After a rainy 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon, aka Splash & Dash, and 2015’s evacuation mess, I was a little worried about the weather we’d have for this year’s race. Perhaps I should’ve been less concerned about the weather and more focused on whether or not I’d be healthy enough to do runDisney’s Inaugural Lumiere Challenge instead! Turns out, I wasn’t. But more on that later. For now, let’s focus on the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Expo!
We had initially decided to pass on this weekend since it was no longer a night race. But then a funny thing happened. Once runDisney dangled that glorious Lumiere Challenge medal carrot in our faces and Active opened up bib registration again, we pulled out our credit cards and registered.
This last-minute decision then lead to a scramble to find an available resort and book flights that have already jumped sky high. Since Southwest’s rates for Wednesday were cheaper and I was able to score a discounted room at All Star Sports, I arrived a day earlier than the others, putting my annual pass to good use. Hobbling through BWI with my boot was exhausting, though, so I was feeling pretty pooped by the time I got to see this welcoming face.
This ended up being my theme for the entire trip … me being exhausted. So I was beyond grateful when an awesome CM upgraded me to a preferred room at All Star Sports that was much closer to the buses and main building! After unpacking and organizing, I headed out to Animal Kingdom since it was open until 8:00pm and I’ve never been there at night.
I ended up seeing some very odd animals on Kilimanjaro Safari!
My main purpose was to see all the shows except for A Bug’s Life … I’ll pass on that, thanks, plus take a spin on Expedition Everest before taking another safari in the dark. Animal Kingdom is the most amazing park to tour solo since there’s so much to take in! And the night safari?? While I didn’t see many animals, the vibe was excellent!
Back in my room, I watched some episodes of Law & Order … plus a few more, thanks to my lovely runDisney insomnia. Sigh. My initial plans was to wait until Jackey and Shannon arrived by noon to go to the expo together. But we all wanted Lumiere pins and since challenge pins have been selling out quickly in past races, I hauled my rear out of bed and arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex by 9:00.#WineDineHalf Expo recap aka @run2DisneyLaura nearly got killed for a wine glass. @runDisney #WeRunSocial Click To Tweet
You can see in our expo recap video that there was a healthy amount of folks there already. By 9:52, the doors opened and they let us in. Everyone headed straight to the runDisney merchandise area, pouncing immediately on the pin display, racks of shirts, and especially the wine glass shelves. Seriously. The poor CM’s were practically bombarded when they brought out full boxes with people clamoring like it was Black Friday and I later chatted with a gal who shot a live Facebook video of an actual fight.
Seriously. Total insanity.
I swear, I’ve said it before but now I really mean it … I’M NEVER GOING TO AN EXPO AT OPENING AGAIN! Too much stress, y’all, too much stress. I was able to get one wine glass before the chaos hit full frenzy, plus enough pins and magnets for my group, but the second wine glass that Megan wanted? Nope, couldn’t do it, not with my hurt foot and folks shoving around me. So I bailed and failed, heading to the registers instead with the intention of giving her mine. Luckily, however, the gal ahead of me had an extra wine glass.
Turns out, I didn’t need it because there was PLENTY of glasses at the Field House later on, meaning that frenzied rush was for nothing!
Seriously, y’all. I’m done with early morning expo rushes. The beer was good, though.
Afterwards, I contemplated heading back to All Stars and waiting for Jackey and Shannon to arrive so we could all get our bibs and shop together. But the thought of hobbling back to the bus and my room seemed too exhausting, so I grabbed a burger at the ESPN Zone Grill and relaxed until fellow Joyful Miles contributor, Sara, and some other friends showed up!
I ended up hanging out with them, grabbing another beer, (must carb load, right??) and seeing more friends plus the lovely Jeff Galloway.
The Ratatouille inspired quotes on the wall in the Field House were a cute touch!
One majorly-awesome moment was when someone recognized me from our YouTube Channel. Talk about geeking out! We often feel as though nobody is watching when we do our videos and Jammin’ On The Run chats, so meeting an actual viewer who enjoys our work was just amazing. Thank you, Patrick! You made my day!
Jackey and Shannon finally arrived some times afterwards, so the shenanigans soon began!
After getting our bibs and spending some time with our host, Lumiere, we went back to All Stars to soak our sore feet, (Jackey had some pain going on as well,) take a nice, long nap and FaceTime Rob. Our initial plan was to head to Hollywood Studios, but we were all exhausted … again, a common theme this weekend. We did rally up enough energy later to Jackey’s favorite Disney destination that night … Dance Hall at the Boardwalk!
We met up with many friends – including some from Britian that we haven’t seen in ages, drank some, danced a lot with me awkwardly hobbling in my boot, and stayed out way too late. It’s a good thing Mickey’s Holiday 5k was already sold out by the time we registered. Instead, we slept to a luxurious 8:00am the next morning … although I was rather jealous of all the returning runners with their beautiful bling returning as I got my morning coffee!
And with that, our next post by Sara will be all about the 5k. Until then…
QOTD: Were you at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Expo? If so, what merchandise did you buy?
And if you’d like to see more of our expo adventure, here’s my video recap!
Have a joyful day!