Are you headed down to Walt Disney World this fall to run the races offered at the runDisney Wine & Dine race weekend? Or, perhaps you are considering this in the future. I ran the Two Course Challenge in 2018, which includes the 10k and the Half Marathon. This weekend was the highlight of my year! There are many things that make this race weekend unique, and I have compiled a list of my favorite aspects of Wine & Dine– an ode to this race weekend, if you will.
November: A Perfect Time of Year
The runDisney Wine & Dine race weekend usually occurs during the first weekend of November. During this time, much of the United States is cooling in temperature, and Orlando is no exception. If you’ve ever visited in the summer, you know that Walt Disney World can be HOT. Like center of the sun hot. Likewise, if you’ve traveled to Walt Disney World in the winter, you’ve likely experienced some surprisingly cold weather. I have distinct memories of walking down Main Street in my winter jacket because temps were in the 30’s.
In my opinion, November weather is perfect! You may experience some rain, but the temperatures cannot be beat. In 2018, weather conditions for the Wine and Dine races were on the warmer side, but still very comfortable. Plus, if you have been training for these races throughout the summer, your body is acclimated to warmer weather.
With the change in temperature comes a change in holidays. Wine and Dine weekend occurs right in the sweet spot between the Halloween and Christmas seasons at Walt Disney World. Over the course of that weekend, historically, you may see fall decorations at the beginning of your trip and Christmas decorations towards the end. You get the best of both worlds!
Wine and Dine’s Unique Theming
The theming for this race weekend is unique. While Disney characters are heavily incorporated into the theming of this event, food and drinks are front and center! If you’ve ever run a runDisney race, you understand that race costumes are a huge part of the weekend. Runners dress up as their favorite characters in creative and elaborate ways.
If you love people watching, runDisney races are a gold mine! In my experience, the costumes runners wear tend to be on the more creative side for Wine and Dine as opposed to other race weekends. Sure, you see plenty of popular characters, but I have seen runners dressed as their favorite Walt Disney World snack (here’s looking at you, churro and Dole Whip), or a secondary character in a Disney movie that interacts with food. For instance, I’ve seen Tony and his sous-chef from Lady and the Tramp, Linguine and Remy from Ratatouille, and Chef Louis from The Little Mermaid.
Food and Wine Festival
Wine and Dine Weekend conveniently falls during one of the largest celebrations at Epcot: The Food and Wine Festival. With over 250 unique food and beverage offerings, this festival is a foodie’s paradise. You can taste your way around the world in a single afternoon. With so many options, you are bound to discover a new favorite dish. There are also several culinary demonstrations and seminars throughout the festival where you can hear from famous chefs, learn the history of your favorite snack, or try your hand at cooking. In 2018, my husband and I attended a seminar on coffee, and we learned how to make nitro cold brew at home.
If music is more your thing, check out the Eat to the Beat concert series where numerous bands and musical guests perform their classic hits, free to festival guests. The Food and Wine Festival is incredibly popular with both tourists and Florida locals alike. If you are heading down to Walt Disney World for Wine and Dine, don’t miss it!
Wine and Dine Post-Race Party
All runners registered for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon are provided complimentary tickets to an exclusive post-race party held at Epcot on Sunday evening after the race. Family and friends can celebrate too by purchasing tickets to this event in advance. At the post-race party, guests can partake in special character meet and greets, experience thrilling attractions with little to no wait, and purchase exclusive Wine and Dine merchandise (only available at this event). Guests can also celebrate their accomplishments by purchasing snacks and beverages at the Food and Wine Festival booths.
In the past, the post-race party started at 10:00 pm and ran until 1:00 am (with entry beginning at 8:00 pm). However, starting in 2019, entrance to the post-race party begins at 5:00 pm. This is a fantastic change because runners can experience Epcot for a longer period of time, and they aren’t forced to stay up as late to enjoy it. Believe me, waking up before 3:00 am multiple days in a row can really take a toll on the body. The exhaustion is no joke! As of right now, Wine and Dine is the only runDisney race weekend that offers a post-race party. That alone makes this race a tremendous value and sets it apart from the others.
If you are headed down to the Wine and Dine race weekend, I wish you magical miles followed by delicious celebrations!
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