Nov 12

2012 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Recap

The race that started it all! Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon! 2011′s race was my very 1st half marathon and I didn’t think I would even finish it. In fact, if you read my “play by play” you’ll know that I mouthed the words “I never wanna do that again” at the finish line. The lies we tell ourselves! But like all challenges in life, it gets easier. And this year it got much, much more FUN!

Amanda Tinney Sarah McGovern Disney Boardwalk

The afternoon before the night race…

Marathon weekend was spent with my bestie Running at Disney partaking in shenanigans at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.  The previous day had included a runDisney Meetup in Epcot, breakfast at Kouzzina and a trip to the race expo followed by the RAD Meetup and a Food & Wine Walkabout around World Showcase ending in a cocktail party at the Belle Vue Lounge. With all that walking the day before, we knew we wanted to try and somewhat save our legs for the night race that would take place in a few hours.  After a second breakfast at Kouzzina with friends we headed out to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic over at Shades of Green.

Amanda Tinney Sarah McGovern Disney Donald Golf

We tried to keep the walking to a minimum and the picture taking to a maximum!  After we toured the classic we headed out to forage for lunch, but not before making a pit stop at the Walt Disney World Speedway. Sarah had never been inside the speedway and she wanted to see what that leg of the 2013 WDW Marathon Course would look like.

walt disney world speedway

After we left the speedway we remembered we needed lunch. Sarah had suggested Landscape of Flavors over at the Art of Animation Resort. We both ended up getting smoothies instead of food and decided that a nap was in order.

disney art of animation resort

After our nap back at the Boardwalk, we decided we didn’t want to leave the resort for dinner so our options were relegated to whatever we could find AT the Boardwalk. The ESPN Club sounded like the best option.

Disney Boardwalk ESPN Club Restaurant

My normal “night race” routine consists of a McDonalds Southern Style Chicken Sandwich with cheese and extra pickles with a large unsweet iced tea. I figured I could makeshift something similar off the menu at a sports bar.  I ended up ordering the buffalo chicken sandwich, ixnay on the buffalo sauce and adding cheese and pickles. The sandwich came with a side of fries and I got my unsweet tea.  The service at the restaurant was really slow and what should have been a 5:30pm meal turned into a 6:30pm meal. I also ate more than I would have normally cause the basket of fries was right there in front of me. =\  My McDonalds meal in usually taken “to go” and consumed back in the peace and quiet of a hotel room so I can focus and get mentally prepared for the race. The meal at ESPN was consumed amidst college ball brew-ha-ha and a whining infant in my left ear the entire meal. Not quite what I had invisioned…but I digress.

Almost time to race…

Back up to the room we went to get on our running gear and head down to the bus that was to take us over to the start line at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

There was a little bit of a line to get on the bus at 7:30pm. We had waited as long as we could. The last bus was at 8:00pm.

2012 wine dine half marathon disney boardwalk bus line

I thought that the line moved efficiently and pretty soon we were on a bus.

disney bus wine dine half marathon

The race staging and corral area were in full swing at this point!  Music pumping, port-o-potties being utilized and runners stretching and dancing.

Qualms…bag check cast members were less than friendly screaming at runners. I understand they were trying to be efficient but not at the expense of the runners’ experience. I also wish that there were more characters out to pose with for photos. We stood in line for a good 45 minutes for a character photo and weren’t even half way through the line when we had to jump out of line to get in another line for the port-o-let.

Sarah and I ran into Daniel Wanderman who you may recognize from my runDisney MeetUp post giving Mickey Mouse a high four.

sarah mcgovern amanda tinney daniel wanderman

After a somewhat quick trip to the bathroom we were ready to eat our first GU and file in to our corral. I was lucky enough to be in the same corral with three of my favorite runDisney runners!  Here’s a shot of the Fab 4…myself, Jim DeMarco, Sid (my Wine and Dine coach and confidant from 2011) and my partner in crime Sarah McGovern!

amanda tinney sarah mcgovern sarah donahue jim demarco

This is yet another reason why I have such an affinity for the runDisney races. My people. I’m always surrounded by my people when I runDisney!  The four of us decided that we were going to try and run the entire race together.

