Monday, March 23, 2015

Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2014

Half Marathon #5 - Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon
- November 8, 2014

From all the Run Disney blogs I've read, the Wine and Dine Half seems to be a favorite.
But there was only one reason I wanted to run it...
I wanted to see what the Disney parks looked like when they are decorated for Christmas.
I got a glimpse last year when we did the Tinkerbell half marathon at Disneyland in January.

Even at the end of January, Disneyland still had a few Christmas decorations up.

And of course that just made me want to actually go at Christmas!
So my mom, a teacher friend, and her mom, all signed up for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.


What can I say, I love an organized suitcase.

The four of us loaded up my car that Thursday afternoon, and we were off to Orlando.
We got in pretty late that night, but we had to be up first thing the next morning.
We had breakfast reservations at O'hana, at the Polynesian Resort.

The view from the dock that would take us to the Contemporary Resort, so that we could take the monorail to the Polynesian.

It was a gorgeous morning from the Wilderness Lodge.

I've actually eaten breakfast at O'hana before, but I forgot how wonderful it was!

"Cousins," aka servers, bring huge platters of food to your table and you serve yourself.
My favorites are the eggs, the Mickey waffles, the hot chocolate, and most of all their juice.  The juice is a blend of guava, passion fruit, and orange juice. 
It is delicious!!
I probably drank 3 glasses of it.
Mickey, Lilo, Stitch and friends, are all dressed up in their Hawaiian attire and do a little walk around thing with the kids.  Then they come around and take pictures.

After breakfast, we were able to take a bus directly from the Polynesian Resort to the Run Disney expo, at the ESPN Sports Center.

Not nearly as busy as Princess expos!

If you follow Run Disney on instagram, they have a little booth set up where they take your picture in front of a green screen.
Love it!

Our room at the Wilderness Lodge.
This was my first time staying at this hotel and the only time I've stayed at a Deluxe resort.  We were able to afford it because there were four of us sharing one room.

You can see my bags of expo goodies on the bed.
We rested for a little bit and then we were off to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!

Good thing I bought our tickets in September!

The tickets say that the party starts at 7pm.  But you can get into the parks around 4pm. 
It was crazy busy at first because people were leaving the park who didn't have Christmas party tickets and people who did have party tickets were entering.

We walked around, took a few pictures, rode a couple of rides, and then headed off to our dinner reservations at the Liberty Tree Inn.
After dinner, we got some cookies and hot chocolate.
Then we found a spot for the Christmas parade.

There was also a special Christmas fireworks show.

Then it was back to the hotel for bed, Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K was first thing the next morning.

I love Disney 5Ks! 
They are just so much fun and definitely a family affair.

They even showered us with fake snow while we were waiting to start.

The four of us, waiting to start.

And as always with any Run Disney event, they had entertainment at the starting line.

So we started off.
We had decided to strictly walk only during this race because our half marathon would take place later that same night.
I've never completed 2 races in one day.  So I was serious about no running.

I loved that this race went around Animal Kingdom!

I love these little signs posted at each mile.
And no, it didn't take me 28 minutes to walk a mile.  I was in the 5th corral, so 4 corrals took off before us when the clock started.

Lots of characters along the way!

The tree of life behind us.

I love "costume watching" at Disney races!
Fix-it-Felix was in front of me for awhile.

A blurry Tigger and Pooh in front of us.

I loved these festive costumes.

The Toy Story gang.

We also walked through some back lots.
Which most people find boring, but I love seeing what's going on behind the scenes at Disney.
Here is the Animal Kingdom Christmas tree getting ready to go up.


And the line of people waiting to take a picture with Pluto.
Um, no thanks.  I would much rather take pictures of random people with the characters than wait in  a line that long.

The back-lot view of Expedition Everest.

And as always, Marathonfoto was on the scene ready to take pictures of me being silly.


Even after the race I was still costume watching.

Here are the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty.

And I just love this sweet family all dressed up!

The awesome box of goodies you get after any Run Disney event. 
This one had skittles!
We had a lot of time to rest between our 5K and Half Marathon, so I used that time to take some pictures of our awesome hotel!


