Wine and Dine Half Marathon

So we have officially completed every Disney World runDisney race of 2013! The only one we didn’t do was Expedition Everest because I didn’t really consider it a “race.” We had a blast and it will be something I will always remember. Our last race is going to be the Dopey Challenge in January of 2014 thanks to the fact that our 2013 season pass ends the day of the marathon and we wanted to try something crazy.

I must say that the Wine and Dine Half was my favorite of all the Disney runs this year. It could have been the course, the temperature or the awesome after party!

Our race weekend started at the expo at Wide World of Sports on Friday morning. Cheryl was asked to participate in some New Balance events for work and I got to tag along. Sadly we missed the Thursday night meetup. I heard it was amazing as always. Luckily though New Balance grabbed our bibs for us so all we had to do when we got to the expo was head right inside for the merchandise.

The floor was packed with vendors as always and they had a lot of great merchandise for sale.

We weren’t in as much of a rush this time so we got to wander through. We even got to meet the inspiring Jeff Galloway!

We also finally gave in and got the limited edition 2013 New Balance runDisney shoes. I might run the 5K and 10K in January in these but I don’t want to wear them down too much so that they will last me a while. After we were done spending money we didn’t have we went upstairs and listened to the New Balance Good Form Running Clinic. It really makes you think about how you run and ways to improve so that you don’t get hurt.

After the clinic we headed outside to the New Balance Track and Field for a private event where were heard about runDisney and some upcoming changes and events as well as from professional athlete Jenny Simpson. If only one day I could dream to run as fast as her.

The rest of the night was spent in the park, especially at Wine and Dine in Epcot. The next day we woke up early and went to the park until the afternoon. We headed back after lunch and rested and napped to prepare for the 10pm race. Cheryl and I decided that this race we wanted to try and be something “food themed.” But really how many disney characters are food themed!?! We finally decided it would be fun to be Sebastian and Chef Louis from the Little Mermaid. Our grand plan was that Cheryl was going to chase me around with a fake clever like Chef Louis does in the movie.

I bought a red shirt from Sports Authority and with matching fabric and pillow stuffing I made “legs” for Sebastian. Then I used stiff felt to make my claws. I put elastic on the back so I could wear them on my wrist while running. The had we had from January. I used more felt and pipe cleaners to make the eyes. Cheryl got a yellow shirt from Sports Authority and a chef hat from the local halloween store. She made the bow with some of my leftover red fabric and the clever she made from cardboard and duck tape! These are really my favorite costumes so far.

We stayed at the Dolphin because it was in walking distance of Epcot and it was cheaper than hotels like Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach club. Sadly the Dolphin was not a participating hotel so we walked over to the Boardwalk to grab the bus down to the start. I’m not sure if it is an issue they have had before but the busses at Boardwalk took FOREVER! There were so many people in line behind us. We got there at 8 when the busses started and we were pretty far back in line. We didn’t get on a bus until 8:30 and the line after us was even longer! Maybe other people staying at the Swan and Dolphin had the same idea as us, but even so there should be more than 2 busses running from each hotel.

One we got to the start we dropped off our bag, hit the port potty and then took some pictures. Once we were done we still had about an hour and a half to wait around so we sat over by the DJ and the dancing crowds. I didn’t dance because I wanted to save my legs, but a lot of people were really getting into it. This was the first race we didn’t have a heat advisory for. The temperature was perfect!

We were bummed because about a half hour before the start we realized that people were standing in line to get their pictures taken with characters! Chip and Dale, Mickey, Goofy and Minnie were there. We didn’t have enough time at that point to wait, but we got to see them all dressed up in their chef best!

With about a half hour to go we headed over to our corral (C) and hunkered down for the start of the race. I love being in a lower corral because you don’t have to wait as long. Mickey and Minnie helped start off the race.

Our race started off from Wide World of Sports down the highway to Animal Kingdom. Our first stop was the Country Bears! We realized is a lot of people in lower corrals care more about their time than characters, which is completely opposite from us. This was the first race that we had to stand in almost no lines!

Then we headed toward Animal Kingdom. We went in from the opposite side of the Tower of Terror 10 Miler. The park was cute decorated for the holidays.

We saw a bunch of our animal friends like Balloo, Timon, King Louie and Pluto!

In Animal Kingdom there were a few photographers so we put our plan to the test. Cheryl said run ahead of me and look scared. I wasn’t sure what she was doing behind me but the pictures say it all. Too funny!

On our way out of the main gates of Animal Kingdom we saw a giant Sebastian so we had to take a picture! The guy loved our costumes.

Now we headed down a VERY long stretch of highway to Hollywood Studios. We entered where the Tower of Terror 10 miler finished and then ran past Toy Story Midway Mania where we saw Buzz and Woody. Then we started circling around Hollywood Studios. I wasn’t even sure where we were going at points.

We kept going and wound up running through the backlot tour into the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Pretty awesome to run through!

Then we started circling back around again. I really couldn’t believe we were still in Hollywood Studios. We passed through by Star Tours and had to get this picture!

Finally we headed out of Hollywood Studios down my favorite path by the water to the Boardwalk. This was the same way we ended the marathon and it’s so nice knowing how much further you have to go! We went into Epcot past the cheering crowds back outside Epcot straight to the finish!

This was one of our fastest Disney races. 2:32 for a half and we stooped for almost every character!

The finish line was hectic as always. Not sure why they throw all this food and drink at you then make you get your bag but yell at you when you stop off to the side to organize yourself. Also who wants to shuffle along for 20 minutes until you get out to a place they deem ok to stop to finally stretch? You also got a free wine or beer after but the organization was nonexistent. Finally we got out of there and had to walk all the way back through the main gates into Epcot.

We took some pictures, went to a real bathroom and then attempted to head over to America for the New Balance after party. We got hung up though right by the water fountain where the race crossed into Epcot. They had the most asinine system to try and let people across. More like make 1,000 runners stand around and wait while yelling at them to stay in line. Cheryl and I know the parks now so we went over toward Future World West and cut through the race.

The New Balance after party was nice. They had free drinks and snacks for us.

All through World Showcase they had characters to take pictures with as well.

Epcot was open until 4am for runners and their family/friends that bought post-party tickets. We decided to head over to Germany to get some food and meet up with a friend from high school Estelle. If you don’t read This Happy Place you should. I also got to meet Katherine who’s Food.Fitness.Fantasy blog I discovered through Estelle. I decided to hug her when I met her because I felt like I know her after reading her blog. I hope she wasn’t weirded out lol

We sat around drinking, eating and talking. It was a really great way to end an awesome race!

Around 3:30 my droopy eyes got the better of me and we decided to call it a night. We walked back to our hotel and passed out. This was my favorite race to date. I loved the after party in Epcot and the course was new but familiar at the same time and it felt like it flew by!

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7 thoughts on “Wine and Dine Half Marathon

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