Time to runDisney…

The fireworks sounded for the corrals in front of us and then right around 10:15pm the four of us crossed the start line on our epic three-park journey.

2012 disney wine dine half marathon start line

The weather was absolutely perfect for our race that evening!  It was nothing like the humidity we had faced at the Tower of Terror 10 Miler just a month before. The first half mile of the race was run on Victory Lane leading out to the turn onto Osceola Parkway. The girls and Jim had decided on a 3:1 run-walk-run ratio. Three minutes of running followed by one minute of walking. Rinse and repeat. I had not trained like that. I run till I feel I need to stop and then I walk until I feel the urge to run again.  This left the three of them pretty close together and me the random spaz who would fall behind and then zip past them on one of my running spurts, but it was a method that worked. I know that Sarah McGovern was holding back, she’s faster than me, but wanted to really run the race as a cohesive group of Disney friends. Thanks Sarah!

2012 wine dine half marathon

Mile 2 and 3 were spent crossing massive overpasses and long stretches on Osceola Parkway. I had lost the 3 amigos but had their splits texted to me and I knew they were only about 30 seconds ahead of me. As we entered the Animal Kingdom parking lot I popped my second GU and spotted the “longest pee” port-o-potties from my first Wine & Dine Half. I wasn’t going to make the mistake of stopping there again.  I loved that they had Main Street Electrical Parade Floats at this portion of the race!

I did have to pee at this point but I was trying to catch my posse and I knew I would pick up the pace running through Animal Kingdom. As I entered the park I got a text from Sarah telling me they had stopped at the entry bathrooms so I kept on going trying to get a bit ahead of them since I had been lagging. By the time I got behind the tree of life the bathroom won out and I made a quick pit stop texting Sarah in the process that I had stopped. Let me tell you something, being a Disney expert really pays off in these runDisney races. We Disneyphiles know exactly where the bathrooms are located and about how many stalls are in each one making our potty breaks much more efficient than the people standing in lines for port-o-potties out on the course. If you decide to do a runDisney race and you aren’t familiar with the parks, look at the maps online and see where the nice restrooms are.

After my bathroom break I headed back out onto the course and as I neared Expedition Everest I heard Sarah’s voice as she walked out of the Everest bathroom, “I didn’t see her in there”. I came up behind them and yelled…”I’m right here!” =)  I loved running through Animal Kingdom at night! Most guests don’t get to experience ‘dark in the park’ let alone ‘running in the dark in the park’.

Having a Moment…

We all continued along at our own pace and as we exited Animal Kingdom I spotted the mile 5 marker and had a moment. This was the point in the half last year that I had wanted to quit. I had never run farther than 4 miles before that first half and I really hit a wall there. As I was having my moment, my girl Sid appeared from beside me and grabbed my hand. She was there for me last year and by God she was going to be there for me again this year!

I was feeling GREAT as we exited Animal Kingdom and ran out onto Osceola Parkway. Miles 5, 6, 7 and 8 were spent chatting amongst the Fab4. I took my 3rd GU around mile 6.  We crossed back over the two massive overpasses on Osceola Parkway and made the sharp incline up, over and then onto World Drive. Around Mile 8.5 was the one-and-only food station where volunteers were handing out gels. I wasn’t slated to have another gel til Mile 9. At this point we had to conquer another hill before making a right onto Buena Vista Drive and heading into Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I Almost Died…but not really…

My posse had forged on ahead of me and they were no where in sight. As I walked up the hill a strange feeling came over me. I was having trouble breathing and my arm was aching.  Panic set in and I had a panic attack. Was I having a heart attack?  I felt as though I might throw up or worse… I looked over in the sweeper bus for a paramedic but the bus was empty and there was no one standing around it so I continued my death walk onto Buena Vista Drive.  I had the exact same feeling come over me in the 2012 Princess Half Marathon right around the same time. I think that I need to take my GUs every hour, not every 45 minutes. I believe it was a combination of too much GU and Powerade in my system. Needless to say, I did NOT take my Mile 9 GU.

