May 13, 2015

runDisney Tinkerbell Race Expo- our thoughts

At 10:00 am on Thursday May 7th the Tinkerbell Half Marathon expo opened to runners for packet pick up and official merchandise purchases.  Many of the usual vendors were in attendance including some of our favorites such as Oofos, Sparkle Athletic, Sparkle Skirts and more.
Favorite flip flops- Oofos  = amazing!
Arriving on a flight that landed at approximately 11:30am on Thursday, I did not get to the expo until about 12:45pm.   As I departed the elevator at the Disneyland Hotel, Meranda, Lacey and their Mom Connie stepped out.  They were also headed to the expo so they allowed me to hang out with them for the afternoon.  It is always much more fun to go with friends and Christine was not arriving until Friday. There were only a couple items of official race merchandise on my list and I assumed that there was plenty for everyone.  Spoiler alert, there was not.

After we picked up our packets, we made our way to official merchandise.  Wow, it was surprising how many shelves were already depleted and imagine our surprise that the wine glasses were already sold out.  Just go check Ebay and you will be shocked with the number of items scalpers are trying to resell.  I did find the magnets that Christine and I both buy at each race and also, a mug was on Christine's wish list.  Unfortunately, my photo does not show the small supply of mugs, but I read on Facebook that these were gone by 3 pm.  It is hard to understand how so much merchandise disappears so quickly or is this runDisney's way of trying to get runners to spend an extra night pre race in order to purchase official merchandise?  Certainly I can't answer that question, but it really is unfortunate for people who work and cannot take extra time off just to buy a wine glass or mug.  The jackets also sold out quite quickly in the most popular style and color. What surprised me the most was that on Thursday afternoon, I saw generic Tinkerbell mugs since the other stuff was selling out so quickly.  These were not made for the race, but I guess they figured runners would buy anything in the official merchandise area. (see lower right photo below)


Saturday morning I went back to the expo at opening to see if any restocking had been done overnight. None of the sold out items from Friday were replenished as far as I could tell.  Someone waiting in line with me had hoped to purchase a jacket (she needed a different size than small) and was very disappointed.

At around 12:30pm on Saturday,  Christine arrived and we made our way to the expo for a quick packet pick up and cruise through the official merchandise.  Totally picked over, Christine was thrilled I had gotten her the Tinkerbell mug on Friday.


At every runDisney race expo, the wine glasses sell out very quickly as do the mugs.  It is very hard to understand why these items aren't more plentiful.  Surely there is someone that follows the purchase trends from race to race and particularly for the Princess and Tinkerbell women's focused races.  This is a lost financial opportunity for not only runDisney but also their suppliers.  While we don't need much at the expos anymore, it is sad for first time participants who have their eye on a specific item that was advertised on the Disney Parks Blog ahead of race weekend.  Getting off my pedestal here, please manage your expectations prior to your next runDisney race expo.

Before leaving the expo we made the stop for the runDisney Tinkerbell photos.  Clearly Christine is better at following the instructions of the photographer!


If you are running a race at either Disneyland or Walt Disney World and you want official merchandise, either go at the expo opening, or have a friend do some shopping for you!
(Pam)

47 comments:

  1. I really wish runDisney would follow the pattern of New Balance and allow only runners into the official merchandise area the first couple of days of the expo, and then open it up to the general public. We spend SOOOOO much money to travel and run their races....it's the very least they could do!

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    1. Absolutely agree with you Jen. There races are definitely high priced.

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    2. I think that is the key. The official merch should only be open to runners until the last day. The eBay thing drives me nuts and this isn't new! Back in 2012 for the inaugural Tink I got there a day into the expo and the black jacket was sold out the day before. If you've paid and are participating you should get first dibs. The only time I really had a chance at ALL of the merch options last year (from ALL the races), was I paid to be a part of the Welcome Event for DL Half Weekend. As you said Pam, it was paying for another night's stay. I still love runDisney and miss it terribly this year, and I think the poaching of race bib numbers and official merch is not Disney's fault, but some of it can be helped.

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  2. For WDW Weekend, I had planned to arrive at the expo when it opened (10am). I arrived shortly after 9:30am, to find that the expo was already underway. I made it to the official merchandise snag the last non-XL Dopey Challenge tank and was through the check-out line by 10:01am. On my way out I heard plenty of disappointed females discussing the lack of Dopey tank tops. I was so excited that I had decided to show up early, but now after that experience I probably won't even bother to visit that booth for the Disneyland 1/2 because I'll arrive late on Friday. As you said, this is a missed opportunity for runDisney and their suppliers to increase profits, but it also leaves many runners with a less than magical feeling about runDisney.

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    1. Wow, that is terrible. I am over trying to buy an merchandise except a magnet. Luckily, we pre order race pins and that saves worrying about them!

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  3. This is so strange and disappointing to hear. A company like Disney has to be able to predict stock needs better than this so I can only think that it's on purpose for some reason. Maybe they want the buzz of items running out and therefore keeping them exclusive?

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    1. It is hard to know if someone is inept at their job and can't get the numbers right, or if it is indeed a plan that makes everyone arrive early for races.

