Posts Tagged by disney hollywood studios

Registration Opens Today for the 2015 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

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Registration opens today at Noon EST for the 2015 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend!  Named as the perfect “Runner’s Night Out,” this race takes you through 3 Walt Disney World parks and ends at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  How can you go wrong with that?!

All running events take place on Saturday, November 7th beginning with Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K at 7:00 am at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  (Here’s a great review of that race from 2013!)  Later that morning at the New Balance Track & Field Complex, located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS), are the Kids Races with the dashes starting at 10:00 am and the 1-mile run at 10:45 am.  And if that’s not enough running for one day, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon starts at 10:00 pm in the WWOS parking lot.  This nighttime race takes runners through Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and finishes at Epcot…the only Disney Half Marathon to take you through 3 parks…and ends with free beer & wine at the finish!

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Other events taking place over the weekend are the Pre-Race Taste and the Finish Line Party.  The Pre-Race Taste is a 1 1/2 hour event on Friday, November 6th located at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Theater inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios and features food from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, entertainment and unique photo opportunities.  The Finish Line Party is a great event for runners and their supporters.  It takes place at Epcot following the Wine & Dine Half Marathon where select attractions including Soarin’, Test Track and Mission: SPACE are open until 4:00 am for those attending the party.  Another added bonus is that all of the Food & Wine Festival kiosks are open during the party to feed your post race hunger!!

Pricing for the events are as follows:

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

  • $190 by March 31, 2015
  • $205 between April 1 and April 14, 2015
  • $220 on or after April 15, 2015

Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K

  • $65 by April 14, 2015
  • $75 on or after April 15, 2015

runDisney Kids’ Races

  • $15 by April 14, 2015
  • $20 on or after April 15, 2015

runDisney 1-Mile Run

  • $30 by April 14, 2015
  • $35 on or after April 15, 2015

Disney Wine & Dine Pre-Race Taste Tickets

  • $79 for Adults (ages 3 and up)
  • Children under 3 do not need a ticket

Finish Line Party Tickets

  • $75 by August 12, 2015
  • $85 between August 13 and October 28, 2015
  • $95 on or after October 29, 2015

The price tag for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a bit higher than other Disney races, but it includes a few extra perks.  You get the usual amazing Disney entertainment on the course, a long sleeve tech shirt, and race medal, but also included is admission to the Finish Line Party at Epcot and a $15 gift card (increased from $10 in previous years) to use at the Food & Wine Festival kiosks!

Packet pick-up will be required at the Health & Fitness Expo held at WWOS beginning November 6, 2015.  Remember you MUST pick up your own packet.  Visit the runDisney event page for more information on all of the events taking place that weekend and click here to register for any (or all!) of the events beginning at noon today.

rad-wine-dine-aLooking for a place to stay over Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend?  Kingdom Magic Vacations has rooms available at various Walt Disney World resorts from Value to Deluxe.  Not only will they get you the best rate, but they are experts when it comes to running at Disney.  They will help you plan the perfect racecation and take care of every little detail for you.  All you have to do is the training!  Click here to get a free quote.

You can also check out some of these RAD recaps for more info on what the events are like:

2014

2013

2012

As per usual with runDisney races lately, this is sure to sell out quickly.  Make sure you are at your computer with credit card in hand when the clock strikes noon!  This is such a fun race and I can’t say enough good things about it…well if the weather cooperates. 🙂  Will you be running in 2015? 

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A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America!!

Sam EagleHappy Fourth of July!!  I mean really, who better represents this country better than Sam Eagle, right??

Well I’m stuck here in CT for the holiday, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be enjoying the 4th of July celebration in WDW!!  I don’t think I could ever deal with the holiday crowds down there or the heat in WDW at this time of year, but that’s why social media is so great!  There are so many people who are in the World enjoying all the festivities that I can pretend like I’m there!  But if I was there, here’s what I would be doing…

Since Epcot is the largest of the parks and the crowds are bound to be large, I will probably spend the majority of my day here.  But before heading over, I would fuel up with a hearty breakfast at Cape May Cafe.  This is one of my favorite breakfast spots because the food is great (hello breakfast pizza!!) and there are great character interactions!

Sarah & Minnie

After a giant breakfast, a nice long walk around World Showcase would be great.  And because it’s the 4th of July, we would need to make a stop at the America pavilion to see The America Adventure and also check out the Voices of Liberty.  What better way to celebrate the 4th?!

A tour around World Showcase would take the majority of the afternoon and while Illuminations sounds tempting for the 4th of July, Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be calling me.  Not only do I LOVE this park, but fireworks here are few and far between so I would take full advantage of the opportunity.  But before the show, I would stop for a drink and maybe even dinner at 50s Prime Time Cafe.  Well at the Tune-In Lounge to be exact.

