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Disney Marathons and Discounted Theme Park Tickets.

The least expensive Disney park tickets you’ll ever buy are just 13.1 miles away.  If you enter certain Disney half-marathons (and Disney 5Ks), you’re eligible to buy discounted park tickets for you and your party.  It works this way. When you sign up for a marathon, you’ll get a code emailed to you that allows you to buy these tickets by calling 407-WDW-IRUN.  These tickets are a huge savings. For example, for the upcoming Princess half-marathon weekend in February, runners can purchase a two-day park hopper for $129; a three-day hopper costs just $174.  These tickets for adults usually run $230.04 and $296.07 respectively.

These tickets are an especially good deal when you consider that Disney rarely makes deeply discounted tickets available.  For example, if you buy from a discount broker authorized by Disney (the only way you should purchase tickets outside of buying from Disney or your travel agent directly, by the way), you’ll save $10 to $20 on a seven-day park hopper.  To save any more than that, you’re probably looking at dealing with an unscrupulous broker selling used tickets, something you obviously want to stay away from.  This is why marathon tickets are such an extraordinary deal and the great news is that since you can purchase tickets for your entire group, the savings really add up.  The only kicker? One of you is going to have to run. But remember that most 5K races are included in this offer, so you won’t have to run an entire half-marathon.  These tickets are a good way to push you if you’re a runner looking for a reason to visit but were intimidated by the price of park admission for your whole family.  They can also motivate casual runners to sign up for a race and–literally–go that extra mile.

Tickets are available for most Disney marathons except the January marathon weekend. You can also reserve discounted rooms at certain resorts, however make sure you also look for general public and annual pass discounts as well, as they are sometimes a better deal.  Remember that you can make these room reservations under one discount code and change it later if a better one becomes available.

Should you purchase a ticket and not be able to use it, you can give it away or keep it to use at another time. Tickets are valid for 90 days from the date of the race, but this can always change so make sure you verify this.  I bought a 3-day hopper in October and then ended up buying an annual pass.  I wasn’t allowed to take the value of my discounted ticket and upgrade to the pass, as you would with a normal park ticket, but they did tell me that I could give the ticket to someone else, as it is good until the end of the year.  If you plan on doing this, make sure you don’t use the ticket while you’re there, because like most Disney park tickets, they are only valid up to 14-days from the first day of use.

Finally, one very important point.  You must purchase these tickets before you leave. You can’t buy them at Disney World. Disney will mail your tickets to your home or you can pick them up at any will call window once you arrive.

Photo copyright Walt Disney Company.

10 Comments

  1. Great post!

    Another race-related way to get free one-day tickets is to volunteer to work at a Disney half-marathon or full marathon. (Works for January, too.) Volunteer for a full shift and Disney provides a one-day, one-park ticket, box lunch, t-shirt or jacket, and the memories of cheering on all those Disney athletes.

    Of course, volunteers have a commitment that lasts as long if not longer than those on the course. But their presence is much appreciated.

    I’ve done both the races and volunteered, and highly recommend others do so (with or without the ticket incentive).

    http://espnwwos.disney.go.com/events/volunteer/volunteer-wdw-marathon/

  2. Thanks Debra, this is good to know. Do you know if those tickets can be upgraded to a multi-day ticket or are they like most comped tickets and can’t be upgraded?

  3. That’s funny you should ask, Chris. I’m not 100% sure, and have sent an email to Disney Sports. In the past, I’ve just given my tickets to family or friends because I’m an AP holder. This year, though, I’d like to know if I could apply it to an AP renewal.

    So I contacted Disney Sports asking about ticket upgrades and AP renewals. I’ll let you know the answer when I receive it.

    If it helps at all, I do know that the tickets expire one year after they’re received and for the WDW marathon we were given tickets immediately after our shift.

  4. Chris,

    Just got the official word. It’s as you suspected and I feared. Comp. tickets can’t be upgraded to multi-day tickets or used toward annual passes.

