A Very Merry Wine and Dine Half Marathon Trip: November 2018


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Back from my Marathon weekend trip. Tons of fun!!! Except my aunt and mom were sick the last 1.5 days. Sister-in-law and I escaped the illness so there is some guilt mixed in that we had such a great trip. Especially the last day at AK when my mom and aunt were back at the hotel sick. I had my first Etsy fail on costumes. I ordered Russel from Up and the skirt was shorter than I had requested. She is such a great seller that if I had contacted her she probably would have redone it for me. But since I am still working on weight and body composition I thought, "oh I'll be comfortable with the length by the time we get to race day". I've learned something about myself, I will never be comfortable with a skirt that short :RpS_lol: Oh well, at least I had Haunted Mansion from Wine and Dine weekend and now I have pictures of that costume in all four parks. No haunted mansion CMs out on the course, MK was too early in the day (unlike ToT CMs who were out during the Wine and Dine half). Maybe I should try a ToT costume for my next runDisney event? I've also thought about Small World. It seems like an odd combination but when I was a kid my two favorites were HM and small world.

Any votes on which costume next? Russel with a longer skirt, ToT, or Small World, or something else?

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I'm not going to do a separate trip report for the marathon weekend this year. It ended up being kind of a hybrid trip between last year's marathon trip and the November Wine and Dine weekend. So I think I'll just throw in some updates from my most recent trip into this trip report.

I don't have much to say about the races themselves. Lots of fun, similar routes (but not exactly the same?) as last year. One nice difference was for anyone at a monorail resort security was taken care of at the hotel before getting on the monorail for the half and full. We didn't have to go through the security lines at the Epcot parking lot. Yay! I believe the 5 K and 10 K were still the bus and had security at Epcot but I didn't do the Dopey this year so didn't do those races.

SIL and I decided spontaneously to do the Wild Africa Trek. I didn't expect to do it again so soon. But she hasn't done it and didn't think she'd have a chance for years to come. With a family of 6 it would be pretty expensive. Like I mentioned earlier we considered it for this trip but decided my mom and aunt wouldn't have the mobility for the bridges and uneven trail and they decided they would prefer Highway in the Sky Dine Around (which we didn't end up doing anyway because they were sick) to the evening Savor the Savanna experience. But mom and aunt were sick on our AK day and we so we added on the Trek. We got very lucky and saw the new baby giraffe born. Which I detail in this thread


Because we didn't know we were doing the trek in advance I wore my Oofos flip flops and didn't have the required closed toe shoes. No worries. They will supply you with these beautiful and fashionable Crocs if needed. Crocs for the Crocs?


Because there were no other guests on the savanna after the baby giraffe was born we had more time to stop the truck and view other animals along the way. What really struck me was how quiet it was out there without the Safari trucks.

Stella with her older sister


Lots of time with the lions. All three were sitting together on the rock. The 2 females are sisters.


I wore my Russel accessories to AK so at least got some use out of my runDisney costume



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That is all awesome. So glad you decided to do the trek! I saw the stuff on Twitter about the giraffe being born and was like is this even legitimate? Way cool.


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A few more thoughts about our January AK day and then I’ll get back to November. This day we were reminded that at Disney it never hurts to ask. SIL decided Wild Africa Trek was more important than making it to our FoP FP. With the usual 3-hour trek we could have just made it to FoP during the grace period. Except with the delays on the savanna for the new baby giraffe we were 30-45 minutes later. Totally worth the trade off. We had a relatively tight schedule to get to our remaining FP so didn’t even try to make it to FoP thinking it was a lost cause. At the end of the night we were near Pandora anyway and thought why not just ask if we could use our FP. Both Festival of the Lion King and the Safari had been down most of the day and there were a lot of anytime FPs out there (which are not valid for the Pandora rides). The CM at the FoP FP line seemed relieved to be talking to someone who actually had a FP (albeit expired) for FoP. He had already just sent away a large group hoping to use a Lion King anytime FP for FoP. I tried to look pathetic and contrite and started to give my explanation for why we were showing up hours late, but only got as far as “we were out on the savanna when” and he waved us through. I would guess they usually aren’t quite so lenient but now I won’t hesitate to ask in the future. The worst case is the CM says “you are past your FP time but you are welcome to join the standby line” (yes, I've heard CMs use that exact phrase with a big smile and a bubbly tone while giving a two finger point toward a 120 minute standby line entrance).

