The 2023-24 runDisney season is about to begin, can’t wait to see everyone have fun running the 2023 Wine and Dine!
One way to make sure you have a better time is to be prepared, so let’s prepare together. Here’s a link to the digital expo guide to follow along: https://www.rundisney-expo.run/
2023 Wine and DIne Half Marathon Weekend Expo
First, if you are running the 2023 Wine and Dine Half Weekend 5k you will need to go to the expo on Thursday to get your bib. You can not have a family member pick it up for you.
The expo is open 10a-7p on Thursday Nov 2nd. Make sure to sign the digital waiver ahead of time by logging into your runDisney account (the one you created when you registered): https://manage.rundisney.com/login
Virtual Queue – If you want to get runDisney official merchandise on Thursday Nov 2nd, you MUST* register for the virtual queue. You (and up to 5 additional people) can signup to join at 8:30 ET via the My Disney Experience app (the Walt Disney World app where you manage all your other Disney vacation fun). You don’t have to be on property to get in the virtual queue but you do need to be in the general area (Disney says you need to be within 45 miles of Disney World). More details here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/virtual-queue/#drawer-card-runDisney
*I have heard that if you go late enough they may not be strict about the virtual queue system if the expo is quiet enough and the rush for merchandise is over.
The expo is spread out over the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex (WWoS) with:
- AdventHealth Arena (A) hosting the official runDinsey merchandise, character meet and greets, and the Club runDisney Platinum HQ (2nd Level)
- Athletic Center (B) hosting the gEAR Bag Pick up, shirt exchange, and vendor expo
- State Farm® Field House hosting the bib pickup, perfect gift distribution for half and challenge perfects, and runner relations
At a minimum all runners need to go to the State Farm® Field House (C on the map) to get their bib and the Athletic Center (B on the map) to get their gEAR bag and shirts. Give yourself at least an hour if you are planning to go on Thursday.
If you are not interested in getting the Official Merchandise I would suggest going to the expo sometime after 4pm. It tends to get quieter the later you go in the day and that will give you plenty of time to grab your race stuff and then peruse the vendors.
You’ve gotten your bib and shirt and it’s time for the real fun! You wouldn’t want to be late!
2023 Wine and Dine 5k
The 2023 Wine and Dine 5k route is very similar to many 5ks at Walt Disney World. It starts in the Epcot parking lot, runs through and around Epcot, and then ends back in the Epcot parking lot.
Getting to the Race
If you are staying at a Disney resort, I highly recommend taking the provided bus transportation. I know there are always horror stories about the buses but, honestly, these are very much the exception. Read the information in your hotel’s lobby to make sure you get on the bus on time. There is no Skyliner or monorail transportation available for the 5k. The race information says to arrive in the parking lot by 4am for all racers.
You can see that from the map above that all runners go through the Epcot park security before making the trek to the back of the Epcot parking lot. This walk usually takes me about 15-20 min at a slow morning walk pace so be sure to give yourself time!
Corrals and Staging
If you are in group A or B and you want to run in that group area and not be forced to drop back, make sure to enter your group early. For group A, since they state they are closing the corral at 4:45, I would aim to be in the group area no later than 4:30. Group A will get into position in the staging area but then gets walked to the start ahead of the 5am start time, that is why they state the group closes early. Group B then follows from the staging area to line up behind A ahead of the 5am start. The stated time for the group area closing is 4:55 so I would aim to be in there no later than 4:45. Group C closes at 5:10 and then group D will close once everyone has crossed the start line.
The race is now ready to begin. Cycle athletes will start first and then the runners will follow. runDisney will break the groups into “mini” releases to stagger the start even more. Each group will likely have about 5-6 waves of runners, fireworks for every start so don’t worry!
Running the Wine and Dine 5k
And now we are running, let’s take a closer look at the route!
- The start happens in the Epcot parking lot, you then run along the outside of the parking lot before heading along a backstage road. There is sometimes a character along the back road.
- You are now very much backstage! The parking lot you see is the cast member parking, the large buildings are both the cast member costuming, locker room, and other cast member services and the other is the performance practice facility. You will run by the guard shack and under Test Track. There is usually a character stop near mile 1.
- You then enter World Showcase (WS) via the entrance by the Mexico Donald Meet and Greet location. WS will have the torches blazing and Disney music playing! There will likely be 3-4 characters around WS. The one change this year is that you won’t go backstage or around the Skyliner station, you will just continue around WS lagoon. Also, the American Adventure is raised slightly, so there is minor uphill as you go from Italy to the USA. Also, the bridges between France and the UK offer a change in elevation.
- The route then crosses across the center line of Epcot where it will wiggle a bit before heading to World Celebration. There will likely be a character on runner’s right here.
- After finishing the loop around WS lagoon, you’ll then run down the main path connecting WS and Future World, smile pretty for a pic! You’ll then run around the Creations Shop, then towards Guardians of the Galaxy (a new little loop), before heading towards Mission Space. There may be a character or entertainment in World Discovery.
- You’ll then exit behind Test Track, run backstage (the worst, please open up more of Epcot again!), and then exit to the parking lot finish line. Smile big, throws those hands up, and enjoy the victory!
Once you finish, you’ll grab YOUR medal, a water and/or Powerade (blue, red, or yellow), and get your snack box. If you finish before the final runners have passed the bus pickup area you will have to wait for the course to clear. During one race, they actually directed runners to get buses where they were dropped off in the morning which meant they could start running buses immediately. It means more walking but it was nice just to go!
So that’s it, what are you most looking forward to during the Wine and Dine 5k?