I love the kitchy atmosphere of 50s Prime Time and it’s just the perfect place to get a nice reprise from the July heat.  A nice libation and sharing “A Samplin’ of Mom’s Favorite Recipes’s” sounds like a great way to round out the 4th.  How can you go wrong with fried chicken and meatlof?!

Tune-in Lounge Disney Hollywood Studios 2013 - Moms Favorite RecipesAfter fueling up, it’s time to head out to Hollywood Boulevard and claim a spot for the fireworks.  I remember LOVING Sorcery in the Sky back in the 90s, so seeing fireworks at the Studios would put the icing on the cake of my Disney geekdom.  At least I have this video from last year:

Sigh…that’s an amazing way to celebrate the 4th huh?!?  Well that’s my ideal 4th of July in Walt Disney World…what’s yours???

A Look at the Walt Disney World Half & Full Marathon Courses

We are now just under a month away from the start of the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!  I’m not sure if I’m excited or incredibly nervous about running my first full marathon…maybe a little of both with some “what the hell was I thinking” thrown in there.

I received a few questions about elevation for the race, so I thought I’d take a look at both the half and full marathon courses and map out their elevations using Map My Run.  Let’s take a look:

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

I haven’t run this race, but I did run the Princess Half Marathon which is on the same course.  It is mainly flat with a few hills on the overpasses, but they are manageable.

Miles 1 – 4 are almost completely flat with a small downhill going onto World Drive.  This is a great stretch to start the race with because it is fast and there is usually a good amount of entertainment on World Drive.

Pirate Ship on World Drive During Princess Half Marathon

You will encounter your first hill just before Mile 5 as you go under the waterway between Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.  Be careful here because the course is narrow and it tends to get very crowded.  Good news is you’re about to enter the Magic Kingdom!  Sadly, you are only in the Magic Kingdom for about 1 mile, but it’s the best mile of the race.  You will hit Mile 6 while in Frontierland and by the time you leave the park you will be halfway done!

**TIP: Make sure to use the bathrooms while you’re in the park to avoid the Porto Johns!!  You will thank me for this later :)**

Miles 7 – 9 continue to be flat.  Here you are heading down Floridian Way, past the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts and back onto World Drive.  After Miles 10 & 11 are where you will hit your next set of hills…it’s like a cruel joke that these come towards the end.  The first is the worst.  It’s a slanted, circular on ramp leading to the overpass that takes you back towards Epcot.  Then just after Mile 11 you come across an even steeper overpass…yikes!  But that’s it, you’re now in the home stretch and get to run through Future World and to the finish line.  Don’t forget to enjoy the gospel choir right at the end…they are amazing!

Walt Disney World Marathon

From the looks of it, the marathon course seems to have a lot more elevation changes…oh boy!  As if I wasn’t worried about the distance, now I have hills to worry about!  Ok, maybe I’m overreacting here…humor me 😉

Miles 1 – 8 are basically the same as the half maraton above.  During mile 8 you enter a new part of the course, the Walt Disney World Speedway.  My hope is that it will be on the inside portion of the course that is flat and not along the banked track…that wouldn’t be fun.

After the Speedway, the next 3 miles are spent on Bear Island Road heading towards Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I’ve never been down this road, but from Google Maps it looks very wooded and isolated.  You also run past some sort of environmental treatment plant…nose plugs anyone?  My hope is that they will have a fair amont of entertainment back here to keep us occupied on this long stretch.

Just after mile 12 you enter Animal Kingdom in a backstage area near Rafiki’s Planet watch.  The next mile is spent running through Asia, past Expedition Everest (take a ride if you dare!), through Dinoland USA and out into the parking lot.

Expedition Everest During Mickey’s Halloween 5K

Good news is, you’ve just completed a half marathon.  Bad news is, you have to do it all again!  Hopefully a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) wind will kick in at this point and you will continue on strong for the next 4 miles as you head out of Animal Kingdom and down Osceola Parkway towards the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Be warned that the steepest overpass of the entire course is here on Osceola Parkway, so pop that Gu before hand! 🙂

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is new to the marathon this year for the 20th anniversary celebration and we will be spending 3 miles here winding all throughout the complex.  runDisney has been tight lipped about the 20th mile celebration that they have promised for the 20th anniversary which will be taking place in Champion Stadium.  I know I can’t wait to see what this surprise celebration is…any guesses on what it will be?!

