Disney Wine & Dine Weekend 2016 Part 1: Mickey's Holiday 5k

Wine and Dine weekend might be my new favorite weekend in Disney World. Between the races and the festival at EPCOT, I was riding on cloud 9 during the entire visit. Since this race is so close to our anniversary, we counted the trip as an anniversary trip. Does that mean we can do it every year from here on out? We were married on 11-12-10 so I think we should. ;)

On Friday, November 4, we kicked the weekend off with the Mickey's Holiday 5k. Usually I head to the 5ks solo as the wife rarely runs them, but this race was different. While I was running all 3 races, the wife would be tackling the 5k so we actually got to ride the bus to the race together. :)

Since this was our first Wine and Dine race, it was our first time heading to Animal Kingdom for a race start. It was fun to be heading to a new park/area for a race.  

Since I was in Corral A, I wanted to get there in plenty of time so I could line up as close to the stage as possible. But before we got into the corrals, we took a little time to meet up with our friend Jeff and his wife! We met Jeff at Sarah's wedding in May and have stayed connected through social media. Jeff has an amazing energy and you can't help but smile around him. 

Did this picture give away my costume? 

I was Fifi the Feather Duster from Beauty and the Beast!

Do you see that drops of white stuff around me? No that isn't dandruff you meanie. :P It was SNOWING at the race. That's right! Disney knows how to kick off a holiday 5k. They made snow out of soap. It was awesome to be standing in.

While I couldn't line up near the stage, I was able to get close to the start (about 3rd row back from the line).

Adios Mickey and Minnie, see you both at the Finish!

Carissa and Rudy counted us down and we were off!

The first mile didn't feature any character stops which kind of stunk. We basically spent the first mile running around the Animal Kingdom parking lot to get to the entrance of the park. It was totally worth it knowing the park would definitely have some good character stops. Again I hadn't run this race before so I wasn't sure which types of characters to expect. Additionally this was my first non-Star Wars race weekend since Princess 2015.

Mile 1: 8:01 (can you tell there weren't any character stops? ;0))

And just like that it was time to enter the Animal Kingdom! :) But first I need a pic with Rafiki of course.

After we officially entered the park, we were greeted by Baloo. 

Have I told you all how little I like running in a tutu? Well I thought I could handle it, but I was getting SUPER frustrated with this tutu during the race. I was all excited about it because I had made it myself instead of having the wife make it. But it kept getting caught between my legs so I spent most of the race trying to fix it.

Did I say how excited I was for free race photos thanks to having a Disney World Annual Pass? Now THAT was pretty freaking awesome bonus of the weekend.

I wish it was lighter out so this pic came out better. :(

I wish it was lighter out so this pic came out better. :(

Seeing the tree of life as we ran up into the main opening of Animal Kingdom was cool.

I almost ran past Tarzan's friend Terk, but I made sure to put the brakes on and retreat. :P Unfortunately there wasn't any official race photographer present, but I appreciate the cast member helping runners out who wanted a pic with Terk.

There are always a ton of photos I want to take while running through the parks, but I usually can't take them as I am running solo. But for this race I was able to ask a cast member volunteering to snap this pic for me.

I wanted to use it the rest of the race, but they told me that would be cheating. ;)

Proof I ran. :P I often get questions from people asking if I run these races or just take pics and selfies. Well I have to get between the character stops somehow. Right? ;P

I was wicked excited to see my niece's favorite character: King Louie! 

Guys this might've been the best mile of character stops in my racing career... then it got better!

Hot damn! Santa Goofy and wintery Donald together. 

Oh boy it was wicked fun running through Animal Kingdom.

Mile 2: 12:17

Mile 3 started with an out and back along one of the side roads of Animal Kingdom. You would think that would be boring, but no! We were able to run past some of the pieces from the water show from Animal Kingdom.

Additionally there was a DJ out on the out-and-back course mixing up some sweet holiday tunes. I couldn't wait to hit the turnaround as I imagined Disney would definitely throw us a character stop. And you know what? They did!

How cute is Pluto's dog house setup?

And unfortunately just like that we had less than a quarter mile to go.

Mile 3: 9:03

I was sad to see the race end, but I was excited to cheer the wife in!

Nailed it. Finish Line leap 1 of 3 for the weekend.

FINISH TIME: 31:26 (untimed race so this is Garmin time)

This was also the first Disney 5k to feature a real medal instead of a plastic medallion.

Pretty sweet, right?

Since the wife had started a few corrals behind me I had some time to kill before she would be coming in so I went over to the Family Finish area and got in line to get a photo with Mickey and Minnie.

I really appreciate Run Disney adding additional character stops before and after the races for folks to enjoy and also help pass the time. ;) 

The wife CRUSHED it. 

I was proud of her, but even more pumped by how proud she was of HERSELF!

Would I do the Mickey's Holiday 5k again? Absolutely! Oh wait I am already registered for it for 2018 so I am 100% in.

Did you run in Mickey's Holiday 5k in 2016? Who was your favorite character stop?