An Open Letter to runDisney: Why Did You Ruin Wine & Dine?

Dear runDisney,


Why did you do it?

You had something special with the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, you really did.

You had something that was completely unmatched by any other runDisney event with the PM start time, a completely unique course, and the ability to hang out in Epcot after the race to eat, drink, and be merry.

And now, that’s all gone.


From my outside perspective, it has to boil down to one of two reasons: either you’re afraid of the weather or it’s a straight up money grab.

It Rains in the Morning Too, You Know

It Gon Rain

If the reason for moving the race to the morning is weather related, shame on you.

I’ve lived in Central Florida for long enough to know that it can rain morning, noon, or night. So the fact that it’s rained on the night of the race the past two years is nothing but a coincidence.

In both 2014 and 2015, the nights before the race and the nights after the race were free of rain. And so were the race nights in previous years, so changing the time of the race in response to some rain the past couple of years seems more than a little hasty.

And if you’re worried about the heat side of the weather coin, you’re even more foolish with your logic!

A race that starts at 10 pm has a huge heat related benefit: it gets cooler the longer the race goes! Start your race at 5:30 am, and guess what? It keeps getting hotter the longer that runners are on the course.

And let’s be honest for a minute, the folks that are running a 3:30 half marathon are probably the ones that are going to be MOST susceptible to heat illness.

So those folks, who aren’t going to start their race until closer to 6:30, are going to be out there until almost 10 o’clock.

Heat illness is a real thing in any race run in Florida at any time of year, but you’re really asking for an issue here.

I hope nothing happens, but moving this race from a PM start to an AM start is begging for the heat to play an even bigger role than it was already going to play.

Show Me the Money!

Show Me the Money

Is it fair to say that this is the more likely reason for the switch?

I hope not, but I’ve been around different sides of Walt Disney World long enough to know that the mighty dollar is THE most important factor in all things House of Mouse.

I wonder how Walt would have felt about that…

Sight Has Been Lost...

Sight Has Been Lost…By More than Just runDisney

So let’s assume, for a second, that this move is all about the money.

What is the logic here? Move the race to Sunday morning, add a 10k on Saturday morning, and Bingo-Bango! we’ve got a challenge on our hands?

I suppose that makes sense, but you didn’t need to do that to create a 10k/13.1 challenge.

You had a great, unique race that you could have made greater and even more unique by creating a SAME DAY CHALLENGE!

Think about it. You could have still added the 10k and the fancy challenge medal (and the fancy challenge price that comes along with it) and run both races on Saturday.

10k Saturday morning at 6 AM.

Half Marathon Saturday night at 10 PM.

Two races, one day. The only runDisney event to offer this unique style of challenge would have only added to the allure of this event.

Instead, you’ve turned it into every other runDisney event, save for marathon weekend obviously, where there’s a 10k on Saturday and a half on Sunday.

No longer special. No longer unique.

Just same old, same old.

And it’s sad.

I'm Just Sad

I’m Just as Sad as You Mickey

I’ll Admit to Being Emotional on This One

I’ve said several times that the Wine & Dine Half Marathon was my favorite race.

Emphasis on was.

I loved the uniqueness of the event. I loved the course. I loved the fact that the race started at night. I loved a race that had a little more of an adult theme and the offer of a free beer at the finish line.

I loved the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.


Now I could care less about this race.

And honestly, it hurts my heart to say that.

I’m sure the challenge will sell out in record time, and the race will be at full capacity as well, and if that’s your only metric for success than you’ll all be giving yourselves high fives and pats on the back about making the decision to switch up Wine & Dine weekend.

But my running heart is broken thanks to y’alls  decision.

Will I get over it? Of course I will.

But am I sad that my favorite runDisney race at one of my favorite places in the world is no longer a thing? You bet I am.

Seriously, you had something great.

And now you just have something…


What Are Your Thoughts About the Change to the Wine & Dine Half Marathon? Am I Over Reacting? Rightfully Upset? Somewhere in Between?

11 replies
  1. Ben R
    Ben R says:

    I would have loved to do a same day challenge. I was really looking forward to the race this year, but not now. I’ll be happy with the Red Ribbon that morning

    • Denny
      Denny says:

      I think the same day challenge would have been killer for runDisney. I’ve done Red Ribbon and Wine and Dine (my own same day challenge) twice, and it was a lot of fun. Mentally and physically tough for sure.

          • John Zuk
            John Zuk says:

            I ran the challenge this year and signed up for it in 2017. Run was good, if you were out front, otherwise lots of log jam sections on the race course. I don’t dislike the course, but finishing at the Sports area just is not the same as the parking lot of Epcot. Thinking about trying to go for the legacy Challenge awards in 5 years.

          • Denny
            Denny says:

            Good luck! My plan when Wine and Dine started was to be one of those guys that runs it every year forever but it’s so tough now with the fact that the races sell out in 45 min. And them changing up the time of race made the decision to give up my streak a surprisingly easy one.

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