In case you missed part 1, which was the Memphis Greenline Half, you can find that recap here.
I was so incredibly excited for this race for a few reasons. First of all, Wine and Dine was my inspiration race, the reason I started running in the first place. Some of you already know the back story but in case you don’t, here is the short version. I was at Walt Disney World Resort in October of 2011. I arrived the same day as that year’s Wine and Dine Half and saw all the preparations being made the afternoon of the race. The next day I saw lots of people walking around with their medals and wished I could do that. After I got home, I did some research and decided to make that wish a reality. I was determined to run in the 2012 Wine and Dine Half, which was scheduled for October but later moved to November to accommodate the inaugural Tower of Terror 10 Miler. I did the 10 miler instead and resigned myself to never getting to do Wine and Dine until one night in Spring of 2013 when I found myself in front of my computer registering anyway.
Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon
The other main reason for my extreme excitement was where we were staying–Beach Club!
Disney’s Beach Club
I had never stayed at Beach Club but I got a really, really, really good rate on it, and the fact that it’s located just steps away from the Wine and Dine after party made it a deal I could not turn down! I had always wanted to stay at Beach Club because of its proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios (but mainly Epcot) so I was stoked.
Wine and Dine is a bit different from other runDisney half marathons in that it is at night, starting at 10 pm. Since I had done Tower of Terror, which is also a night race, I was better prepared for the challenge of a night race. So on the morning of November 9, 2013 I got up, had a sensible breakfast at the France pastry shop in Epcot, went back to the resort and chilled by the pool for a few hours.
Relaxing By the Pool
Then I took a nap and at some point I also ate a turkey sandwich for lunch that I had purchased at the France pastry shop that morning. My parents were out enjoying Epcot so I texted them to pick up a cheese plate for me also at the France pastry shop. That was my dinner along with some sliced apples I had picked up at the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party the night before, some crackers, and a Luna bar. Normally I wouldn’t go into such great detail about what I ate before a race but with it being a night race lots of people ask how to eat during the day.
Ready to head out to the busses!
Around 7 pm I headed to the buses to go to the start line.
Yes, 7 pm for a 10 pm start. It really does take that long to get everyone there and in place. Busses for runners only run between 7 and 8, and I wanted to be on an earlier one. As soon as I got there I noticed 3 long lines right down the middle of the staging area. I correctly guessed they were character lines but I could not tell who they were for. I jumped in one and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Until finally I saw I was in line for Chef Goofy.
Me with Chef Goofy
The other lines were Chef Minnie and Chef Mickey. Once I got my photo with Goofy it was time to meet some of my Princess Posse friends for our group photo.
Princess Posse Friends
We sat around chatting for a bit, listening to the DJ, and trying to relax.
I can’t believe people were actually dancing before a half marathon.
Before long it was time to head to the corrals. I stopped at the potty then took my place. Shortly thereafter, off we went!
Each corral got their own fireworks start.
Wine and Dine Start Line, complete with bubbles coming out of the champagne glass
We headed toward Animal Kingdom and took a quick loop around the park. I loved the light up elephant tusks that welcomed us into the park. I also loved seeing Everest all lit up at night. Unfortunately I did not take any photos on the course so, sadly, I have nothing to show you. This part was very dark and crowded so I really had to watch my step. After leaving Animal Kingdom we headed back down Osceola Parkway toward Hollywood Studios. This is the part that really made this race seem short to me. It felt like we approached Hollywood Studios way earlier than I had anticipated. So the last half of the race was filled with things to keep my mind occupied, and it flew by.
Running through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Hollywood Studios is the highlight for many during this race, and it did not disappoint. You do have to run through the Studios for quite a bit before getting to them, though. This only added to the anticipation of it for me and made it that much better when I finally got there. Shortly after the lights, it was time to exit the Studios and head for the Boardwalk area between Studios and Epcot. It was right at the exit of Studios that I had my biggest regret of the race. I did not stop for a pic with Darth Vader. The line was fairly short and I should have stopped. I don’t know why I didn’t because it was the only pic I really wanted.
After exiting Studios, we ran along the path between Studios and Epcot and even ran right past the Beach Club. I thought I might be tempted to stop at the hotel and just go to bed by that point, but nope! I was still going strong. We then ran through some backstage areas of Epcot before heading through Future World and out the front of the park towards the finish line.
At the finish line area I got my medal, food box, water, Powerade, banana, and my beer. Wine and Dine is the only runDisney race that gives runners alcohol at the finish. You get your choice of beer or wine. Then it was time to head back to the entrance of Epcot for the after party, which was happening in World Showcase. I took one look at how far away I was from the entrance, thought about how far Future World was from where I was standing, and almost wished I could just grab a bus back to my hotel. I knew my parents were waiting for me at the after party so I just sucked it up and started walking. I did text my mom to have my dad meet me as close to the entrance as he could so I could get my flip-flops and compression calf sleeves from him. I don’t check a bag when my parents are there since my dad can just stash some of my things in his back pack. This is one race that I wish I had, though. I could have had my flip-flops and compression sleeves much sooner had I checked my bag there.
Once I got to the after party, I saw they were selling race merchandise. I was hopeful that they were also selling the race banners from the displays at the expo.
See the “I Did It” banners hanging in the expo? I got one of those!
Luckily they were, and I got the last “I Did It” banner. I will figure out a place to hang that at some point in the future. Dad and I met up with my mom, and I really didn’t want anything to eat. I drank my beer and chatted with a few other runners. Shortly thereafter I decided I would rather just go back to the room than fight the crowds for food and rides. I always end up wishing I had stayed longer. This was no exception but at that moment, leaving was what I wanted to do.
I really loved my Wine and Dine experience! I do wish I had taken some photos along the course and stopped for Darth Vader. If I ever do this race again I will check my bag so I can get to my stuff quickly. Like always, I wish I had stayed at the party longer. While it lacked the magic that Princess Half Marathon had, I think I like the course better. It goes through 3 of the 4 parks so there is quite a bit to look at.
With that, I was two-thirds of the way towards my goal of becoming a Half Fanatic. Just to review, that’s 3 half marathons in 90 days. The third was coming up in just four weeks, the Memphis St. Jude Half Marathon. If you’ve been following along, you already know what happened with that race. It was cancelled due to an ice storm. My goal of becoming a half fanatic was all but gone. Or was it? Check back soon for part 3 of my quest and see if I was successful.
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