Posts Tagged by food & wine festival

Kill, Refurb, Marry: Epcot Food & Wine Booths

Kill-Marry-RefurbThe Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is by far the BEST event at Walt Disney World.  This was my 5th year attending the event and I must say that it just keeps getting better every year.  The chefs are always looking for new ways to bring innovative dishes to the kiosks and explore more of the world through food.

So when I saw that this month’s topic for Kill, Refurb, Marry was Epcot Food & Wine Booths I got very excited, but then immediately was filled with dread.  How could I pick a favorite?!  That’s like a parent picking a favorite child!  After much agonizing and review of my DFB Guide to the Festival, I have narrowed down my choices….with a few honorable mentions for good measure 🙂

Kill – Singapore

I have to be honest, this is a booth I always avoid.  While the Seared Mahi Mahi looks good, everything else at the booth looks completely unappetizing.  My first reaction when I saw the Lemongrass Chicken Curry this year was that it looks like vomit, seriously.  This photo actually makes it look ok, but in person…nope.

Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

Then there is the Singapore Sling.  This just sounds like a tropical version of a Long Island Iced Tea where you mix together a bunch of things and call it a cocktail.  Plus anything with gin immediately heightens my gag reflex.

It is rare that you will find someone that actually enjoys the food at this booth and most people have strong opinions against it.  Take it from my friend Rick who had an interesting review from last year’s festival.  So let’s move on from Singapore and add something a bit more appealing like Thailand!

Refurb – Terra

This was a tough one sine I find something redeeming at most booths.  I decided to go with Terra because I feel like there are so many interesting Vegan dishes out there that don’t have to include “fake meat.”  I was a vegetarian for over 8 years and I never enjoyed any of those products.  The texture was always very strange to me and I always wondered what kind of additives were being used to mimic those flavors. Doesn’t the texture of this year’s CraB’less CraB Cake look odd??

Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

Photo Source: Disney Food Blog

While I haven’t tried anything from Terra yet this year, I did try the Chick’n dish last year and my predictions were correct.  However I really enjoyed the sauces and sides that were served with the Chick’n.  My hope is that the chefs get a little more creative with natural vegan ingredients in the future.

Marry – Scotland

Scotland made it’s Food & Wine Festival debut last year and I loved everything they had to offer.  You can actually see me gushing over everything in this video…even the Vegetarian Haggis which I thought I was going to hate.  Well this year Scotland has outdone themselves.  It’s hard to believe, but they have actually gotten BETTER!

Scotland-Scallops-Smoked-Salmon

Along with the Vegetarian Haggis, they have added a Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin with Crispy Bacon AND a Fresh Potato Pancake with Smoked Scottish Salmon and Herb Sour Cream.  OH. MY. Both of these dishes are absolutely amazing.  When I visited they actually ran out of bacon for the scallop (a punishable offense!) and the dish was still outstanding.  I can’t wait to try it again with the bacon…I might actually pass out.  On top of that, all the drinks at the booth are wonderful.

Scotland, you are everything a Food & Wine Booth should be.  I Love You!

So those are my choices…what about you??  What Epcot Food & Wine Booths would you Kill, Refurb & Marry??  Make sure to visit This Happy Place BlogMouse on the Mind and all of the other great blogs participating in Kill, Refurb, Marry today!

2014-DFB-Food-and-Wine-Guide

Also, make sure to check out the DFB Guide to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to help plan your visit.  It’s a lifesaver in helping you get the most out of your time at the festival!

RAD Signature 100x75

2013 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Race Recap: A West Coast Point of View

I was lucky to get to know Kinnereth Jory, a California native and Disneyland regular, as I was getting ready for the Disneyland Half Marathon this year.  She had some GREAT tips for touring Disneyland for me!  So I was happy to return the favor when she was coming with her fiancee Andy to WDW for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  Kinnereth and Andy put together this fun Hers & His recap of the race…check it out!

Hello, readers of Running At Disney! Sarah asked us to share our race recap from a “Disneyland goer” point of view and we are so happy to share with all of you.

Kinnereth & Andy

Kinnereth & Andy!

