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Why Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is the BEST RunDisney Weekend

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We can’t tell you how many times we’re asked, “Which runDisney race weekend is the BEST one?” Honestly, just like I tell my kids- we love them all equally. Or do we? Is the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend the best runDisney has to offer? Sarah answers the question with a definitive response: here’s why she says the Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend is the best runDisney weekend.

Guest Post: Sarah Bergman @sarah.runs.away on Instagram

Now, I’ll tell you that I am totally biased about this race.

It was my first half marathon, it was one of my first times to go to Disney World as an adult, and this weekend ignited my love and passion for runDisney!

My Dad and Me shortly after our first half marathon finish!

It’s time that I put it all out on paper – er, screen – why runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is, in fact, the best runDisney weekend there is. Fight me.

1. Wine & Dine Half Marathon Kicks Off the runDisney Race Season

So, the “season” of races each year starts with Wine and Dine and ends with Star Wars.

After a very long and boring and HOT summer of training… Wine & Dine is the reward! Everyone has been waiting since April for another race, and when it comes it is THE BEST.

ESPN Wide World of Sports

Walking up to this sign on the way into the Expo is the best start to our race weekends!

You finally get to see all your friends, you finally get to hang out at the expo, and you finally get to go back to Disney World!

The wait and anticipation over the 6-month break is always worth it when you drive under that huge Walt Disney World sign. Plus, when you leave, it’s only 2 months or so until Marathon… then another month until Princess… then just like two-ish months until Star Wars.

The wait for Wine & Dine is always the longest but makes that weekend so much sweeter!

2. Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is Perfectly Timed

Speaking of “kicking off the season,” Wine & Dine weekend is always the first weekend in November.  Now, I don’t know how much you know about Disney and their holiday celebrations, but this weekend is particularly special for two reasons.

Reason number one: Halloween

Reason number two: Christmas

Yes, you read that right, you can celebrate BOTH holidays in ONE weekend if you play your cards right!

If you wanted to do both Parties (Boo Bash After Hours Event AND Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours Christmas Party) … then you would probably have to stretch your “weekend” out a bit.  For 2021, the last Boo Bash Halloween Party is October 31st, and the first Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours Christmas Party is November 8th.

So… totally doable.

Mickeys Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is SO MUCH FUN even as a grownup I PROMISE.

Regardless of the parties – you’ll get to experience the Fall and Halloween décor when you arrive, and by the time you leave the parks will be decked out with Christmas!

Halloween will “come down” after the last party, so expect to hear some holiday music and begin to see some Christmas décor starting November 2nd!

3. Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend… Food & Wine Festival

This is the most obvious reason why this race weekend is the BEST race weekend.  There’s nothing quite like the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

Not only do you get to experience the normal awesomeness of Walt Disney World and the four amazing theme parks… but you get the added awesomeness of the Festival.  There are parties and specialty dining packages, and even live music!

food and wine festival epcot

I was even lucky enough to catch my FAVORITE BAND EVER performing during the Eat to the Beat concert series in 2017.  I still can’t believe that happened.

Plus, the festival has celebrity chef appearances, global marketplaces, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars, CHEESE seminars… I could go on and on and on.

Another – very important – plus… you don’t have to do the wine if that’s not your thing.  I quit drinking four years ago and enjoy myself MORE at the festival now than I did before!  Well, I enjoy most everything more than I did before but that’s another post for another day!

4. Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend: Major runDisney Added Value

One of the biggest complaints about runDisney races is the COST. Guys, it is NOT cheap to do these races. Like, I can’t even begin to try to convince you that running a half marathon at Walt Disney World is great for your budget.

Shameless Plug – I can make the weekend work for most any budget – but still, it’s going to cost you more to run a 5K at Walt Disney World than at your local YMCA. HOWEVER…

If you are looking for the most “bang for your buck” then Wine & Dine is your weekend.

Along with your Half Marathon (or Challenge) race registration, you’ll receive a $15 Disney Promo Card (great to use at the festival) as well as a ticket to an Exclusive Post-Race Party at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

If you’d like to purchase a ticket to the post-race party for your friends and family not running that ticket will cost you $89. So, essentially, you’re getting $100+ more value with your race registration for this race!

5. Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend has Unique Courses

Don’t even go there with me on the night race/morning race debate.

Previously the Wine & Dine Half Marathon was a night race – it started at 10 PM and ended with the party. Plus, you got to run through the Osborne Family of Lights.

osborne family of lights wine and dine half marathon

YES, it was definitely fun. NO, it will definitely not be returning.

One thing that I do love about Wine & Dine is the course. I’m pretty loud and proud about how I don’t love the half marathon course during Marathon and Princess. I mean, it’s okay, but boring.

The castle is cool, but… yeah.

The thing that I love the MOST about Wine & Dine is the course. It’s SO FUN.

You run through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, The Boardwalk, AND Epcot.  Plus, you start over by the Ticket and Transportation Center so if you’re staying at Poly (my DVC home resort) you just walk on over to the start line!

In previous years, the 5K was at Animal Kingdom which is totally different than all other race weekends. For 2019, it’s looking like they’ve moved it to Epcot so we’ll just wait and see how they keep it unique (come on runDisney, I’m counting on you!!!)



Just ask this Sarah as she PR’s the 10K!

runDisney Character Stops

Want to know what characters will be on the next runDisney race course? We've got the list of past characters for all runDisney race weekends to help you pre-plan your stops!

Happy running!

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