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The Happiest Place on Earth and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Report

The Swim Bike Family went on its first non-race related family vacation in what seems like forever–it actually may be forever. But oh wait, I was running a half marathon. So nix that.

I was planning write a lengthy race report about the miserable fiasco that was the alleged Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, and I have really been working up the gumption to do it.

But here’s the thing:

I just don’t want to write about it. I really, really (really) did not enjoy (any) much of the experience that was the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  Er, the Disney 7 miler.

And here’s another thing:

You are either a Disney person.  Or you are not.

So from a starting point, let’s assume that neither the Disney-lovers or the Disney-dislikers are better than anyone else. Okay? I don’t want to get into discussions about why Disney is AMAZEBALLS and all that.  I think there are Disney people and non-Disney people.  They are just two different groups of people.

I am not a Disney person.  I am not, never claimed to be, never really cared to be. (You’re not going to convince me by hate mail to love Disney either, so think about that one before you furiously start sending.)


But I am Swim Bike MOM – and that means that I have two little precious people who should get to go and enjoy Disney for the first time, especially since we are in Georgia and only 6.5 hours away from Disney.

So I will write about the wonderful things about Disney and Magic Kingdom (and the family stuff) first.

The two days where I pretended to be a Disney person…


Then I will address the questions that keep popping up in my inbox:  Do you recommend a RunDisney race?

Since that was the whole point of running the Wine & Dine–to experience the “amazeballs” RunDisney experience that everyone talks about.

I will note all POSITIVE experiences about Disney with a (*). I will note all NEGATIVES / Things to Consider with a (%)

That way, if you LOVE Disney, you can just focus on the words with the * near them, and see that I am being fair in my assessments. 🙂

First up. The Kiddos. The Trip. The Magic.

So we didn’t tell the kids they were going to Disney until we were IN the car on the way there.  I asked them, “Where do you think we are going?”

And Stella said, “Disney!” So much for that surprise


But there were *super excited and *patient and good in the car.  Traffic was long and it took us seemingly forever to get there, but we made it.

* Loved how we were greeted at the Disney Resort.* We stayed at the Grand Floridian because we wanted to be on property and really, we planned this to be our only Disney trip.  Like ever.  So I wanted it to be special.

% The Grand Floridian cost a bloody fortune. And it was no more special than any other nice hotel in the world.  Except the *bath products were amazing.


I knew that Disney was a whole thing now, and you had to make reservations to eat early and get Fast Passes for Ride and all sorts of shenanigans.  So we did that.  Except we didn’t reserve dinner.  %I just figured, we’re staying at this resort, so shouldn’t we have a place to eat?  Nope.  Doesn’t work that way at Disney resorts.

%”You should have known Disney was like that!” some of you have said.  Why? I’m not a Disney person!  Why would I know that I couldn’t find anything to eat on a resort property costing in excess of $350 a night, with tons of restaurants?   How would I intuit that in my mind?  In fact, some of you screaming at me ought to consider how you think that’s acceptable…  I don’t get it. So the Disney people who are attacking me on this… again, NOT a Disney person here.

%You literally walk into a restaurant with twenty empty tables, and they ask you, “Do you have a reservation?” And you say, “No.” And then they say, “Oh we can’t seat you.” And then you punch yourself in the face and say, “There are 20 empty tables.” And then the hostess shrugs with a vacant happiest-place-on-earth smile, and says, “Sorry.”  [The tables remained vacant, too, by the way.]  Was totally bizarre.  We really had a hard time finding a place to eat on the first night on property.  Then we made reservations for the next night.  To another almost empty restaurant where they were turning away people. Whatever. Lesson learned.

*My water, however? Adorable.


So the next morning was *breakfast at Chef Mickey.  We had an *itinerary from our Disney travel person (she works for Disney, so it costs nothing–pretty awesome. Message me if you want her info – she kept me on task and I really didn’t have to think too much about it. Was nice.).  %Although some of you are dragging on her because we didn’t have dinner reservations. Whatever, I thought shew as great.

This was our *fancy cheese plate at the fancy resort restaurant–it was awesome.  However, the next day, I had a new cheese plate (I thought) at another restaurant on resort, minus one cheese. But this new cheese plate arrived, and behold, and it included these same cheeses, set up less fancy… and half the price.  %Totally swindled.


%And we knew it. And there was nothing we could do about it other than just take it.


*Speaking of taking it.  *Um, liked the frozen bananas. Felt like a total perve walking around and eating it.  [Then felt awesome walking around and eating it.]


So anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

We had lots of *good wine and some fireworks on night one. The kiddos were feeling pretty magical and special (which was the whole point, amirite), and we were out–off to dreamland so we could get ready for neverland.


The SBFamily only had plans to do *two days at Magic Kingdom, to make sure we weren’t rushed or crazy, and it worked out great.  …so anyway, the itinerary said to catch the *monorail from the Grand Floridian. Which was part of the draw for staying there.

%Except the Monorail was not open early enough on Fridays only.

No big deal. So we hopped a cab, and $6 later we were at Chef Mickey’s.  *Note: catching a cab is easy at Disney and really not outrageously expensive if you are jetting to and from places on Disney property. SO that was a plus.

*Oh, and this was also adorable.



*The kids loved seeing all the characters and getting their “autographs.”

%Though James was a little overwhelmed at first. (If you have any kids with sensory issues, just take that into consideration. Chef Mickeys is %super loud and *energetic and the creatures characters %appear out of nowhere like semi-Halloweenish… boo! Goofy!  Holy $%^&!)

*The food was also fantastic, and I thought it was a great way to start the official trip.  [In case you missed it earlier in the post, I am notating all positive Disney things with a (*) and negative or things to consider with a (%).]

*They had quinoa to eat. Enough said.


We headed straight for Magic Kingdom and bee-lined for *Space Mountain.

*This was a great time of year to go – the first week in November and on a Friday. The park was awesome and we didn’t have to wait much for anything.


*Walking into Magic Kingdom *was, admittedly, pretty magical.  Seeing the castle and all that.  *My little black heart grew a little.


*We loved Space Mountain. Rode it over and over again. It was terrifying for the first time, though!

%Then it got super hot. Lawdy. Sweating balls.

So we did the rides, and we only missed the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  We pretty much got everything else.  So if you are wondering which rides are worth the Fast Pass access, the Swim Bike Mom Fast-Pass approved rides are:
*Space Mountain
*Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
*Splash Mountain
*Tea Cups
and I hear the *Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (but we didn’t have one, and didn’t get to ride. Line was crazy on Saturday)


So we were worn out pretty quickly, to be honest.

*We brought our own snacks and water.  %This bird creature pecked at me while we were sitting and eating, which wasn’t very magical of him. I don’t think he was Disney-approved.

We had to try the ice cream and all of that, so while I’m sure we saved some money–it was still a racket. We ate lunch and snacked, and then we were back at the hotel by 4:00 to let the kiddos rest, and make some dinner plans.