  5. Debra, thanks so much for checking that out for me. I’m going to put a quick update on this post. I’m sure there are lots of people who’ve wondered the same thing. I’ll link to you if you’d like.

    Take care.

  6. Hi,

    Just to clarify. I recently signed up for the 2012 Full Marathon and have made my resort reservation. We are staying the full week after the marathon as well. Are you saying they don’t offer discount tickets for any of that?

  7. Hi again, The only reason I ask is because that seems to directly contradict what is found at AllEars.net about the Marathon.

    http://allears.net/tp/marath.htm

    “In conjunction with Marathon Weekend, specially priced theme park tickets are available for on-line purchase to those registered for an event, as well as their family and friends. These tickets are usually very nicely discounted – up to $80 savings. The tickets are only valid for a period of time before or after the event. The time period is not specified, but is at least a week before/after the Marathon.”

  8. Blake:

    I could be that things have changed since I last checked or All Ears needs to update their information.

    Disney has not, in recent years, offered any discounted tickets for the January marathons. Last year they gave out a one-day admission to those who finished the full marathon, but it was only good for the Monday after the race.

    For the F&W and Princess 1/2 marathons they offered discounted tickets which were an excellent bargain–actually more than $80 off, more like $120. These tickets were good for about 90 days after the race. For example, I didn’t use mine because I bought an AP, so I passed it onto my 8-year old son a few months later. I haven’t actually seen that they are doing this for this year’s F&W, but it could be that they just haven’t updated the site. I’ll check today and see what I can find.

    Be careful about the marathon packages. These resort room “discounts” are usually not as good as general public discounts. They do offer guaranteed transportation to the event, but since transporation is excellent at the January event, I wouldn’t worry about paying a premium for that option.

    Hope this helps. Please let me know if you find anything out.

  9. Hi,

    Just found your site through googling for info about the races. My husband and I are doing the Wine and Dine Half in November 2013 as our first Disney race. Any idea what they offered for the 2012 race in terms of ticket discounts or where I could find that info? I don’t seem to see the updated info yet and I would like to determine how much we need to start saving. We will also have a couple other adults with us to cheer us on. Any help is appreciated!

  10. Hi Kristen!

    I saw there was no reply yet and I ran the 2012 race so I could tell you.

    Like the Princess half I ran in 2010 after I registered I got the confirmation email which also included a code and a link to discount tickets. I don’t remember the exact values but I believe it was around $135 for a 1-day with the fun and more option so a big discount.
    I have never been able to see the prices unless i have a code for the website but i actually think that the price i paid for my 2010 princess park ticket was the same as the listed 2012 wine and dine.
    For the race though I actually didn’t buy an extra ticket because I was only there for 2 days and I was coming back in Jan for the goofy challenge. (oddly enough I did not get a code to buy discounted tickets for the goofy challenge)
    When you are finished with the race you go to the post race party in Epcot. The party had limited rides open and all the food kiosks.
    The rides that were open were in the front of the park
    -finding nemo
    -talking with crush
    -Spaceship earth
    -Soaring
    We got a $10 disney gift card in our goody bag at packet pickup for food or whatever you wanted to use it on. (i used mine on merchandise)
    I will say it was a hard time after the race, I was not hungry at all and you get either a food or drink voucher when you sign up. (they send you thru this area where they take your drink voucher that is attached to your bib and handed you a beer or bottle of skinny girl margarita…I didnt drink mine)
    I was sick thinking of eating any crazy food and all the ‘normal’ things like chinese, american, etc had crazy lines and i was getting sore just looking at standing that long. I would definitely recommend that your friends buy a post party ticket, as a runner it is included in your registration but if your friends want to go into the party with you they will need a ticket, when I ran the ticket was ~$75 but that probably went up and they can buy one on the spectator tab of the event on run disney.
    I did love taking pics with all the characters cause i usually dont stop on the course but I will also say if you usually get sore and like to rest after a long run staying in Epcot till 3am may not be a fun experience and getting one of the discounted tickets may be better to experience Epcot without the 13.1 mi before.

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