Greetings Casual Runners and fellow runDisney fans. In case you missed it, last week was supposed to have been the annual pass and DVC presale for the 2016 Wine and Dine Half Marathon. However, at the last minute (and with frankly too little warning), runDisney pushed back the sale dates. Why? Well, it seems they were putting the finishing touches on some major changes to the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. We are going to cut to the chase and go directly to what you need to know before registering for this year’s event as there are some major changes to the event program.
First off, if you have been following Casual Runner, you know that we LOVE the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. In fact, we love it so much that I named the half marathon as the #2 race on the list of my favorite races. Past runnings of this event received high marks from us, from the weather perfect 2013 race (check out our Race Review: Part 1 & Part 2), to the rain soaked 2014 event that earned the title of the Splash & Dash” (check out our Race Review: Part 1 & Part 2), and the weather-shortened 2015 half marathon event wherein we praised runDisney for putting runner safety first and foremost.
However, before you pluck down a whole lot of money to register for the 2016 event, you need to be aware of some major changes to this year’s event (and plan accordingly). We are going to run them down for you right now.
New Registration Dates: Regular registration will be held on March 29, 2016, beginning at noon Eastern. Early registration for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members will begin at noon Eastern on March 22nd.
Don’t forget to check out Jennifer’s advice on registering for a runDisney race.
Get Up Early. Unfortunately, the biggest change is that the Half Marathon is no longer a night race, which is a shame as the night race aspect was a part of the event’s DNA. Instead, it will be held early Sunday morning (November 6, 2016 at 5:30 a.m.), similar to the other Florida runDisney races.
No Longer a “True” Post-race Party. Another great aspect of the half marathon is that it traditionally ends at a post-race party (immediately following the race) at Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. There will still be a party after the race, and it will still be at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, however, instead of immediately following the race it will take place later that night – 12 hours later is still post-race, right? The party, which is only included in the half marathon and challenge registrations will be held on Sunday, November 6, 2016 from 8:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Change Your Travel Plans. For those who typically come out to run this race, the changed times will require you to change your travel plans. If you plan on leaving town after the half marathon, you will not be able to attend the post-race party later that night. Thus, if you want to attend the party, you will have to make sure you have a hotel room booked through at least Sunday night, which most likely means not working on Monday.
New Half Marathon Course. Historically the half marathon begins at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, then heads to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, before entering the Epcot area resorts and finishing by exiting Epcot into the parking lot. While no official course map has been released and the start and finish lines appear to be in generally the same locations, runDisney’s course description omits any mention of Hollywood Studios, suggesting that a major course change is in order.
A NEW 10k. The biggest addition is the inaugural Disney Wine & Dine 10k. This race will take place on Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 5:30 a.m. All we know at this time is that the event will start and end at Epcot, which is leading many to wonder whether it will follow the same course (we hope not) as Minnie Mouse’s 10k from the WDW Marathon Weekend and the Enchanted 10k from the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Race entry to the 10k does not include entry to the post-race party, but it can be purchased as a separate admission ticket (please note: since this will be a hard ticket event, regular Walt Disney World Park admission will not get you into the event).
A NEW Challenge. If you plan on running the 10k and half marathons events, you can register for the inaugural Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge. This is pretty self-explanatory as it follows in the footsteps of similar runDisney race challenges. Since the challenge includes entry to the half marathon, registering for the challenge will get you into the post-race party.
A NEW 5k Theme and Day. Prior event weekends featured the Jingle Jungle 5k at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This year’s event will feature a new theme: Mickey’s Holiday 5k, and it will take place on Friday, November 4, 2016 at 6:30 a.m. While this is still scheduled to take place at Animal Kingdom, it is one day earlier (on Friday, not the traditional Saturday time). So, if you want to run the 5k, you will have to get to the expo by Thursday to pick up your bibs, and will have to adjust your travel plans accordingly, Please note that, like the 10k, race entry to the 5k does not include entry to the post-race party, but it can be purchased as a separate admission ticket (please note: since this will be a hard ticket event, regular Walt Disney World Park admission will not get you into the event).
Expo Dates and Times: In order to accommodate the expanded race schedule, the event Expo will take place beginning on Thursday, November 3, 2016, and continuing on both Friday and Saturday, November 4th and 5th, 2016 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
2 Days of Kids Races. If your kids want to participate in the runDisney Kids Race events, they will have 2 opportunities on which to do so: Friday, November 4, 2016 and Saturday, November 5, 2016 (The Dashes are at 11:00 a.m. and the 1 Mile Runs take place at 12:30 p.m.). All Kids Races take place at the New Balance Track & Field Complex at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Well, that is going to do it. How will these changes affect your decisions as to what Wine and Dine weekend events to run or not run? We’d love to hear from you, so please drop us a line and let us know.
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