After FoP we headed to Nomad Lounge. I’ve been wanting to stop here but never seem to find a good spot for it in the schedule. This day was all about spontaneity. We CLOSED THE PLACE DOWN. We are just that wild. And also, because last call was at 7:50 pm with park close at 8 pm. The last ADR at Tiffins was 7:50 pm too. If you go that route be sure to get your alcohol order in right away. We observed a very un-Disney disagreement between bartending staff and a server in regards to getting drinks for patrons at Tiffins after the 7:50 pm cut off.

Night Monkey. Best of the sweeter mixed drinks I’ve had at WDW. You can't tell so well from the picture, but the glass is huge. My husband would call it Jethro-sized.

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We had both the red and white wine flight. They were fine but nothing special. I wished I had gotten a second Night Monkey or the Anapurna Zing


This picture reminds me of how beautiful and relaxing the Nomad Lounge space is. I miss it already :RpS_crying:

Based on Josh’s reviews we skipped the Nomad Lounge small plates menu and ordered from the Tiffins menu. No entrees available in the lounge but we could order any appetizer or side. I didn’t ask about dessert options in the Lounge.

The King of Cauliflower. Still no luck getting the recipe, even when our niece in the college program asked around. She was able to talk with a chef directly who told her they only give out recipes that they have scaled down to home kitchen portions.


Roasted Brussel sprouts


Lobster Mac and Cheese. I’m not really a mac and cheese fan, but this was better than most



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Mussels. A nice twist on the traditional with a mild green curry coconut broth base


The Mussels at Flying Fish (from earlier in the January trip) were the best of all 3 onsite options we’ve tried recently (Le Cellier, Tiffins, Flying Fish) and better than the now defunct BoG Mussels.


Maybe this trip report should be titled “Mussels I’ve known”. I hope to post a stand-alone Flying Fish review but wanted to say that Flying Fish was THE BEST MEAL of the January trip. So So So good!

The Christmas tree was still up at AK on January 14


Next, I’ll head back to November which isn’t quite so clear now that I have another trip fresh on my mind


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One more thing from January, I was able to get a less-blurry photo of the kids’ favorite dog from LWTL. They requested a good picture so they can search for a similar-appearing dog to adopt. Maybe that is a sign we take them to Disney too much?


Now back to November, I promise.

Monday November 5, 2018
Lows: Asthma
Highs: Date Night!

The youngest had a hard night with his asthma so everyone was a little tired this day except S7 who slept through the whole thing. I don’t know how he does it, but I’m thankful!

Husband and the kids met up with our niece at ‘Ohana for breakfast while I was at my final conference day. ‘Ohana (breakfast and dinner) are the most requested meals from the kids and Stitch is S6’s absolute favorite character to meet. Breakfast is one of my least favorites as far as food so I didn’t mind missing out on that. Though I do enjoy the characters. Our niece had the day off and was able to spend most of the day with us. The boys were thrilled to get to spend time with their cousin, they adore her and she is so great with kids!

Pluto meeting at the front with photopass


Window-side table


Kids love the Character parade with maracas


The usual breakfast platter. There is also pineapple coconut bread and a melon-heavy fruit plate but they didn’t get a picture of that. Frankly I’m impressed there are any food pictures.



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Famous Stitch Waffles


The usual three characters were greeting table-side. It is really hard to get both the boys looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. S6 is still pretty excited to meet with the characters and has trouble calming down for a photo. S7 is just humoring his parents so we get a lot of what he believes are silly faces. “I’m not laughing” doesn’t seem to deter him. But just wait until I pull these photos out in his teen years…

These were the best of the dozens my husband took :RpS_lol:





Mickey. The boys were urging Mickey to join in a “family hug”



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After breakfast the boys did a little swimming at the GF. Then took the monorail to MK. This was the night of the Cast Member party so MK closed at 4:30 pm. Not crowded at all. The family did anytime attractions like Carousel of Progress, Monsters Inc, Tomorrowland Transit, Dumbo, and Barnstormer, and ate a few essential Mickey-shaped treats. Then we did our three FP when I met up with them in the afternoon. I’m glad I have an AP or I would have had a hard time justifying using a ticket day just for a couple hours.



