It’s time for my all-time favorite type of post: the trip report! See all the posts in my 2022 Wine & Dine Half Marathon trip report. Onward!
Would you like to know how much sleep I got the night before the 2022 Wine & Dine Half Marathon? According to my GPS watch, it was over 6 hours! New record! World record!
With that auspicious start to the morning, I rolled out of bed around 2:30am and started preparations. Becky and Erika followed shortly after me, and we left our room for the buses right on the dot of our 3:15am target time.
For a while there, bus pickup was between 2:30 and 3:30am, or even 2 and 3am depending on your resort. Moving back to the current 3 to 4am is nice from a sleep perspective, but made me nervous in terms of making the race on time (see my first ever runDisney experience). Luckily, runDisney seems to have actually learned their lesson?! Because there were tons and tons of buses waiting to take us to the race start.
All the same, we arrived much later than I’ve been used to, which was nice in some ways – less time sitting around – and a little disconcerting in others. We basically headed straight for the corrals. Having learned my lesson last time, I peed twice early on and then marched to the front of corral B, determined not to be moved. And by some miracle, I didn’t have to use the bathroom again during the race! Time saved during the race and no need to throw elbows? Oh joy!
Happily, the race started right on time, and at the front of corral B we were off shortly after. I wasn’t too optimistic about this new Disney’s Animal Kingdom-less course, but how did it go really?
We started off on the roads around Epcot, as they just about all do. I knew our first park was going to be Epcot itself, but I was pleased we didn’t hit it until after mile 3 – I prefer my park time as a pick-me-up further into the race rather than early on.
Our time in Epcot was very reminiscent of the Tower of Terror 10 Miler course if you know that one, where we did around 2/3 of World Showcase with a weird bit where we went behind a couple countries before exiting the park at the International Gateway. After that, it was exactly like that race, as we went “backwards” (at least compared to the WDW Marathon course) up the trail to the Studios. Thank God I was at the front of my corral this time, because that part gets narrow.
The Epcot bit was nice, though! They were playing Disney music in old school jazz style, and all the lights were on for us. I still don’t understand why we can’t just run the full World Showcase loop, but I guess they needed to add a little mileage.
I caught my first character photo as we exited Epcot – Terk from Tarzan just happened to be walking out as I passed, so I was first in line. Unfortunately, this was also when the first serious bought of rain started, so my otherwise clearly baller photos were forever tarnished. Curse you, inclement weather!
(It rained off an on all throughout the race at varying levels of intensity, but usually not too bad. Absolutely nothing like the Splash ‘n Dash of 2014. Consider yourselves lucky, kids. Besides, given the heat and humidity, a little rain was not the worst. I went into this race all cocky, like, oh, I live in PR, but dang!)
As I mentioned above, we transitioned between parks via the Boardwalk, which even at that early hour was lined with spectators. “Potatoland?” said one guy, clearly confused, as opposed to the lady a few yards on who yelled “Potatoland! We love it!” If you know, you know. Overall, I’d say I got more callouts from spectators over my Potatoland ensemble than any race costume I’ve worn before. Seems farfetched, but it’s true! I credit the clear block lettering.
From there we of course entered the Studios, as you naturally do, running up Hollywood Boulevard in all its Christmas-bedecked glory. I skipped a Sully and Mike Wazowski character stop toward the front, which I kinda regret, but I didn’t feel like waiting for the line.
Luckily I was shortly rewarded with little no line for the Country Bears (although as Becky rightly pointed out, what were they doing in the Studios???) and the Star Wars Cantina Band. The lighting on the latter was not great, but I’m still not sorry I stopped – who knows when we’ll see them out for photos again?
We rolled on through Batuu and through Toy Story Land before heading up Sunset Boulevard and out of the park behind the Tower of Terror. Having skipped the Disney’s Animal Kingdom portion of Wine & Dine Halves Past, now began the long dark road time of the soul.
The best and only way to lift your spirits on the road bits? Duh – character stops. I got Pluto, which was good, but then I got Goofy, which was better, because Potato… LAND! Ten thousand points to the Cast Member inside the suit, who understood the assignment perfectly.
A little further on I picked up one of the Green Army Men from Toy Story, which was nice because while I’ve seen him out and shouting a lot, he doesn’t usually get such a nice backdrop. I also snagged Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar, who I’ve snapped before but there was no line so what the heck.
Finally, finally, after more than 5 miles with nary a park in sight, Spaceship Earth loomed on the horizon and we rolled into Epcot once more. I dunno, guys; this is the same basic ending as the Princess and WDW Half Marathons and it just doesn’t do it for me. World Showcase gets me HYPE. Random bits of Epcot with no Disney music is just not the same. Maybe when the walls come down it will be better?
But I did stop for Figment because FIGMENT. Figment!!! I hear a costumed character is coming back, and you can bet I’ll stop for that if it shows up on a race course. That is a solid FACT.
That was pretty much the race for me from there – I padded past the Imagination pavilion, kissed the tip of World Showcase, skippity-hopped around Mouse Gears, took a left at Mission: Space, and then it was off to the finish line. “Good to see Potatoland in the house!” said one announcer. “Well, one person,” said the other. Shut up, CGal; I am one but I am MIGHTY. 😂
And that’s game! I picked up my medal and water and snack box and all that jazz, shoved it in a bag kindly proffered at the merch tent, briefly considered buying a glass of champagne, remembered I didn’t bring my ID, climbed onto a waiting bus, and there you are. Done. First in the showers.
Did I miss DAK and the World Showcase finish? Well I just whined about it for a cumulative jillion words, so yeah. Did I still have a great time? Always, forever! I was thrilled that my Potatoland costume was such a comparative hit, and pleased that I seemed to have avoided injury. The view from the front of the corral was marvelously uncongested and I never waited long for pictures.
I was happy. runDisney always makes me happy. That’s why they get the lion’s share of my discretionary spending, you know?
It could be hard drugs, we whisper to ourselves as we sign up for another race. At least it isn’t drugs…
Next up: let’s take a nap and then hit the Studios!
Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See ya real soon!
Love your recap! It was an okay race for me. Hitting Animal Kingdom definitely would have improved it. And needed more Soul themeing other than “generic jazz music”!
The loss of Animal Kingdom was major for me! It’s just soooo much better than… roads. >D