FOMO Disney – It’s a Real Thing

Anyone who has attempted to register for a runDisney race in recent memory knows that registration is a more competitive sport than the races themselves. You can count on the races filling up in under an hour (or much quicker) like you can count on death and taxes. We have seen races re-open periodically, and then fill up once again within minutes. Word of race openings tends to circulate pretty fast on Facebook, and there is a Twitter account that announces when races open up (@runDisRegStatus or

Usually when this happens there are a bunch of people that finally got the race they’ve been stalking, and a bunch of people that still didn’t get it. Either way there’s a mini shock wave of energy that spreads through the runDisney universe. As a participant in these runDisney social groups it’s so hard not to get caught up in the madness.

There’s something about being able to get your hands on a product or experience that’s hard to get, whether you need it or not that’s pretty addictive, and Disney sure knows how to generate the buzz and demand.

Case in point: I’m running all of the Wine and Dine and Marathon Weekend races this year. I made the conscious decision not to do all of the Princess weekend races. I’m *only* running the 10K that weekend. I don’t live local to Disney, and planning 4 (or more!) Disney trips for race weekends is really a budget buster. I’ve gotten pretty adept at managing airline credit card offers, low cost airlines, and travel club promotions. It’s a game to be won – but if I slip up I know I’ll spend my weekends delivering for Grub Hub instead of training. There are stakes involved (hopefully not steaks).

Airfares to sunny spots, particularly Orlando, can double or triple in the winter when schools are on vacation. Some days of the week are better to fly than others. Always try to fly (and also buy your plane ticket) on a Tuesday or Wednesday. But since that’s not always possible with work and school schedules, sometimes you just need to be smarter in your planning process. The one time of week I always avoid flying is on a Sunday – usually the most expensive day of the week to take to the air. A February Sunday flight out of Orlando might set you back as much as a flight to Europe, so plan wisely!

So… back to my story, I already decided not to run the Princess Half, which happens on a February Sunday. Assuming I needed to get home immediately after (which I would) might cause me to miss a mortgage payment. And yet… one day I see that the Fairy Tale Challenge (10K plus Half Marathon) is open. My irrational FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) takes over. The calculating planner in me gets body-slammed by the adrenaline junkie that sees the green “register” button available on the runDisney site.

Now in previous years, it seems that people were permitted to edit existing race registrations and upgrade to a Challenge if the Challenge was available. People who have done this reported that they had to email runDisney, maybe a few times, but minus a processing fee, they would be refunded for the original race and get the Challenge upgrade.

It seems they may have changed the rules because I didn’t have any edit/change race option available in my profile, and when I tried to register for the Fairy Tale Challenge, I got an error message and couldn’t proceed. I heard the “Womp-womp” buzzer in my head and the same time Gandalf scolded me, “You shall not pass!”

Thankfully, rational me took over again and took this as a sign from the running and financial gods that I needed to let this one go. It’s not just the race fee that I saved, it was significant extra travel expense, too. It was HARD, but I’ve made peace with it. I won’t call it a decision, because the runDisney website decided for me, but really, if I want to make it to Orlando for Springtime Surprise it’s for the best.

So what are our take-aways here?

  1. Fear Of Missing Out is real. It is expensive. You can overcome it.
  2. runDisney races DO re-open from time to time. Follow social media or the Twitter account to find out when races re-open.
  3. Make sure you have a plan in place for how to handle the race re-opening announcements. Don’t let the FOMO win.
  4. Don’t try to fly out of Orlando on a Sunday in February

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