Just after Mile 9 I spotted the Rock’n’Roller Coaster bathroom and decided I better use it. It felt good to sit down and I got my mind together so I could get my run back on. It was around Mile 10 that Sarah texted me and said they had stopped to take a picture with Wreck-it-Ralph. I could see him up ahead and I ran as fast as I could to try and get in on the photo but was just a few seconds too late. Up next was my favorite part of the race. Running through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights!

disney osborne lights

Such a treat! A good portion of the Wine & Dine Half is run through Disney’s Hollywood Studios! A solid 3 miles in fact. I used to work at “the Studios” so I like to get back behind the scenes again.  Probably one of the BEST photo opps is by Star Tours.

Darth Vader Wine Dine Half Marathon Disney

I didn’t stop. Come to think of it…I don’t think I’ve ever stopped for a character photo during a race! Just before Mile 11 our group passed by the DHS Christmas Tree.

DHS DIsney christmas Tree

After exiting DHS we took the path over to the Boardwalk. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of our pal Marc who had been at Magic Kingdom with his daughter right around that time but he was like 2 minutes too late and we had already flown by the Boardwalk Inn and made our way past the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. We hooked a right onto the wooden portion of the Boardwalk and man was it cool! Like 10 degrees cooler on the water. This was Mile 12 in our 13.1 mile journey. There were a few drunk spectators with signs on a bench which was AWESOME! And we started spotting runners with their finisher medals heading back to their resorts. We knew we were close!

Just past Yacht and Beach Club and after the hill over to International Gateway was this amazing Lumiere photo opp!

wine dine half marathon lumiere

Totally looks like a parade character. Anyone know where it’s used on property?

Poor Jim…it was at this point that I could see he was done. He pointed out to me that he had run the 5K that morning and I understood why he was dragging.  We didn’t enter the park at this point but ran behind the UK and World Showplace before making our way onstage at Journey into Imagination. The park was full of spectators at this point.  We passed between Imagination and the Land, ran through the Innoventions breezeway, behind Spaceship Earth and then made a right backstage for the final stretch!

There was no choir but there was a RAVE at Mile 13…and I felt like dancing!

2012 disney wine dine half marathon finish

Sarah, Sid, Jim and I all locked hands and crossed the finish line…together…as a team…like we’d planned it all along! God Bless Disney Friends! We stuck together like glue!

As soon as the race was over and we were handed our medals the rigamortis started to set in. I was stiff! Real Stiff!!! Like couldn’t put one foot in front of the other stiff. Sid took off to find her husband and while Sarah went to get her bag from bag check Jim and I decided it best that we throw in the proverbial towel.  Sarah still had gas in the tank and decided to partake in the Wine & Dine After Party. What a trooper!

The walk from the finish (near the old kennel) to the resort bus (the farthest point in the other direction) was brutal. If I had spotted a taxi I would have shoved Jim in and paid any amount to not take one more step. My body wasn’t that tired but my feet felt like I was walking on hot pokers.

We finally made it to the Boardwalk bus. Do we look tired?

amanda tinney jim demarco wine dine half marathon

Back at the resort I said my goodbyes to Jim and headed for the shower. By this point I was starving! I had two croissants in the room left over from our Kouzzina breakfast. I inhaled them! I poured myself some water, took some Tylenol for my feet and then crawled into bed…with this thing!

2012 disney wine and dine half marathon medal

It had been a good race. It had been a FUN race…better yet, an EPIC race run with the best running buddies a gal could ask for…and I can’t wait to do it all over again in 2013!

Nov 12

One Disney Fan’s Take on the 2012 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic Golf Tournament

Mickey Mouse Golf Cart Donald Duck

There are few places that I haven’t been on Walt Disney World property. I’ve been going as a day-tripper to Walt Disney World pretty much all my life, so when I heard about an opportunity that involved Disney, golf and Shades of Green I went all in!