You will pass the mie 20 marker as you are leaving the complex and the next 2.5 miles take you over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  There is a great downhill here (of course followed by an uphill) so use that to your advantage as you start fading at this point.  Well maybe you won’t be fading, but I know I will be!  You enter the Studios by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, run up the Streets of America, past the Great Movie Ride and down Hollywood Boulevard as you exit the park.  There is only about 1 mile that is run through here and most of it is backstage, which is a bit disappointing since they got about 3 miles out of the Studios for Wine & Dine.

Sorcerer’s Hat During the Tower of Terror 10-Miler

Only 2.5 miles left as you exit the Studios and head along the pathway towards Crescent Lake and Epcot!  The pathway narrows as you pass the Boardwalk and gets congested with spectators, so be prepared to slow down a bit here.  I love this resort area in the morning as they are waking up and it is starting to get bright out.  Unfortunately, I probably won’t come through here until close to noon so it will be lunch time for me!  But for you fast runners, make sure to appreciate the sights for a second as you zoom through.

Gorgeous!

Two final (and killer!) uphills here.  The first is as you are leaving the Beach Club resort and heading into Epcot, and the second is after you pass through the International Gateway and up into World Showcase.  Good news is that there is only 1 mile left after this and it is all spent through Epcot.  The course heads right and you get to run around all of World Showcase.  By this time, the park will be open when most of us are going through so I know having all of those spectators in there is really going to help push me though!

Running Through World Showcase During the Wine & Dine Meet Up

You exit Epcot in the same area as the half marathon and out into the parking lot to cross the finish line!! Oh and don’t forget about the gospel choir 🙂  I have a feeling that those last .2 miles are going to be the longest ever.

Well I don’t know about you, but after going through the course in detail and seeing all of the amazing things that are in store, excitement is actually taking over!!!  Yes, I haven’t been training like I should be but I still think I can do this!  Who’s with me?!?!

What are you most looking forward to on either the half or full marathon courses?

**Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a bunch of runDisney and RAD swag!!  You have until Sunday morning to enter…do it now!**

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon: Race Recap

I hope you like photos because you’re going to see A LOT here!  What can I say, I get photo happy on Disney races 🙂

This race is by far my favorite runDisney race to date.  The atmosphere, the entertainment, the course and the after party were just great!  But let me not get ahead of myself.  Here’s how the day went…

Fueling for night races has always been something I’ve struggled with as far as timing and what to eat, etc…  We got some great tips from Jeff Galloway and Tara Gidus at the runDisney Meet Up the day before, so I was feeling a little more comfortable going into this one.  I decided to start the day off with a late breakfast at Kouzzina, one of my favs!  I got the spinach, tomato & feta scramble, bacon and substituted the potatoes with their yummy sweet potato hash and the toast with blueberries and bananas.  Great pre-race fuel!

Favorite Kouzzina Breakfast!

After breakfast, Amanda and I were headed over the the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Golf Tournament being held at Shades of Green to cover the event.  This was a lot of fun and a great way to spend an easy afternoon.  I’ll have more to come on the event soon.  Oh and look who I ran into there, I haven’t seen Donald since the Princess Half Marathon! 😉

After walking around for a while, we decided to head back to our room at the Boardwalk to rest our legs for the race.  But we made two quick pitstops.  First was a quick drive through the Walt Disney World Speedway to see where we will be running for the 20th Anniversary Marathon in January, followed by a smoothie stop at Landscape of Flavors at the Art of Animation Resort.  We stopped there for a small lunch and I was pleasantly surprised that they had a fresh fruit smoothie bar there.  Just was I was craving!

Blueberry, Banana & Mango Smoothie

Figuring we had a long night ahead of us, we took a nap to rest up before grabbing dinner.  There are many dinner choices at the Boardwalk, but I was looking for something that would fill me up, be gluten free, yet still not be too heavy.  After looking at menus, we settled on the ESPN Club for what we thought would be a quick bite.  I went with the Champion Chicken Sandwich with no bread and all the sauces on the side.  While the food was good, the service and the atmosphere were not so great.  It took forever to get our food and the crowd was a bit loud watching college football.  It probably would’ve been better to order dinner and take it back to the room to eat in peace.

Pre-Race Dinner

We started getting ready around 6:30 pm so we could get on the bus over the the start line at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS) in time since the last bus was at 8.  We headed down around 7:30 pm and were greeted with a HUGE line that wound almost back to the hotel.  This was very different from the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler when we walked right on the bus around the same time pre-race.  There wasn’t any explanation for the delay, they just must have been short on buses, but we ended up waiting in line for about 40 minutes before we finally got on a bus.  Not the ideal situation for runners to be standing around this long before a half marathon.

