Monday, October 20, 2014

Tips for Running your First runDisney Race

First runDisney Race

Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon is around the corner and the excitement for a 5th Anniversary race is in the air!

So, you’ve decided to run a Disney race and you’ve made the Wine & Dine Half Marathon your first? Good choice! This is a great race with an insanely fun after party!

As part of the Virtual Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Blog Hop, I’ve compiled several tips to help see you through this new experience.

The Expo:

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Expo

How does one get to the Expo, you might ask? Well, if you’re staying in a Disney resort, Expo transportation is available during Expo hours. The 2014 Wine & Dine Expo is located at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex and will be open on these days and times:

10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 7, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 8, 2014

Expo transportation busses will run:

Friday, November 7

• From Host Resorts to Expo: 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
• Transportation from Expo to Host Resorts concludes at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 8

• From Host Resorts to Expo: 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
• Transportation from Expo to Host concludes at 3:30 p.m.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Expo (2)

Tip: Don’t bypass the Expo. Get in, get your race big and shirt, then get to shopping! I was so overwhelmed by all of the vendors and noise at my first runDisney event, I didn’t enjoy the expo at all – I left in a hurry and regretted it later. Expos are the beginning of most race events and excitement for the upcoming race is literally buzzing in the air. Get in there and be a part of it!  Walk around and check out the vendors with their merchandise…who knows, you might even discover something you didn’t know existed! (Please note - it’s not wise to purchase something at the Expo that you plan on wearing in the race the following day…especially shoes.) :)

Meal Planning:

It’s Disney – the calories don’t count and you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want…right? WRONG. Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a night time event that begins at 10 p.m.  Planning meal times throughout the day on the day of the race can be tricky. It’s not a good idea to eat a late and large dinner the evening of the race. Instead, try eating a larger meal earlier in the day…around 2 o’clock instead of the usual “dinner time”. This worked well for me during my first Wine & Dine Half and I plan to do the same again this year.

Teppan Edo Epcot

Tip: For an authentic Epcot experience, try booking a meal at one of the countries located in World Showcase! Many of them offer pizza or pasta dishes which serve as a popular pre-race meal!

No Way Jose Beaches and Cream

No Way Jose, anyone? :) This delicious treat can be found at Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort and is a great day-after the race indulgence (to share of course…maybe)!

The Race:

Running a Disney race is unlike any other experience in the world! runDisney events are always a blast and leave runners with a lot of fun memories and extra special moments to cherish!

Food and Wine Festival Epcot

Tip: Getting to the race start is much the same as the Expo – if staying on Disney property, busses will be available to take runners to the starting area.

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Starting Area

For the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, be forewarned…runners must board a bus no later than 8 p.m. in order to make it to their corrals on time. Transportation will begin at 7 p.m. on the evening of the race and will conclude at 4:30 a.m. (once the after party is over).

Tip: Disney does offer gear bag check at the race start area. You must use the clear bag given to you at the Expo if wishing to drop off a bag – no other bags will be accepted. Bags will be available for pickup after the race is over in the designated finishing area (the signs are everywhere and not hard to miss). If planning on hanging around the after party, a few things to include in your race bag are a change of clothing and baby wipes for easy cleanup. Changing tents are available around the finish line area.


Tip: Once the race begins, be sure to take in your surroundings – don’t get so caught up in your pace, time, etc (unless you’re trying for a PR at this event). I love how runDisney really tries to incorporate exciting things to see throughout the course…take the Osborne lights for example! These beauties can be seen in Hollywood Studios near the end of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon – definitely the highlight of this event for me!


Tip: Be sure to stop for characters along the way. The lines may look long, but most of them go by pretty fast – runners jump in, take a picture, then take off running again. These events are great places to see groups of characters not often seen together  and/or characters that are rarely seen at all (I spied Darkwing Duck while running the Full Marathon a few years ago)! If you’re into the character sort of thing, don’t miss out and don’t let the lines deter you.


Tip: Disney allots a 16 minute per mile pace for their events and this time begins when the last runner crosses the start line. I was so worried about getting swept during my first Disney Half Marathon, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have (and I had no reason to worry). Keep an eye on the time – if you’re keeping a good pace, don’t stress.

Tip: Throughout the race, keep your eyes out for official race photographers. They will be located at random points throughout the course. Also, be sure to smile when you cross the finish line. Stop your timing device either right before or a few steps after crossing over the timing mat if you’re hoping for a frame-worthy finish line photo.


Tip: After snagging your new bling (aka shiny new medal), walk through the food tent and pick up a package of goodies (now in the form of a box) and water/Gatorade to rehydrate after the race.

Enjoy the post-race party and celebrate your amazing new accomplishment! Let me be the first to send best wishes to you on your upcoming endeavor! I know you’re going to have a great race and enjoy the experience. If you find that the race bug has bitten you and you’re interested in running more runDisney events, check out their website. Races are held throughout the year at both Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort.

That’s all the tips I have for now! I hope everyone participating in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon has a great race! Happy running!

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Expo (3)


This post is part of the Virtual Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Blog Hop! Please check out the other blogs in this series for lots of great info about the races!

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory


  1. This post gets me more and more excited about Princess Weekend!!! I know you'll have a blast at Wine and Dine!!!

  2. Great tips! One day, I'd love to make it out for the Wine and Dine Half. Running with the Osborne Family Lights would make it worth the trip alone. Until that day, I'll live vicariously through bloggers like yourself. Have fun out there!

  3. Being a nonrunner, all the running stuff is totally foreign to me, but something that is so evident and universal is the smile on your face in your running pictures! :) And boy, that post-race treat looks major yums! :)

    1. Thanks, Kelly! I sure do love being in Disney...that's reason enough to put a smile on my face right there! :D

  4. Great tips! I'd add that, if you see something you like in the runDisney merchandise at the expo -- PICK IT UP FIRST! Don't assume that they'll have it after the race, or even later in the day. Even "I did it" finisher shirts -- you can keep it in the bag if you don't want to "jinx" yourself. :)

  5. Great tips for newbies! I was not on social media when I ran my first Disney race ( no blogs, facebook, twitter) so I had no clue what to expect. I wish I knew then what I know now..haha!

    1. I couldn't agree more! I did have a blog back then....I started it to document my training for my first half five years ago - the WDW Half - but social media wasn't as big as it is now!

  6. These tips are just perfect Karen. Don't you wish you knew this before your own first race? I know I do! My favorite tip would have to be to relax and soak in your magical surroundings- they truly are one-of-a-kind!!

    1. I so do! Haha! I couldn't agree more, great tip!! Thanks for hosting! :D


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