Shades of Green…have you been there?  It’s the only Armed Forces Recreation Facility in the continental United States and it happens to be within the gates of the Walt Disney World Resort.  It also happens to be surrounded by two PGA Championship Golf Courses: Disney’s Palm and Magnolia.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to drop in on Shades of Green and the 2012 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. This year marked the 43rd consecutive year that Disney’s Magnolia Course has hosted the PGA TOUR.  The setup for the event would appeal to both Disney and golf fans alike!  There are character meet and greets and streetmosphere performers. I especially enjoyed these two fellas…

disney golf streetmosphere performers

and it looks like they replicated some of the Disney topiaries seen around the parks.

Goose from outside Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

disney geese topiary

Pandas from China in Epcot‘s World Showcase…

disney panda topiary

The two giraffe from the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

disney giraffe topiary

and classics like Mickey and Minnie Mouse!

disney mickey minnie mouse topiary

There were also tons of local food trucks there, like the Yum Yum Truck! Cupcakes anyone?

Yum Yum Cupcake Truck

Disney Food Truck Lobster Golf Classic

Florida Blue was on hand giving out free massages!

free massage disney golf classic

This tournament and golf course are rich with history.  Here’s a fantastic story about Tiger Woods on the 1st tee…

Disney Magnolia Golf Tee 1 Tiger Woods

disney golf be quiet as a mouse

2012 disney childrens miracle network hospitals classic

The winner of the 2012 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic was Charlie Beljan. Beljan, who battled through chest pains during the tournament, shot a -16 for the tournament to win the 42st annual PGA TOUR event. The rookie shot eight birdies Sunday to keep his three shot lead and capture the tournament title. The season finale win also secured Beljan a PGA TOUR card and moves him up to No. 63 on the Money List.

Charlie Beljan winner of the 2012 disney golf classic

This event is perfect for families. It’s held at a time of year when the weather is wonderful in Central Florida.  This year tickets for individual rounds were $20.  Badges for Classic week were $30 are were available at www.CMNHospitalsClassic.com or through www.ticketmaster.com. Proceeds benefited Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies in Orlando, and Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville. Certain days are complementary for Disney Passholders.  I hope you get the chance to come down and experience next year’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic for yourself.

2012 disney childrens miracle network hospitals classic golf ball tournament

Nov 12

2013 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Schedule at Walt Disney World

Atlanta Braves Disney VinylmationA lineup of marquee baseball teams, including the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers, will visit Walt Disney World for Atlanta Braves Spring Training at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The Braves, who earned a National League Wild Card berth in 2012, report to the complex for two weeks of training in early February, before opening at Champion Stadium on Feb. 22 against Detroit. The late February date marks the earliest start for Braves at Disney since the team arrived in 1997.

A pair of visits by the Yankees, Feb. 23 and March 16 (night game), a March 12 contest versus the Cardinals, and a March 18 game against the Philadelphia Phillies highlight the schedule.

The Washington Nationals and Tigers, both reigning playoff clubs, make up the core of the Braves’ 18-game home schedule at Champion Stadium. Each will play three games apiece at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Nationals visit Disney on Feb. 26, before a pair of night games, March 1 and March 21. The Tigers will also play under the lights March 7, along with day games Feb. 22 and March 3.

The 2013 slate also features the New York Mets twice, on March 15 and March 25, the Miami Marlins on February 25 and March 10, the Toronto Blue Jays on March 8 and Pittsburgh Pirates on March 20.

This year’s schedule will also include select promotional themed games, along with the traditional Disney family-oriented fun, including in-game entertainment, Disney character appearances and on-field fan experiences. Kids will again have the opportunity to run the bases after every game.

Individual game tickets for the Braves’ home spring training season go on sale Monday, Nov. 26 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster (800/745-3000 and ticketmaster.com) and at the sports complex box office.

Information on the Braves’ spring training season, group tickets and mini-packs is available by calling 407/939-GAME (4263) and online at www.espnwwos.com/atlantabraves.  The popular mini-packs are now on sale, featuring four separate three-game options for 2013 and giving fans their first opportunity to purchase tickets to specific games on the Braves’ 2013 spring training schedule.

Fans may also purchase Atlanta Braves Spring Training travel packages through Spring Training Tours.  Travel packages include Braves game tickets, accommodations at Walt Disney World Resort and other benefits.  Information is available online at www.Braves.com/springtravel.


