The Tower of Terror 13k is this Saturday night and as many of you are aware, this is the last year for the race. It's been condensed, some what, along with the Race for the Taste into a new fall race that will debut next year. I won't write to lament about it's loss (perhaps that will be next week after the event occurs), but I'm actually surprised. No, not that the Tower of Terror 13k is going away, but what Disney did with it this year. Somewhat quietly, Disney has changed the race and it's interesting, weird and perplexing all at the same time.
Those who have registered to run in the race started getting emails from Disney with details of what to expect this in this year's race. At first, it was your usual letter from Disney trying to hype up the race and give you some details. Something new for this year is there will be a considerable number of Citizens of Hollywood in attendance at the race. Shelby Mayer, Roman Holiday, Jack Diamond and others will be at the race along with Stone Granite, a Streetmosphere character that went onto other roles across Disney property. Sounds good, right? Well, the over the weekend another email came in from Disney and there's now something very different going on this year.
The Citizens of Hollywood aren't just there to wave and cheer on the racers. There's a mystery! Yes, evidently Stone Granite has been kidnapped and the Hollywood Police Department has dispatched Detective Willie Ketcham to investigate during the race and those who are running will find clues throughout the course to figure out who did it. Along with the letter is a list of suspects and their motives and as racers mentally eliminate potential perpetrators, they can literally punch out holes in their race bib until they solve the mystery.
I think it's a great idea for the race and adds something different to it. The last two years that the race has occurred didn't feature anything like this. Other than it being a night race, there really wasn't anything unique to the race other than some pseudo-Halloween overtones to the decor. So two thumbs up for taking the initiative and changing things up. Clearly the race is taking on some of the characteristics of the Everest Challenge, which combined race with activity. Both races aren't that long in distance, so it's easier for runners to do something other than just run as well as the people that participate in races less than half a marathon, tend to be more casual runners so it's sure to be of interest to them.
That was the interesting part. The weird aspect to this whole idea of adding a mystery to the race. The race is called the Tower of Terror 13k, so it's centered around the Tower of Terror and this mystery, while interesting and different, really has nothing to do with the Tower of Terror. At all. There isn't anything to gain from participating and participation is optional, but it's just so different from what we've seen in the past.
What perplexes me is why Disney is innovating with this race considering that this is the last year it's going to occur. Typically, Disney likes to put man power and money behind ideas if it feels it can get a return on investment down the line. Look at the now-defunct Pirates and Princess Party. Despite low attendance and mixed reviews, Disney trotted out the event for two solid years before finally cancelling it as clearly they wanted to make something off it. With adding the storyline and all the logistics of making it work, it will only pay off this year and registration for the event is closed, so it's not like they can attract last minute runners with the idea. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they are doing it but it doesn't make sense to me that they're doing something different to the race considering it's kaput after this weekend.
It remains to be seen how this will all play out and perhaps it won't be a big deal at all, but I found it rather intriguing when I heard of all the details of the race addition and I'm looking forward to seeing first hand what the race holds for this year. If you can't make the race this year, be sure to follow along the details of what's going on live by visiting the Studios Central Live page through out Saturday evening (and yes, we will let you know who kidnapped Stone Granite!).