We had a reservation on resort and went there to eat dinner.  %It was okay. This is where I had my cheese plate fiasco, and little by little, the Expert and I were starting to feel weary of the money that was being spent.  (%I will stop complaining of the expense now… but really, Disney is ridiculous. I knew it would be, and that is fine.)

%Wait. The balloons that cost $12 each!   *That actually are still floating around our house. *Value!


*The following day, we were at the park when the gates opens, and zipped over to Space Mountain again and rode it twice in a row.  Even the kiddos thought that was a little too much, too early to be jostled around. But it was fun!


The big thing on schedule for Day Two was:

*Splash Mountain
*Bippity-Boppity Boutique
*Cinderella’s Table Dinner
%Wine & Dine Half Marathon

We did all sorts of rides and things, and headed back to the hotel to rest a little before Stella’s transformation into a princess, and I took a 30 minute nap to try and get some rest before the race.IMG_7090

I was a little unsure about the whole Bippity Boutique thing.



%I know Disney is all about magic and princesses and all that.  But—(here’s where Disney fans should just avert your eyes)—I am a woman raised to stand on my own two feet (not wait on a prince)… so the princess/fairy-tale thing deep down makes me cringe.  (Gasp.)  I’m sorry, but I do. But of course, I wouldn’t take that away from her–this was their trip.  And it’s fairy tales and childhood. I get it.

*And my dear daughter likes it (but she’s not crazy about it either, really…though the pictures tell another story!) 🙂 …so she had the Cinderella dress and we did the fancy hair. And I smiled and got *Pixie Dust sprinkled on me, and made a wish, and I just smiled some more.   

%I also didn’t like that every other little girl wasn’t at Bippity, and it seemed unfair… I mean, if everything is magical there, then they should just bouffant up all the girls the second they walk in the park. And the boys should be turned into pirates.  I think Bippity and Pirate should be included with your Disney ticket.

Just saying.


I had realized pretty quickly that we made our reservations for dinner at Cinderella’s Table too late–and I was going to be extremely hard pressed to make the half marathon on time. (It was just me and Stella…which was pretty sweet.)

%But I asked the folks at the castle, and they had one reservation open right then at 4:45 – so we went on it. That was fantastic.  I 100000 percent appreciated the smile and the accommodation, and it really made everything nice. (But scratched my head as to how they could squeeze in 2 for the magical dinner… but not four with twenty empty tables for dinner at the resort two nights before. Bumfuddled.)


And the *food was lovely.  *And this was already pre-paid.

So we dined with the princesses–except they just walked around like the characters at Chef Mickey’s. They were less “boo” factor, and Stella loved it.

I laughed hysterically when a mom at the adjacent table was holding her incredibly tired three-year old who was acting crazy, and she looked at me, and all I saw was her mouth the words:  “F@$% This.”

I laughed so hard and said, “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

We should have exchanged cards.


Which got me thinking, as I looked around, walking out of Cinderella’s Castle…

%No one really seemed very happy.  Sure, some of the kids were smiling (sometimes), but even the kids looked unhappy at most points.  But maybe that’s just what it is.


*%*%That’s Disney.  Pain and love, all in one place.*%*%

Oh, and on the monorail back to the hotel, Stella was getting cranky… and James said, “Stop whining, Cinderella!!”

Too funny.


Speaking of pain and love.

Here’s the part of post where I become a hater.

And I don’t even care if you get mad at me, because YOU did not live this experience, and I don’t care. I let RunDisney soak in for almost a week, trying to think of nice things to say. I have pondered on it…

And this is my conclusion:  The Wine & Dine Half Marathon sucked ass.

[And by the way… Disney Fixer?! Don’t bother commenting on this blog. I will go to the mat with you on this. You can’t try and convince me that my blog is the Happiest Place on Earth!  This race sucked.]


And here’s the thing:  you can point out the 2-3 things that I sucked at… and it doesn’t take away from the fact that the race sucked.  Sure, I’m not perfect and I messed up some logistics. But take away those things? Still sucked.

First thing I messed up.  Here we go: I signed up for this race thinking that it was a morning race. Totally, 1000000% my fault. I had always heard that the Disney races were crazy early, and since Ironman is crazy early, I figured, I would run before the parks open and then do Magic Kingdom all day with the kids. I was just trying to get in a race and Disney, and sounded like a good plan to me.

%However, I apparently cannot read. (As so many of you have pointed out!  Oh so funny!)

After we booked Disney and after I paid a RIDICULOUS entry fee… (You think Ironman is bad?? Ironman lasts all day long… how about $200 for a half marathon 7 mile run.)


Okay, instead of pointing out all the things that were terrible about this race, I will do it in another format.

Here goes.



If You…

  • Want to run a half marathon
  • Want to run
  • Enjoy the freedom to be dropped off at the race or take your own desired transport to a race
  • Prefer reasonably sized Porta-Potty lines
  • Don’t like being trapped on a bus
  • Revel in being trapped in a line for food that is miles long
  • Hell, don’t like being trapped in general
  • Think a post-race party is actually a party
  • Hate crappy beer
  • Do not enjoy being told the wrong directions on how to actually get out of the park at 2:30 AM
  • Don’t like being trapped in the last running corral
  • Running Walking through crappy parts of the park
  • Do not enjoy running walking with literally thousands of people
  • Like to actually run through aid stations
  • Like to see where you are running walking
  • Do not like running walking at midnight
  • Don’t want to slam into the backs of people everywhere they turn for taking photo selfies
  • Appreciate the smallest semblance of race etiquette in fellow racers
  • Don’t like feeling like you should slap a fake smile on your face while someone is rubbing you down with Velcro (okay, that didn’t happen, but the way it was going, I was certain it was coming)
  • Don’t like crowds
  • Don’t like feeling like cattle

….then DO NOT do the Disney Wine & Dine “Half Marathon”.


%First, it wasn’t a half marathon. They cut this race to 7.1 miles because there was an hour weather delay and they wanted us to have the full time to “party” at the “after party”.  That was the reason for cutting a race distance with a $200 entry fee–because they thought we wanted to party.

We didn’t learn of the cut-short race until we were trapped in the corrals with nowhere to go and no escape.

Well, I wanted to run. But okay.

%If you love the feeling of being trapped and taken advantage of; if you have no desire to really “run” or try to run a race; then, hell – RunDisney is for you.


As far as the fact that I am typing  running walking… please know that I am NOT dishing on the racers.

I don’t care if you walk or run or crawl a half marathon!  I really don’t, and I would be a bloody hypocrite if I said otherwise.  Because I am not a fast runner. I walk all the time. I run slow.  I run/walk. I think you should be able to do that in a race.

That wasn’t the issue.

%I DO care that Disney puts together a race that is SO FREAKING CROWDED that you CAN’T possibly run (at any pace) when you choose to.


[Of course, running a half marathon after two full days at Magic Kingdom and on my feet, wasn’t smart. I was tired. I was exhausted at that point. That was my bad.]

