Tips for runDisney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend
runDisney runDisney Tips

Tips for runDisney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Cheers and a mighty woo-HOO to everyone who will be at runDisney’s 2017 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend! You’re going to have an AMAZING time and I plan on living vicariously through you from home. So let’s jump in with some tips on how you can make the most out of your Wine & Dine experience!

Tips for runDisney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Now, whenever I write these types of posts, it always feel like I’m repeating information. I thought about narrowing it down to the bare basics, but instead, I’m going to plow through in case this is your first time here at Joyful Miles. So be sure to check out our many other posts that get into more specifics, such as:

And many more if you follow this link! But for now, let’s get to Wine & Dine! Here’s the video version of the following content.

Also, a quick reminder that runDisney does modify their policies and procedures often, so if there is a change or if I’m mistaken about something, I’ll be sure to mention it in the description box below.

Before Leaving

1.) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Yes, we should be properly hydrated at all times, but really up your efforts a week out rather than when you arrive so your urine is the color of light straw. Also, try to avoid alcohol to cut down on bloating. Not that I always follow this advice. (Like, ever.) But still. It’s good advice.

2.) Pack wisely!

The weather in Florida can be quite persnickety, so be prepared for all conditions, whether it’s rain, heat, or an oddball cold front and have back-up plans in place for your running costumes. Things can also get quite chilly at night, so bring some warm clothes for the After Party as well! For more tips and a printable packing list, go to my Tips for runDisney packing blog post or YouTube video. Jackey and I will also share our best tips for room organization in couple of weeks, but for now, some of my MUST-HAVES are:

  • A multi-outlet power strip
  • Extension cord
  • Extra battery chargers
  • At least two pairs of shoes
  • My costume and running gear for at least one race in my carry-on
  • All the nutrition I’ll need for each race
  • For in case it rains or is chilly:
    • A waterproof phone case
    • Newspaper in case my shoes get wet
    • A poncho plus disposable ponchos
    • A trash bag to sit on pre-race if necessary
    • Throwaway clothes
    • Mylar blankets
    • A visor or two

3.) Pack Early!

We all know how it can be sometimes. You work so hard before leaving in order to get ready that once we’re finally on vacation, it takes a couple of days to settle in. Well, with runDisney, you don’t have a couple of days. So pack early and try to be ready in advance so you can spend your pre-departure night relaxing and getting plenty of sleep.

4.) Study your Digital Event Guide!

In the Wine & Dine guide, (that Heather will be getting into great detail in tomorrow’s video, I will be linking here when it’s available,) you’ll find all sorts of useful information, such as race times, course maps, and more tips. I also like to take a screenshot of each individual race information, so I can quickly be reminded of when the bus service and race starts. Speaking of my phone…

5.) Make To-Do Lists on your Phone.

I always make lists on my phone while I’m at home, calm and relaxed, so I don’t forget anything, such as what to pick up at the expo, what to line up each night for the next day’s race, etc.

6.) Print out your Waivers!

You can do this from the Wine & Dine’s Runner Info section on the website. If you forget, they do have computers at the Expo, but there can sometimes be a line. I take this one step forward by bringing a folder to store mine in, keeping them wrinkle-free. (Why I want them wrinkle-free, I do not know.) Your waiver will also have your bib number on it, which you can use to see which race corral you’ve been assigned to for the half marathon. You won’t learn which corral you’re in for the 5k or 10k until you receive your bibs at the expo.

7.) Set up your Runner Tracking.

If there’s someone who would like to track you during the race, go to the Wine & Dine section on the runDisney website, choose Spectators. Once the link is available, select that and enter their information.

8.) Learn your Hashtags!

The official hashtags are #WineDineHalf and #runDisney but I also use other Disney and personal hashtags. One way to make posting on social media easier is to use an app such as Tags for Likes where you can create custom categories, allowing you to do a quick copy/paste.

40 Tips for the #runDisney #WineDineHalf ... we hope you have a blast! @runDisney #werunsocial #runjoyfulmiles Click To Tweet

For the Expo

The Expo will be held Thursday through Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

9.) Early Entry

Those who have purchased the race retreat packet and can enter the expo early on Thursday morning, you lucky dogs. In the past, runDisney has sent an email with a QR code on it that you could print and bring to the expo, where they’ll scan the code and give you a plastic bracelet to wear before lining up. If this procedure has or does change, however, my apologies.

10.) What time to arrive?

For the rest of us, when to go depends on how badly you want runDisney Merchandise that will be sold in the HP Field House’s entry level. If you have your heart set on something and don’t mind crowds, try to arrive at least an hour before the 10:00 opening on Thursday. Know that you will be competing with personal shoppers and eBay buyers though. If hot ticket runDisney items aren’t high on your priority list, plan on arriving at the Expo in the afternoon, when the crowds will be lighter.

