Disney Wine & Dine Weekend 2016 Part 3: Wine & Dine Half

As if the Wine and Dine weekend couldn't get any better, it was finally time to tackle the half marathon. 

Mickey's Holiday 5k and the inaugural Wine & Dine 10k were a BLAST!!! 

I couldn't wait for the half to complete the inaugural Lumiere's Challenge!

While I lived out a fantasy running as Joy for the 10k, I had another great costume planned for the half.

The one and only JUDDY HOPPS from Zootopia!

How awesome is that vest? My amazingly creative wife MADE that vest from scratch! I am one lucky lady. You will see the full costume in upcoming photos. :)

The half would wind through Animal Kingdom again and I couldn't wait to see which characters would be out there for pics!

For the first time since Dopey Challenge in 2014, I wasn't in corral A. My 1:47 half marathon time landed me in Corral B. Yes this is pushing me to run a speedy half in 2017! I missed Corral A by about 2 minutes so I need to keep that in mind for a future half. :)

Haha! Of course I lined up as close to the start of Corral B as I could. Being in Corral B allowed me to capture the beautiful fireworks that kicked off the wheelchair corral and Corral A, as well as each corral following. I love that Disney gives each Corral the same send off.

How cool is that? 

I wasn't able to get a good pic of Rudy and Carissa, but I was captivated by the special guests: Mickey and Minnie!

Since the corrals were only about 3-5 minutes apart, it was our turn rather quickly. Many of the people in Corral A aren't at the race for character pics so I was really hoping the lines wouldn't be too long after we started. 

And just like that it was our turn! I was trying to figure out how to hold my phone in one hand and my carrot pen/recorder/pad of paper in the other. Man those costume accessories can sometimes be such a bother. ;) I kid! Really the pen & paper were much easier to carry than the memory ball (from the day prior).

Just before stopping for the first character stop I took advantage of the empty port-o-potties. The lines were a little too long for me in the pre-race area so I opted to hold it until I was on the course. 

After running out of the port-o-potty I realized the first character stop were the members of the Country Bear Jamboree. I had never see them on a Disney course before. :0)

You know what made this stop even better? Disney used this pic on their Facebook page that day! I totally geeked out over that!

How great does the whole costume look? I loved having the utility type belt for the costume because it held my GUs and if I needed to hang the pen on the belt to free up my hands I could. :) It is the little things in life for sure.

There weren't any character stops during Mile 2 and 3, which was a little disappointing but there was some entertainment from DJs and big TV screens. So at least it didn't feel like we were just running on a dark highway.

Mile 1: 10:45
Mile 2: 8:18
Mile 3: 8:23

After the first 5k, we were finally making our way to Animal Kingdom. WOO! Unfortunately when I hit the first character stop of AK, the Disney photog was fixing their camera so I only have the picture the cast member took and it wasn't the best one. :/ 

I am still wicked grateful that Disney has moved from MarathonFoto photogs to Disney photogs. There are so many more picture options and Annual Passholders get free race photos! WOO!

As you can see by this picture, I was having a slight issue with water reaching my mouth from water stops and instead landing all over my vest. Well the navy blue doesn't hide water stains very well... let's get used to this for future pics, shall we? ;) 

I was also a little proud of my carrot recorder that I was showing it off to all of the photogs.

While my pictures in front of the castle never turn out the way I think they are going to, I am loving the pic in front of the Tree of Life.

Now in addition to water we can add a tad bit of sweat to the mix. ;) Not sure the light blue shirt would be light blue by the end of the run. I knew it was risky wearing a long-sleeved shirt in Florida in November, but it was worth it for the costume. Oh the sacrifices we make. ;) Again kidding. 

Mile 4: 10:15

Wow those are some crazy eyes? Was I that excited to see Timon? I guess so. Haha. 

Great shot! I just wish you could see Expedition Everest in the background, but you can all imagine it. Right? 

These guys were pretty psyched to take a pic with Juddy Hopps. I had to oblige and stop for a quick shot. 

Mile 5: 9:28

While I wish we could just run laps around a park to total 13.1 miles that isn't how it works. ;) We had to start making our way out of the Animal Kingdom and on to EPCOT.

It was nice seeing Meeko from Pocahontas... were you seeing an animal theme around Animal Kingdom? ;) 

Don't worry folks almost halfway through the race and I still have my carrot recorder working to protect the race participants from evil.

As with everything at Disney, they are able to add a little magic to everything on-site including the shubbery.

How cool is the topiary we found as we left the Animal Kingdom lot?

Special thanks to another participant for taking my photo for me. We were both stopping to take shots so we helped each other out. She also recognized me from Instragram and I got all nerdy and dorky over it. I wish I could remember her handle. Sorry friend!!!

How cool is that sky in the background? Nice to see the sun rise while out racing. :)

Mile 6: 10:17

Mile 7 kicked off with a quick out-and-back! It was a great chance to see some of my friends that were just ahead of me and a few just behind me. You all know my love of out and backs for this reason. :)

Just after coming out of the out-and-back I had to make a pit stop at the First Aid Station. Nothing like scaring the poor security guy at the station when you take vaseline and just reach up your shorts to lather up your inner thigh area. Sexy right? Also totally something Judy Hopps would do. :P

Mile 7: 9:23

Guys guys guys! I might have totally geeked out over the next character stop. Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. OMG!!!!