Loooooong Bus Line

Amanda & I made it on the bus

We arrived at WWOS around 8:20 pm and the holding area was packed!  I headed straight to bag check and it was pretty chaotic.  The lines were long and the volunteers were yelling at us to hurry up and tie our bags properly, but wouldn’t tell us what that meant.  They all seemed very frazzled and didn’t instill a lot of confidence that my bag would arrive safely over to Epcot.  Once my bag was checked, we headed into the crowd to find our friends who were in the insanely long line for pictures with Chef Mickey.

Bag Check Area

Photo Line for Chef Mickey…he’s down by those lights!

Sarah-Irene, Carrie, Kevin, Amanda & I waiting for Chef Mickey

Since I had already had my photo taken with Chef Mickey at the meet up the day before, I was more interested in getting in the LONG line for the bathrooms and getting into our corral for a good starting spot.  I’m glad I decided to do this because we ended up waiting in line for another 30 minutes to use the bathroom.  This was turning into the pre-race of lines, lines and more lines.

Crazy Bathroom Line!

Sarah-Irene (Sid), Amanda and I moved into Corral C at about 9:20 pm and slowly made our way to the front.  Our friend Jim caught up with us and we all decided to stick together for the race and have a good time.  The four of us started this running journey together back in 2010 with the inaugural Mickey’s Halloween Fun Run 5K  and thought it would be fun to do this race together.

Moving Into Corral C

Before we knew it they were singing the National Anthem and Corral A was off with the usual runDisney fanfare of fireworks.  I popped a Gu and we started making our way up to the starting line….this is when the nerves start kicking in!  Or was it just excitement??  It’s really hard to tell the difference!

Starting Fireworks

Waiting at the Starting Line!

Then 10 minutes later we were off!  Here’s a quick video of our start 🙂

Right off the bat, I knew this race was going to be better than the ToT 10-Miler the month before.  The first character stop came less than a mile into the course right on Oceola Parkway with Chip & Dale all decked out in tuxedos in front of a sparkling piano.  Not far after that was a live band that had such great energy…I couldn’t help to stop and dance 🙂

Chip & Dale

Awesome Band!

Somewhere between mile 2 & 3 I saw a bunch of motorcycles and official runDisney vehicles coming down the other side of Oceola and I knew the leaders were coming down the road.  Now they were already between miles 6 & 7 at that point so they were MOVING!  I was hoping I was going to see the winner of the Wine & Dine Half from the past 2 years Anton Van Zyl, who I had the privilege of meeting the day before at the meet up.  We actually ran into him on the bus on the way to WWOS and I wished him luck.  He wasn’t the leader at the time, but Anton was hot on his tails in 2nd place.  I ran across the median to snap a pic and gave Anton a big shout out!

Wine & Dine Leader at Mile 6

We were making pretty good time at the 5K mark with a time of 43:10.  This is slower than I had hoped, but with all the excitement and photo breaks I was happy with that.  The mile 3 marker was by far my favorite with a bunch of fun people cheering and waiving Austrailian and New Zealand flags.  Each marker was themes after the countries represented at the Food & Wine Festival this year…clever.

Mile 3 Festivities

It was around this time that we headed into Animal Kingdom.  We were greeted in the parking lot by the fun spinning floats from the Main Street Electrical Parade and the sounds of Baroque Hoedown.  The floats were spinning around like crazy…I want to drive one of those some day!

Main Street Electrical Parade Floats

As we entered the park, there were giant tusks lit up along the path to guide us through the dark.  This was so cool!  I had heard about it from prior years, but seeing it in person was a whole other thing.  Rafiki was there for photos and a few of the puppeteers from Mickey’s Jamin’ Jungle Parade were on hand as well.  It made for a great entrance up to the Tree of Life.  This was my first time being in Animal Kingdom at it was breathtaking (and not just because I was running).

Giant Tusks!

Tree of Life

Amanda had separated from the group before we got to Animal Kingdom and we finally met up again in Asia.  The four of us went along like this for the rest of the race….one or two would either fall behind or move ahead, but we would all meet up again at some point.  This was my first time running with a group and I have to say it was A LOT of fun!  It was great to have someone to talk to when the going got rough or simply share a laugh with.

Leaving Animal Kingdom we were at mile 5 and headed back down Osceola Parkway towards Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  The next 3 miles flew by for some reason, which was a ok for me!  And of course I had to stop for a little more dancing along the way 🙂

There’s always time for dancing!

My favorite hotel!
Entering the Studios…

I love the Hollywood Studios and I especially love it at night.  I hadn’t been to WDW around the holidays in over 10 years,  so I knew I was in for a real treat with the Osborne lights coming up.  We entered the park next to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and headed up Sunset Boulevard.  All of the holiday decor was up and it looked beautiful!

