November 13, 2013

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Expo

We had some trepidation about attending the Wine and Dine expo after the terribly long lines we encountered at our last two runDisney race expos, the Princess Half in February and the Disneyland Half/Dumbo Challenge in August. After much discussion, we decided to do something we had never done before.  Instead of arriving at opening, we would wait until after lunchtime to go to the expo. With a morning at Magic Kingdom behind us, we made our way to ESPN to pick up our race packets, and check out the merchandise and vendors at the expo.




As usual, runDisney did a great job with fun signs leading you to the expo and packet pick up area. The crowds did not look too bad as we approached the Josten Center at the ESPN complex.  As we walked inside we were shocked to see an uncrowded expo! I immediately hurried into the official merchandise area to look for a magnet, and an "I Did It" shirt.  Within five minutes, I made my selections and paid for them. There were some empty shelves and we may have missed the opportunity to buy a few items, but the ease of the expo was dramatically improved by avoiding the expo opening. This will be our plan for future runDisney races and for those who are happy to buy just a token souvenir, I would highly recommend this!

No lines at the runDisney checkout area! Score!
Our favorite part of any race expo is picking up our bibs and race shirts.  This was no exception and I was really happy with the design on both of the shirts.  In fact, I wore my Wine and Dine half shirt to Yoga class today!


After less than an hour and a half at the expo, we were ready to get back to the hotel for a little relaxation followed by dinner at Tutto Italia in Epcot.  This expo day had been really fun and we were happy that it was completely stress free!

Do you enjoy browsing at race expos or do you grab your race bib and leave?
(Pam)

24 comments:

  1. We got there as soon as the expo opened and I actually didn't think the crowds were that bad. I remember making the comment that there seemed to be more room to move around compared to previous Disney expos. Not surre if that was attributed to less crowds or less vendors? What did you think? I always like to make at least a loop at the expos. Most expos seem to have the same ol stuff, but I of course like looking more in depth at Disney expos for unique merchandise. ~M

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    1. There did seem to be less vendors and maybe that made more room for all the expo attendees. We always do a loop too to make sure we do not miss anything!

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  2. Yes, NOT going at opening (and in my case, going on Saturday - even LESS crowded but won't work if you're doing the 5K) is DEFINITELY my game plan from now on. Crowds stress me out and I couldn't believe how much more relaxed I was!! Looking forward to reading more!

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    1. We also will go in the afternoon in the future, but only if it fits into our plans.

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  3. At Disney expos I tent to grab my bib & t-shirt (and stop by Lasting Commemoratives for the free art card!) and then I'm outta there - I'd rather be spending my time at the parks! However at a non-Disney race I really do like to look around at all the cool running stuff!

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    1. We also hit up the Lasting Commemoratives booth too....forgot to include that in the post! Those cards are fun for the scrapbook!

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  4. I love browsing around at race expos! Crowded or not, I won't leave until I see everything that looks interesting lol!!

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    1. You are brave Lauren! We like to look at the merchandise and various vendors but huge crowds do not excite us!

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  5. We hit the expo in the afternoon also and I was so glad to find it wasn't crowded in the least! I enjoyed walking around and browsing with all the vendors, which was easier to do with less people there! Disneyland was REALLY crowded!

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    1. We were probably there at the same time Kristen. Yes, it was much improved from the DL expo!

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  6. I enjoyed this expo for sure, I finally got to meet you both! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. You're both inspiring, honest, loving and keep it real ladies! Thanks Again! Keep going!!

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    1. We were so happy to meet you Deb and look forward to seeing you at future race weekends!

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  7. I got to the expo about 9:45am and even thought the line looked long, it wasn't that bad once it got moving. They actually opened the doors before 10am. The only wait I really ran into was my line for packet pickup had the slowest moving person working it, but it all worked out in the end. The expo ran very quickly and I never had to wait in a line at the either the runDisney store or to pick up my race shirt. I think runDisney is paying great attention to suggestions for improvement and acting on them. Now if they could just get the race course crossing in Epcot figured out...

    Kimberley

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    1. Kimberley, We thought the crossing in Epcot was a real mess. However, the expo was much improved from the last 2 we attended so hopefully runDisney will make adjustments next year!

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  8. We got there right when it opened and I was pleasantly surprised at how small the crowds were. We had to go back later in the afternoon though for my husband to switch corrals and I was shocked at how small the crowd was. We were able to wander around, check out all of the vendors, and even get into the runDisney merchandise booth. It was definitely a nice change!

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    1. Yes, it is really nice to be able to browse at the runDisney merchandise and not feel like you will be trampled to death! We loved this expo!

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  9. I LOVE race expos! I always try to go through the entire thing! Disney expos are the best! I never make it on opening day so I normally miss out on the official merchandise. I didn't get an I Did It shirt for the marathon in January because they were already sold out. :-( I was a little sad about that one.

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    1. Mindy, You need to let me know if you are running the next couple of runDIsney race weekends....I would happily pick up an "I Did It" shirt for you.

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  10. Hi Ladies! Hope you had a blast. We got to the Expo in the afternoon, around 3 p.m., after driving up from Miami and it was EMPTY! Literally no line at the official merchandise and there was plenty still left. I was a little disappointed in the merchandise this time as I found it a little blah. Still, the "I Did It" t-shirt was very cute as was the headband.

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  11. I also thought the merchandise was a bit uninspired, but loved the "I DId It" shirt too. Hopefully the Dopey merchandise in January will be really cute!

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  12. I'm curious to see what the NewBalance shoes will look like.

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    1. I bet they will be Donald and Daisy shoes, but that is just a guess!

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  13. You had the right plan going in the afternoon! I was there first thing and it was crowded and stressful for me. I would have enjoyed it much more if I had relaxed in the morning and went in the afternoon :)

    Karen @karenlovestorun

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    1. Karen, I think people get so worked up about getting the runDisney merchandise that it can ruin the experience of the expo. Christine had the idea to wait and I am so glad we did. There may have been a few things missing at the runDisney booth but we had a very nice time overall.

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