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  4. This is my biggest pet peeve with Disney races! I am never able to get there the opening day of the expo. I always want a coffee mug...but out of all the races I've run...I've yet to get one. They are always sold out. I also wanted a Princess jacket this year and it was sold out in my size as well. I had saved my money all year for that jacket. I don't understand why runDisney doesn't make more official merchandise...there's obviously a demand for it and it will sell.

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    1. If I run Princess next year, I will be sure to get in touch with you in case I am early at the expo. I hate that you have never gotten the few things that you would like to buy.

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  5. Its such a shame that official merchandise always sells out as quickly as it does. It disappoints me every race to see as much merchandise wind up on eBay as there is, and until runDisney does something to limit the number of items purchased and/or limit entrance into the official merchandise area to registered runners, this problem will unfortunately continue.

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    1. We now don't worry about official merchandise but I feel so sorry for runners who are going to their first expo. It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

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  6. Yes, I think Disney's master plan is to have limited supplies so people have to come a day earlier and spend more money on Disney property! On Thursday afternoon I was in the hotel gift shop (looking for some long sleeves), and I saw the Tinkerbell sweatshirts. I thought to myself, I bet they take those shirts to the expo tomorrow, and sure enough on Friday those tinkerbell sweatshirts were filling the space were race merchandise use to sit. I think we have about got merchandise from every Disney race now, so getting more race stuff at future expos is not that important to us anymore. I do feel bad for first timers though.

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    1. We also feel sorry for first timers. We did go back for sweatshirts since we were so cold. Guess we need to learn how to pack a little better!

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  7. Disney's posted an assortment of the race shirts on the disneystore.com but none of the jackets or the smaller items for anyone who's looking.

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  8. I was at the Expo at 3 on Thursday and they were sold out of Xl jackets for both the half or Pixie Dust Challenge. I would have bought either! First day. I think that is crazy! I hope they go to prepurchase as an option (but for merchandise you can see in advance, not like through Active.) I gave my money to Raw Threads instead.

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    1. We love the Raw Threads clothing too Emily. I thought the pre order jacket was hideous and not related to the weekend race either. It was the same design they sued for WDW Marathon weekend.

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  9. Great recap-I am so glad I got to chat with you briefly on Saturday morning in the race merchandise area. I think they need to do a few things: 1. when registering, ask what merchandise you want. They dont have to show what it looks like, but it would help them gauge the percentages of people that want things. 2. the expo should have a runners only section Thursday-Saturday at 2. I know rundisney sells training merchandise and other things and those can be in a separate place because anyone can buy those. The ones running the race should be the only ones buying the merchandise. 3. If they want to get really smart, they could release the merchandise pictures and do a pre-sale (like they do with the Dooney purses) but you dont pay until you get there and can see it. That way you can still get an AP discount (20% off merchandise at DL is a lot!) and people would be happy.

    all I wanted a magnet, sweatyband, and potentially a jacket. I didnt want the jacket anymore after seeing how it was ripping but all I walked away with was a magnet! so crazy!

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    1. So nice to meet you Juliana. It is unfortunate the way the official merchandise is sold, and you have come up with some great suggestions. My biggest gripe is that multiple items are sold to one individual. I will never forget my second Princess and there were men buying armloads of Dooney purses and you just knew they were for resale.

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  10. I was in line for the expo at 7:45am and was lucky to get all of the items on my list. I went back a few hours later to return some items that didn't fit and was amazed at how little was left. I agree with people that it would be nice to limit the purchase of official merchandise to race participants only the first day at least, but a member on a Facebook group that I am in pointed out that the people looking to make money off the merchandise would just register for a race and take a bib away from a runner. I have complained to runDisney people at every race about the lack of larger sizes, etc., and every year it is the same.

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    1. I never thought about someone registering for a race and the 5k is affordable if they can makes $$$$ off a bunch of race merchandise.

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    2. What is $65.00 when you can make hundreds off the merchandise. Have you looked on ebay? The prices for the Dooney's are insane. Sell one purse and you have more than made your registration fee back. I go to D23 and they have a sorcerers package that costs $1000.00 that gets you early entry into the Disney Dream store. People get that package just to buy merchandise to sell on ebay.

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  12. This is so true! When will Disney learn that they need more stuff?!?!

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    1. The biggest question is, do they care? It is certainly a loss of $$ for them and their suppliers.

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  13. I know I am in the minority here, but I love that the merchandise is limited quantity. I like the exclusivity of it. I don't want to see 17,000 people wearing "my" race jacket. And if I do want something badly enough, I'll buy it from eBay or one of the resale stores. I think it is a mistake to compare it back to the retail price - compare it to how happy it makes you. If paying having a jacket priced at $200 (which retailed for $100) is going to make you happier than 200 dollar menu McDonald's items, well, brown bag your lunch and buy the darned jacket. Be happy and don't worry about the markup someone else is making. Think of them as your own personal shopper.

