Mom and I knew that we wanted to get to the expo early that morning. While the Disney hotels offer complementary race weekend transportation to the races and expo, we opted for a $12 taxi ride instead since the buses did not start running until 9:30 and we wanted to get there a bit earlier than that. On opening morning, the lines for expo can get quite long as runners (and eBayers/personal shoppers) line up to be the first to get their hands on official race merchandise.
There is a limited amount of space for the official merchandise, which means that only a limited amount of inventory can be on the shelves/racks at a time. For example, about 12-15 or so of each size jacket can be on the rack at once. Within minutes, the racks of jackets and wineglasses were wiped clean. Well, mass hysteria broke out!
I was absolutely appalled watching such behavior go down. Momma K and I got what we wanted and quickly checked out before things got even crazier.
Next we made our way through the expo floor checking out vendors including our favorites Sparkly Soul and Sparkle Athletic to see what new products they had for the weekend.
While this seems like a great idea, I think this would only escalate the sell-out rate of already widely popular races. From the standpoint of a eBayer or personal shopper, if buying a $80-200 race entry was the ticket to be able to buy loads of merchandise then resell it at a ridiculously high premium a few hours later, races would sell out even faster. I could go on about my personal opinion of this practice, but that is how some people chose to make cash and I don't support it and I will just leave it at that.
runDisney has recently started offering pre-sale merchandise such as jackets and tumbler/hat/magnet combos of different merchandise that you cannot buy at the expo. I personally hate the idea of coughing up $90 for a jacket that I have no clue what it will look like (or how it will fit). If runDisney would release photos of the merchandise that they are pre-selling then do race weekend pickup for those items, it could definetly help with the matter. I think that a lot of people don't like the idea of buying sight unseen or spending that kind of additional money when registering for an already pricey race.
As I mentioned earlier, there was someone buying 3 cases of wineglasses. I am sorry, but that is just stupid. There needs to be quantity limits on items - PERIOD. I know that runDisney wants items to sell, but seriously?!?! If there were quantity limits of 2 or 4 per item per person (especially on the first day), runDinsey would still sell out of the same merchandise by the end of the expo because runners coming in later would be able to purchase as well. It is just deflating to see so many runners getting to the expo later in the day and not be able to buy merchandise. Yes, it is "stuff" and materialistic, but we all worked so hard to get here and it would be nice to be able to purchase a token of your race weekend experience.
Wide World of Sports is a HUGE complex. There has to be a better way to space things out so the official merchandise has more adequate space. There are actually two official race merchandise areas (the main one and a smaller one in another building), however only having 12-15 of each size jacket out is only asking for chaos/panic to happen when people think their size is sold out.
The "I Did It" shirts are set up in what I call a "concert t-shirt" style where you request a design and size and a cast member hands you the item that you are looking for. While this would require some extra effort on Disney's part, I think having a similar set up for jackets might be a good idea. Yes, we would all need to be a bit patient waiting in line for our size, but I would rather spend an extra 10 minutes in line than getting decked over a jacket.