Disney Wine and Dine Race Recap
When I first heard about this race a few years ago, I couldn’t wait until the day that I would finally get to run it. I convinced my hubby and our friends (Mr. and Mrs. RockyMtnPearls) to make a mini vacay out of the whole event. We did the expo the day before and were all ready come race day. On Friday evening we stayed out late for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in an effort to tire ourselves out so we would sleep in. It was a success… well at least for me. I slept until 11am on race day. After collecting myself, I made my way over with our group for some food. I played it safe all day. This is a night race we’re talking about people! You can’t be too careful!
So we lounged by the pool in the overcast and ate all day. Truthfully, it was glorious. On one of our many food stops, we had the foresight to purchase ponchos! The weather was predicting rain and chilly temps, so we all decided to play it safe and get those super trendy ponchos we all love. Flash forward and you get this awesome outfit you see below!
Disney has a policy that they require you to get to the race start earlier than your usual race. The race began at 10pm however we had to be on a bus by 7pm. That put us at the race super early! I think we arrived somewhere around 6:30pm. The starting line was located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. On the plus side, it was a super short walk to everything within the prep-area, unlike the Disney Princess Half Marathon where we walked for a mile just to get to our corrals. Once in the area we made a bee line to the photo area to get at least 1 character photo. It took maybe 20 minutes or so. The line was moving fast!
Before the start we spread out the ponchos and stretched/sat around for about an hour. We dropped off the bags that would meet us at the finish and then made sure we all hit the restrooms before lining up in our corrals.
So I’m sure you have heard or read about the Wine and Dine Monsoon or the Splash N’ Dash…. for those of you who haven’t. It rained. It poured. The rain did not officially begin until we made it to our corrals. Then the rain really began. What do you do when the race you’ve been waiting for months to run, is a totally pouring… nothing. You just deal with it and make the best. We mentally prepared ourselves to get soaked and decided to embrace the craziness.
And we were off! We had decided before the race to not all run together. My knee had been really bothering me and I knew that I would be taking my time. That meant taking lots of pictures!! The boys would meet us at the finish line with our bags that we had checked. Due to the inclement weather many characters were not present on the course, however, Disney made adjustments and included some fun elements to still entertain us. After leaving ESPN Wide World of Sports, we started moving towards Animal Kingdom. I threw off my poncho immediately after taking the fairy photo below which was around mile 1. The poncho was a little too warm and kept sticking to me. So the poncho had to go! Miles 1-3 were pretty much on a highway. We knew that we were on our way to Animal Kingdom so RockyMtnPearls and I entertained ourselves by checking out the amazing costumes our fellow runners were wearing and enjoying some much-needed girl time! (Even if the girl time was spent running a half marathon… at least my friends are as warped as I am…)
Before the race, we had studied the Course map so that we’d know exactly where the parks would be. So going into the race we knew that at mile 3ish and 9ish was where we would be stopping for more pics. Once we arrived in Animal Kingdom, the puddles got bigger and the course got more narrow, but it was my favorite part of the race.
Once in Animal Kingdom, I didn’t care about the rain as much. There were puddles everywhere and the sounds of the park with in full effect. I felt like I was running through the jungle. It was actually really cool! Surrounded by my fellow runners, battling the elements while running through Walt Disney World, sorry I’m not sorry but I felt like a real athlete. I was invigorated by how exciting the whole experience was and it hit me… this is fun! I’m splashing around at amusement parks with one of my best friends. Running through Animal Kingdom was amazing. There were great characters out and the attractions were all lit very well.
After we left Animal Kingdom, we ran around the parking lot. This was the least thrilling part of the race. However, upon exiting you see Captain Jack Sparrow and his pirate ship!
Once we’d officially left Animal Kingdom we were at the 10K mark and half way done!! Miles 6-9 were on the highway and the rain had started to slow down. We passed the Toy Soldiers from Toy Story who were offering words of encouragement as we ran up a ramp to get to the road the would eventually lead us to Hollywood Studios.
We entered Hollywood Studios at mile 9 directly behind the Tower of Terror. Here we took a small pit stop and stretched/used the restroom. One amazing thing about this race was that most of the theme park restrooms were open for runners to use, which was convenient and clean.
We made our way through the park and snapped a few pics with Mickey’s Sorcerer’s hat because it’s being taken down in January 2015. It was surreal running down the vintage inspired movies area and turning to view the iconic hat.
After the hat we jogged around the rear of the park and saw the backstage tour! We also passed the disco hall and the costume area. This was a fantastic behind the scenes tour. Mile 9 went by so quickly. Throughout Hollywood Studios, we had been waiting to walk until we reached the Osborne Lights. This is what I was looking forward to most during the race. It was so amazing I had to take a video to put on here! Like wow! It’s just beautiful. We definitely stopped for 5 minutes to take pics and video and marvel at the Spectacle!
After the lights we began to run again. We passed the Muppets, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars… 3 of my favorite things. We exited Hollywood studios and had the realization that we only have 1.2 miles left! This is where the course really begins to narrow. I had caught a second wind and really wanted to jog, so we did a lot of maneuvering to run around people walking. We had decided that we would run until we reached the boardwalk, which we assumed would be slippery. AND… it was. We walked the entire boardwalk section. My knee had been bothering and I was not going to chance a wipe out.
Once in Epcot, we adopted intervals. We’d been playing with them throughout the race, but we hadn’t been ardent about keeping them. I needed the intervals the last .8 miles. My knee was throbbing and I was in pain. The intervals helped distract me to keep going. Eventually we ran through Epcot, past Space Ship Earth and around to the finish line. There was an awesome Technicolor lights show as we rounded the corner to the finish. Then it came into view… the FINISH LINE! We had a surge of energy and picked up our pace to finish strong. I believe that you leave everything on the course, so if you can kick it into the finish!
Once past the finish line, we bumped into the boys who’d decided to wait for us outside the chute instead of heading to the post race party. At this moment, I realize that it’s raining again, it’s freezing, I’m no longer running, and I have no poncho. I’m so cold that I’m shaking. As a group, we decided to pass on the post race party. We were all pretty tired and were ready for warm showers! Also, we had already planned on hitting the Epcot Food and Wine Festival later in the day… (FYI… it’s 2am on Sunday morning). Ms.RockyMtnPearls embraced the Mylar blanket and I used her poncho to get back to Caribbean Beach Resort. (Thanks again!) The buses were far from the finisher’s area. But we made the trek, hopped on a bus, and were heading back in no time.
Overall it was a great race! I’m so glad I ran it with one of my very good friends. Yes, the weather was less than ideal, but running through Disney more than made up for it! I would run this race again in a heartbeat. My favorite parts were running through Animal Kingdom and the Osborne Lights. There’s something about getting to spend 4 days with great friends and accomplish a race together that will make this one an extra special memory.
Have you ever run a Disney race? What’s your favorite part about racing with friends? Do you stop and take pics mid-race? What’s more important to you the medal or shirt? If you knew it was going to cold and rainy during a race… would you still do it?