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    1. I understand your point Debbie, but for first time runners at at runDisney event, this can be a terrible disappointment. The items that seem to go first such a wine glasses would be so inexpensive to manufacture, that it is hard to understand that they can sell out in 3 hours or less.

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  14. I think people have to stop buying off of ebay...I know it hard especially when you have worked so hard during your training to reach a goal!! And this applies to the Target designer lines like Lilly....don't buy then the greedy will be stuck with the merchandise!!

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    1. I never buy off ebay, but find it interesting that there is a market for this stuff. The whole Lilly for Target line on ebay is a joke. Just go to a Lilly Pulitzer store and buy the real stuff at what the scalpers are trying to get for the Target Lilly!

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  15. Tip for first timers doing Coast to Coast - runDisney doesn't stock a lot of the C2C merchandise. I ran with my hubby last year completing DL half in September and then Wine & Dine in November. There was next to nothing that had the C2C logo. He was SUPER bummed! Especially because I had also run the Jan. '14 Tink and he could have "pre-purchased" a C2C sweatshirt. We assumed there would be stuff at the expo. So bummed...

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    1. I was surprised to see the blue C to C shirt on Friday morning when I went to the expo and that afternoon when Christine went for packet pick up. I agree though there was not alot for the C2C runners.

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  16. It just doesn't make sense. More merchandise equals more sales for them. Isn't it all about the money? What the heck?

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    1. Exactly. Either they have dumb people running the official merchandise operation or they don't care. Makes no sense from a business perspective.

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  17. I completely agree with everything said about the Expos and the completely lack of solutions on RunDisney's behalf. I went to California for Star Wars last year. Seeing as I live in Florida and have a job where I couldn't take more than a day off at the time, I could not get there for the opening day. There was nothing, and I mean nothing, left. The cashiers told me that people had bought up to 30 of the same item within the first few hours of the first day and wiped them out. It's a problem RunDisney has had in multiple races and on both coasts. Adding fuel to this fire - they've also been terrible with me regarding merchandise issues. I had two issues with prepurchased items or faulty products that I have e-mailed them about. They've ignored every single e-mail I've sent. It's not very Mickey like!

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    1. Wow, that is awful that they would not acknowledge and email about faulty merchandise. I would be really annoyed because their official merchandise is pricey.

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  18. aahhh - I want a picture with fairy wings :)

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  19. I love the photo ops RunDisney has had at their expos the last couple of years! That certainly adds to my experience.

    A few years ago, I had started buying mugs for the Disney races. I wanted to collect them, but the fact that thry use decals instead of actual paint infuriates me. All of mine are peeling even though I wash them by hand and let them air dry. C'mon, Disney! You can make decent mugs for your gift shops (and there's certainly no shortage of mug options at every store) but you can't make a decent mug for your races?!

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    1. I only have one runDisney mug and I use it infrequently. I agree that the hand wash only is a real bummer. Mine has not started to peel but that would make me really mad. They are not cheap in price.

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  20. I agree with limiting official merchandise Day 1 to runners only with a common sense limit OR make more of the merchandise that is evident that has caused so many complaints that they sell out too fast- don't make enough: wine glasses, mugs, jackets in sizes that are more common these days than smalls.

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    1. Thanks for commenting. If only they listened to all of us runners who want to purchase just a few things each!

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  21. I really don't understand why they limit. If they explained it to us- then, cool. It's how you want to do business. But I agree that it feels like they are just leaving money on the table AND disappointing guests--- not very Disney of them!

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  22. Ugh when will runDisney learn! We all want that official race merchandise! Love the pic with the wings :)
    Karen @karenlovestorun

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  23. Seems silly they don't order more if they always sell out, they could probably even make more money by having more in stock.

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  24. I would be willing to be that Disney has steadily increased their orders for the more in-demand merchandise. What has also happened is that people are telling each other on social media to get there on the first day. People are buying stuff for friends and impulse buying things they don't really want, just to get the prize. They grab stuff like it's the zombie apocalypse and they're fighting for the last gallon of water in town. So many people are in a panic about getting their hands on this or that piece of whatever, that they're creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and fueling the Ebay situation. Perhaps what needs to happen is that they need to adjust the way they stock the shelves. Maybe there needs to not be "more" merchandise, but merchandise laid out each day. If your chosen widget is gone on Thursday, you can come back on Friday and Saturday and try again. Frankly, I find it to be the ugliest thing about the Disney races, and Disney is not really to blame for it. It's the participants. Sadly, nobody seems to be in the mood to take the high road about it. They'd rather play Black Friday.

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  25. This is very disappointing to hear - especially reading about the merchandise on e-Bay (sounds like Target for Lilly or the Lululemon Seawheeze merchandise). I wonder why they cannot do pre-orders, wish I could be a fly on a wall when they are planning these events!

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  26. Seriously - it was ridiculous. I got there around 12:30 on Thursday and it was already pretty depleted. Luckily I was able to get everything I wanted and pick up some items for friends arriving later, but it's not fair to the people who can't come earlier. I know they don't want to get stuck with extra merchandise afterwards, but honestly, if they made more, it would sell (and that wouldn't be a problem).

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