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.”
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!
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.
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 (Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party AND Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) … then you would probably have to stretch your “weekend” out a bit. For 2019, the last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is November 1st, and the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is November 8th.
So… totally doable.
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!
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 two 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 $85. 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.
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!!!)
Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend IS THE BEST RUNDISNEY RACE WEEKEND THERE IS!
Just ask this Sarah as she PR’s the 10K!
Patty Holliday has been running Disney since 2011. She knows just about every tip, trick, and hack there is to cover the runDisney Magical Miles at Disney World and Disneyland. She knows every mile isn’t *always* magical- but with training, tips, and a little bit of pixie dust, they can be a lot of fun! You can also find her at noguilttravel.com and noguiltfangirl.com