How freakin' sweet is there little setup? I didn't want to leave. I just wanted to hang with them for the rest of the morning. Haha. 

I had caught up with my friend Jeff just after this stop so we ran a little together. He had just come off a tough race so it was great to run with him for a little while. He is a perfect Dopey participant so I am excited to see him there in 2018! Wicked thankful for friends that social media has brought into my life. Also how could I forget to get a mid-run selfie with him? #DaniFAIL 

Mile 8: 9:45

Oh my goodness. Is that who I think it is? Darkwing Duck and Launchpad McQuack!

I LOVE when Disney breaks out the rare characters. 

I must have blacked it out, but I was reminded by some other runners that this is the "boring" part of the Disney marathon course. Oh it call came flooding back to me. Haha. But really I can never be too bored during a Disney race. 

Ohhh spectators. Not only did you kill it with the sign - you had some delish candy to enjoy as well. Swedish fish you hit the spot.

Unfortunately around this time my right knee started bugging me again. I took a quick walk break to see if it would pass. I figured I might need to institute some walk breaks during the final 4 miles, which I was totally okay with. I still had a lot of park time and the race party to enjoy! :P Gotta race smart.

Mile 9: 10:26

It was time to make our way to EPCOT. As we made our way down the highway, I took a moment to stop and take in the entrance to my favorite park. So many memories running through that place.

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of the volunteers out on the course. I know how early they have to wake up to be there and how long they are out there. THANK YOU for being there for us.

Every water stop was well-manned, full of energy and lots of smiles and cheers!

Do you think they would give me a ride to the Finish? Nah I wouldn't want to miss a single moment of the run.

Just when you need a character fix there are Lilo and Stitch! Can you believe Stitch tried to steal my recorder?

I am not sure why, but every time I hit Mile 10 of a Disney half I start singing "Go The Disntance" from Hercules. I think it stems from my first Disney Half when it came on my iPod during that Mile and since then I always text Eric during that time (since that song reminds me of him).

I also had to take a moment to fix my vest. The sticky side of the velcro was no match for how sweaty I was getting during the run apparently. I wasn't sure what to do, but thankfully I had a MacGuyer moment and took the pins from the bottom of my bib and used them to fasten the sides of my vest in place.

Mile 10: 10:14

Now there can't only be a 5k left. :( 

Mile 11 means a nice incline to enjoy as we move from the highway and make our way up the off ramp and head towards EPCOT. 

I was excited to see this motivating Green Army man to help push me up that ramp. 

This is the same final stretch of the Disney Half during marathon weekend. Trying to figure out "have I run here before?" is a great way to pass the time during a run. ;) 

Mile 11: 10:34

Nooo only 2 miles. But I was having so much fun and my knee pain went away so I just wanted to keep playing. But I knew there had to be some great stops waiting for us once inside EPCOT.

And just when I was feeling alone there was a special spectator offering up what I needed... a hug!

Right after we passed the Mile 12 marker, we made our way into the EPCOT parking lot and on to the park itself.

Mile 12: 9:36

FINAL MILE my friends. Let's see how many stops we'll have.

Wow! Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar made an appearance.

So did my two favorite kids: Phineas and Ferbs. I know what we are going to do today guys - RUN!!!!

How about this for a turnaround view.

Here is the out and back through EPCOT - down one side, around the Mickey topiary and back towards the ball.

Hmmm why wasn't the Craft Beer station open? Too early apparently? :(

Oh well I will make sure to stop by that area during the post-race party that night.

Can we tell the vest was holding on my a thread... or rather a safety pin? Haha. 

After making our way around the ball, it was time to leave EPCTO and finish in the magestic EPCOT parking lot. ;) 

But first a dance break with the Gospel choir.

Mile 13: 10:05

And Finish Line leap 3 of 3. Not very graceful, but at least part of it was captured.

FINISH TIME: 2:11:14 (10:01 min/mile pace)

Another amazing Disney half in the books. How about that bling?

Once I collected my Finish Line snacks and hit the port-o-potty, I noticed there was a truck selling beer and champagne. Oh hey! Why yes I will treat myself to some bubbly.

I took my medals and bubbly and got in line for some character photos!

What an amazing morning. I didn't think it could get any better until... I spotted my Tedy's Team teammate and friend, Megan!!! Isn't it crazy how you can bump into a friend in a group of tens of thousands?

After filling my heart up with so many great memories, it was time to head home, shower and get ready to head to the parks!

I had never done the Wine & Dine race when it was at night, but I enjoyed the move to the morning. I was able to go back shower, nap and get ready for the party later that night instead of going right to the party in costume. I didn't have to worry about time on the course cutting into party time. Plus I still got free entry into the party that night with my bib.

Overall it was one kick ass first Wine & Dine race weekend for me! I can't wait to be back in 2017.

The Wine & Dine weekend rounded out our 3rd Run Disney weekend in 2016 (the most we had done in one calendar year). I brought all of the bling to the park because how could I miss THAT shot?

Were you part of the inaugural Lumiere's Challenge weekend? What were your thoughts?