Space. My husband was happy to hand off his magic band to our niece so she could ride and save his back. Somehow the kids didn’t end up in the same car as their cousin which had been their plan for this photo.


Mine Train. We were in the last car again which is my favorite!


Back at Grand Floridian they were just starting to put up the Gingerbread House

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We had a towel animal!!! That doesn’t seem to happen much anymore. I remember back when there were towel animals every day. What are other people’s experiences? Do you get them much these days?

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We changed and freshened up and then monorailed over to the Contemporary for Date Night. Dinner at California Grill was primarily dictated by the location being in the same building as the new Pixar Play Zone Kids Club. S7 is always anxious about going somewhere new. He has never asked for us once he’s at the kids clubs but always gets himself worked up before he goes and wants us to be nearby “just in case”. Then he loves it and could care less where we are. We were also a little hesitant about being too far away from S6 with his asthma flair. He had done just fine during the day but things typically get worse for him in the evenings and, understandably, the staff at the kids club can’t do any meds or inhalers. We really enjoy California Grill so it was no great sacrifice as a choice for Date Night. Details about the Pixar Play Zone from Disney’s Blog post back when reservations opened.


The check in process was easy. There are a bunch of the usual forms to fill out and parents need to have an ID to pick up at the end of the night. Formal programming is from 6:00-10:30 but the kids can be dropped off starting at 5 pm and last pick up is at 12 am (?) While we filled out our forms the kids each got to pick their choices for dinner and snack and any allergies need to be noted. In the “not so great planning” department there are no bathrooms at the kids club so they ask all the kids go to the bathroom prior to entry. When kids need to use the facilities, they have to go to a different floor and each time they go two cast members are required to accompany them which I can imagine is not always easy on staffing.

We were able to see the first room, but no tours or photos for parents because children were already present. It is quite the facility!!!! The kids got one look at the room and all the games and ran off without a hug or glance back. They loved it, we got no calls, and they were irritated we picked them up “too early”. My idea of a perfect night for everyone!

In the middle of a week of meals out with kids, it is nice to get a break and have an evening where you don’t have to worry about ordering quickly and rushing through before they get restless.

The view from our table


California Grill had a small Christmas tree up already

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We started with:
The Chef's Garden Heirloom Beets
Goat Cheese Mousse, Hazelnut Biscotti, Orange-Honey Gel, Sherry-Citrus Vinaigrette


New Moon Roll
Maine Lobster, Avocado, Barbecue Eel, Rice Pearls, Gochujang Dragon Sauce


Both very good


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For my main dish I had ordered:

Two Ducks One Stone
FIRST COURSE - Rohan Duck Leg and Thigh Confit, Scallion Pancakes, Hoisin Barbecue, Apricot Jam, Cucumber. SECOND COURSE - “Peking” Rohan Duck Breast, Jasmine Rice, Furikake, Miso-Yuzu Poached Turnips, Duck Jus

The first duck course came out with the appetizers and was the star of the meal!


It may not look like much from the pictures, but it was a lot of food and the meat had a wonderful depth of flavor perfectly balanced. We still had entrees and desserts coming so had most of the appetizer round packed up for later.

We ran into a snag with the main courses. I guess I must have been preoccupied with that because I have no pictures of the entrée round. My husband had:

Grilled Colorado Bison Loin
Glazed Carrots, Celery Root, Bhajia Onions, Aged Gouda Macaroni and Cheese, Pomegranate Jus
Which he said was great.

The kitchen ran into a problem making my entrée. They made multiple attempts but could not get the duck rare because they were “using a new machine”. What kind of a machine do you use for cooking duck? Maybe they were trying sous vide and it ends up too well done when they crisp the skin at the end? It remains a mystery. I had a choice between having it medium or ordering something else. So, I went with the tried and true

Oak-fired Filet of Beef
Parmesan-Farro Risotto, Butternut Squash Purée, Maple-roasted Squash, Whiskey-Apple Butter

As consolation for not getting my entrée until my husband was done with his they brought us a round of complementary drinks which seemed reasonable, especially since I had gotten both the first course of the duck entrée and the entire beef entrée.

