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{travel} My first runDisney 5K - Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend 2023

  Friday, November 10, 2023 at 7:30 AM   |    Post a Comment     Tagged:,,, 

I did it. I ran a 5K even though I hate running. This is what happens when you love Disney Theme Parks and want to experience all they have to offer. At the beginning of this year my friend Caleb convinced me to do a 5K during runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend - he ran the half marathon. We booked our hotels in February by renting DVC points. Because we were splitting the room we splurged on the Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for one night and Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows for three nights.


Buying Race Weekend Tickets & Training

Tickets for the Half Marathon, 10K and 5K went on sale in March. You have to buy exactly on release day because they sell out FAST. I think the Wine & Dine 5K sold out in a couple hours this year. If you don't get one directly through runDisney there is also the option of running for a charity. After registering we filled out our waiver for the race so we wouldn't have to do it on site.

Then the waiting game begins! We started our "training" at the end of August but weren't super strict about it. A couple weeks before our trip I pinched a nerve in my shoulder/back so we weren't able to do any runs leading up to our 5K. Luckily we weren't doing a longer race, ha ha. 


Designing our Wine & Dine 5K Shirts

After registering it was time to figure out what we would wear. I decided to have my sister illustrate a couple Alice in Wonderland characters for me and I put modified quotes on the shirts with them. I found an etsy seller to print my designs but it was a struggle to get them to come out looking the way I designed them. 

We had to go through so many iterations of mockups because they kept changing things and not just plopping my file on a shirt. Very odd. Makes me think they used one of those "you too can sell on etsy!" websites because they didn't even check the shirts before sending. Luckily Christian's came out on the first try (and his had the most issues during pre-printing) but mine came out SUPER dark and totally different colors. They printed it on a different color shirt but it looked the same on that AND they forgot to put the design on the back. But they look okay and I got a partial refund so I'm fine with it.

What We Wore



Colorfulkoala Women's High Waisted 7/8 Length Leggings with Pockets in Deep Violet

HOKA Arahi 6 Running Shoe in Grape Wine/Beautyberry

Balega Silver Compression Fit Performance No Show Athletic Running Socks in Bright Lilac/Wildberry

Embark Waist Pack in Burgundy (Target)



TENJOY Men's 2 in 1 Quick Dry Gym Athletic Workout Shorts in Dark Gray

HOKA Bondi 8 Running Shoe in Goblin Blue/Mountain Spring


Race Weekend 


Bib Pickup and Official Merchandise Virtual Queue

Fast forward to race weekend! We flew in Thursday morning, the day before our race. Runners need to pick up their race bibs at least the day before their race because runs start VERY early in the morning. We received our Expo Check-in Pass, which is required to pick up your Runners Packet - bib, safety pins and a clear gEAR Bag for checking items before your race. After picking up the packet you can then go to another building to pick up your free race shirt(s) and check out different vendors at the Expo.


Disney does a Virtual Queue on the first day of the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo to help with crowds. Merchandise for these races is a big deal with some items selling out in hours. Right when we landed at 9:55am I joined the Virtual Queue for official race merchandise because I wanted to buy a pin for my collection. We joined and got group 92, took our time getting over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, picked up our race bibs and free shirts and our group was finally called just before 2. Unfortunately, all the 5K pins had already sold out (eBay scalpers most likely) so I am going to have to wait a few months and hope one pops up on eBay at a reasonable price. Since I couldn't get my pin, I decided to buy the Passholder Tee with the rest of a gift card I had from my brother-in-law.

How Transportation Works on Race Weekend

If you're staying at a Disney resort for race weekend transportation will be super easy. Disney provides buses to and from the Expo at the ESPN complex every day. Then on race days they will have frequent buses to EPCOT where the starting line and entertainment for the races are. If you're not at a Disney resort you'll either need to use a rideshare service or drive yourself.

Make Sure to Rest Up

You'll be getting up VERY early on race day so make sure to take it easy the day before and try to go to bed early! Our day on Thursday (the day before the 5K) started at around 4am because we had to fly out at 6:55. Once we landed in Orlando we got to the Grand Floridian, had a quick lunch and headed over to the Expo. After we got all our pre-race items we went back to the hotel. Then we decided to be crazy and try to make it to EPCOT and back in 2 hours because our VQ for Guardians was called. It was just about 3pm when we left and we had a dinner reservation at Citricos at 5:40. We just barely made it back in time to change into our fancy clothes, haha! 


