Race Recap: The Disney Wine & Dine ‘Half-Half’ Marathon

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Last weekend the Runs in Tutus crew visited Walt Disney World for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. We had a blast and we have so much to tell you about! From Character experiences to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek and MUCH more. I could go on and on about this trip, but let’s start with the main reason we visited Orlando – the actual race!

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Our crew arrived on Friday afternoon to attend the race expo and pick up our race packets. As usual, the expo was well organized with very few lines. Although we arrived pretty early on Friday, there was already a good amount of merchandise that was sold out. This year, Disney offered a last minute “Disney Wine & Dine Welcome Reception.” It was $200 and allowed you to shop runDisney merchandise on Thursday evening before everyone else. It wasn’t advertised until October 2nd when many people had already booked travel plans. I bet they do something similar for the Princess Half Marathon weekend in February, so if you’re really set on getting the best merchandise, you may want to look out for it. Even though some of the merch went fast, I was able to snag a wine glass and Christine bought the adorable Christmas ornament.

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Wine and Dine Half Marathon wine glass

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Other Wine and Dine merch

At runDisney race expos, the photo opportunities are always my favorite part! Always look out for the green screen photo-op above the stairs before heading down to the expo. This year it had Paris in the background with a tray of the grey stuff.

 

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On Saturday evening, we all got dressed in our race costumes and headed to the ESPN Wide World of Sports for the start line. This year we all went with food themed costumes that we each handmade. We had popcorn, the grey stuff, a Disney Cast Member Confectionary costume and a Mickey ice cream bar.

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We all gathered on the grass for the pre-race dance party and got ready to head to the start line. This is about when the wind and rain started to pick up and we all tried to snuggle under one blanket. Our race host got on the microphone and told us that there was some “weather” in the area and we shouldn’t head to our corrals yet. A couple minutes later, they got on the microphone and told us to calmly evacuate the area and head to either the Jostens Center or the HP Field House because of lightning in the area. Over 14,000 people began to move inside. I have to give some credit to Disney because they sure know a lot about crowd control. I have never seen a massive crowd of 14,000 people move so quickly and calmly.

Aerial view of the evacuation

Our group moved into the HP Field House and to be honest we had a lot of fun hanging out in there with the other runners. We were able to use a nice restroom, stretch out on the field, and we got a great view of all the awesome costumes gathered in the stadium! There was a good amount of dancing and at one point someone started the wave. Here are the series of emotions we experienced during the rain delay.

At first we were really sad

 

Then we did not know how we felt

 

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Then we thought – hey this is actually kinda fun!

It was difficult to gather information since we couldn’t hear the announcer over the music, but after about an hour of waiting, someone screamed “THE RACE IS ON” and we all started heading back to the start line. There were a lot of rumors circulating around regarding the course, and it wasn’t until we reached our start line that we found out the race was cut 6 miles short.

I was really disappointed to have the course altered, and I was especially disappointed for all the first time half marathoners. I know how hard they worked to train, and it’s discouraging to get so close to achieving a goal and have it taken away like that. I have to look on the bright side though. No one was struck by lightning, we still got to run about 7 miles through Disney World and we still got to attend the after party in Epcot. There will be other half marathons. I’m grateful that everyone is safe, and I trust that runDisney did they best they could with the information available.

All in all, it was a hot, sweaty, short and fun race. Animal Kingdom was cut out of the course, so we only ran through Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Here are some of the course highlights at this year’s 7.1 mile Wine & Dine “Half-Half” Marathon.

1. Lightning and rain didn’t prevent the start line fireworks!

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2. We ran through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios

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3. Characters along the route included Lilo and Stitch, Genie, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, The Seven Dwarfs and more.

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4. Disco lights in the costume tunnel at Hollywood Studios

5. A sign with Olaf on it that said “I like sweaty hugs”

6. Chef Mickey at the finish line

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7. Free glass of wine and Epcot after party at the finish line!

Thanks runDisney for another great race!

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Only 355 days to go until the next Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend! Registration opens on March 15, 2016 at 12PM ET!

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-Amanda

…and if you’re still sad about missing out on those 6 miles, here’s a video of a drunk man climbing the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. It will definitely make you feel better.

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c08VdzS_3OY>

 

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