We’re less than a week away from Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, and I am so excited I could nearly burst. I haven’t been on property for a race weekend since the 2019 Marathon, so in the words of Lizzo, it’s about damn time!
If you’re headed to Orlando next week, there is one notable change to procedures. Due to demand issues (as in limited quantities of items getting wiped out quickly by resellers) and crowd management, Disney has opted to go with a virtual queue for merchandise shopping on day 1 of the expo (Thursday, November 3). There will be no standby line available.
This has not been a particularly popular decision, but I’m not going to debate the pros and cons and fairness of it all, just the facts.
Virtual Queue Details
The RunDisney Blog has a detailed post on the new process, but I’ll summarize:
1. You must have a smart phone with location services enabled, and the My Disney Experience app installed.
2. Virtual queue will open at 7:30 a.m., with first groups being allowed to begin shopping at 10:00 a.m.
3. You must be within 45 miles of Wide World of Sports to enter the virtual queue.
4. You will receive a push notification on your phone when your group is called, and then you will have one hour to make your way to the merchandise building at Wide World of Sports.
For Club runDisney members, you will not need to utilize the virtual queue. Platinum members can enter at 8:30 a.m. and Gold members can enter at 9:00 a.m.
So, what can I buy anyway?
If this is anything like past expos, there will be tons of runDisney merch available… everything from car magnets to shot glasses and keychains. The wild card is always the event-specific merch. Just in the nick of time, Disney has revealed a first look.
I probably have enough t- shirts and jackets to last me a while, but I will be all over that pin set for sure!
What about you? Got your eye on anything? Leave a comment and let me know.
The 2022 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Digital Event Guide has been published and the course maps that everyone has been clamoring for have finally been unveiled. My initial reaction was “Wow, that’s a whole lot of highway.” I am trusting that our event planners have been hard at work to keep their promise that “every mile is magic.” We’re going to need some magic between miles 6.5 and 11 on the half marathon course. It looks like 5-6 miles of desert to me, right about when we’re all going to hit the wall.
Unfortunately the maps published aren’t high-res, and they don’t blow up very well. The digital event guide does have a link to an interactive map, which might be more useful for study. I’ve scrutinized them, and I’ll try to describe what I am seeing for those of you who don’t have the eyesight or the patience to zoom in to a grainy picture.
Our 5K course starts at the back of the Epcot parking lot and wraps around the parking lot to the access road that orbits the park. We hit mile 1 just before entering the World Showcase near Mexico (sorry, too early for margaritas). Then it’s a lap around the World Showcase with a quick jog behind the International Gateway and the back side of United Kingdom.
We return to the lagoon to complete the loop and head into Future World. The we will take a right at the big pit and head into World Discovery and exit the park between Test Track and Mission Space. We run through no-mans-land behind The Wonders of Life and The Wonders of Xandar (Cosmic Rewind) to finish at the edge of the parking lot. I’m not sure what’s going on with that finish line experience. Perhaps it’s due to construction, but it feels rather anti climactic not to finish under Spaceship Earth.
For the 10K, we will head out from the parking lot in the opposite direction, do a funny curleyque and run on the highway for a few miles till we get to the back entrance of the Hollywood Studios. We’ll head down Sunset Boulevard past the Tower of Terror and then a left to head out the main entrance. From there we take a left along the waterway towards the Boardwalk and finally to the International Gateway a to finish in Epcot pretty much the same as the 5K course.
Here’s where I may get a little whiney. For the Half Marathon we start somewhere outside the parking lot (which I imagine means roads will be closed earlier – get there early!) There’s a bit of back-and-forth around the parking lot. Its past mile 3 before we even get into the park. After a swing aroung the lagoon, with a jog behind France, we exit and head through the Boardwalk towards the Studios.
We get to see just about everything in the Studios, including Galaxy’s Edge, before exiting to possibly the longest 6 miles in history. After the euphoria of the Studios, we face nothing to look forward to, at about the time it starts getting really tough physically and mentally.
If we survive this torture, it’s back through the parking lot to Future World, around the pit and the same basic finish as the other races.
I’m sure it will all seem much more entertaining when we’re in the moment, and that beautiful Half Marathon and possible Challenge medal will take the pain away when we cross the finish line. Here’s to some magical races, everyone!
I’m a bit late to the game in posting this, but runDisney has revealed the medals for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend!
To be completely candid I’m not 100% in with the style of the medals for this one. I think it’s supposed to harken back to a Mary Blair look, but I’m not sure they nailed it. Of the three single race medals, I like Jasmine (5k) and Moana (Half) the best. There’s just something I’m not buying about the 10k Belle medal. Guess which race I am running? Yes. This particualar weekend I am only running the 10k. Oh well. Can’t win them all.