Then when I hop a cab to the start line (because I was not staying at a half-marathon “host resort”), I was manhandled INTO a shuttle… BACK to a random HOTEL where I am FORCED on a bus…

As I lose my mind on the security dude in the shuttle, he says: “It’s in the event guide!”  Hell it is, I shoot back at him.

%Okay, so maybe it is. On page 8.  But it’s in the wrong section. About Epcot (Finish Line), not ESPN center (Race Start).

%Second, why oh why, Disney would you give DRIVING directions to the ESPN center for RACE DAY if we aren’t allowed to drive, drop-off or park there?

%And why are you including information about ESPN Center (the RACE START) under the RACE FINISH section? I wasn’t looking for RACE START INFORMATION under the heading entitled EPCOT?


Again, I didn’t plan to rant on this race.  But it’s crazy—the more I type, the more I get mad and hate the event.

%Before we get started at 10:00 to run, we had over an hour “inclement weather delay”. Disney doesn’t control the weather, but it did add to the “fun”.

%So yes, I ran this fake half marathon.  And it was a miserable 7 miles – wanting to run and get it over with – being forced to walk and slam into people and trip and fall through aid stations.

Then having a skinny can of Mich Ultra at the finish.



I didn’t go to the so-called after party.

%It was already 2:00 in the morning at that point, and I had to wake up early and drive home with kiddos. I had walked all the way over to the line, and I couldn’t even see where the festivities were–the line was so long.

%And I wasn’t even in the back of the entire race. Sure I started last, but there were thousands of racers who I passed over the course of the run–thousands… what did the food line look like an hour later?

%I just left.  I asked the guy where the monorail was.  And he directed me to it.

%When I got to it, it was closed.  Then they sent me to buses. I told them I wasn’t getting back on their damn bus.  I found a cab, and was in the hotel 15 minutes later.

*I poured myself a REAL glass of wine at 3:00AM, sat in the dark in the corner chair, and listened to the breathing of my sweet babies and the slight snore of the Expert.

And I slowly calmed down, and I was happy.  Because everything I needed at that moment was right there:  my health, my family, and wine.

[So in a sense, running RunDisney made me appreciate to not be out there doing RunDisney.]

In closing, I really tried to love it. I did. But I honestly hated every minute of it.  I might (BIG MIGHT) be willing to try a race during the daytime/morning at Disney… But I highly, highly doubt it.  You know what? Scratch that.  I’m out. Disney is not for me.

It wasn’t the weather or the lines or the buses… it was just Disney race.  I didn’t like it.


In closing, what are the positives of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon?

*The giant medal.  The giant medal that reads: half marathon, for a 7.1 mile run. {I’ve never had free miles awarded like that.}

*Oh, and meeting this SBM friend, Crystal. 🙂


I’m not going to argue with the RunDisney fanatics. I know RunDisney has fans.  Or there wouldn’t have been 14,000 people there.

They just don’t have a new fan.


  • cherie

    November 12, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    wow that was long…you have just convinced me (altho I had already convinced myself a LONG time go) that I will never, ever, ever run ANYTHING at a Disney park!

  • Sarah

    November 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    The more I race the more I HATE races where they don’t cap the number of participants. Only allow the number that you can provide a good experience for. I have had a few of these over the years and I will not be back.

    I totally enjoyed Disney when we went, but I didn’t do any of the races and won’t be after reading your account of it.

    Who wants to have the after party more than finish the race they have trained for??? My brain can’t comprehend.

  • Jen McSherry

    November 12, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    First, let me start by saying I probably consider myself a pre-Disney person. We (husband & i) did this race last year and it was even worse! It started raining an hour before the race started, we were in the last coral (just like you) and it POURED the entire time – ALL 13.1 MILES!!! We didn’t even start “running” until an hour after the first group went off. I too was frustrated by the crowds and all of the walking. I’m a run/walker too but it was SO difficult to run at all!! I was hoping it would have been better in a higher coral, but maybe not. Maybe there were more “runners” in the earlier corals. I have never been so wet and cold in all of my life. We too skipped the after-party because we were drenched and freezing. We waited forever for the monorail with teeth chattering and blue lips.

    We are, however, giving runDisney another chance and are doing the Dark Side Challenge (Star Wars) in April. I’m sure those races will be really crowded too but I’m not hoping for any PRs. I just want to actually enjoy it, unlike the Wine and Dine Race where it was miserable!

    I’m sorry you had such a terrible experience and I’m happy we didn’t sign up again this year for “redemption”. It would have been even worse!

  • Heather

    November 12, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    im in your camp. Never been a Disney fan, never went or wanted to as a kid. Went for 3 days two years ago with my kids and didn’t really understand all the hype. I’ve never had any interest in their events. To each his own!

  • Angie

    November 12, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Oh my, I do feel your pain. My first half marathon ever was the 2014 Disney Princess. There were 26,000 (yes, TWENTY-SIX THOUSAND) people there running. I had the foresight to send in proof of run time from a crappy 10K I did as part of an Oly tri so I could be seeded in a corral closer to the front, but DAMN! I was actually able to run most of the time, but my daughter was in the way back and never really could run. ITA, you either love Disney or you don’t. I have no plans to ever – E-V-E-R – do another RunDisney race.

  • CB

    November 12, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    OMG. I signed up for the Star Wars challenges in Anaheim and Orlando because I love the Star Wars franchise and thought it was like the Dopey Challenge, thinking it was a reasonable price. Um, yeah. It’s only the half and 10k. Doesn’t include the 5k!

    W. T. F?!!!!

    I’ve done the half and marathon before so I know what to expect. But now that I know the entry fees don’t include the 5k races? It makes an ironman event feel like chump change. I so regret signing up for them. Screw Disney. Screw Star Wars.

  • CB

    November 12, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Btw, you didn’t miss anything at the “after party.” They screwed the pooch on the first Wine and Dine and ran out of food. They went to “boxed” food to ensure people got their fair share. It’s not that magical…

  • Lindsay

    November 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I LOVE Disney…love the parks, the resorts, even the busses ?? but that race sounds like bullshit!!! I did register for the Disney marathon but cant run it because I literally can’t afford to go to Disney so I’m eating the cost. It definitely sucks to pay all that money for a race cut short too. That happened to a bunch of us at the Syracise 70.3 this year (I paid $245 to run a 10k). I was told the secret to the Disney races if you actually want to run it is to submit proof of time so that you can be placed in an earlier corral. I’d still like to try a Disney race some day, as part of a larger Disney vacay, but even pre-SBM race report , this one never appealed to me. Maybe the Star Wars one! ????

  • Amy

    November 12, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    I always thought I wanted to runDisney but the price is crazy. So my husband found the Mt. Kilamanjaro marathon & two days after you climb Mt. Kilamanjaro that we’d rather do than Disney. I’m not a lover but also not a hater of Disney, just wish it wasn’t so crazy expensive.

  • Heather

    November 12, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Disney is not for everyone. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. This was my first Disney race, and I was disappointed about how it played out, but I will be back for another. I know that the races are touted as great experiences, but I really don’t think they are worth it for people who aren’t super into the Disney experience.