Overall Impressions

Hers:  Disney World is so large!  I had been for the 2012 Princess Half Marathon (my second half and first Coast to Coast) but I forgot how large the property is in general.  We always tried to allow at least 20 minutes for shuttles (we stayed on property) and an hour to arrive at our destination (including possible walking).

We arrived from CA Saturday morning (I do NOT recommend this).  We were able to check in and nap before heading to the expo. runDisney in FL was very organized.  We were able to get to the expo on Saturday afternoon, change Andy’s corral, and exchange my shirt—all in less than an hour!  We lunched and rested for a bit before heading to the race start.

I had done extensive research by reading race recaps from prior years so that we would know what to expect.  I think this really helped us be prepared! Here are the tips we appreciated most: eat lunch and then lighter snacks leading up to race, be sure to rest and nap the day of the race, pack a check-bag with dry clothes for the after party, pack baby wipes for said changing.

His:  I’m originally from Ohio, so I had been to WDW more than Disneyland up until a year or so ago… but that was back in 1985 or so when there was just Magic Kingdom and EPCOT (which was only a few years old at that point). As a kid I didn’t realize the enormity of WDW and each of its parks. I’ve heard Disneyland is 300 acres… and WDW is 30,000 acres! Wow. That is huge.

We flew into Orlando on a red-eye flight from CA. I don’t sleep well on planes, so I barely had about 3 hours sleep the entire night when we arrived at our hotel—All-Star Movies—(which I’m glad we stayed at because my fiancee knows how into movies I am). After getting everything set with our reservation they found a room that we could stay at immediately! That pretty much made my day. So we went to the room and I crashed for a few hours.

After that we waited for the bus to ESPN… but the bus never arrived. In the span of about 20 minutes FOUR Hollywood Studios buses came by (stopping at the same area we were standing at), which was very teasing for us. We enquired about the Event buses we kept seeing go by (which never stopped at the bus stops). We discovered that they stopped around the other side of the building. While waiting for one of the Event buses, we finally saw an ESPN bus go by and ran to catch it.

Race Differences

Hers:  runDisney in CA needs to take a page from runDisney in FL and host a better race expo.  I loved the expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.  It was so easy to navigate and we hardly waited in any lines!  I hope that the Tinker Bell half I run January 2014 goes as smoothly 🙂

02 W&D_Expo

In Disneyland I am used to walking to the starting line of the race from my hotel.  I have run four half marathons there and we easily have about 45 minutes to get ready and walk over. I was scared to be late to this nighttime race, so I made us arrive to the shuttle by 7:20pm!  We had NO problems getting on the shuttle right away and arriving quickly at the starting area.  My packet was missing the wrist band for entering the after party, so we popped in to the info booth and they gave me one (so easy – thanks runDisney), next we checked our bags and used the restrooms.  We looked at our watches and it was only 8pm.  So we sat on the grass and took pictures… do you like our signs?

03 W&D_K&A

The starting line and corral system seemed very similar to me.  I think there were more corrals in WDW, partly because there is more room!  This helped the race to be less congested.

Course: We ran on the highway first, then entered Animal Kingdom for a bit and back out to the road.  At mile 9 we ran through Hollywood studios, this time for about 1 whole mile, then on to some road by a resort before we reached Epcot.  Running the later miles in the parks was nice.  The west coast races have anywhere from 4-6 miles in the parks, then a looong time out in the neighborhoods of Anaheim (it does get boring) before heading back to the [same] parks for the last 1.5 mile.

04 W&D_Osborne

His:  Getting all the race stuff at WDW is a WAAAAY easier experience than at Disneyland. At Disneyland they don’t really have any space to hold the expo. They hold it in the bottom of the Disneyland Hotel, which is teeny-tiny and gets completely jam-packed with lines of people, often criss-crossing each other in the middle of the space. Ridiculous!

By contrast, at WDW there’s so much space that getting your bib and race bag is quick and simple. I was amazed at the difference. Back to the hotel we went for another nap to catch up on the sleep we hadn’t gotten on the plane.