The Fairy Tale Challenge medal (10K+Half Marathon) is an entirely different story. I am so in love with this medal. Its classy and elegant, and wishing it would be hanging on my wall in February. Oh well. Airfares during that particular week are just too steep for me. Flying home on Saturday after the 10k prevents me from needing to sell a kidney on the black market to fly home after the half marathon.
Either way, I’m so excited I’ll get the opportunity to participate in Princess Half Marathon Weekend! So which medals have you wishing on a star? Leave a comment and let me know!
So I have to admit I’m maybe a little too excited about spending a guilt-free (post-half-marathon) evening eating my way around the World Showcase. The Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend is of course meant to be the culmination of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and the after party is a “private” party for Half-Marathon runners and their guests to enjoy the Festival foods with access to some of the big attractions and short wait times.
I was lucky enough to be at the Food and Wine Festival back on opening day in July and got to try a few things. It was a quick hit –we were park-hopping and had a special meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table planned for later in the day. We didn’t want to fill up too much do spoil our appetites for later.
I was also not thinking clearly, because I didn’t take any pictures of the Festival foods we tried. So I’ll have to share pics I found on the Disney website. I am guessing they’ll forgive me since I am basically providing them free advertising here.
If you’ve not experienced a Disney food festival before, they are wonderful ways to sample all kinds of new flavors with low commitment. Everything is small bites, though I’m sure you already know, nothing is cheap, just small.
When my daughter and I go to the food festivals we follow a couple of rules:
Everything is shared. No exceptions (except alcohol)
Nothing is off limits, for this one day
Stop when you’re full, not after…
Therefore, study the menu hard ahead of time
We only hit a couple of booths – France and Japan. My daughter is obsessed with escargot (weird for a teenager, I know) but that was first on the list.
Off to France we went. We ordered:
Beignet aux Trois Fromages (warm donut with 3 cheeses)
Brioche aux Escargots (escargot, brioche, creamy garlic & parsley sauce)
La Passion Martini Slush (vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, cranberry and passion fruit juices)
To be super clear, this was for me, not the teenager. But rest assured it was YUM.
The verdict: Both the beignet and the escargots dishes were tasty, but we regretted ordering 2 items that were so bread-heavy. They were too similar to work together (maybe they should have taken that into consideration while planning the menu). The amount of escargot on the brioche was a little disappointing, but it was delicious and nonetheless satisfying.
Next on our super-fast spin around the lagoon was a stop in Japan for some octopus, maybe because my teenager is not quite normal. To be honest I like octopus, too, although knowing how intelligent they are I feel a little guilty when they are on my dinner plate. We ordered:
Takoyaki (Octopus, green onion, and cabbage bites) (with some other Japanese stuff)
The verdict: Skip this one. We needed a microscope to find the octopus in all that breading. As I already mentioned, we were breaded-out at this point. The cabbage was pretty yummy though.
By now we were thirsty and we backtracked into Morocco. We found a non-alcoholic special iced tea that I can’t seem to find on the Festival menu. My recollection was good flavor, but way too sweet, so keep that in mind.
That’s what I know about first-hand. Let’s look at what I am dreaming about for the Wine and Dine after-party:
Australia: Sweet & Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp (shrimp, pineapple, pepper, onion, and snap pea)
Disenfranchised (Simmering Sips, near Port of Entry): Guava Mousse on a Sugar Cookie (coconut-lime whipped cream)
Canada: Canadian Cheddar and Bacon Soup (self-explanatory)
Mexico: Taco al Pastor (pork belly, corn tortilla, chipotle black beans, pinapple, pickled onions, chives)
Also Disenfranchised (The Noodle Exchange, near Disney Traders): Chinese Char Siu Pork Udon (mushrooms, bok choy, pickled egg)
AndAlso Without Passport (The Swanky Saucy Swine, near Disney Traders): Grilled Pork Shoulder Lettuce Wrap (charred corn salsa, pickled red onion, cilantro-lime crema)
Which brings me to the final item of discussion: poutine. It’s a fan favorite. It’s also sometimes a delicate subject for me. My running partner (who will be with me on Wine and Dine Weekend) originates from Québec: birthplace and home of poutine. He’s a purist, and not at all interested in alternate, haute-cuisine takes on the north-of-the-border hangover staple. The Refreshment Port (near Canada, eh) is offering two types of poutine: traditional, and braised beef.
