Monday, October 3, 2011

Disney Food & Wine Half

Sorry for the disappearing act! I was a little busy this weekend enjoying my time at Walt Disney World.

Jay and I arrived Friday evening and promptly went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party as Cowboys. This party was a fall break tradition for our friends in college. It was fun to relive the memories with Jay. I am fortunate enough to visit Orlando a few times a year to visit my friend Charlotte and for work. But poor Jay hasn’t been to Orlando or Disney in three years!


Saturday after sleeping in, we spent the morning hanging out with Charlotte at the pool, going to the Food & Wine Half expo and watching the Gamecock’s game… and no, I don’t want to talk about it :(

I was very impressed with Run Disney. We went through the expo seamlessly and could instantly tell this race was well organized.

At 7 p.m. Jay and I headed to the Start line at ESPN Wide World of Sports.


The race started at 10 p.m., but all runners had to be at the race start by 8 p.m. I was a little worried that we would not know what to do with ourselves for 2 hours, but Disney did not disappoint!


They had Chef Mickey available for pictures, a dancing DJ and race coverage in several locations including the half marathon leg two relay lot.

race number blur

Before we knew it, we were lining up in our corrals. This race was a nice little boast to Jay and my running confidence. Of the 10,000 runners, we were placed in the first corral and among the first 1500 runners. This allowed us to cross the official starting line seconds after the clock started.


And then we were off! One of the amazing things about this race was how quiet it was. The first mile out of ESPN Wide World of Sports and on to Osceola Parkway was so quiet we could hear all the runners feet hit the ground and the insects chirping. It was quite a change of pace from running in and around DC.

The quietness was quickly forgotten once we started to pass all the Disney entertainment including characters, bands and representatives from each Epcot country. Plus before we knew it, we were running through Animal Kingdom!

It was fun to run through the parks, but not exactly what I expected. They were so much quieter with runners in them at night than they are during the day with all the tourists! The Disney employees were great, cheering us on and warning us of course hazards. I have never felt so aware of my surroundings! Speed bumps, hard turns, hills, you name it we were told about it. I felt like every employee had some piece of advice or encouragement.

Our time in the first park flew by and then we were back at on Osceola Parkway and greeted by our next surprise. Charlotte came out to cheer us on! We had no idea she was going to come out and were so excited she did! A friendly face truly travels a long way!

After we passed her, Jay took a potty break while I kept a slower pace on the right hand side of the course. Believe it or not, we have been successfully able to find each other this way. We maintained around a 9:25 pace for most of the course except the potty mile where our pace slowed to 10:05. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Plus we did manage two 8:30 miles, the second mile and the last one.

After catching up, we headed into Hollywood Studios for a fun back-stage look. My favorite part was running by the costuming area! Our time in Hollywood Studios felt a little longer than Animal Kingdom. Leaving the second park, we knew we were almost there and were on familiar ground from earlier.

To get to ESPN Zone to watch the Gamecock’s game with Charlotte, Jay and I took a bus to Hollywood Studios and walked on the footpath to the Beach Club. We were pleasantly surprised to see the last few miles of the course were the exact route we had previously traveled on! Knowing where and how far you are going relieves some of those race jitters.

Just as quickly as it started, it was all over! We were officially half marathoner’s! Proudly wearing our new race medals!


Our official race time was 2:03:38. Just 3:38 shy of our 2 hour goal but 100% satisfied with the race.


Feeling accomplished, we quickly changed and headed to the after party where we wined and dinned!


Met a few characters, rode a few rides and had an overall good time.

Reflecting on the whole experience, I had a great time and will highly recommend Disney Races. I thought that I got what I paid for even though Disney races are a little pricier than most.

With all that being said, I would not recommend this race to anyone wanting to experience Epcot or the Food & Wine Festival for the first time. The park is not at full swing at the after party which takes away from its charm. Realistically you only have 2 1/2 hours to enjoy the park, food and wine. Jay and I were not very hungry and couldn’t consume a lot of alcohol post race. If I had never been to this festival or park, this would have taken away from my experience.

Since Jay and I have been to Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival numerous times, we had a very laid back after party plan. We only did our “must-do’s” and then it was time to go. That being said, we enjoyed our last of the Caribbean, our margaritas, the Rose & Crown pub and our two favorite rides (Mexico and Norway).

What race did you enjoy, but would not recommend to others?


Which race did you run in preparation for another?

This was our first half marathon and was a training race for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of the month. Only 26 more days!!!