  • Kathi

    November 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    We have been to disney 3 times – when the kids were younger (in the 90’s). The grand Floridian was overpriced back then. We found the Wilderness Lodge better for the kids and our sanity. Yes, Disney is overpriced but you have done your duty as a parent by getting them there at least once.
    I have a friend who ran the Princess Half Last spring and had similar complaints to yours about crowds and not being able to run/walk at her normal pace and she was pulled from the course around mile 9 or 10. It was her first attempt at a half marathon. Not fun. I always thought I wanted to run a Disney race but I have heard too many bad things. And I’m not all that crazy about being around tons of kids. Disney is not for everyone, that’s for sure! I’m sure your little ones have great memories, though!

  • Olivia Linkel

    November 12, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I’ll preface my response with I am a Disney person. My family has annual passes. We’ve been to Disney 5 times this year and we live in NC. I am a slow runner and my first ever marathon was this past January at the DisneyWorld Marathon weekend and did the Disneyland Half marathon in September (12 days after a stroke). Other than losing a toenail on the marathon and feeling ridiculously fatigued on the half, both of my Run Disney experiences were fantastic. To the point that I am running the half in January again and doing the 5k, 10k and half at Star Wars weekend in April. I did the Raleigh Half Ironman in June of 2014 and I would say that they my experiences have been equally well done. Bag check was thorough, lines to check in were equally long and instructions on start/finish were equally informative. I think the biggest issue is that you chose the wrong race. If you have never been to Disney, why on earth would you choose a race that is in the middle of the night??? You answered it yourself by saying that you did not know it was in the middle of the night. It is very clearly listed as to what time these races start. I had friends who were also at Wine & Dine this weekend. As I understood it, the reason they shortened the race was because of lightning. If the race is delayed and they don’t have the ability to keep roads shut down or extend the hours people are working then why complain about it? They make those decisions for safety reasons. They probably just try to put a positive spin on it by saying more time to party. No one I know who did Savannah that same weekend and got turned complained about the fact that their race was shortened because of the heat. People died there, wouldn’t you feel better knowing that you weren’t going to get struck by lightning?? Unfortunately, your post has made broad generalizations about all Run Disney events based on an anomaly. I would encourage you to run one in the day time and try to look at it through the eyes of someone less cynical. I hated the Raleigh course but that wouldn’t stop me from doing another Iron Man event and isn’t going to lead me into bashing every Iron Man because I had a bad experience. To me, this is no different. Last, I would just like to say that most people don’t go to a Run Disney event to run. NO ONE is looking to BQ there. They go to run with other people who are there to have fun, who want to feel the same magic that is in the fireworks at Disney during their race. That’s why people dress up and stop to take pictures with characters along the way. Your experience wasn’t great. I’m sorry that was the case. As for me, I’ll keep doing Run Disney events because they make me happy.

    • Courtney

      November 13, 2015 at 5:47 am

      Cynical??? Apparently you aren’t familiar with SBM and should stay quiet. Cynical is one thing she is NOT. Unless encouraging people to be there best and accomplish their goals in your eyes is cynical.

    • Kelly

      November 18, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better myself! I love Run Disney! But of course these races aren’t to PR they are to have a good time. And I was in a corral that ran, because they were all the same pace as me. If you were placed in the last corral, you either did not submit proof of time or you belong with that pace. This very cynical post (yup I said it) has my friends and I reconsidering SBM as a positive Tri influence.

      • Angela

        December 6, 2015 at 6:08 pm

        We are all grown ups and should be able to accept other people’s opinions. I had a bad experience at the first night RNR Vegas Half in 2011. Runners complained and the organizers took the complaints to heart and made changes. $200 for a race entry is a lot of money and it is ok to have high expectations. I did a 10 mile trail race this last weekend for $45 and cannot rave enough about this well-organized race. Aid stations were stocked up with all sorts of goodies and the post race food was awesome! There was also a beer tent with really good local beer.
        SBM – I appreciate your honesty. Keep it up!

    • Jan Kelley

      November 18, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      There were plenty of people who complained about the shortened Savannah course and that they should have had a right to finish because they paid the fee and signed the waiver.

  • Amy

    November 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    This is my favorite thing you have ever written. My first marathon was the Disney Marathon. I’m in Miami and at that time it was the seat marathon. And it was ridiculous. I have not ever wanted to run another Disney race. However, I get it people love it. A good friend is all excited to run Dopey … Which for me would be result not fun at all.

  • Megan

    November 12, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I used to love Disney races. Heck, it’s what got me to run my first half marathon. Nearly 40 halfs later, I realize that the Disney races aren’t what a lot of runners think of as races. If you’re fast, they’re awesome. If you’re not, they’re super crowded. Some of it is the fault of the runners – people who don’t understand common race courtesy. Some of it is the fault of the race – there are too many runners. But if you go into it knowing all of these facts and realize that it will just be a fun run, then it’s not so bad.

    That said, Wine & Dine is not for me. I did the inaugural, and I am not made for night running. Not at all. This old lady likes her sleep.

  • Melissa

    November 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Bart & I are doing the Marathon weekend 10K…why? Because we were already down there and like you, I can check that off the list. runDisney…DONE. They have just released pictures of the bling and I’m glad I only went for the 10K because I’m not a fan of the half or marathon medals…for the price I’m paying I better get some darn good bling and it just…wasn’t. #ironmandiditright The only thing I’m annoyed with is that we CAN’T submit times for the 10K to get into a faster corral, and my arse is gonna be super chafed if I get stuck in some way in the back corral. Nope, I don’t care about stopping for pictures more than likely. I want to run. I want my bling. I want to be done. (Maybe I want a picture with Minnie Mouse)

    The peeps on the Disney Facebook running groups I’m on are calling the W&D…the Half of a Half Marathon…LOL… #itiswhatitis Congrats on free miles!

    • Ana

      November 13, 2015 at 7:12 am

      OMG Melissa! After reading Meredith’s report, be sure to let me know how you guys handle January. The Dopey Challenge and the Dark Side Challenge are on my bucket list but, after reading this… ???

      • Melissa

        November 13, 2015 at 7:30 am

        Yup, Dopey is a bucket list for me too…but this is the trial/make it or break it race to see if it’s worth an entire year of race funds. I will definitely let you know!

  • Kathy

    November 12, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    I’m sorry you didn’t like the Wine and Dine ….um, no I’m not. All you really had to do was go to any of the RunDisney Facebook pages, or the Disney glass slipper challenge page to see exactly what a Disney race is like. I did my first Disney race/challenge at the princess in 2015. I did the wine and dine on Saturday, I’m doing the princess in February and the Star Wars in April. You meet tons of people. Some run, some walk, some do both. Some trying to overcome weight issues and need the encouragement of other racers. My daughter did her first race ever this weekend with me. She caught the Disney bug and signed up for star wars. You don’t do Disney races to PR. Yes, it’s crowded. Yes there’s bottlenecks, yes, people don’t move out of the way. Bit it’s a huge accomplishment for someone who isn’t a professional runner. I will continue to do Disney races until I can’t race anymore.