If you’re new to poutine, as I was not long ago, let me give a very brief primer.
It is both disgusting and delicious at the same time. It is generally used for medicinal purposes anywhere people speak French and endure winter 8.75 metric months of the year.
To me, the braised beef option, with a garlic and herb cheese sauce, sounds delightful. Upon initial consultation with my Québecois expert, he is… not impressed. I think this will likely be “settled” at the after party. But, to be completely honest, if I try everything on my wish list, there will be no room left for traditional poutine. I might just forfeit now, to make everyone’s life easy and enjoy the evening.
Either way it’s one night in food and rollercoaster heaven. The next morning I hop on a plane for reality. We’ll see who wins the poutine wars. With no official judging criteria, perhaps I stand a chance. What’s your stance on poutine? Will you be trying the plain of fancy version? Drop a note in the comments!
There’s a lot to do to get ready for a runDisney weekend…first you have to secure a spot, you actually have to train (easy to forget about that in the excitement surrounding registration), make travel arrangements, park reservations and that’s it, right? Wrongo!!! The most important question might be WHAT are you going to wear??? Now there’s nothing saying you have to wear a costume to run, but come on, you’re running in the happiest place on earth and the costumes are a big part of the show!
Running costumes can be a bit tricky, because you want to have fun, of course, but you do actually have to be able to move in your costume. You never know what you’re going to get for weather at 5 a.m. in Central Florida. Probably TMI, but my first marathon (January, of course) I was in the median of the highway vomiting with heat exhaustion. The next marathon, wishing I’d selected ski pants and a parka instead of leggings and a t-shirt.
Checking out everyone’s costumes is a huge part of the fun for the Disney races. The level of creativity is usually off the charts. Costumes can be simple, but some of them are extravagant. But whatever you choose, rest assured you’re probably making someone’s day while showing off your Disney side.
There are a few guidelines on the runDisney site. Most of them are for safety purposes, with the biggie being that no masks are allowed.
My own efforts are underway. Please don’t laugh.
I am in love with the idea of costumes, but I definitely have a handicap. I can’t sew – not one stitch. Now if it invovles a stapler, a hot glue gun, or fusible bonding web, I might have a chance, but the results are usually questionable. I’ve always been a fan of putting stuff together from thrift store finds. It can be quite satisfying, but I’m realizing that with all the “extras” that I need to finish a costume this way, I’ve probably spent just as much as I would have if I’d purchased a professional costume, and the results are often well, clearly handmade (I think the bougie description is “folk art”). There is still a statisfaction in creating your own “something” out of a pile of thrifted rags, so if nothing else, there is that.
The skirt on the left was a thrifted maxi-skirt. I cut it short and stuck some ribbons and remnants on there to make it look like Luisa’s skirt from Encanto. The black fabric for the dumbbells was a big mistake. If I were to do it over again, I’d use felt. Also, this skirt will need a slit. There’s no running in a pencil skirt, no matter what the fabric!
On the right is a bunch of stuff from another thrift store run that I will attempt to turn into Namaari from Raya and the Last Dragon. Whether or not this will be successful remains to be seen. Stay tuned, Dear Readers!
Thankfully there are a number of people who specialize in making beautiful and functional running costumes that are perfect for the occasion and don’t look amateur like my meager efforts.
Here are some of my faves:
Every race has it’s own theme, and thankfully, WeRunForFun has thought of everything! This Etsy shop has something for all the upcoming race icons and heroes! Prices range from around $39-$65, depending on the item. You can find printed dresses, skirts, shirts, leggings – even sports bras, perfectly themed for the upcoming runs. I’m a little bit obsessed with the 90s themed skirt for the marathon – it would go perfectly with Pleasure Island shirt I’ll be rocking that weekend!
If you’re looking for something with that extra special kick (i.e. bling) www.TutuFactory.com knocks it out of the park (Into the Parks??) Prices vary depending on the size ordered and the complexity of the costume. These are handmade beauties (the kind that don’t look like folk art). Custom orders may also be available. You can choose just the tutu, just the top, or full costumes. You might need to add some accessories to complete the look.
Sunday Morning Active
Sunday Morning Active goes deep into the vault when to comes to characters and themes, and you are likely to find some obscure wins when you’re shopping here! Expect to spend between $49-$69 on these classic yet innovative looks. The items are printed and are spot-on in every way. And please don’t tell my daughter about the Queen of Hearts options. Just don’t.
Any way you look at it, costumes are so much fun. I’d love to see what you’re wearing! Find me on Instagram and show me your best looks!! @disneyparkrunner