“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” – Dean Karnazes. I love this quote. When I moved to Florida I was not a runner. I thought sometimes that I was. I tried the track thing in high school, did the Graffiti Run during college, went through phases of working out (run on the treadmill and pretend like I know what I’m doing), but definitely would never really consider myself a runner. I suppose I don’t really now either, but I do consider myself a runDisney runner, and that’s enough for me! Of course because I do Disney races, I try to keep up with local races as well, but I never miss a runDisney weekend 😉
November 4-6th was the runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend and it was my first time participating in this weekend; FINALLY! For those of you who have ran or looked into Disney races, you know they’re not cheap. They are worth it though. Being able to dress up, run with friends and fellow Disney lovers through the parks, hangout with characters throughout the race; it’s an incredible experience that I always look forward to. This year I ran the Mickey’s Holiday 5k and the Wine & Dine 10k. Both were amazing and I cannot wait to do the half marathon next year to complete my Wine & Dine weekend (I have a goal of completing every race in each weekend).
It’s Friday and the race started at 6:30am. Meaning we had to wake up at 5am to get ready and make sure we’re at Animal Kingdom by 6am, because of course pictures matter if you’re spending $75 to do a 5k 🙂 They usually start gathering people into their corrals about 15-30 min before the race begins. Before that, however, they typically have at least one character out to stand in line and get pictures with, along with several other backdrops, sometimes with props as well. Now the race has begun and smoke has been shot into the air from the start line! This race was at Animal Kingdom so you got to run 3.1 magical miles through the park while it was still dark! While you’re stopping at each character to get a picture, you have the option to hand your phone to the photographer and hope for the best, OR, if you’re a Disney passholder (that has the photopass option) then you get your professional photos for free! Otherwise you have to pay for them, and in that case I would just hand over my phone because they are a little pricey. Now you’ve finally passed the finish line, HOORAY! At this point, you stop on the side and get your medal from the volunteers, head over to grab your complimentary drink, banana, and runDisney food pack, and now you’re free to head over and stand in line for more pictures that you weren’t able to snag before the race! Christmas Mickey & Minnie were the characters for this race so we decided to stand in that line once we were finished.They typically end pictures with characters around 8:30am because parks tend to open around 9am and they need to get most of the crowd cleared out by then. At least from that specific area. Of course you’re free to head on into the park if you have a park ticket for the day or annual pass!
Saturday was not much different as far as the typical runDisney routine goes. The 10k began at 5:30am instead of the 6:30am time for the 5k. The theme was Ratatouille, but it was the first year for the Lumiere Challenge (10k & half marathon) so my outfit was Lumiere inspired. This race also had a different course, which I really enjoyed. You began in the Epcot parking lot, ran the streets for the first 3 miles, then headed into the countries at Epcot, right for the Boardwalk, ending back in Epcot by the ball. Completing 6.2 miles in the park made for an exciting finish! There were more characters out for this race as well once you were finished. Goofy & Donald, Lumiere (who was also at the Expo on Thursday), along with Ratatouille, and Mickey in his chef hat with Minnie!
After each race I ever run I ALWAYS need a nap. Those early mornings along with a lot of adrenaline running through me is exhausting! However, getting pictures in the park after your race(s) is always so much fun! You’re dressed up, everyone is super excited for you…it’s great! So I went home, took my nap, and dragged my roommate to Epcot with me for the rest of the night! It’s crazy how packed it was, but being a runDisney weekend AND a Saturday, how could you be surprised? It was, after all, the last weekend we’d be able to make it to Food & Wine, the best time of the year! After my first experience with Wine & Dine weekend, I couldn’t look more forward to a half marathon. The weather was perfect, the course was ideal, and I had wonderful friends to enjoy this experience with. Here’s to the next runDisney!
Until next time; keep wandering…