  • Angie

    November 12, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    I ran the Disney Princess Half 6 months pregnant with my 4th child, and my older 3 were there to cheer me on. My sister and I ran the whole way together, and while it was crowded, we had a great time! We all did the parks that day and the day after, and it really was a great Disney trip!

    So great that my parents, sister and I registered for the Wine and Dine the next year. And it was horrible, We had to get there so early and sit around in a field. And then we had to spend a lot of time running between parks in the dark, and then we had to wait in such ridiculous lines to try to use our vouchers at the after-party that my dad (who hadn’t fueled very well) passed out in line. So, not only did we not get our after-party, we spent an hour in medical. Back to the hotel around 3 am. WORST.RACE.EVER.

  • Kristy

    November 12, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I was there, too, and yes, they shortened it for weather reasons. The roads had to open at a certain time and so they had to cut it to get everyone off. I loved being at the end, watching people bounce from picture to picture, and we got extra time in the Osborne Lights. By the time we crossed it was easy to get into the food lines, though I didn’t because I was exhausted and just wanted to haul myself into bed.
    I’m sorry you hated it. It’s definitely not a race for people who want to just run! I will certainly not do an overnight race again – holy moly that was late! But I want to try for a Coast to Coast!

  • Chad

    November 12, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    I was in corral A and there was lots of running and space for us. After the first few it was just a mass… especially because the highway sections they cut out at the beginning would have thinned the crowd out a bit. I don’t see how some of the people in the back corrals could have finished a half marathon… especially with that heat/humidity. The after party was a lot of fun. The shortened race did make it more crowded than usual, but it wasn’t bad. I was changed and in just after midnight.

    BTW, the Grand Floridian is their highest level hotel… so cost is crazy 🙂 Also, staying at one of their race hotels made it super easy to get to/back from the race.

  • Anna

    November 12, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Im sorry you had a bad experience at the wine and dine. I did the princess half this year wh my sister but I am a totally Disney person, always have been. But I totally get a lot of what you said about Disney and how crazy expensive it is and how crazy their races are. I crossed it off my bucket list this year so I’m good to go.

  • Margi

    November 13, 2015 at 4:00 am

    I love you for savings me $1000s of dollars :):):). And I just love you period!!! Great race report that reminded me of what Disney hell is like 🙂

  • Danielle

    November 13, 2015 at 7:59 am

    I am sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. I am admittedly a Disney fan and love the Disney races. It’s unfortunate that your travel agent did not give you better advice that I think would have alleviated a lot of your Disney frustration, she at least should have told you that you MUST have reservations to eat at and of the sit down restaurants!

    My friends and I still had a great time despite the shortened race course. As you point out Disney does not control the weather and they had to make some decisions based on runner safety. I think they handled the situation well and while it was disappointing to not run 13.1 miles I appreciate how the whole thing was handled and I was still able to enjoy the overall experience. And while there is some course crowding on the Disney courses occasionally, I think it was increased for this race due to the fact that there was about 7 miles less for people to spread out over, add to that it was hot and humid and people were tired from waiting for the race start.

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy it, but this was my 5th year running the Wine & Dine Half (or in this case, not a half) Marathon and I’ll certainly be back!

  • STacie

    November 13, 2015 at 9:15 am

    I 100% agree with you — you are either a disney person or you are not — period. there is no middle ground in this discussion — I just happen to be one of “those” disney people.. (probably because living in Tampa, I have been since the 70’s — so, its part of me now!) — I have done a bunch of Disney races (and Triathlons — believe it or not, they used to do Tri’s over by Magic Kingdom) — If you do a Disney race, IMHO you have to know straight up what you are getting into and plan accordingly.. I have learned through doing a few of them .. it does totally suck not to put your time in and end up at the end… But, I am one of those people who enjoy running through the parks when no one else is there.. and the RACE after parties are nothing to write home about. However, the Epcot Wine and Dine part is awesome – and we always try to stay in an Epcot hotel so we stumble home when we want to instead of doing the transportation..

    Another plus for me, is my 24 yr old daughter — who is a die hard Disney Kid, also runs these races with me now — another reason I am probably willing to overlook the ClusterF^&k of a disney race.. So, if you are a die hard runner trying to PR, this is not the race for you unless you submit proof of time — otherwise, these races are for that group who loves Disney —

    BTW – Love following your journeys.. I too am a SBR Mom.. and am hopelessly addicted!

  • Kay

    November 13, 2015 at 9:23 am

    I’ve always been a SBM fan but this post reads a lot like “Look at all the things I didn’t do my research on and then hated because I wasn’t prepared for them”. You had a crappy TA if they didn’t make you any dinner reservations, because that’s pretty standard, and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone else. There are a million pictures and reviews of the Grand Floridian online. The monorail schedules are easily available, etc.

    I’ve done a ton of Disney races and had nothing but great experiences at all of them. It sounds like a lot of your W&D frustrations came from the fact that you were running a night race and that you had to walk a lot of the race because you were in the last corral- both of which could have been mitigated by looking at the time of the race before you signed up for it and turning in a proof of time at any point in time. And as for the course- Disney didn’t actually cut the course short “so you could party”, they cut the course short because it poured like crazy in Animal Kingdom, the paths were slippery, and there’s construction going on so they’re already narrow. The course was too dangerous to run in those conditions. And as far as the driving- the event guide says pretty clearly that the driving your own car to WWoS is for the expo, and they had cars drive to Epcot because the race ends at Epcot…if they’d had you park at WWoS, they would’ve shuttled you from Epcot to WWoS at the end of the night instead, which people also would have complained about.

    It sounds like you came into the weekend completely and totally unprepared but expecting everything to take care of itself. I’ve never seen you treat any other race like that so I’m not sure why Disney was any different. But I think this one is on you, not runDisney.

  • Allison O.

    November 13, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience! I totally get where you are coming from and would be upset too! I had an awful one last year with Wine & Dine too when it poured rain the whole time during the race. Miserable does not begin to describe it! I had done the Princess Half the year before and the Tink earlier in the year. I personally prefer the early morning races at Disney. Anyway, I came off my trip last year very anti-Disney because of my bad race experience. After some time passed the great memories I had of my kiddos having a blast made up for my sucky race. Btw, forgot to add my hubby PRed his half…in the rain. I would never do Wine & Dine again but I am going for my Coast to Coast again next year and going to give the Princess & the Tink another go. I’m just that kind of crazy. LOL! And it better be f-ing magical!!!!!

  • Kathleen Ojo @ My Ojos

    November 13, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Thank you for this honest report of both the race AND the park experience. I am NOT a Disney person, and I hear such wonderful things about both from the cult followers (I have a LOT of people in my life who have their Disney Goggles on, living in Southern California) so I’ve always wondered if I were being a scrooge and should just give it a try. Yeah, no. I mean, I live 45 minutes from one of the parks so I will inevitably have to take my kids one day, but we’re not going to end up as annual pass holders like everyone else, and I have NO interest in running one of the races. Races for me are about A) the training, and B) the feeling of accomplishment after finishing and meeting a goal. I’m not psyched to run/walk a race just for the chance to get my picture taken with big mascots. Anyway, thanks!

