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Three Reasons Wine and Dine Runners Are NOT Happy

Three Reasons Wine and Dine Runners Are NOT Happy

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend is just around the corner. However, some Wine and Dine runners are not happy with changes Disney has made.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Photo Credit: Disney

This year’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend is quickly approaching! The event runs from November 2 – 5, 2023.

This year’s menu of delectable events features “courses” inspired by memorable Disney dinner (and tea) parties and favorite moments found around the table. From Casa Madrigal in Disney Animation’s Academy Award-winning “Encanto” to Figment’s topsy-turvy kitchen, runners are in for an appetizing set of miles.

It starts with the Health & Fitness Expo where athletes can purchase exclusive runDisney merchandise and finishes with an amazing post race party! Be sure to check out my review of the virtual queue for the expo HERE, and if you should take your family to the post race party HERE.

Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend has always been my (Heather) favorite race weekend as it use to offer unique experiences that only happened at this race weekend. Sadly, some of the things we have grown to love about this race weekend have since been removed.

Unhappy Runners

Photo Credit: Disney

Now, I’m not saying that runDisney runners are angry, just disappointed. runDisney has implemented some changes over the last few years that we don’t all love.

We understood that some of them needed to happen due to construction or other logistical issues. However, we were truly hoping the unique parts about the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend will return eventually. We are still waiting for these runner favorites to return.

So what are these things that runDisney runners love so much and are desperately missing? I have THREE BIG changes that have happened that we can’t wait to have back.

Same Old Start

Photo Credit: Heather

Last week, runDisney released the Digital Event Guide. This guide has everything a participant will need to know for the weekend. This includes course maps, transportation information, and this year it even included specific times for Starting Group Openings and Closures. You can read about that HERE.

One AMAZING and UNIQUE thing that the Wine and Dine Half Marathon offered was a different starting location. The race started in the back of the Magic Kingdom parking lot. This offered a different and exciting course for runners.

Photo Credit: Heather

runDisney has now started all races in the EPCOT parking lot. As much as I hate this change, I understand why they have done this. Each race has similar start and finish lines, making setup and take down much easier. This is also great for security purposes.

runDisney has every runner go through the traditional park security clearance. Even last year when they had the long walk-outs to the start line (we are happy the start line is moved this year!).

Disney security would have to set up a completely new security checkpoint if they started anywhere other than the EPCOT parking lot. They are able to section this area off so everyone is screened.

Only TWO Parks

Credit: Katie P

Wine and Dine Half Marathon set itself apart from other Disney Half Marathon races. Another special feature with the unique start in Magic Kingdom parking lot was being able to run through THREE parks. Yes, I said three!

Other Disney half marathon races only run through two. These parks may change depending on the race weekend. Princess and Marathon Weekends typically run through Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. Springtime Surprise runs through Hollywood studios and EPCOT.

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon use to go run through THREE parks- Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT! This made it the only half marathon to do this!

Credit: Maggie

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon used to run through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. With the start continuing to be at in the EPCOT parking lot, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon only goes through Hollywood Studios and EPCOT and plenty of highway miles.

I personally loved the old course because it was the only other race that went through more than two parks that wasn’t the full marathon! How cool was that?

Still a Morning Race

Credit: Susan

One of my most favorite things about this race is that it use to be at night. I am a night owl, so a race starting after the parks have closed is right up my alley.

This race has now moved to a morning race, just like the other runDisney race weekends. Is it weather concerns? Could it be staffing? Disney has never shared why they have changed it.

We may never know the reason why they switched this race, but I know that the the experience was truly special. However, the early morning races do make me sleep a little versus doing a whole park day before a race.

What we DO Like

Credit: Susan

This is still a runDisney race, so the entertainment and finisher bling is top notch! You will not be disappointed with the characters, course support, and other entertainment regardless of where the miles are ran (even if it feels a lot of them are highway).

This is the only race weekend that offers a Post Race Party and a gift card to help you enjoy that party a little more!

This is the only race weekend that offers a Post Race Party and gift card.

Photo Credit: Heather

With the race being a morning race, this gives the back of the pack runners the same amount of time to enjoy the Post Race Party! This is a huge benefit in my mind. This makes this event feel more inclusive and encourages everyone to participate. What fun is it to miss half the party because you were still on the course?

Everyone now has the same opportunity to experience the Post Race Party to the fullest extent. Plus, everyone will have hopefully showered and gotten a little rest by then.

Even with all the changes, this is still my favorite runDisney weekend that I hope to participate in year after year.

What do you think of the changes that runDisney has made to this race over the years? Do you prefer the changes or do you wish they would return? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to share this post with a friend!


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