We didn't leave the restaurant until just about 7 (service was a little slow) and headed back to our room to settle in for the night. A rarity for our Disney trips because we like to make the most of our park time. But, like I said, early to bed, early to rise! Magic Kingdom fireworks went off at 8pm, as usual, and we were lucky enough to have a slight view from our balcony even though we only paid for a standard view. Love when that happens! After fireworks I french braided my hair and we tried to go to bed. Ended up staying awake until just before 10. Whoops!

The Morning of the Race


Getting to the Starting Line!

Wake up! Alarms went off at 2:45 and we got dressed in the dark as to not disturb our roommate. By 3:20 we were on a bus on the way to EPCOT! At 3:45 we stopped for a picture in front of Spaceship Earth while walking the pathway to the race area. It was a pretty far walk, but a good way to warm up before the 5K. Once inside the racing area there was a DJ, stage, snacks and other fun activities. We were tired so we just went straight to our starting group area.

Start groups (found on the top of your racing bib) are based on anticipated pace per mile for the 5K. When we registered I said we would do a conservative 16-17 minute mile and we were placed right in the middle, at group C. Before the race started we double checked that our bibs were centered on our shirts and our numbers were fully visible. If you want photos while you're running it is essential that your number is visible because that is how photos are claimed. I have Photopass with my Annual Pass so all our race photos were included with my account, we just had to put in a special code with our bib numbers for them to show up.


The Race Begins

The 5K started at 5am on the dot with handcycle chair racers starting first. After them the race starts in waves from the different groups starting from A and ending with E. So even though the race started at 5am we didn't start running until just about 5:30, and we were in the front part of group C. So be ready to wait quite a while to start if you're in a later group. You're basically walking in a big herd in chunks, pausing for them to start another group, moving a bit more, stopping, etc. until you get to the starting line. This was the worst part of the race for me, I just wanted to get going!

Once we started it all went by fairly quickly. The first mile or so for the Wine & Dine 5K was on back-roads around EPCOT and we entered the park in Mexico. While running there were spectators cheering us on and a few TV screens playing Alice in Wonderland. There were also characters on the course so you could take pictures with them but we didn't want to wait in any long lines so we skipped those. I was hoping Cheshire Cat would be on the route, but sadly he wasn't. We did spot White Rabbit but he was near the beginning of the race and had a HUGE line so I had Christian quickly stand in front of him while we walked past. I wasn't a huge fan of the rest of the characters so they were easier to skip. Photopass photographers can also be found in green tents all over the course so be ready to smile and pose as you go by to get some memorable photos. 

Surprising even myself, I ran almost all of the race. It was at a jogging pace most of the time, but I did more running than walking. Actually being there gave me more motivation to run than on our training runs in the local park, ha ha. There was one water stop on the 5K route so we grabbed some water and continued on through the World Showcase. We finished the 5K in 45 minutes on the dot, pretty cool for my first real run since doing the mile in high school.

After the 5K is Over

Once we passed the finish line we were met with cheers from volunteers and family members/friends of runners. A little ways past the finish line they will hand out your medal in a little plastic bag. Then as you get closer to the starting area you'll get water, powerade and a banana as well as a snack box. Ours had tortilla chips, faux cheese, skittles, peanut butter crackers and a Honey Stinger waffle. 

We sat on some bleachers to refuel and hydrate and then checked out what character photos we could do. We ended up just taking photos with a Figment statue and runDisney step & repeat because all the character lines were crazy long and we didn't want to stand in huge crowds of people for an hour. We saw lines for Lumiere, Mirabelle, Alice and Mad Hatter.

After our short break and photo taking we got in line for our bus back to the hotel. We were switching to the Polynesian for the rest of our stay so we packed up the rest of our luggage and brought it down to Bell Services for them to transfer it over. Once that was done we headed over to Magic Kingdom for a day in the park! I was planning on staying pretty late, since the park was open until midnight, but we ended up leaving around 7:30 because it was way too crowded.

Will I do it again?

Probably not. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad I did it, but I don't need to do it again. If there was a really fun 5K theme in the future I may be tempted. The combination of having to go to bed early, wake up early and the parks being super super busy made for a wild weekend. We also felt a weird vibe in EPCOT, like it was a lot more full of drunk people and people who don't usually go to Disney. At one point Christian said "I feel like this is one of the days where tons of fights will break out." There was definitely weirdness in the air.  


Do you have any questions about the runDisney 5K I didn't cover here?

About Closet Fashionista

Loves to get bargains on clothes and is obsessed with Harry Potter and Disney. By day she is a freelance graphic and web designer. She also has a slight obsession with movies.

You can also find her on the web at her Harry Potter and Matthew Lewis fan sites.

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