Wine and Dine Post-Race Party Tips

In my last post, I explained everything you need to know for preparing and running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Disney World. However, once you run it, you get to celebrate that evening at the Wine and Dine Party! This takes place from 5 PM to 12:30 AM and there’s a lot to know about it. I have dedicated this whole post to lessons learned from our Wine and Dine Post-Race Party experience.

Wine and Dine Post-Race Party Info

Wine and Dine Post-Race Party 2018 Recap

After a light dinner and some strong coffee at Disney Springs, Andrew, my Dad and I walked to the International Gateway entrance for the party. Even though it says the event starts at 8, they let us right in at 7:45 and gave us the party wristbands. The event officially starts at 8 PM, so I wonder if they let people in even earlier than 7:45

The park is open to the public until Illuminations ends (around 9:20 PM). I was told they close the food and wine booths from 9-10 to make sure the rest of the guests leave the park. However, our evening went a lot differently. We started out hitting a few booths including my favorite Brazil. When we felt a few sprinkles of rain, decided to go watch the Canada movie. Once we left the movie, it was almost time for the fireworks, but the rain was pouring down now!

Wine and Dine Post-Race Party Info

There was a little thunder and lightning, so Illuminations did not start until much later. During that time regular guests were allowed to stay (although most left because it was raining so hard) and the stores and some food vendors stayed open. Finally around 9:30, the fireworks began and we watched them from a perfect spot under an umbrella.

After that, it was almost time for the characters to start greeting, which they do at 10 PM. I thought it would be fun to meet Remy and Emile from Ratatouille in France. There were only six families in front of us, so I figured it wouldn’t be a long wait. This was unfortunately so wrong!

Wine and Dine Post Race Party Info

The characters didn’t come out until around 10:20 PM, probably due to rain and when they did the families in front of us took forever! I get trying to make your time worth it, but I think a few pictures would be plenty. We didn’t meet Remy and Emile until 11 at night and by then I was completely soaked from the rain! It was such a bummer to spend over an hour of the party waiting for a picture where I looked worse than the two rats by the time I got there! I was tempted to get out of lines many times, but it was one of those things where it kept seeming like we were almost there.

After our meet and greet, the three of us mainly stuck to snacking around the World Showcase. Standing in the rain for so long was a pretty sobering experience though, so our enthusiasm for the party had waned a lot. We ended up hitting the rest of the booths we wanted to try and then left a little after midnight. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it was nice to see Illuminations and not have to wait in line for Food and Wine Festival snacks and drinks.

Wine and Dine Post-Race Party Info

Now that I have had some time tor reflect, here are my thoughts on how to maximize your time at the post-race party. If it is not a rainy evening, your experience might be a bit different. However, I think this advice holds through for the most part.

Party Arrival Time

I mentioned earlier that the event officially starts at 8 PM, but they let us in at 7:45. This year, it starts at 5 PM, so I am not sure what time they will open the gates to party ticket holders. Keep in mind, if you have an annual pass or a ticket that was used or could be used to hop to Epcot, you can enter at anytime.

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If your ticket is your only pass for entry, then get there before 4:30 PM . I think they are lenient on letting people in, and feel like we might have missed out on half an hour without rain! If you want more time, it would not hurt, to show up early, especially at the International Gateway entrance.

It was announced that for 2021, the party will begin at 5 PM. I am not sure if this will be the case every year from here on out, or if it is just special for the anniversary. This gives party goers a full seven hours to experience the park included in the price of race entry. Because of this, the race is such a deal in comparison to the other Disney half marathons!

Wine and Dine Post-Race Party Map

Bringing Guests to the Wine and Dine Post-Race Party

If you have friends and family who want to come to the party, they can buy a ticket for $89 per person. It’s not horrible for the event, but I don’t think it’s worth it for the average family. The only reason would be if you really like meeting rare characters. The new start time for 2021 does make it a little more enticing though. Now if your guest had already been in the park that day or has an annual pass, I don’t think they need to buy a ticket at all. Maybe it was because of the rain, but the cast members didn’t seem to be checking for wristbands.

Wine and Dine Post-Race Party Info

Considering we spent the majority of the night buying food and drinks, I HIGHLY doubt they would have kicked my Mom and sister out if they had gotten in early with their annual passes. If you go on a ride or meet a character, they may tell you to leave if you don’t have a wristband. If you just want to go for the Food and Wine booths, I don’t think Disney will make you leave.