2013 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Home Schedule



Opponent Time

Friday, Feb. 22

Detroit Tigers

1:05 PM

Saturday, Feb. 23

New York Yankees 1:05 PM

Monday, Feb. 25

Florida Marlins 1:05 PM

Tuesday, Feb. 26

Washington Nationals 1:05 PM

Friday, March 1

Washington Nationals

6:05 PM

Sunday, March 3

Detroit Tigers 1:05 PM

Thursday, March 7

Detroit Tigers 6:05 PM
Friday, March 8 Toronto Blue Jays 1:05 PM
Sunday, March 10 Miami Marlins 1:05 PM
Tuesday, March 12 St. Louis Cardinals 1:05 PM
Friday, March 15 New York Mets 1:05 PM
Saturday, March 16 New York Yankees 5:05 PM
Monday, March 18 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 PM
Wednesday, March 20 Pittsburgh Pirates 1:05 PM
Thursday, March 21 Washington Nationals 6:05 PM
Saturday, March 23 Houston Astros 1:05 PM
Monday, March 25 New York Mets 1:05 PM
Thursday, March 28 Houston Astros 1:05 PM

All times are Eastern and are subject to change

All games to be played at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Nov 12

Disney’s Cinderella Castle to Transform into “Wreck it Ralph” Apartment Building

cinderella castle wreck it ralph disney

Walt Disney World Resort guests now thrill to a new nighttime show featuring “Wreck-It Ralph” and other Disney stories projected onto Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom Park. “Celebrate the Magic” incorporates favorite elements from the previous show, “The Magic, The Memories and You!,” with all-new music, storytelling and special effects.

Nov 12

Christmas Surprises at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

swan dolphin christmas santaThe Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels have some Christmas Magic planned for guests staying at the resort this holiday season!

Throughout the month of December at this Epcot resort hotel families can enjoy a unique holiday experience away from home!

This year’s holiday happenings at the hotel include:

Santa and Mrs. Claus Meet ‘n Greets

Select nights throughout December, Santa and Mrs. Claus, decked out in their vacation attire, will meet with guests in Santa’s customized Tiki hut. The hut features reindeer, palm trees and flamingos, making it a photo opportunity like no other. Plus, with Santa in such a relaxed state of mind, he might even be willing to grant more gift requests for those brave enough to ask!

Life-Size Chocolate Santa

Constructed entirely of chocolate, this life-sized sculpture of Santa weighs in at approximately 1,200 pounds! The sculpture, created by the hotel’s executive pastry chef Laurent Branlard (the only two-time world pastry champion), will be on display in the lobby of the Swan during the month of December. It will also include a chocolate fireplace, chocolate Christmas tree and chocolate toy train.

Bedtime Elf Tuck-ins

Even after Santa’s elves have finished making Christmas presents, their work isn’t finished! On Christmas Eve, the elves will visit children staying at the hotel and tuck them into bed before Santa arrives. For those who order this memorable experience, a full-costumed elf will deliver milk, cookies and a plush toy to the room, read a bedtime story and tuck the children into bed. Reservations are required and space is limited for this exclusive Christmas Eve service.

Holiday Entertainment

On select nights, the hotel will offer special holiday entertainment for visitors. Guests can enjoy beautiful musical performances by carolers, choirs and musicians in the hotel lobbies or on the causeway and other public areas throughout the resort.

Magic Keys for Santa

For children worried that Santa might not know where to deliver their gifts, these magic keys are the perfect solution. Children can hang a magic key outside their guest room on Christmas Eve to ensure that Santa finds his way.


Guests can enjoy a special tree-lighting ceremony in the Dolphin lobby on certain nights in December, hosted by Mrs. Claus herself! Beverages and snacks will be available next to Santa’s Tiki Hut.

Dessert Decorating and Holiday Movies

Throughout December, families will be able to enjoy holiday-themed movies on their guest room televisions. Children will also have the chance to decorate delicious holiday sweets in the lobby.

For more details about all the holiday excitement, including a full schedule of activities and prices, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel or to make room reservations, please visit www.santasfavoriteresort.com or call 1-800-227-1500. Overnight rates start at $159 per night.