What to Expect on your RunDisney Trip!

For Disney fans and runners, alike Walt Disney World’s runDisney Wine & Dine weekend is simply amazing. The mix of Disney, running and Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival makes this Disney race weekend one of kind. For my second RunDisney event, I decided to run the 10k at Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend 2016. I had such a wonderful time, I have already signed up to run 10k again this year. While the race was hard and I could have trained harder, it was a blast and I now have a better idea what to expect in the future.

2017 Registration beings Jan 17th! Information and 2017 dates are at the bottom of this post.  

Disney Races Are For Every Runner

First off, every type of runner can find enjoyment at a Disney run. From walking groups to professional runners, everyone has an opportunity to compete and finish the race. You do have to maintain a 16-minute mile, but that is from the last corral that starts. If you have never run a race a “corral” is the group you are sectioned off with to start your race with. Typically, the runners in your corral run around the same pace as you say you are going to run on your registration.

As long as you stay below the 16 minute per mile pace, you have plenty of time to walk, get pictures with characters or even take a bathroom break. Disney makes these races very easy to finish for most people. Professional runners don’t worry, you can still run and get a PR if you wish to do so! The run is enjoyable and it is still fun to see all the characters even if you don’t stop. I personally have not stopped to take pictures with any characters. This is not because I am trying to make a certain time. This is because I don’t want to stop and wait in a line while running. You can always take photos after or in the parks with characters. There is also entertainment along the race course and plenty of cast members cheering you on.

RunDisney Wine & Dine Weekend

runDisney Health and Fitness Expo

The first thing you will need to do during any runDisney race weekend is head to the expo. The Health and Fitness Expo is held a The Wild World of Sports. This is where you will check in to receive your personalized race bib, commemorative shirt and gear bag that comes with your registration fee. The race bib for the 10k, half marathon, and challenge runners includes a tracking device that your friends and family can sign up to receive updates as you run. The gear bag you can use to hold any supplies that you wish to have pre or post race. At the race, there is a runner bag check for these bags that you can drop off before and pick up after you’re done running.

Also at the expo is a number of different booths offering merchandise such as runDisney Race Weekend gear, fitness clothing, running shoes, gadgets, nutritional products and accessories. I personally am a huge fan of the Sparkly Soul headbands, RooSport pouches and KT Tape that typically have booths at these expos. There are also photo opps with characters, fitness speakers and a number of other things to enjoy.

The RunDisney Wine & Dine Races

The races are set on separate days starting with the 5K on Friday, the 10K and kids races on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday. There is also a Two Course Challenge offered. This is a separate registration where you are entered to run both the 10K on Saturday and the Half on Sunday. Many runners run in runDisney races in order to complete these different types of challenges offered. Each of courses takes you through the Walt Disney Resort areas and sections of the Disney World theme parks. I made my own race outfit as many runners do and dressed as Provincial Belle. (I’ll be posting instructions to make my outfit soon!)

What To Expect Race Day

Before The Race

Each of the runDisney races begin and end basically the same with a different course and length to run. Race morning of the 10K I woke up at 3:00 a.m. in order to get ready and catch the free Disney World Resort transportation to the race start line in the Epcot parking lot by 4:00 a.m. If you plan to park at the race start line check the runDisney website for directions and the best location to park. Once at the race start line, there is live entertainment, character meet & greets, a bag check and a million port-a-potties. I’m not joking, go before you run, even if the line is long!

Getting Into The Corrals

The 10K typically starts around 5:30 a.m. and you will need to be in your assigned corral at least 30 minutes before the race starts. You will be separated from spectators and anyone else running in another corral. Say goodbye to friends and family before you enter. If you are assigned to one of the last corrals you will have to stand in your corral for a long time, possibly an hour or longer. Be prepared before you enter the corrals. There are a lot of people and it’s hard to move around once inside.

The Race Start

There is a live countdown and you will know when the first corral takes off. Typically this involves cheers, music, fireworks and tons of fun! Each time a corral starts they repeat this same scenario, so it’s just as fun whenever your corral begins. You are herded like cattle from your corral to the start line, so again be prepared and stay to the sides. This is especially important if you are claustrophobic. Once the race is underway it can be very hard to keep your pacing. It is easiest to run at your pace if you stay to the outsides. You can also find the pace groups and run with them. Remember race etiquette, especially when slowing or stopping. If this is one your first races, check the runDisney website for the rules and guidelines for running. Don’t worry there are first aid stations, port-a-potties, staff and water stations along the course if you are in need.

