Wine and Dine Half Marathon Expo and Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K

Hi, everyone! So I’m back home and (finally) caught up, so I thought I’d start the first of my Wine and Dine Half Marathon recap posts with a quick look at the expo, and a recap of Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k!

After landing on Thursday and getting a little preview of the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, I hit the expo at opening on Friday morning. Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, I was expecting to find the mass chaos that I was faced with during both my Princess Half Marathon and Disneyland Half Marathon experiences.

Since I had to take the bus (my family went to Discovery Cove for the morning!), I arrived at the expo pretty much at 10am on the dot, and was nervous that the crowds would already be forming inside.


You can imagine my surprise when I found what is perhaps the calmest race expo I’ve ever attended. There was no pushing and shoving or hysteria inside the official race merchandise booth. Everything was relaxed and well organized. I grabbed my desired items, and was able to stroll right up to the registers — I was out of there in 15 minutes! It was a far cry from the three-hour line I stood in to pick up Dumbo Double Dare merchandise at the Disneyland Half expo, that’s for sure.

That meant I had plenty of time to pick up my bib for both the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K, and take some pictures.


Of course, I also spent some time at some of the other vendors, and picked up an adorable ornament from Milestone Sports Jewelry, charms to represent each one of my runDisney races from BeeCause Charms, and I finally got to try out the FlipBelt — so far, I’m a big fan.

We spent the rest of the day at Hollywood Studios carbing up at Mama Melrose’s, checking out the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and taking in a viewing of Fantasmic! DSCF6940


The next morning, my sister and I woke up around 5:30am to get ready for Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k! It’s a 5k race that takes place at Animal Kingdom, so we decided to go as some of our favorite Disney “animals” — Pooh and Eeyore!DSCF6958

It was my sister’s very first 5K, so I signed up to run with her — even though I knew I’d be taking on 13.1 miles later that evening. (Her name is Christine, but I haven’t called her that in about 15 years…she’s “Hopper” to me, haha).

The goal of this race? To have fun. And I think we accomplished that. :)


The course started in the parking lot of Animal Kingdom, and there was a decent amount of congestion as we made our way into the park. The walls of walkers made it tricky to really go anywhere, even though we started in Corral B, but it didn’t matter to me too much because I was sticking with Eeyore for this race, anyway. :)

We ran/walked into the park, where we found our first characters! We had to stop for Rafiki, since we both love The Lion King.


It was an especially cool experience for me because, so far, I had only run through Magic Kingdom and Epcot, so it was fun to run through Animal Kingdom. There was a ton of excitement, and everyone seemed to be having a great time.


As an un-chipped, non-timed race, I have to say it was nice to see runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels out on the course. Don’t get me wrong, 5K races are usually reserved for my fastest, hardest efforts…but sometimes, it’s nice to be able to celebrate the sport and just enjoy the moment.


I was beyond thrilled that my sister seemed to be having such a great time; she struggled a little bit in the beginning of the race, but as we kept going, I could tell she was enjoying it. It always means a lot to me to think that I might be able to inspire others — I like to think of myself as proof that you can completely transform your life in the most unexpected of ways (never in a ZILLION years did I think I’d become a runner!), and it’s always so exciting for me to be able to share the sense of accomplishment you get from crossing a finish line with someone else.


I also got to chat with a “tweep” of mine, Jill, who tweets at @MRScrashmattb. So awesome to meet her “in real life!”

 As we made our way through the park and out into the backstage area — an interesting element of runDisney races is getting to see what it looks like “behind the scenes” — we stopped for more pictures with some friends.

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Before I knew it, we saw the third mile marker, and it was time to cross that finish line. I was super proud of Hopper. Regardless of whether this was a timed race or not, she set a goal, she put in the hard work, and she crossed that finish line — and that’s really what running is about, right? :)



Afterwards, we took some pictures — just NOT the photo with Mickey and Minnie, unfortunately, because the line seemed to go on for miles. It was insane!


Then we gobbled up some post-race goodies before heading out to enjoy the park for the rest of the afternoon with our new shirts and medals!


Next up: a recap of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon!

 Have you ever run a 5K “just for fun?”

Have you ever run a race with a first-timer?


  1. I think this Hopper sounds like a stand up gal ;)

  2. I LOVE your costumes! What a cool thing to be able to do with your sister! <3

  3. Congrats to your sister! That’s great the you’ve inspired her to run and that she enjoyed it, I really think Disney races are a great way to introduce new runners to a race experience!

    And I love your Pooh costume, too cute!

    • Aw, thanks! AGREED! During the race, she was like, “okay, I can see why you like Disney races so much…” Haha. It’s the perfect environment for someone who’s new to racing — and you can’t NOT have a blast! :-D

  4. LOVE THIS!! I think Disney 5ks are perfect for first-timers. Yall look like you had a blast. Congrats!

  5. Great pics and loving the costumes! Looks like y’all had a lot of fun and congrats to Hopper on her very first 5K! That is also amazing that the expo was so easy going.

    I’ve actually never ran a 5K for time – always for fun lol. The only 2 5K’s I’ve done are color runs. I actually kind of want to run one for time!

    • Thanks, Lauren! We did have fun…and, yes, it was QUITE a relief to have my first non-chaotic runDisney experience.

      I’ve always wanted to try a Color Run — they look like a lot of fun! You should totally give it a try…honestly, I think 5Ks are harder than half marathons because you feel compelled to push yourself to your maximum speed and effort the entire time. It’s “only” 3 miles, but they’re NOT easy!

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Mentioned Elsewhere:

  1. [...] running the 5K earlier that morning (recap here, in case you missed it!), my family and I spent some time touring Animal Kingdom before heading [...]

  2. [...] to be my sister’s first 10K! When I ran the Wine and Dine Half Marathon last November, she took on the Jingle Jungle 5K that morning as her first 5K…and I somehow managed to convinced her to run the 10K with me as part of Princess Half [...]

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