We had absolutely no room for dessert, but “why not, it’s included in the dining plan”. Most of this was taken back to the room as well and the kids enjoyed the left overs the next day. Another standby:

Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate-whipped Panna Cotta, Cashew Clusters


My husband’s dessert doesn’t seem to be on the current menu. It was the seasonal fall version of the crème brulee but seemed more like a flan with gingerbread and pear sides


This is the description of what is currently on the menu:
Peppermint Crème Brûlée
White Chocolate Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Crumb, Fudge Sauce, Peppermint Snow, Cool White Chocolate Whip, Candy Cane Bark

Even with our wait for entrees we finished up well before the fireworks. The staff will say there are no fireworks on the night of the CM party. But there always are. Since there is no official time for the double-secret-CM-party-fireworks we were told we could bring our receipt on the following day if we wanted to view the fireworks from the California Grill observation deck.

My blurry attempt of a close up of the castle on our way out



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We picked up our disgruntled children who were having too much fun to want to leave the kids club. They each received a cloth draw string bag for the projects they made that night.

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The Gingerbread display was already up at the Contemporary. I was happy to see the old Cinderella version this year.


A relaxing monorail ride back to the Grand Floridian. We ended the night enjoying the piano in the lobby and the fireworks from our balcony back at the room. These are the types of days that make going to Disney great. Low stress, low crowds, see and do a little bit of everything. Good food, good service, fun characters, no rushing, monorails working and efficient. I looked down from the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] floor balcony and saw my husband and youngest enjoying the music together and felt a little teary. This is why we stay on site and keep going back.

Just wanted to give you a tip about the dog. When you are ready to find your kids the dog from LWTL, look for a bearded collie. Closest breed to that look.
Thanks for the TR! I'm really enjoying it!


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Work has been busy, so I haven't been online for some time. Just catching up. Always enjoy your TR, Anne :) Loved that your boys requested a LWTL dog pic. That is one of my favorite scenes :) Great pics and lovely family time spent in WDW!


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Just wanted to give you a tip about the dog. When you are ready to find your kids the dog from LWTL, look for a bearded collie. Closest breed to that look.
Thanks for the TR! I'm really enjoying it!
Thanks so much! That is really helpful, I wouldn't have known where to start with figuring out the dog breed.


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Work has been busy, so I haven't been online for some time. Just catching up. Always enjoy your TR, Anne :) Loved that your boys requested a LWTL dog pic. That is one of my favorite scenes :) Great pics and lovely family time spent in WDW!
Glad you are enjoying it! I'm looking forward to hearing about your next trip :)


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We are going in April for a WDW/ Universal trip. Very much looking forward to it!
Fun! Are you going right around the Easter holiday, or getting in on the lower crowd weeks? It is killing me that my kids have 1.5 weeks off for spring break in April but we don't have a Disney trip planned. Especially with the room discount better than usual this year.


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Fun! Are you going right around the Easter holiday, or getting in on the lower crowd weeks? It is killing me that my kids have 1.5 weeks off for spring break in April but we don't have a Disney trip planned. Especially with the room discount better than usual this year.
We will be there the week before Easter and spending Easter at Universal. Oh- book it now! You have 2 weeks until the FP+ window opens ;)


Thank you for the great trip report!! I always enjoy your reports, especially the marathon ones, though I rarely comment!

My sister and I were at the January marathon weekend as well doing Goofy and I actually saw you towards the end of the half marathon but I didn't say hi since I never post on here. (I was dressed as a girl DreamFinder with my sis as Figment.) I thought it was neat to run into you during a race since you run so many! Hope this wasn't creepy lol!!

Also were you one of the like 10 other people that did Goofy this year? I was so surprised at how so few Goofy runners there were this year!! The bib pickup was literally only two booths!


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We will be there the week before Easter and spending Easter at Universal. Oh- book it now! You have 2 weeks until the FP+ window opens ;)
Such an enabler :RpS_lol:
I did book something "just in case"
We got the "your magical vacation starts right now" mailer and my husband said "were you expecting to have a different husband by April?" Such a funny man, my husband. He says this now, but he's the guy who was desperately looking for flights to Florida last week when we had the -50 degree wind chill. Same guy, who when we get halfway through spring break, will say "WHY didn't we go to Disney? It's no more expensive than this stupid local water park hotel!!!" So I still give it a 50/50 that we will go, despite his bravado.