Last year when I was training for the Wine & Dine Half during the horrible hot and humid Florida summer, I swore up and down that I’d never sign up for that race again. I thought it couldn’t possibly be worth having to do double digit runs in September and October (in Florida). And then I ran the race and partied at the after party and I was hooked.
There are two ways to get into the Finish Line Party at Epcot. All half-marathon runners will get a wristband along with their race bibs which will allow party access after finishing in the Epcot parking lot. Spectators who purchase a separate ticket to the Finish Line Party can enter Epcot starting at 7pm. The tickets were available for purchase through active.com and have now sold out. If you purchased your ticket early enough, it was probably mailed to you. If not, you can pick the ticket up at the will-call area of the race Expo.
All of the runDisney special events are fun, but this is my favorite one because it coincides with the Epcot Food & Wine Festival so the festival booths are still there. I love the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, but it suffers from its own popularity with lots of guests and long lines. During the Finish Line Party, the crowds and lines are minimal which makes hopping from booth to booth to replenish after 13.1 miles fun and guilt free.
Some of my favorites from last year were the “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce from Canada and the Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream from Belgium. This year I have my eye on the Chicken Potstickers from China, the Frozen S’mores at the Dessert booth and the Schinkennudeln (Pasta gratin with ham and cheese) from Germany.
But food and wine aren’t the only things to look forward to at the after party. There are also some great character photo opportunities. I really enjoyed getting complimented on my “medal of valor” by Mulan.
And I got to meet Tiana too!
Finally, there are also some great rides open to enjoy with little or no wait. There’s nothing like riding Soarin’ with a bunch of crazy runners at 3am.
Here are some tips to make sure you get to enjoy the Finish Line Party:
- Rest during the day and nap if you can. If you spend all day on your feet in the parks and then run 13.1 miles, it isn’t likely that you’ll have a lot of energy left to party until dawn.
- Eat lightly after lunch. That will help you avoid getting sick during the race and you’ll have plenty of room to sample all the treats at the party.
- Take it easy during the race. If you’re going for a PR feel free to ignore this advice, but I like to look at this race as almost a training run for the Space Coast Half later in the month to ensure that I have plenty of gas in the tank after the race to party for a few hours.
- Accept that if you finish anywhere near the middle of the pack you’ll have to “cross the path”. To get into the world showcase (where all the food and wine booths are) you have to cross the race course and it can take a while and you will be packed in with other runners like sardines. Just be patient, it’s a necessary evil and once you’re across the fun will begin!
- Bring a change of clothes. My husband doesn’t run half marathons, so he takes my post race bag into the park with him, but you can also check a bag before the race to pick up afterwards. Read here to see what I make sure to pack in this bag for this race!
- Don’t drink too much after the race. I know there’s lots of alcohol to choose from and it comes in nice miniature cups, but it can add up quickly. Getting sick on a ride or on the bus back to your hotel isn’t going to make you or anyone around you feel very magical. Feel free to imbibe but use some restraint if you want to have fond memories of the event.
I hope to see you at the party! What are your favorite things to do at the Finish Line Party? Want to learn more about Wine & Dine. Check out this great linkup!