We awoke at 5:30 pm, got dressed, caught a bus (quickly this time), and headed back over to ESPN to wait for the race to begin. We checked in a bag with a whole set of clean clothes for after the race, as well as a baggy of baby wipes so that we could at least get somewhat clean after the race. We stretched or sat on the grass waiting with everyone else and talked to some nice people while waiting.

We heard the call to line up and plodded along with all the other people into our correct corral. There we waited another 30 minutes or so for Corral A to begin the race. We were in Corral F so it was even later for us to begin. Finally we were off!

05 W&D_Fireworks

Race highlights

Hers:  I loved the nighttime race!  I loved all the time spent running through the different parks.  I loved hearing the “Congratulations” & “Good Luck” from fellow runners who read the signs on our backs 😉

The after party!  What a fun idea!  We zoomed past the changing tents and missed the comped beverage in order to sit down and stretch.  Then in Epcot we changed to dry clothes, purchased a glass of champagne and tried food from Hawaii, Greece, and Morroco.  All delicious!  We even had time to ride Maelstrom and Test Track before heading to bed at 4am.

His:  We started at a slow pace so that we wouldn’t get tired early. I hadn’t been keeping up on my training so I’d only done one long run (8 miles) since the Disneyland Half Marathon two months before. Not a great idea by any means, but life gets in the way of training… at least for me.

Anywho, we were running and I was feeling pretty good. My best race was a 10K around San Francisco a few months ago and I was able to do so well because of the weather. I don’t know about most people but weather means pretty much everything to me. I cannot stand being hot while I run or to have the sun in my eyes. As such I almost always run after it gets dark. I know that this is the opposite of most runners, who love to run in the morning, but that’s the way it goes.

So I was very excited that the Wine&Dine Half was being held at night. I had such a hellacious time at the Disneyland Half in September because after about a half hour of running the sun was up, it quickly got to about 90 degrees, and the humidity was something like 75% (which people from other states may not think is bad, but CA usually has extremely LOW humidity, being the semi-arid region that it is). Anyway, running the Wine&Dine Half was a much nicer experience for me because it was dark and the humidity was low, especially for FL.

WineDine Race from Website

I felt pretty good in the first few miles. We made a quick potty stop at mile 3, then kept on truckin’. My fiancee is a much better runner than I am, faster and with no complaining, while I bitch pretty much the entire time because everything hurts. But I was doing pretty good keeping up with her. We would go for two miles, take a 1-2 minute walk break, repeat. I was feeling so good in fact that I ran this way for the first 9 miles, which is saying a lot for me.  During the Disneyland Half I basically had to stop running after the 6th mile because any time I tried to start up again my quads would seize up and was incredibly painful.

But again, running at the Wine&Dine Half was a MUCH better experience for me.

Race Struggles

Hers:  Thankfully, I didn’t have any physical struggles this race.  I finally feel like I am getting into a running “grove”.  This was half marathon #8 for me, and I am currently training for my very first full, the Napa Valley Marathon 2014!!!  Ahhh!  I do think the higher mileage has helped me, personally.

What I did struggle with was a few spots on the course that seemed disorienting or dangerous.  When we got into Animal Kingdom the smell of the animal pens hit me (phew!), but it was also darker there and the paths were very narrow.  It was tough to really run my own pace with all the people and the fact that I was looking down to be sure of my footing.

Then in Hollywood Studios we passed through a tunnel that was filled with fog and disco lights – really!!!  I cannot stand disco lights or strobe lights, I get headaches and avoid them at all costs.  I really wanted to run with my eyes closed during this section.  The fog on top of humidity I’m not used to made it hard to breath.  Thankfully this stretch seemed to end quickly!

I enjoyed this race so much.  All of the great things outweigh the few negative experiences.  I hope to come back and race this one again.  Maybe on an anniversary year?

His:  From mile 9 to the end I had a lot more problems. I started getting the same quad pains that I did at the Disneyland Half (although to a much lesser extent). I had to stop to walk after each mile (it’s a good idea to walk through the water stops btw because it’s hard to drink whilst running).