On Sunset Boulevard with Sid & Jim!

It’s amazing to me how much mileage runDisney manages to get into the Studios since it is such a small park.  They wind you around each nook & cranny and through a ton of backstage areas.  I was familiar with some of this since it was part of the course for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, but it still seemed to go on forever.  We even ran into Wreck-It-Ralph back there!

We’re Going to Wreck-It!

Oh the lights…the Streets of America were all aglow with the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (sans dancing).  I’m really going to date myself here, but the last time I saw the lights was when they were on Residential Street in the Backlot and I don’t recall they danced at that time.  These are so cool…definitely one of the highlights of the whole race for me.  Sid and I even took a second to stop and appreciate the spectacle 🙂

We were now on the home stretch.  Heading out of the Studios we were at mile 11 and about to head down the canal to the Epcot Resort Area.  On the way, there was this really fun live band parked on a few pontoon boats.  It probably was about 1:00 am at this point, but they were still in full swing as well as waiving and cheering for us…I LOVED this!

The walkway past the Boardwalk was a little tight, so we walked most of it.  This is a great area for spectators if you are staying around there and it seemed like a meet up point for many runners.  However, it did add to the congestion a bit, so if you’re a spectator the Yacht & Beach Club area might be a little better.  Since I was staying at the Boardwalk Inn, it was a little difficult to not make a detour for my nice comfy bed.  But that new runDisney bling was almost in my grasps and I kept on truckin’.

The Gorgeous Boardwalk Resort

The course bypassed the Boardwalk and went past the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.  I was amazed by how many people were still out cheering.  It was so encouraging…thank you to all of you strangers out there!  Someone did call it a night, but thankfully left my favorite sign of the race.

At this point the Fantastic Foursome were all together and we decided to stay that way for the last mile.  We were getting tired, but still having fun.

One Mile to Go!

The Fantastic Foursome!
Best running mates ever!

On to Epcot!  You know that overpass from the Beach Club to International Gateway??  Yeah, that thing sucked…  But we were rewarded with these AMAZING puppets.  There was Lumiere and Genie…super cool.

We went into a backstage area, past a ton of trash (phew!) and entered Epcot between the Land and Imagination Pavillions.  I was so excited we were able to run through Future World this year.  The past two years ended right outside the park, so this was definitely an added bonus.  Then to see all of the people cheering…whoa!  It was like running down Main Street USA for the Princess Half Marathon, but WAY more festive.  They only bad part was that no one handed me a beer…what up with that?!

That last mile seemed to go on forever.  I guess it was making up for how fast 5 – 8 went by.  I just felt like we were never going to get to that finish line.  Just before mile marker 13, we saw Sid’s husband John cheering us on, which was a much needed push to get us through.  Thanks John!  There was a really cool laser effect at Mile 13, which kept the actual finish line hidden from sight and felt like we were running into some foggy tunnel.  Definitely a fun perk of running a night race!

We rounded the corner and there she was…the finish line!  And who else was there to greet us but Chef Mickey!  I guess he finished all the prep for the After Party by that point 😉  The four of us grabbed hands and crossed that finish line together.  The perfect ending to a great race.

Chef Mickey!

Another Half Under Our Belts!

Oh and then I got this bad boy…

My official chip time was 3:25:07.  That’s a good 25 minutes slower than my last half in June and I know I could’ve subbed 3 hours for this race, but time didn’t matter.  As you can see, I had a blast with my friends and enjoyed all of the Disney atmosphere.  I’ve come to realize that for me Disney races aren’t about time, they are about the experience.  There are plenty of other half marathons that I can run for much cheaper and that are closer to home where I can set a PR and I really hope to do that in the future.  But when I runDisney, I want to enjoy myself and not pay attention to the clock.  Does anyone else feel this way?

After the race, I made a stop at the medical tent for some ice for my shins just to be safe.  They actually held up really well with the KT Tape (my favorite invention ever!) but I thought ice would be smart.  I picked up my bag which thankfully arrived safely and headed over to the After Party.  I’ll save that story for another post 🙂

Overall, I LOVED this race.  After my less than stellar experience at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler a few weeks prior, I was a bit skeptical going into this and was more than pleasantly surprised by the outcome.  There were a few hiccups with the transportation and bag check in the beginning, but those were minor issues considering how well the race was done.  runDisney has improved on this event every year and I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves for 2013.  I will definitely be back to do this again.

Did you run the Wine & Dine Half Marathon?  What was your experience?  Please share in the comments below…I’d love to hear from you!

 

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media.  My hotel expenses, meals and park admission were provided by Disney.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.