We’re less than three months away from the 2017 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Presented by MISFIT™!
You’ve been training hard all summer and you’ve likely already booked your accommodations, flights, and dining reservations. The 60 day FP+ date will be here before you know it and after that it won’t be long until you are in Walt Disney World Resort!
I ran the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon last year and had a blast. Whether this is your first Wine & Dine weekend or your eighth, you are bound to have a fun, festive race and celebratory post-race party!
In celebration of its 8th year as a runDisney event, here are my top 8 tips for making the most of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend:
Top 8 Tips For Running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
Enjoy the Expo!
In order to be an official race participant, you need to bring your signed race waiver and photo ID to the Health & Fitness Expo at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex to pick up your runner’s bib, event t-shirt, and pre-paid items. Shuttle buses are available to and from the resorts, and there is ample parking for those driving.
Expos can be crowded and overwhelming, but they can also make the race weekend feel more real! Make the most of the expo experience; surround yourself with fellow runners as you explore the different booths of gear and race merchandise; check out the presentation schedule for race tips; and snap some photos with the different photo ops. A word to the wise: don’t consume anything unfamiliar at the Expo. Samples can be fun but save them ’till after the race. You don’t want to risk an upset stomach after months of training! Similarly…
Watch What You Eat (and Drink) Before Your Race/s
While it will be really tempting to start enjoying the Food & Wine Festival as soon as you arrive, you don’t want to upset your stomach in any way before your races. Eat foods and drink beverages you’ve been consuming throughout your training to avoid any horrific stomach cramping the morning of your race. I promise you, it will be worth it. And then you can enjoy the festival even more with a shiny medal around your neck!
Put Out Your Race Gear The Night Before
This is a mainstay on any runDisney tips list I’ll ever write! Get your entire outfit and race gear in order the day or night before your race. That way, when your alarm goes off at 2:30AM you won’t be in a panic trying to remember to bring everything! Fuel, hat or sunglasses, a throwaway sweatshirt or trash bag to curb the early morning chill, extra hair ties, to name a few. Keep your glide/chafe protection close by and don’t forget to also pin your bib to your shirt ahead of time!
You’re up and ready! It’s still nighttime! Shuttle buses are available for runners from their on-property resorts to the starting line. Look for runDisney directional signage outside of the lobby. Try to take an earlier bus just to be on the safe side.
First race? Try to relax! You’ll ride a bus full of jittery fellow runners to a well-lit parking lot with a DJ, race announcers, photo ops, and an army of porta potties. Center your mind, eat some breakfast/drink a little water, USE THE PORTA POTTY (multiple times as needed- lines are long!) and get in your corral. While there, get pumped up by the race announcers and watch the fireworks set off for each corral!
Celebrate Every Mile
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Race day! Deep breaths. Take it one step, one leg, one mile at a time. Smile for the PhotoPass camera crew! There may be a time in your race where you won’t be smiling (hello, Epcot final push.) Seek out the entertainment, try to unplug (take out your headphones!) and embrace the race. Going for a PR? Try to still enjoy the magic around you- you’re running through WALT DISNEY WORLD before park openings and guest alarm clocks! How magical is that!?
Congratulations, you’ve earned your medal! Now keep movin’!
I’m not one of those runDisney participants who can jump in line for a post-race beer or champagne. It’s generally not even 10AM when I finish! I glide through the finisher’s chute on cloud nine and in tears of joy, receive my medal, powerade, water, and my post-race snack box, limp into the shuttle and head back to the resort for a shower and a nap. Once I’m “Human Again” (Beauty & The Beast reference), I go right back into the parks for a real meal. It’s important to stay hydrated and keep the blood circulation in your legs flowing especially after a race. Walking around the parks is a great way to stay moving. Time to party!
Food & Wine Festivities: Post-Race Fun
Now the real fun begins! All participants of the half marathon receive a $15 Disney gift card good for anything Disney-related (parks, online store, even the cruise lines), though it’s meant to be used at the post-race party. The post-race party begins after park close on Sunday night, hours after the race finish. Half marathon and Challenge participants are complimentary but guests/family members do have to pay to pay for their own admission. The festival stays open late for the party, but you do still have to pay for food and beverages at each kiosk. My group and I decided to opt out of the party since we were a group of Park Hoppers and Annual Passholders. Instead we took our time to walk around World Showcase on our own. We sampled craft beers, wines, and small plates from all over the globe. The festival is popular among locals and Disney enthusiasts alike. With so much to explore, it’s impossible to try everything in one day!
Cap off your night with Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, a spectacular fireworks display and get a great night’s sleep!
Get In the Holiday Spirit
On November 1st immediately following the biggest halloween party of the season, the Magic Kingdom is transformed overnight into a Christmas winter wonderland. It seems a little crazy considering at that point we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving – the actual holiday in November – but as my friend Crush likes to say, “Go With the Flow!” There is no such thing as too much holiday cheer! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party kicks off on November 9th. If you have an extended stay planned after the race weekend, I highly recommend purchasing tickets. You have to experience the holiday season at Walt Disney World!
If you have additional race questions, feel free to reach out to me! Wishing you all a fun, successful Wine & Dine weekend!
Gina / Will Run for Disney