- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1/Half Marathon
- Road Race
The 2018 Wine & Dine Half Marathon was my 20th runDisney weekend! So for more runDisney tips, recaps, and shenanigans, be sure to visit the Joyful Miles blog and YouTube channel:
This was my fourth Wine & Dine weekend and runDisney did not disappoint! I did the Two-Course Challenge by running both the 10k and half. But first, the expo.
All runDisney expos are held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Center. Transportation from Disney World resorts is super easy and they drop you off right by the Arena Building, where they had official runDisney merchandise, commemorative items, bib pick-up, and character photo opportunity with Chef Mickey. Parking is also very easy as well as Uber/driving service drop-off right by the main entrance. There were also many vendors in the Visa building as well as race shirt pick-up. I did have sizing issues with my race shirts, (some were cut smaller,) but I've learned to always check! There is a shirt exchange station, but mine were fine.
As for the races, I absolutely loved the pre-race atmosphere! There were four character photo stations flanking the stage where a DJ did an amazing job pumping up the energy and getting folks to dance by showing us the moves. I can't recommend getting to these races EARLY enough! Lines for port-o-pots were long, but that's unavoidable. I do like how they marked out lines with tape in a serpentine pattern, however, and had a volunteer guiding those next in line. (They did the same for the character stops.) Bag drop-off was also super easy. Rudy, Carissa, and John also kept the energy going with great corral send-offs.
As for the courses, I can't say that both the 10k and half ones are my favorites compared to other Disney races. You're on the highway quite a bit, but they had a TON of character stops this year! Plus running through Animal Kingdom's Pandora during the half was spectacular. Always a highlight! The race was well-supported with water stations for the 10k and water/Powerade for the half. Sports Beans were given out during the half. There were also tons of Photopass photographers out in the park areas of the course and both finishes were exciting! Plus the medals ... gorgeous!
Afterward, they gave out water, Powerade plus a snack box for both races and a banana for the half. There was a lot of congestion in the chute where volunteers handed out the snack boxes, though. runDisney should go back to having tents stations for them. (I'd imagine they will for future races due to the crowding.) They had plenty of banners set up for finishing photos as well as a fun post-race atmosphere with a DJ, character photos, and a tent selling beer, champagne and light snacks.
It did rain during the after party but we still had a blast! Lines for some character photos were quite long due to the characters spending too much time interacting with each guest. Us runDisney runners are used to dashing to the character, getting our picture take, and then running off! Very few booths were open but that could have due to the bad weather. Lines near the end for Soarin' were short so we made sure to ride that before leaving!
All in all, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a blast! There's a great party atmosphere with this weekend plus it's the only runDisney event that offers a free after party to half marathon participants. You also get a $15.00 gift card! If you'd like to learn more, be sure to check out my previous blog recaps and YouTube videos. 2018's are coming soon!