From mile 9 to the end I also had to run a lot slower. Up until Mile 9 we were running around 11-minute miles. Because of all the walking that I had to do, Mile 13 apparently took me around 20 minutes, but I was so exhausted and in so much pain that there was no way I could have done any better. All I was shooting for was to get under 3 hours, which I did!

Official Time: 2:58:05

WineDine Race Results Me and Kinner

Thanks for sticking with us and happy running!

08 W&D_Medals

A Difficult But Necessary Decision

Well it’s official, I’m not running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon this year.  B and I made the decision a few days ago that we were not going to travel down to Orlando next week and therefore I had to forgo running the race.  I’ve been lucky enough to participate in most of the runDisney races this year, but with that comes a price.

First is the obvious financial price.  Since I live over 1,000 miles from Walt Disney World and on the other side of the country from Disneyland, it costs a lot to travel to these races.  It’s not just airfare, but it’s rental cars, airport parking, pet sitters, hotels, food, etc…  Each event comes with a hefty price tag and that’s not even taking the race entry into account.  Last week we had to buy B a new car because his fabulous 2006 Mini Cooper with almost 160k miles on it was on her last legs.  It was unexpected, but necessary for him.  Also the holidays are coming up and we will have a ton of additional expenses coming our way.  We had to weigh the fun extravagance against our responsibilities and obviously the latter won out.

Second is the physical/emotional price.  Traveling takes a lot out of me.  It’s no secret that I am not a fan of flying, but I suck it up to go to my happy place.  That doesn’t mean that it’s not draining for me.  I have also not been feeling all that well lately (you can read about that over on RAD Living) so the thought of packing, getting on a plane and sleeping in a foreign bed for 5 nights was just not appealing to me.  In the past 2 months I have traveled A LOT and just need a break.  I just want to be home.  As much as I love Disney and my friends who I would be seeing next week, I just can’t do it.

Am I a bit disappointed?  Yes!  I LOVE the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  It’s tied for my favorite race with Princess.  And Food & Wine Festival…ugh what I wouldn’t do for a lamb chop from Australia right now.  But I’ve realized that I just can’t do everything, even though I really want to.  I have to put my family and my health first and that’s why I’ve decided to take a break.  Next year I will definitely be cutting back on my travel so I can make it there for this race…it will be the 5th anniversary after all!

So as sad as I am that I won’t be there, I’m so excited to follow along with all of you during the weekend.  Send me your photos…I want to live vicariously through you!  I’ve also recruited some awesome guests to cover the weekend for me so we won’t be short on recaps over here.  Plus, it will be great to get some other perspectives than me rambling on like I always do 🙂

Good luck and I can’t want to see everyone with these awesome new medals on!

ToT-Expo-W&D-Medal

Final Race Information for the 2013 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

We are now just over 3 weeks away from the 2013 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend!!  This is my favorite Disney race and I can’t wait!

2013-Wine-Dine-Logo

As with all runDisney weekends, they begin with a trip to the Health & Fitness Expo.  The Expo will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS) on Friday, November 8th from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Saturday, November 9th from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.  All race participants  MUST attend the expo to turn in signed waivers (click here to print your waiver) and pick-up race packets, which include your race bib with B-Tag timing devices, race shirt, $10 gift card and clear plastic bag which is used for bag check during the race.  This is also where you will receive any commemorative items you may have purchased during registration.  If you are unable to attend the expo, you can print authorization forms here and have someone pick up your packets.  Participants for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K, and the Disney Kid’s Races all MUST go to packet pick-up.

Now, on to the information you will need for Race Day.

