Monday, March 21, 2016

2016 rundisney wine and dine half marathon weekend

As the registration date looms for the 2016 runDisney Wine and Dine Half, I thought I'd do a quick post on the changes that were made this year.

Photo from runDisney Facebook page.

I've done the Wine and Dine half every year since 2012. It was my first runDisney event, and I fell in love. I loved running at night, getting to go through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. And then enjoyed some special late night time at Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival. Yummy treats.  It was only my second time to Disney World, my first being when I was a teenager and my parents and I only had time to make it to Magic Kingdom for a day. I've become a tad obsessed with runDisney and Disney in general since running there in November 2012.

Photo from runDisney Facebook page.

As most of you know, The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights had its final season in late 2015 to early December, with a final goodbye on January 6, 2016. With no lights in Hollywood Studios and all of the construction going on, it seemed a likely decision that HS would be taken out of the Wine and Dine course. So sad. I'm not sure about you, but I was not expecting the amount of changes they ended up making.

As Annual Passholders began to have anxieties over early registration on March 8, when an announcement came on March 7 that registration would be delayed while they put the final touches on the weekend. Most people were speculating as to what the changes would be. I was pretty annoyed that the registration date had changed, as it takes some special scheduling to make sure I'm able to be at a computer at 11 ready to register. Anyway...

Luckily, we didn't need to wait TOO long to find out. They announced the New Items on the Menu on March 10.

runDisney added a new challenge to the weekend (Lumiere's Two Course Challenge = 10k and half marathon), but with this change came a disappointing news. The Wine and Dine Half would no longer be a night race. Womp womp. I know a lot of people hate night races, but it was one of the things I loved most about this race. I am not a wake up early and run kind of person – I much prefer running at night. But I digress.

Also, with the night race being gone along with Hollywood Studios construction and no more Osborne Lights, there will be a course change. There isn't a map up yet (those come usually pretty close to the event), but it does mentions the 13.1 mile course through ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (does this mean something similar to the marathon? That was my least favorite part of the race... I almost could have managed more highway instead if you can believe it), Animal Kingdom, and Epcot. I imagine the 10k will be similar to the 10k course for Marathon and Princess weekend. 

With the challenge meant that the race weekend would begin on Thursday with the expo, Friday morning would be the 5k, Saturday morning the 10k, and Sunday morning the half. Don't worry – there's still an after party. This is one change that ends up being good for me and I'll explain why.

The After Party now takes place Sunday night from 8pm–1am at Epcot. From what I understand, the After Party was for runners only, and for friends and family that purchase a ticket. On the runDisney website it mentions after-hours at Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, so that's what I'm taking from it. 

Anyway, with your exclusive entry (either from being a half marathon runner or purhcase a ticket) you get early entry into Epcot at 8pm, can purchase indulgent offerings from more than 30 Global Marketplaces at the International Food and Wine Festival, ride select Epcot attractions, enjoy character meet and greets, and listen to musical performances.

Why is the After Party a better deal for me than it was before? Because I'll be able to enjoy it the entire time! Being a slower runner meant quite a bit of my After Party time was spent running, with only maybe 2 hours left to enjoy the party (once taking photos, getting through security, etc). So, though I am very disappointed it's a morning race now, I'm excited to enjoy all 5 hours of the After Party.

Photo from runDisney Facebook page.

Schedule of Events:
Expo: November 3–5 at ESPN WWoS
Mickey's Holiday 5k: Friday, November 4 at Disney's Animal Kingdom. 6:30am
Wine and Dine 10k: Saturday, November 5 at Epcot. 5:30am
Wine and Dine half marathon: Sunday, November 6 at 5:30am. Start at ESPN WWoS, Finish at Epcot. 
Post Race Party: November 6 at Epcot from 8pm–1am

Entry Fees:
Lumiere's Two Course Challenge: $330
Wine and Dine Half Marathon: $190
Wine and Dine 10k: $120
Mickey's Holiday 5k: $70

If you plan on registering, take note that only you can pick up your race packet. 

If you are an Annual Passholder, get ready for early registration beginning Tuesday, March 22 at 11am CT. Regular registration opens a week later on March 29 at 11am CT.

Photo from runDisney Facebook page.

While disappointed with a few changes, generally I'm still excited for this race. Not all the changes are bad, and it is Disney, so it'll still be lots of fun. As long as I can score a registration spot... Keep those fingers crossed for me, would you?

Who's registering for the 2016 Wine and Dine? Which races? Are you disappointed in the changes? Thoughts?

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