11.) Discounts

Speaking of runDisney merchandise, those who have a Disney World Annual Pass or are a DVC member, you’ll get 10% off. And if you have a Disney Visa and spend more than $50.00, you’ll get 10% as well, but you can’t stack those discounts. Also, in the past, I have been able to return runDisney merchandise at a Disney resort or park store, but if it is a hot ticket item that had sold out, it’s nice to check on Facebook groups if anybody would like to buy it from you. Keep in mind that as of now, you cannot return pre-purchased commemorative items.

12.) Bib Pick-Up

You can pick up your bib and race packet at the entry level of the HP Field House. You’ll need your ID and signed waiver for this. If you are earning a Coast to Coast, make sure you get a wristband. Also, if you’re doing the challenge, an official photographer will take your picture to later prove it was you who finished each race. If you are earning a Castle to Chateau challenge medal, it looks like you’ll have to go to a separate booth.

13.) Commemorative Items

Pre-purchased commemorative items can be picked up at the lower level of the HP Field house. You’ll need your ID as well. I also bring a copy of my receipt for those items but have yet to have to use it. In the past, you could return these items and then re-purchased using an AP, DVC, or Disney Visa discount, but that is no longer allowed.

14.) Got a Corral Issue?

If you feel as though you were placed in an incorrect corral, then go to Runner Relations in the HP Field House with a copy or printed screenshot of your registration that shows your entered proof of time as well as a printed copy of your race results. Yes, it does state on the website that corrals cannot be changed, but in the past, they have made exceptions for those who go prepared.

15.) Race shirts

Shirts are to be picked up in the J Center Building … which many of us will still call Josten’s. If you’d like a different size, they will have shirt exchange here as well. Also, if you’re doing the challenge, be sure to check the sizing on all three shirts rather than just one. The shirts are manufactured at different times and there can be variances. Take note that you can’t exchange just one shirt from a bundle. You’ll have to get a new bundle … which means checking them again.

16.) Oddball Tips

For those staying on property, your Magic Band will work at the Disney merchandise registers, beer stands, and the ESPN Grill, as long as you have a credit card linked to it. Speaking of beer mugs … they make great souvenirs. Plus in the past, you were allowed to use them after the races for a discounted refill!

A picture with Jeff Galloway who’s usually near the runDisney booth is always wonderful as is any available character pictures at the expo in the Field House … although they can be hit or miss.

Pre-Race Tips

17.) Pre-Race Meals

For dinner, stick with meals you’re used to. Yes, hitting all the booths at the Food & Wine Festival in Epcot is tempting, but this is not a great time to try anything new! Go to My Disney Experience to check out menus or know that often, both table and counter service areas are happy to modify dishes according to your needs.

18.) Get ready EARLY!

The evening before each race, lay out your clothes and pack your race belt early so you have time to rest and unwind before going to bed. Here’s where that list on your phone will come in handy! Jackey and I take this one step further by lining up our race gear before we go to the parks, so we don’t feel that pressure when we return.

If you are packing a gEAR bag and there’s rain in the forecast, place your items in plastic baggies to keep them dry, since they will be transporting bags from Magic Kingdom to the Epcot parking lot.

For those planning on buying a post-race adult beverage after the 10k or half, make sure you bring your license as well as any souvenir beer cups purchased at the expo for a discounted refill after the 10k and half Marathon.

19.) Charge, charge, charge!

Make sure to charge your phone, Garmin, wireless headphone, and all your other gadgets and goodies. This is where having a multi-outlet power strip comes in handy, especially if you’re sharing a room with other runners!


I’m talking multiple ones on your phone, on your room’s alarm clock, and if necessary, put in for a wake-up call. You’ll also want to turn off your your phones notifications, especially if you’re in active as many Facebook message groups as I am!

40 Tips for the #runDisney #WineDineHalf ... we hope you have a blast! @runDisney #werunsocial #runjoyfulmiles Click To Tweet

The Morning of the Race

21.) Make sure you eat enough!

If you’re waking at 2:30 and the race starts at 5:30, that’s three hours before race start, so your normal meal before a training run might not be enough.

22.) Get to the bus stop EARLY!!!

I’m talking fifteen minutes before the bus service starts so you’ll be on that first bus. You never know if there’s high traffic issues or back-ups at security. This also gives you more time for character photos and pre-race fun!

23.) Prep Your Phone

If you’re like me, your phone is also in for quite a workout from taking lots of pictures and video. So make sure there’s plenty of data storage room and take some steps for longer battery life:

  1. Turn off Bluetooth and WiFi if you don’t need it.
  2. Shut any unnecessary apps.
  3. Lower your screen’s brightness.
  4. Turn on the Low Power Battery mode. I also bring a battery charger and cord to use before and after the race, leaving it in my gEAR bag.

24.) Have a Game Plan!

If getting character photos is your priority, then head to the character lines first. If a friend arrives before you do, have them wait in line so you can join them. Stick with only a group photo, though, rather than individuals in consideration of the people behind you.

25.) Head to your corral early…

… if you want to be near front. For the 10k and half marathon, it will take around 20 minutes to walk to the corrals, so don’t get too carried away with the pre-race fun. If you’re running with a friend who is in a higher corral than you, know that you can move back but they can’t move forward. Oh, and always scope out the bathroom lines! Sometimes they can be quite shorter in odd locations.

