The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is one of runDisney’s biggest events, drawing in over 10,000 runners for the half marathon alone. It’s no wonder, too. This event is around for the tenth time and every year the festival that spawned it gets bigger. Hold on tight as we explore the spectacle of the only runDisney event that helps you shed a few of the pounds you will inevitably pack on during the Food & Wine Festival!
Registering for the Disney Wine & Dine Weekend is almost as exhilarating as running the race itself, especially if you have never done so before. Back in 2015, the half marathon sold out in less than an hour. Today, registrations still fill up quickly despite the increase in available spots. For many years, Disney delegated its race registration process to other race sites. As is so often the case, they decided last year to bring their event registration under their own wings and after a few attempts, it is working even better than ever. No more do you have to choose all your swag right away during registration. Not sure if you want to blow $75 on a new jacket? Decide later! Can’t find the link to your personal record from that 10K last year? Come back and put it in later. It’s all right here on the runDisney website.
There are some great opportunities to serve your community while you run, as many charity groups have tickets available for those who can raise some cash. Treat this option like an extra training challenge and see how much money you can raise for a worthy cause like Homes for Our Troops or Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Registration for theses charities tends to come with additional perks like running shirts that show your support and a post-race hangout spot. Running for a cause is a great motivator, too!
As you head toward race day, make sure you keep up with your training. Even seasoned race veterans can have trouble in the Florida heat. Races start well before dawn, but only the fastest runners in the earliest corrals will finish before the sun comes up. Be prepared! Eat sensible meals the day before and drink more water than you think you can handle. There are plenty of water stops throughout the course, but you may want to think about bringing your own. Remember that there is no shame in taking it slow and pausing for a breather every now and then.
If you have been to a runDisney event before, you know the courses do change from time to time. If runDisney keeps with its more recent course arrangements, you are going to experience a great journey through the Walt Disney World property that few (other than these 10,000 folks) get to see. Race maps have not been revealed yet for this year, but we have been told that the 5K will be a quick jaunt around Epcot. The last few 10Ks started in the Magic Kingdom parking lot, shooting down toward Epcot for a similar loop through the park. The half marathon runners usually get to wind through WDW’s many miles of access roads, heading through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and ending at, you guessed it, Epcot! Use these trips around World Showcase to stoke your appetite and figure out which cuisines you will try. The best is yet to come!
In years past, the Wine and Dine half marathon ended right outside Epcot. The major difference was, that the race did not start until late at night. Many of us recall waking up at the crack of noon, preparing for our race. The awesomeness of nighttime races is apparently up for debate, but many enjoyed the chance to run as the Florida heat slowly dissipated. We would end up at Epcot well after the park had closed and then queue up for reentry into our own, private event, gorging on post-race snacks.
Thankfully, the after-party remains the same, even though the race is now in the morning! Take the opportunity after the race to shower and rest up. You have a long night ahead of you! If you ran the races, your park entry is included. Guests will have to purchase their own entry, but it is well worth it. Head back to Epcot starting at 5 pm to beat the rush and watch the new Epcot Forever fireworks. We don’t know too much about this new nighttime spectacular yet, but it promises to be a nostalgic look at my favorite park. As the crowds dwindle, you may start to feel kind of smug. You get to stay behind and experience the magic for a few more hours while everyone else is heading back to the busses! This sensation will begin to feel normal in time. Let the rest of the crowds leave. You get to stay behind and eat.
Ever thought the lines at the Food and Wine Fest were too long? Not tonight, my friend. Bask in the glow of Epcot’s late-night lights and saunter your way through the kiosks that are mobbed during the daytime. Enjoy a cup of Canadian cheese and beer soup. Savor the lamb chops in Australia. Go nuts and find out what a Brown Elephant is in the Africa pavilion! I guarantee you will find something interesting in Morocco. I always do! It’s easy to be an adventurous foodie when you woke up at 4 am to run and it’s almost 24 hours later!
Not everybody woke up before dawn to run a race, so carry those medals around with pride. Sure, it’s a bit of a hazard on Mission: Space, but Gary Sinise will forgive you. Wear that bling all day and every day to let your fellow park-goers know you mean business on vacation.
Didn’t make it into this Wine & Dine? The Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekends are coming up soon. For both weekends, the 5K and 10K races are sold out, but half marathon and marathon registrations are still open. Maybe you should make plans for the 2020 Wine & Dine. And there’s plenty of time for you to get training. With an event like this, make sure you tone up your stomach as well as your legs! Give one of our ConciEARS a call and get started on your next runcation!