On The Course

As you run along the course, there will be sections with entertainment, character photo opps, fun mile markers, TV screens playing sections of Disney movies and cast members cheering you on. This is what makes Disney races stand out and so much fun to run! Of course, it’s also just fun to run along with the thousands of costumed runners. The beginning section of the run was the hardest. The course last year went up a few interstate on-ramps and I happened to be in a section of very slow runners. It was hard to weave around people walking for the first few miles. Once I was inside of Epcot later in the race, the run was extremely run and my favorite section is always running around the World Showcase. This run also ran the Boardwalk and around the Epcot globe.

The Finish Line

At the finish line, there are more spectators, fireworks, and an announcer congratulating runners as they cross the finish line. I actually heard my name yelled out as I crossed the line! After you finish the race, volunteers hand out your medal, a snack pack, and water or Gatorade. Here you can also take race finish photos before you exit and pick up the gear bag you checked. Outside of the finish line, there is more live entertainment, character meet & greets and booths selling snacks and beverages. Of course, I had to celebrate with a little bubbly, even at 8:30 am!

Post Race

When you are ready to leave you can head to the free shuttle buses to any of the Walt Disney World Resorts or your car if you parked. You also have the option to call a taxi or Uber. We hopped on a bus and headed straight to the Boardwalk for a celebration brunch at Trattoria al Forno after the 10K. After the Half Marathon, we went to brunch at Captains Grill at the Beach Club. Make sure you get brunch reservations early if you plan to get brunch, as reservations, especially at the more popular restaurants, tend to fill up quickly!

Post Race Party

Sunday night following the Half Marathon there is a huge post race party for runners and their families. The party takes place after hours at Epcot. At the party, you can try items at around 30 different international food and beverage booths from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, ride your favorite Epcot rides and attractions, attend meet & greets with characters, watch live entertainment and dance the night away at the dance party with a live DJ. One of the best parts of running during the Wine & Dine weekend is definitely this post race party! We walked right onto Soarin and Test Trek and got to try as many food items from the Food & Wine festival without the crazy lines. Not to mention celebrating and dancing the night away with our fellow runners. It’s a blast!

Last year you could enter Epcot at 8:00 p.m. and the party officially started at 10:00 p.m., after they cleared the park of regular guests. If you are inside Epcot before the party begins, the line to check in for the party is extremely long. Walk out of the park and check back in at the entrance near the World Showcase to skip that line! We entered Epcot around 7:30 p.m. with our post-race party tickets and didn’t wait even 5 minutes to get our wristbands!

The fee for the post race party is included in the half marathon registration fee, but you will need to pay for a ticket if you are running the 5k or 10k. Friends and family members can also purchase a post-race party ticket and attend. A post race party ticket on the RunDisney website for 2017 is $79.00.

Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend takes place during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. This is an event happens annually in Epcot’s World Showcase featuring more than 30 unique food & drink kiosks, a concert series, cooking demonstrations, beer & wine seminars and more. We attended one of the beverage seminars during the festival and I highly recommended booking one of these experiences! We’ll be posting more about the festival soon.

2017 Wine & Dine Race Weekend Info

runDisney Health & Fitness Expo
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Friday, November 3, 2017
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Location: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Disney Fall Feast 5K
Friday, November 3, 2017
6:30 a.m.
Fee: $80

Disney Wine & Dine 10K
Saturday, November 4, 2017
5:30 a.m.
Start/Finish: Epcot
Fee: $120

runDisney Kids Races
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Location: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Fee: $20-$30

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
Sunday, November 5, 2017
5:30 a.m.
Fee: $199

Disney Two Course Challenge
10K & Half Marathon
Fee: $340

Post-Race Party
After-hours Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Location: Epcot
Fee: $79 or free with Half Marathon Registration

Check the RunDisney website for more details.

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Want more information about Disney World including tickets, doing Disney as an adult, staying on site at Disney and packing for your runDisney trip? Check out our other blog posts!

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