Very peaceful!


And then I snacked before my shower and nap.
Next we had late lunch reservations at our hotel's restaurant, the Whispering Canyon Café.
But of course I had to take more pictures of the interior while we waited for a table.

If you've every been to Yellowstone, this resort may look a little familiar.  It was modeled after the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park.

I eat very vanilla before a race, so I just had a turkey sandwich.
Then I splurged and had this for dessert.
Wagon Wheel Chocolate Smores
(Described as warm dark chocolate sauce and marshmallow gelato)
It was delicious!!

Now time for the actual race.
It started at 10pm, but we got there around 8ish.
We knew that it was going to rain by this point, so I had grabbed a trash bag to wear.  I had a poncho, but I wasn't sure if I would want to wear it the whole time, and I didn't want to throw it on the side of the road, only to need it again.  So I went with a trash bag.
So glad I brought that visor.
By this time I was not feeling well at all.  I'd been having stomach issues all weekend.  And I took my temperature right before we left the hotel and it was 100.  So I took a few Tylenol as we boarded the bus.
As we waited for the race to start, I decided to try and walk the whole race.  Usually I follow Jeff Galloway's walk/run intervals.  But with stomach issues and a fever, I decided walking would be my best bet because I just wanted to finish.

This was right the rain started.
The rain actually cooled me off and made me feel a little bit better.

It rained the entire time!  Not pouring rain, but a slow soaking rain.
I'm so glad I had baggie to put my phone in.
We started off running through Animal Kingdom again.

Then we ran to Hollywood Studios.

I knew Disney was going to be taking the sorcerers hat out of Hollywood Studios, so I wanted to get one last picture of it.

This tunnel was part of the back-lot tour, you can see where they create the costumes for the Disney parks.

My one picture of the Osborne lights that wasn't crazy blurry.

A little after this picture, I realized the pacers were in the same park as me, not right behind me, but too close for comfort.  I just had to make it back to Epcot and I would not get taken off the course, but I was not taking any chances.  I walked crazy fast here.
No more pictures during the race.
I actually saw all the buses lined up and ready right as I entered the boardwalk.  This was the last sweeping point.  Once you made it here, they weren't going to take you off the course.
Walking along the boardwalk in the rain with all the people trying to stay on the course was no fun.  It was very slippery. 
By this point I was feeling very sick and lightheaded again. 
But my friend caught up to me and encouraged me through the end.
When we got into Epcot, people started screaming and pushing because the balloon ladies were behind us.  The balloon ladies try to keep an exact 16 min mile pace.  They serve as a warning, anyone who falls behind them may be taken off the course.  So even with all those people screaming and pushing, I took off running.
It made me feel so sick!  I knew that they wouldn't sweep me off the course in the last two miles.  But I still didn't want to get behind the balloon ladies.
Finally, the finish line!
One of the perks about the Wine and Dine Half Marathon is that you get special entrance into the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot.  They keep it open late that night especially for the runners and guests.
But no way was I going to the Festival.  I headed straight for the buses.

The after picture.
I ran the whole race wearing the trash bag.  Which didn't really help because I was still completely soaked.

My Elsa race outfit, since I knew there would be no course pictures of me in my outfit.

 Thoughts on Wine and Dine:
  • My least favorite race, not because of the race itselft, but because I wasn't feeling well and I was soaked the whole time.  I get crazy blisters after each half marathon anyway, but after running 13.1 miles in soaking wet shoes, I had 19 blisters on my feet.  Yes, the teachers at school counted them at recess.
  • I decided I am not a night race person.  As much as I hate getting up at 2am for a morning Run Disney race, the night ones are even more difficult for me.  I've ended up feeling extremely sick after the two that I've done.  So, no more night races for me.
  • I love that we ran through 3 different parks: Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.
  • This could've been a fun race, if circumstances were different, I can see why so many people love it.  But my favorite is still the Princess Half.
Stay tuned!
My Princess Half Marathon 2015 review is coming up next!

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