the antidote to over thinking. It’s a way of saying that life is paradoxical. Humor contains contradictions; it does not resolve them but revels in them. It says that the right way to exist among the contradictions, paradoxes, and absurdities of life is to cope with them through laughter.” – Bob Mankoff, How About Never: Is Never Good For You

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9 responses to “Working with a Travel Provider for a Disney Race

  1. Kristin says:

    Great info!!! Thanks for sharing!! Have a wonderful Friday!!! XOXO

  2. Rebecca says:

    VERY useful post! I too am a bit of a control freak…and a mega planner lol hence why I’m obsessing already, with 6 weeks to spare. I may get in touch with GET travel myself.

    • I decided the control freak who was worried I wouldn’t get into the challenge outweighed the one who wanted control over the nitty gritty details. 🙂 They were great and given how popular this is and how likely it is to sell out quickly, I’d definitely go that route again if I was going back this year.

      • Rebecca says:

        Yeah, that’s pretty much how I’m feeling at the moment as well! So I’m now signed up to the mailing list to get the notification when packages become available 😀

      • Good luck! It’s a great race!

        On Fri, May 1, 2015 at 2:37 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

        >

  3. […] the list of “most read” according to WordPress are a handful of RunDisney posts: Working with a travel provider and the Star Wars Half Marathon, Expo and 10K recaps. I certainly love looking at those photos again […]

  4. Thanks for your article… I’m stressing myself, not using GET but Acclaim. I was just wondering when the iGiftbag stuff came out to you and if you were ever able to link it to active.com?
    Thanks again!
    GJones

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