Character Meet and Greets

Speaking of characters, they really are the highlight of the night for many people. I severely underestimated the intensity of the character fans. If you want to meet characters, you need to get in line before 9 PM. Even then, there is probably no way you can meet all of them. Here’s who was out at the 2018 Wine and Dine Post-Race Party:

  • Mexico – The Three Caballeros
  • Norway – Anna, Elsa and Olaf
  • China – Mushu
  • Germany – Dopey
  • Italy – J. Worthington Foulfellow and Gideon
  • American Adventure – Patriotic Pluto
  • Japan – Geisha Minnie Mouse
  • Morocco – Genie and Abu
  • France – Remy and Emile
  • United Kingdom – Scottish Goofy
  • Showcase Plaza – Chef Mickey
Wine and Dine Post-Race Party Info

The lines do get shorter as the night goes on, or at least they did for us because of the rain. So if you don’t have your heart set on meeting a character, then just wait until the end of the night and find one. Keep in mind that guests take a long time greeting characters now. I couldn’t believe all the photo props and special items people brought them to sign! I literally just wanted to take less than a minute taking a picture! If you are like me, it’s probably not worth waiting for.

Attractions Open for the Wine and Dine Post-Race Party

If you love the Epcot E-ticket rides, then you will be happy to know that they all have short lines during the party. The only rides open are Soarin’, Test Track, Frozen Ever After and Spaceship Earth. We did not go on any rides, because I’ve been on them many times. Also, all the future world ones were such a far walk away! We had ran a half marathon earlier so our legs were still in pain!

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The other main entertainment is the performance from the Adventurers Club. They were a troop that used to perform a comedic act at one of the Pleasure Island clubs. I am too young to have ever seen them, but there’s a large group of fans who are nostalgic for the Adventurers Club. Their schedule seemed delayed by the rain as well and we did not get a chance to see them.

Food and Wine Festival

The main appeal for this party is obviously the Food and Wine Festival. All forty-six booths were open and serving their regular menu of food and drinks. My family loves going around the world and trying all the different items! Since Andrew and I don’t have an annual pass anymore, our goal was to spend the event partaking in Food and Wine.

Wine and Dine Post Race Party Info

Again, the rain could have contributed to this, but there were no lines for any of the booths. During regular park hours, it can take 20+ minutes at the popular booths, sometimes even more on the weekend. I’ll have a full guide before next years festival, but here’s a look at a past Food and Wine Festival I have enjoyed if you aren’t familiar.

The majority of the people at the Wine and Dine Post-Race Party ran the race, and this led to a fun atmosphere in the parks. Everyone had a common bond and we talked about our half marathon experience with a few different people. They also have a DJ dance party at the Fountain stage that a lot of guests were enjoying. Basically, if you like going to the Food and Wine Festival, then you will love this party!

Wine and Dine Post Race Party

Know Before You Go

Our Wine and Dine Post-Race Party was dampened by the rain, but it was a still a great way to celebrate completing our half marathon! If it rains at future events, I would just say don’t wait for characters. Standing in the rain for over an hour can be a real buzz kill. My recommendation is to enter the park as early as they will let you, hit a few booths and a ride or show or two. After the fireworks, focus mainly on the booths, a thrill ride, the dance party, and then end with the characters. I just have a few other tips below to ensure you have an awesome Wine and Dine Post-Race Party!

  • Admission to the Post Race Party is included with your half marathon registration.
  • You also get a $15 eGiftcard that you can spend there.
  • Guests cost $89 for enter, but if your guest has admission, they can probably stay for the party and avoid paying if they don’t want to ride rides or see characters.
  • The party used to start at 8 PM, but will begin at 5 PM for 2021. Arrive half an hour or more early if you want to maximize your time.
  • The park officially closes at 9 PM and the party goes until 12:30 AM. Up until 9, other guests from early in the day will be there.
  • Food and Wine booths may close between 9 PM – 10 PM, but they did not for us.
  • From 10 PM on the only rides open are Test Track, Soarin’, Frozen Ever After and Spaceship Earth.
  • There is a “rare” character meet and greet at every country, but waits can be very long.
  • Disney bus transportation will be available until 2 AM, but I will say, it was very nice staying at the Swan and Dolphin and being able to walk to and from the party!

That covers everything I learned from the Wine and Dine Post-Race Party. I think it’s really cool that Disney offers this, considering registration is basically the same price for the race as others that don’t have the party. Even if you only go for an hour, it’s still worth it for the experience!

Wine and Dine Post-Race Party Info

Will you be at the Wine and Dine Post-Race Party this year? I am doing a different half marathon the week before and will be sad to miss this!