26.) Don’t wear throwaways too long

If the weather is chilly and you’re wearing a throwaway or mylar blanket, make sure you don’t keep it on too long. Ditch them before race start and allow your body to then warm up naturally as you run rather than tossing them after you are sweating since this can lead to chills. Also, be careful to not wear your mylar blanket over the starting line as well, since it can mess up your timing chip.

During the Race

27.) Don’t worry about your time!

Unless your goal is to get a Personal Record, (PR,) then take your time! Get tons of character and mile marker photos! Stop to get a picture with funny spectator signs! Soak every wonderful moment for all its worth!

I will be sharing a blog post and video about getting great character photos at the end of the end of the month. I’ll also chat about getting great Photopass race pictures, as well as non-character photos as well, so be on the lookout for that!

28.) Be mindful of your time, though.

If you’re worried about being swept, keep in mind that the official time doesn’t start until the last runner crosses the start line, usually the balloon ladies. I’ll be linking below a fantastic article by Patty of My No-Guilt Life for the full scoop on them.  To help ease your fears, though, get to the start of your corral early, skip the first few character stops, make sure you maintain a 16 minute mile pace, and keep your Garmin set to not pause when you stop.

29.) Follow your P’s & Q’s

As for race etiquette, runDisney does list some etiquette rules in the digital guide, but common sense, patience and kindness goes a long way. These races are big and crowding does happen, so pack your patience. And if you are cut off … whether by accident, on purpose, or because a runner got really excited about seeing Lotso, (yep, that was me,) don’t let it ruin your race or darken your mood. Just smile, shake it off, and move on.

30.) Be sure to thank all the workers and spectators!

They will truly appreciate it. And if you really want to get a crowd of spectators to hollering, call out “thank you for being here,” as you run by!

31.) Get a jump shot! Or two!

And when you do, use the hashtag #joyfuljumpshot so we can see it and share with others!

32.) Savor that Finish Line!

Before you know it, the finish line will be in site! Getting good placement for a great photo pass is always desired, but make sure you don’t do so at the expense of another runners. Also, keep smiling big after the finish line so you’re not looking down in Photopass pictures!

After the Race

33.) Don’t rush off!

Soak in every moment by getting character pictures, dancing to the music, and having an adult beverage. Or go to the finish line to cheer in other runners! That is always a blast.

34.) Take care of your recovery needs

Yes, it’s very easy to forget about recovery with all the excitement going on, but you do have an after party to go to that night. So make sure you take in some protein within thirty minutes of your finish and take the same recovery steps you’ve been doing throughout training.

35.) Wear your medal everyday of your vacation!

You earned that bad boy, so be proud of your accomplishment. Just make sure there are no sharp points on the backside of your medal that can snag your shirt or jacket. If there are, smooth them down with a nail file. Also, if the velcro at the back of your neck bothers you, turn the lanyard until the velcro is laying beneath the strap at the bottom!

36.) Get your Race Photos!

For those who have purchased a Photopass package or have one included with your annual pass, directions will be on the back of your bib for how to get your race photos.

The After Party!

37.) Times

The Post-Race Party at Epcot will be from 10:00 to 1:00 with early entry starting at 8:00pm. Keep in mind that as of now, Epcot will be open until 9:00 for regular guests, so were might be heavy crowds until they clear out.

38.) Wristbands

Last year, they offered different locations for runners and paying guests to get their wristbands. (You will receive this info at the expo.) The lines did get long, however, so I’m hoping they give wristbands out at the expo this year. From what we’ve heard, the line near the entrance was very long. We got ours near UK section in World Showcase, which wasn’t bad.

39.) Set up meeting places and a plan beforehand

If you’re meeting friends, make sure you have an exact meeting location. Our favorite is always in the UK.

Our priority last year was getting lots of character photos, but the lines were SUPER long at the beginning of the party. I’m talking one hour for Remy.

A better strategy would have been waiting until about halfway through when lines were much shorter. By midnight, there weren’t many of us running from character to character.

According to some friends of ours, the lines for rides in Future World weren’t bad, so maybe an even better strategy would have been hitting them first and then going to World Showcase for character pictures. If we were going this year, we would probably make a fastpass for either Sourin’ or Test Track between 8:00 and 9:00.

40.) Eat! Drink! Dance!

Enjoy every moment until the very end because you can sleep in the next morning! And if you have the chance, get this picture taken so we can continue the tradition.

Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon After Party 2016

And if you’d like to see the video version on the above tips, here you go!

So there you go, forty tips for runDisney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend! Once again, I hope you have an AMAZING time and if you have any questions or tips of your own, please leave them in the comments below.

Until then, thanks for reading, take care and have a joyful day!


Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger, vlogger, wife to an amazing guy for 26 years, mom of two wonderful boys, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that plus she can quote most lines from Talladega Nights. Shake and bake!

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