  • Kaitlin Hughes

    November 13, 2015 at 9:48 am

    I’ve never done a RunDisney event, and probably won’t. Not so much because of your post (although it was helpful in the instance I DO decide to run one) but because they are SO expensive and you have to be ready to sign up the minute the race becomes available or else they’re booked. Having done both Rock N’ Roll races and local races, I definitely prefer the small local ones.

    I just wanted to say that, as a child of parents who made the effort to bring me and my sister to Disney when we were young, that your kids will look back and be glad they went. I remember being tired of walking and tired of the lines too, even at 10 the magic does wear off, but I wouldn’t change a thing. So great job at being a mom! I’m sure Disney is now way more expensive than when I was there 15 years ago, but your kids will always have the memories (and embarrassing Mickey ears photos)!

  • Stacey

    November 13, 2015 at 10:00 am

    When I first started running, I got caught up in wanting to do a Disney race because everyone else seemed to be doing one–I just couldn’t justify the outrageous cost! And based on your race report, I’m glad I didn’t run one, the race sounded like a mess and a half!!

  • Natalie

    November 13, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I agree with Kay. It is a little unfair to sign up for a night race at Disney after two days of touring the parks with family, and then complain you were tired and crowded and running in the dark.

  • Nate

    November 13, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Thanks for gutting this review out. This confirms every suspicion I’ve ever had about their races. I can’t fathom the logistics of hosting a race for 15,000 people on a property that is effectively operating 24-7 when you factor in the work that must be going on after the parks close. I’m sorry you had to go through. At least your kids had a fun trip and you got to check this race experience off your list of things to do.

  • Christina

    November 13, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Hah, I love your writing because you say all the things in your head, which is how it should be.

    After I went to Disney when I was 13 I just didn’t get what all the hype is about, and why people go year after year, and sometimes multiple times a year. It’s been 14 years and I have zero desire to go back. But last year my family went to Universal (Christmas present from my momma because hello, Harry Potterland!!!) and it was amazeballs.

    I’d take Universal over Disney any day of the week for the whole “theme park” experience. We went for the Wizarding World, but it gets crowded during the day so we made sure to explore the rest of the both parks as well, and it was really, really fun. I think it’s because there are so many different things to see and experience – everything from comic and action heroes to 1950’s Hollywood – that it doesn’t seem quite so “themed” and forced.

    It’s probably close to on-par with Disney as far as cost goes, but we never had problems like you did with restaurants, and even the food was reasonably priced. They even have a whole strip of restaurants and stores that you can go to…right when you leave the park, or a 10-15 min walk from the on-site hotels. It probably helped my experience that we had a SUPER hot waiter at the Mexican restaurant we went to…and that they had a (very good) live mariachi band. But 10/10 would pay for the experience all over.

    Anyways…it sucks about the race. Poorly organized and played-out races are the worst. Now I won’t be tempted to drop $200 on that sucker in the future!

  • Liz

    November 13, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I would have hated this too so I can’t blame you for not loving this. Thanks for writing this!

    For another perspective for those thinking about it, I’ve done Run Disney Half during marathon weekend and Disneyland half. I’m not a Disney person. My fiance is and he wanted to do the Dopey Challenge so I agreed to run the half with him. Then we decided to go to Disneyland as part of a family visit and get the coast to coast challenge by doing the half there. These were my first and second half marathons. He had done the half before so I think I was prepared for the bus situation in Disney World and crowding which made it better, but the Disneyland race I had an awful time.

    I will do Disney world again but the daytime race. Marathon weekend is good as the weather is nice and it’s not too hot. It is crowded. If you can get into a higher coral its not too bad but you need to expect to hit some packs of people (I was in C for land, H for world).

    The entertainment on the course is really great so I would say give it a try if you want to try a longer distance for the first time and want a no pressure environment, where you are not going for a time. If you are scared of a half of a full marathon this is a really safe space to give it a go and you will have lots of silly distractions. Running through the parks when they aren’t open is also cool.

    Then entry fee is ridiculous and they fill up early, I’ll be there in ’17 because I am a glutton for the wallet beating 🙂

  • Alli

    November 13, 2015 at 11:28 am

    OMG Meredith! You just gave me a well needed giggle!! Priceless! However, I am sorry that the run was such a gong-show but hey-ho, it’s done and won’t be repeated!
    Thanks for brighten up my day 🙂 xxx

  • Crystal

    November 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Hey Darlin! It was great to meet you as well!! I am a Disney fan, but not a RunDisney one – and will not do another RunDisney race. I’m with you on the madness. They knew the exact number of tickets sold for the race and post-race party. So, why were all the Epcot vendors closed and just a few kiosks open? The lines were too long. I had not eaten much b/c I was going to eat at the post-run festival, but the lines were so long that I wouldn’t have been able to get anything before they closed. And why were none of the restaurants open or places that have sit down food? Why did we all have to stand in kiosks? We literally left and ate McDonalds. WTF? No real beer and wine either without lines – and may I add that all that would have been paid extra!?!? The lines should not be longer post-race than they are when the park is open. The lack of communication and broken speaker at the start line did not help the matter. We had no clue what was going on, and no music to keep us energized. And there was no running – I don’t know if it’s because the course was shortened or what, but it never opened up enough to run. At one point I was sardined on the sidewalk and this b*&^h came thru yelling she was trying to run and we were in her way……..we’re all trying to run here! There’s nowhere to go! So yeah. I love Disney parks and rides, but it’s expensive and running – no go.

  • Amanda

    November 13, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Glad I’ve never spent the $200 on a Disney race. A friend of mine worked the Disney Cruise and said if you’re taking kids, it’s the best thing to do as food is included and characters are everywhere.

  • Sibyl Govan

    November 13, 2015 at 11:54 am

    UGH. I am so NOT a Disney person. I went to Disneyland once when I was 14 and vowed never to go back. The crowds, the rides, the money grabbing. Not for me!

    I have a friend that takes all of her vacations in Disney resorts, does 2-3 of their races per year, does the Goofy Challenge and all of that. I cannot think of anything more horrible, for all of the reasons you wrote about.

    However, I will happily hand my money and time over to the Ironman brand name, which is just as much of a racket as Disney. Go figure.

  • Sara

    November 13, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I’m the definition of a Disney person – former cast member, still with many cast member friends, and I travel to the parks at least twice a year, usually with a sizable group of friends and family. The 2012 Disney Princess Half was my first half, and the 2013 full was my first full. I’ve done at least a dozen RunDisney races on both coasts. But I’ve done many many other races too….from the Boston Marathon to overnight relay races to triathlons……lots of non-Disney races. I like to think that I have outgrown RunDisney events since most, if not all, of the points you make about the management of the race are 100% accurate. But I keep going back….now I only do a RunDisney event every other year (whereas once upon a time – pun intended – I was doing multiple per year). I did Dopey in 2014 and am doing Goofy this January.

