I don’t know about you, but when I’m finished running a half marathon I’m HUNGRY! I think this is why the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is right up my alley…after the race you have access to all 26 booths of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Race registration comes with a drink voucher for the beer tent at the finish line, admission into Epcot for the Wine & Dine After Party, and a $10 gift certificate to use at the festival. Can it get any better?!?
I was starving after running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and couldn’t wait to get some food in my belly! Once I got my medal, I grabbed my backpack from bag check and my first priority was to get my sneakers off and change into my compression sleeves and flip flops…a race recovery combo of champions!
The line to go through bag check was LONG…it took about 15 minutes to go through. Hopefully next year they will add a few more security guards to accomodate for the crowds. Once in the gates, I found my friends John and Sid and we made our way into the park.
**Quick tip: if you’re looking to change after the race, all of the bathrooms near the entrance will have long lines. Walk farther into Future World and you will find bathrooms with no lines**
So once I changed out of my nasty, sweaty clothes we made our way over to World Showcase. On the way over we passed the Ocean Spray cranberry bog and they were jamming out! This just put a HUGE smile on my face 🙂
My first stop at the Food & Wine Festival was Australia. I’m not a big lamb fan, but the lamb chop at the Australia booth this year was probably my favorite dish at the whole festival. It was simply grilled (usually to a perfect medium rare) and topped with a mint pesto and potato crunchies. I actually ordered 2 of these as there were the perfect salt and protein combo for after the race.
My next stop was going to be at the Mexico booth for some tacos, but the line was super long. So I decided to pass that by and move along down World Showcase. Here is where I left my friends and ventured off on my quest for food. They had to make their way back through Future World to get back to their hotel, but I only had to go to the International Gateway since I was staying at the Boardwalk. I was determined to make the most out of my gift card (and then some!). Hugs all around and I was off.
I made my way over to the Scandinavian booth across from the Norway pavilion which had a very small line. Those Swedish meatballs with the lingonberry sauce is to die for. Interesting though…that night I only received 2 meatballs with my order, whereas the day before when I visited the booth during the day I received 3. Were they purposefully cutting back or low on supplies? We may never know…
Next stop was my favorite of all the booths…South Korea. The Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw is probably one of the best things I’ve ever had…ever. There are so many flavors going on here – sweet, spicy, smokey…yum! I only had one that night, but I think I had at least 4 over the course of the weekend 🙂
Once I hit Italy I found a group of friends there (Jenn, Daniel, Danielle, Pat, Katherine…and more) and stopped to chat for a bit. I was fading fast so I decided to keep moving towards to Boardwalk and my comfy bed. But I couldn’t leave without stopping at my favorite new booth this year, Florida. Here I got the corn arepa filled with pork and served with a sweet corn salad. I’ve heard many conflicting reviews about this dish, but I LOVED it! I paired this with a Florida Beer Company Florida Lager, which was much needed after 13.1 miles. Not sure why I waited so long!
By this time it was close to 3:00 am and I was starting to fade. My feet hurt and my bed was calling me. While I would’ve liked some Cheddar Cheese Soup from Canada, I just couldn’t do a full circle of World Showcase. So I headed out the International Gateway and back to the Boardwalk Inn.
Having access to the Food & Wine Festival is such a great way to end a fun race! You can refuel and enjoy some fun entertainment at the same time. While I didn’t spend much time in Future World, many of the attractions were open, including Soarin’, Spaceship Earth, Maelstrom and more. It’s the perfect time to hit your favorite attractions without waiting in line. Maybe next year I’ll finish the race faster so I have more time to enjoy the attractions AND the festival! Wishful thinking 😉
Did you attend the Wine & Dine After Party? What did you think?