  • Host Resort Transportation  The following are a list of host resorts where buses will be available to bring participants to and from ALL events surrounding the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  This includes the Expo, half marathon, 5K, kids races, and after party.  For the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, runners must be on a bus by 8:00 pm to ensure they make it into their corrals on-time at WWOS.  Shuttle service will be suspended between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm because of road closures, but will recommence at 10:00 for the Finish Line After Party at Epcot.
    • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
    • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
    • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
    • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
    • Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
    • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
    • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
    • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
    • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
    • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
    • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
    • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
    • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Driving Directions  If not staying at a host resort, participants will need to provide their own transportation to all events.  An important thing to note is that there will be NO parking or guest drop off at WWOS (race start) on the evening of the race.  Runners and spectators will need to park at the Epcot and take shuttles to WWOS.  Runners must be on a shuttle by 8:00 pm, so make sure to leave extra time to park your car and wait in line for a shuttle.  Good news is that the parking fee will be waived for runners and spectators arriving at Epcot after 6:00 pm.
  • Costumes This is one of the best parts of Disney races…the costumes!  Runners get so creative and it’s so fun to see.  Please note that runners are NOT allowed to wear a face mask of any kind and will be removed from the course if this is violated.
  • Bag Check  Participants must use the clear bag provided at the expo to check any belongings during the race and affix the label with their bib number on the outside.  Bag check opens at 7:00 pm in the staging area at WWOS and all bags must be checked by 9:00 pm.  Bags will then be transported to Epcot and available for pick-up at in the finish line area beginning at 11:00 pm.  They must be claimed by 2:30 am on the morning of November 10th.  Unclaimed bags will be moved to Epcot Guest Relations.  I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive last year about the transportation aspect of this, but everything went smoothly.
  • Start Corrals  The start corrals are located along Victory Way at WWOS.  The race begins promptly at 10:00 pm, so you will want to leave enough time to get into your corral.  Your corral will be listed on your race bib and you will only be granted access to that corral or one behind you.   You can find your corral placement by printing your waiver and finding the corresponding corral for your bib number.  I will be in Corral I, so make sure to come say hi!

2013-W&D-Corrals

2013-W&D-Staging-Area

  • Starting Times  We saw the new shorter start time windows for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler and that is continuing on for this race.  The following are scheduled start times for the corrals at WWOS:
    • 9:58 pm – Wheelchair Start
    • 10:00 pm – Corral A Start
    • 10:02 pm – Corral B Start
    • 10:04 pm – Corral C Start
    • 10:06 pm – Corral D Start
    • 10:09 pm – Corral E Start
    • 10:12 pm – Corral F Start
    • 10:15 pm – Corral G Start
    • 10:19 pm – Corral H Start
    • 10:23 pm – Corral I Start
    • 10:28 pm – Corral J Start
    • 10:33 pm – Corral K Start
    • 10:40 pm – Corral L Start
  • Race Bibs  Bibs must be centered on the front of your shirt.  Safety pins will be provided in your race packet at the expo.  Do not bend our fold your bib, as the ChronoTrack B-tag will be affixed to the back of the bib which will be used to track your time.  If your bib is not properly centered, damaged or covered, your time may not be recorded properly.  Your bib will also be used for the on course photographers, so make sure the number is clearly visible.  This race has GREAT photo ops so don’t miss out!

Sunset Blvd

  • Pacing Requirements Remember, you must keep a minimum of 16-minutes per mile throughout the race or you will run the risk of being picked up and brought to the finish line.  Keep this in mind if you a planning to stop for character photos.  Those lines can get long and it’s easy to lose track of time.  Pace cyclists will be on the course to let you know if you have fallen behind.
  • Changing Tents  Changing areas will be available in the finish line area at Epcot so you can get out of those sweaty clothes to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival.  They can get a bit crowded, along with the restrooms near the entrance to Epcot.  Tip: Head a bit farther into the park and use the restrooms in there to change…no lines!
  • Finish Line  Moving the finish line to the Epcot parking lot last year worked really well.  The flow was great and the overcrowding issues of years past were non-existent.  I’m glad to see they kept this set up this year.

2013-W&D-Finish-Line

The course for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is the same this year, but it looks like there have been a few changes to Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K.
2013-Jingle-Jungle-5K-Course-Map
2013-W&D-Course-Map
I think it’s safe to say that this is my favorite runDisney race weekend.  The course is great, as you get to run through 3 parks and what better way to end the night than at the Food & Wine Festival?!  Don’t forget to get your copy of the 2013 DFB Guide to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival to plan what you are going to eat that night…it will save you a ton of time!
Make sure to check out my recap of the 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon to get you excited for the race and I also covered the Finish Line After Party with all the yummy goodness.  Hope to see you there!!
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