    I completely understand what you are saying and am not here to argue or dispute anything you wrote. Your experience was your experience and – as you said – you aren’t a Disney person. I’m only responding in case anyone is on the fence about RunDisney and my two cents on it.

    1.) To love…or even like Disney…you have to DRINK THE KOOL AID.

    Everything SBM said was valid from the prices to the crowds to the creepiness of the bippity boppity boutique. Full disclosure, when I visit the parks, I don’t actually visit the parks! I don’t have kids so I have the ability to hang by the pool all day and if I do go to the parks it is during Extra Magic Hours or one of their holiday parties (where sun and crowds aren’t an issue). I know not everyone has this option, but my family/friends and I have learned to enjoy “adult Disney.” We also get a kick out of people watching because, seriously, there are some miserable, terrible people who visit Disney. And I guarantee you will encounter them on a visit. You just have to not expect this to ACTUALLY be the happiest place on earth – it is a real place, it is a business, most of those smiling cast members are getting paid minimum wage, and everyone is hot & tired. If you don’t drink the Kool aid, it is REALLY easy to get discouraged. Many times I have noted the same thing as SWB – no one is actually smiling. Kids are screaming. WTF is this place?! You really have to get into your own space and the experience will be what you make it. And this is coming from a self-proclaimed bitter Bostonian.

    2.) HOMEWORK

    Seriously, this is important. A Disney vacation requires so much more homework than any vacation should. Anytime I hear a friend’s terrible Disney experience – SBM, you aren’t alone in your experience – I really have to bite my tongue to say “well if you had just researched…” (but really meaning “well if you had just asked me!”) You have to research the prices of everything and know that more expensive doesn’t always mean better. The Grand Floridian is CRAZY expensive. I don’t stay there. I stayed once, enjoyed it enough but knew right then and there that it wasn’t worth the money. A resort like Wilderness Lodge, however…which is FAR cheaper and is still listed as a luxury resort…I find to be totally worth the price tag. Also, dining reservations…yes, they must be made in advance. I know it sucks….how are you supposed to know what you’re going to feel like eating that far in advance? It’s just the rules. Same with bus transportation….I too have made the mistake of staying at a non-host resort during the race weekend, and it is a mistake I will never make again. Also, make sure to submit your time before the race to secure a higher corral. I could go on and on but there are MANY things you can do to make your weekend more enjoyable. Yes, it is homework, and no, not everyone has the time or patience or OCD personality that I do to put up with doing all that. But that’s just the way it is.

    The lines, the crowds, the cost (holy moly are RunDisney events expensive!), the lack of good beer at the finish line, the bottle-necking during the race……you’re not wrong. Unless you are in corral A, I don’t think any of us will ever PR during one of their race, irregardless of how wonderfully flat the terrain is.

    The weather sucked for you guys at this year’s W&D and I’m super bummed to hear that. Disney will do anything to avoid bad press so I have a hard time believing they really cut the race short to make more time for the party…there had to be something else going on there. But in any case, I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad experience and absolutely do not blame you for never signing up for another RunDisney race. They aren’t for everyone.

    But – personally speaking – I still pay my entry fee to escape the cold Boston winter in January, have transportation (as awful as those buses may be) to/from the start/finish, have fireworks at the starting line, run on flat terrain, have some serious on course entertainment (which is shoulds like you didn’t get because of the weather), and get a gigantic medal at the finish. Not to mention my own personal poolside post-run party with friends and family who range from a 6 minute/mile pace to a 16 minute/mile pace. For me, that’s worth it……………..every 24 or so months.

  • Nicole

    November 13, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Well, you know, non-magical behavior like screaming at the bus driver because you didn’t read the race instructions sometimes results in an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.

    It’s a large race with a lot of people and logistical issues, so yeah, you kind of need to at a minimum read the race instructions beforehand or, you know, know what time it starts before you register. I mean, I read all the details/information I was given before the NYC Marathon so I could get to the start at the right time (after taking a required 3 different methods of mass transit to get there–subway, ferry, bus, walking to where my wave was).

    • Swim Bike Mom

      November 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      I absolutely did read the race instructions (as was outline in the in the post and highlighted). I was commenting on how if maybe Disney would make the instructions CLEAR maybe people wouldn’t miss it. FOR EXAMPLE, putting RACE START information in the RACE START SECTION…not the FINISH LINE details. And I wouldn’t have yelled at anyone had they not been rude to me first. The funny thing is: the start line situation was not even the worst of it. Take that out entirely? Still not magical. Sorry.

      • Miranda

        November 24, 2015 at 5:54 pm

        The Epcot directions were there because the people who were staying off site or were locals were supposed to go to Epcot to park and get the race transportation to WWoS. Of course that got totally screwed up because the Epcot parking lot got filled up so early in the day that they were having to then direct people to either park at the All-Star Sports or Magic Kingdom.

        The WWoS driving directions were there even though you couldn’t drive yourself there for the half because people could still drive there earlier in the day on Saturday to go to the Expo or the Kid’s Races.

        I was there too, and I am a Disney person, but I agree that a lot of things about that particular race were un-magical.


    November 13, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I’ve been waiting for your take on the W&D. My first Half Marathon was Princess in Feb. My first runDisney race. I enjoyed it, not the crowds, but I run Jeff Galloway intervals so I felt accepted. W&D was going to be my 3rd Half this year, my first year of running. Now, I am a Disney person, but I will probably not do another runDisney race. Unfortunately, because of having to register so early, my husband and I are on the hook for Star Wars The Dark Side but I’m no longer super excited. I agree, I didn’t pay $200 to “only have to run 7 miles” and “get to the party sooner” to spend more money! Ha. My friend and I used our $15 gift cards on a $19 meal. Disney made $10 more bucks on us! We also returned ALL of our t-shirts, headbands, magnets, ect. Around $200. We will be also returning our $85 commemorative jackets. RunDisney will be getting a letter from me stating that I did not enjoy the lack of apology. There was no, “we’re sorry but…”. They were “yay, you trained your butt off, paid $200, and now you have a medal that says something you didn’t actually do but you got to a crowded (because everyone finished together) party! You should be sooo thrilled”. Not good, Disney. I also earned my way into a front corral from my Princess time, but didn’t get to see what I could do with it. And I also deleted myself from both of the W&D FB groups afterwards because people were cruel!!! I’ve been barely on FB since. And I’ve spent this week after in a huge slump. My tattoo of my first year of running will be incomplete. My DID goal will be completed because I do have a 4th Half scheduled in Dec. But it was to be a bonus “look what I’m doing, going above and beyond my goal”. I was curious what Professional runners would think of the fiasco that was this year’s W&D. Thank you!

  • Katie

    November 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    I laughed a lot during this post. I really HATE Disneyland/Disneyworld because of the pressure to be intensely happy and have a fun time while being busy, hot, tired, and on your feet for hours and hours and hours. It’s a lose/lose proposition for introverts like me, so I was totally relating to the “%” parts of the post.

  • SoAnyway

    November 16, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    The % and * mechanic is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. It made me laugh ALOT.

    Also, my step-daughter just suggested we should do RunDisney, so thanks for the heads up on the price. I find myself something less than enthusiastic about spending $200 for 13.1.

      • Nancy

        November 17, 2015 at 1:55 pm

        “As I lose my mind on the security dude in the shuttle, he says: “It’s in the event guide!” Hell it is, I shoot back at him.”

        Okay. I guess “says” is synonymous with “yelled”.

          • Nancy

            November 17, 2015 at 2:16 pm

            Looks like you “lost your mind” on him before he SBM-speak-for yelled at you.

            Sorry, but I really take issue with this. For one thing, the support staff, even if getting paid, are there before you show up, and long after you leave. Even if he put you on blast, stay above the fray.

            The other issue I have is, you’re a coach. Be the same example for them that you’d want to be for your kids. Who knows how many lightweight drunks, tipsy from all the Mich Ultra, that guy had to shuttle back long after the “after party”. And before you put him on blast, how many others had given him the same treatment.

            Dunno. I read your posts all the time. This just doesn’t seem like you.

    • CB

      November 18, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      I can’t blame you, geez! (Yes, that’s me screaming. Apparently, your next blog should be on how to improve reading comprehension, not judging people because they’re view is opposing, understanding punctuation, and when to separate paragraphs.


  • Jenny

    November 18, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy reading your blog because you tell it how it is FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE. This is YOUR BLOG. You are not here to be politically correct nor should you take personally what people may comment on here negatively towards you. Whether or not I agree with what you’ve ever written, I still know that this is YOUR blog and choose to read it because I appreciate your honestly and point of view on things as you have experienced them. People need to chill with backlash like you just *&$% on their Disney birthday cake. THIS IS A BLOG people. Relax.

  • Melanie

    November 18, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    I have to say, as someone who started her running “career” out in Disney races and drank the koolaid, I get it. I ran Disney for the first three years and decided last year, I was done with runDisney. It has gotten out of control with the price and the races have become more and more crowded. It’s lost its “magic” for this runner.

  • Jen

    November 18, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Oh, you’re on dangerous ground here, challenging the Disney True Believers!

    I HATE that there are pages and pages and pages of information that you’re supposed to pour over and commit to memory to plan a vacation. Yeah…a vacation. At a place with more rules and regulations and procedures than any workplace or college or even the military. What I hate even more is the attitude of people online when you say you missed something. That “Well, you should have known” after you admit that you overlooked something. mom can point out things like that to me. Random strangers on the web, not so much.

    I like Disney, and up to a few years ago, I enjoyed their races. I live in CA and the park here is a bit less regimented than Florida, so that’s a plus. Sadly, the attitude of the people has really soured me on the whole thing. I totally get where you’re coming from.

  • Kristen

    November 19, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I’m a Disney person, but I absolutely LOVE everything you said here!!!! I live in SoCal so I’ve grown up on Disney and come from a long line of legacy Disney people (my parents honeymooned there for goodness’ sake!) but I have to agree that over the past several years the joy has steadily been sucked out of the experience for me because it is just so flipping crazy. The money, the crowds, the overwhelming nature of it all. I still love it and always will, but I have to take it in smaller doses. And as far as RunDisney races? I did the inaugural Tinkerbell in 2012 and the price was steep at $125, but it has gone up exponentially since then and I will NOT pay upwards of $200 to RUN for 13.1 miles. Just not going to do it…nuh-uh no way. Especially considering that you don’t get ANYTHING extra that you get at another race. You get a tech shirt and a medal. I don’t consider running through a park for about 5 minutes and the opportunity to stand in line for pictures in the middle of a race to be a perk.

    So in other words – I totally agree!!!

  • jindy

    November 20, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    I started running because of runDisney and I still love doing some of the races. I am a huge DISNEYLAND and Disney fan, but I will be the first to admit that the worst race I have ever run was the WDW Full Marathon. Unfortunately the majority of runDisney fanatics are not honest in their race reviews. I totally appreciate your honesty and promise that if you were to run Star Wars in January at DISNEYLAND (that’s the key) – you’d love it. Except for the crowds. No getting around that. Literally. 😉

  • Kate

    November 20, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you for taking the time and having the guts to write an honest review or a race. I think too many people are too afraid to say anything negative about a race/product/whatever and its hard to find an honest answer. People always try to get me to do a Disney race, but I am not a Disney person and I hate crowds. For whatever reason they don’t believe me when I tell them i won’t have fun. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone.

  • Steph

    November 25, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Sigh. You know, I agree 1000000% with your post. I didn’t run this race (was injured and skipped it this time around, my first Wine and Dine I’ve missed since 2011), but I’m so glad I did.

    The amount of overwhelmingly negative reports I’ve read are insane. But it’s not negative reports like yours that I’ve been reading (yours was refreshingly honest, and I was nodding in agreement almost the entire time – and I live here in Orlando behind the Magic Kingdom)…it’s the ones where people are posting that rD OWES them something for the shortened course.

    Okay, I get it, fans. You expected a magical experience, especially coming out of last year’s stupidly nicknamed “Splash and Dash” half marathon. But the temper tantrums online were absurd, and that’s one of the big reasons that people laugh at anyone saying they’re going to run in a rD event.

    The races have turned into a spectacle of who has the best costume, who wants to be seen and recognized, who has the most enthusiasm while prancing around at character stops.

    I used to be a massive rD fan. They were my first half marathon, and because it’s literally my backyard, it was easy to get to/from. Unfortunately, now it’s an overpriced experience where you are expected to dress up and be excited to see Mickey everywhere. I had more fun running the New York City Marathon this year (second year in a row) than I did at any of the rD events in the last year. And it’s about the same cost, but it’s a full marathon, and the crowd support is incredible.

    I applaud you for posting your review. You’re 100% right, these races aren’t for everyone. And I think it’s time I’ve bowed out and go to less magical races (and save some pennies, too).

  • MysteryFlowers

    December 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    I also participated in the Disney Wine and Dine kinda sorta half marathon. I’m not a “Disney person” at all, and just recently became a runner. I do agree with some of the things in this post, but if you are reading this and it’s on your “bucket list” you shouldn’t let one post discourage you from doing something you’ve always wanted to do.

    I personally had a great experience with the race. I intentionally chose the race because it was at night. Even though I was tired after the weather delay, the adrenaline from the crowds, fireworks, and fun people restored my energy. I loved running through the parks and seeing them deserted. I loved the people cheering for you around every turn. I loved all the festivities surrounding the event. The crowds were slightly annoying, but not enough so that I couldn’t run at the pace I wanted to. I can’t blame them for the shortened race. I’m an event planner so I know that stuff (like weather) happens and you have to adjust. I’m from Florida, so it’s not a huge trip for me to participate in this race and I plan to again next year.

    Not hating on this post, I just wanted people to see another perspective and that some people did have a great time at this race.


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