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Paul’s solo runDisney trip – PREP293

Paul’s solo runDisney trip – PREP293

Paul flew to Walt Disney World and stayed at All Star Movies and All Star Music alone for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party November 4-9.

The Basics

Paul is a Disney World veteran but this was his first in person RunDisney event. He was there from November 4-9.

Paul is a photographer and looked forward to taking his time to take photos. He also is a huge Star Wars fan and had avoided spoilers for Galaxy’s Edge.

Paul extended his trip by one day in order to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Because he added on a day, he had to switch hotels from All-Star Music to All-Star Movies for the last day of his trip.

The weather didn’t cooperate for most of his trip as there was an unusual amount of rain, but Paul had a wonderful trip and is ready to run at Disney again soon!

Arrival Day (November 4)

Paul drove from his home in Vermont to Albany, New York, and flew straight to Orlando. He landed in Orlando just before 2 p.m., grabbed his luggage and got to Magical Express. He was the first one on and they were on their way to All Star Music within about 30 minutes. 

Paul got the notification that his room was ready while he was on Magical Express. His Amazon Fresh order was also moving toward the hotel. 

He was new to All-Star Music but he loved that it reminded him of Pop Century

He grabbed a mobile order lunch at the food court and got on a bus straight to the RunDisney Expo. They have buses running to the Expo for race participants by bell services.

There was a specific cast member right there to answer any questions. Buses were running about every 15 minutes.

It took about 10 minutes for Paul to get over to ESPN at 5 p.m. The bus dropped him off and he walked through the whole Expo, food booths, to walk to the back where he could sign in. He’d already done online registration so he just needed to complete the sign in process.

He received his bib and went into another building to pick up his race shirt and check in bag. If you bring something to the race and want to check it in at the beginning and pick it up at the end, you’ll need one of these bags.

There were some vendors, photo spots, and all of the medals from the race weekend set up as well.

The official Disney merchandise was in the third building that Paul went into. It was nearly 6 p.m. and most of the merchandise was sold out. 

It was very well-organized with lots of friendly cast members. They also showed how to find photographers on race day. 

Paul knew that it was going to rain this weekend and wasn’t prepared, so his next stop was Disney Springs. He picked up a rain coat and tried Chicken Guy! for dinner. 

After that, Paul went back to the room and got settled for the weekend. 

Hollywood Studios (November 5)

Paul was up naturally at 6 a.m. and at 7 a.m. he purchased his Individual Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance. There were lots of times available. He chose 11 a.m. so that he could do plenty of things in the morning. (He did not purchase Genie+)

Paul got ready and was at the bus stop at 7:45 a.m., on a bus by 8 a.m., and walking into Hollywood Studios by 8:15 a.m. Early Theme Park Entry was at 8:30 a.m.

Sadly, it was raining very hard when Paul entered Hollywood Studios. He’d hoped he would walk in and get to look around. He was not able to do that and went straight to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

The posted wait time was 15 minutes and he waited about 10 minutes. He LOVED his first time on this ride. 

He headed into Toy Story Land and it was still pouring. He was able to walk on Slinky Dog Dash with no wait at all. Even though it was raining, the ride was very enjoyable.

Paul had never done Toy Story Mania! before and loved the theme and story of this ride. The hardest part was that his family wasn’t with him! 

It’s still pouring rain but Paul walked over to Alien Swirling Saucers. There was no wait and Toy Story Land was still empty at 9:30 a.m.

After Alien Swirling Saucers, he knew he would want to go to Galaxy’s Edge from Toy Story Land. He didn’t want to go through the entrance in Toy Story Land, so he wanted around to the other side to enter Galaxy’s Edge.

He walked through and saw the Christmas decorations before stopping at Star Tours as a walk on before heading to Galaxy’s Edge. 

It was still raining, but in Galaxy’s Edge, who cares! Paul was so excited to see Galaxy’s Edge for the first time. 

Paul wandered around until he found Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and jumped in the single rider line at 10:45 a.m. The standby wait was 50 minutes, but the single rider wait was 12 minutes. 

He loved Smuggler’s Run because of the story, theme, and the ride! 

Just after 11 a.m. he mobile ordered Ronto Roasters before hopping over to his Rise of the Resistance Individual Lightning Lane. 

It was still pouring rain but Paul walked right into Rise. He hadn’t done any spoilers for anything in Galaxy’s Edge. All of that paid off! 

Everything was so beautifully done. He loved being part of the story. 

After Rise, Paul got his food from Ronto Roasters. He ate his lunch under an umbrella. 

After lunch he walked through the Droid Depot, got some popcorn, and wandered the marketplace.

It stopped raining for a few minutes and he was able to see Rey. Then the rain came back.

Paul left Galaxy’s Edge and walked through the park to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The wait for both Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster was 50 minutes, so he didn’t wait for those. 

At this point Paul was soaking wet and at 2:30 p.m. he opted to go back to the hotel to dry off. He doesn’t typically take breaks like this but it was too wet. 

He was back in his room a little bit after 3 p.m. and spent the next 3 hours trying to dry out.  Around 7:30 p.m. he went back to the park on the bus. 

He was back at Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway by 7:50 p.m. as a walk on. He made a dining reservation at Oga’s Cantina for 9:30 p.m. He used this to motivate himself to stay until park close to get some photographs.

After Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Paul walked over to Toy Story Land and walked on Slinky Dog Dash. 

At 8:20 p.m. he was able to walk on Rise of the Resistance and Smuggler’s Run. The park was empty! 

Paul was then able to start taking photos of Galaxy’s Edge while he waited for his Oga’s Reservation. 

At 9:30 p.m. he got a spot at the bar at Oga’s. It was very dark but well-themed and great cast members. 

After Oga’s it was still pouring rain and Paul wandered through the park to exit.

Magic Kingdom (November 6)

Paul was up at 6 a.m. purchasing Genie+ for his day at Magic Kingdom. He got his first Lightning Lane for Jungle Cruise right at 7 a.m. for 9 a.m.

He got on the bus to Magic Kingdom at 8 a.m. The forecast had called for rain, but it was just overcast! 

Paul walked straight to Peter Pan’s Flight. There was a 15 minute posted wait and he waited 5 minutes. He loves starting the day with Peter Pan! 

He walked straight across to it’s a small world and walked on without a wait. There was no wait to get on, but the boat ride was very long – 18 minutes! 

He got to Jungle Cruise for his Lightning Lane at 9:30 a.m. It took him 3 minutes to get on a boat. 

After Jungle Cruise, Paul walked over to Pirates of the Caribbean with a 10 minute wait. While he was walking over to Pirates, he got a Lightning Lane for Haunted Mansion at 9:55 a.m.

Paul walked over to Haunted Mansion and walked right on without a wait at all. After Haunted Mansion, Paul got a Lightning Lane for Tomorrowland Speedway. It had been decades since he’d been on that and he wanted to get some photographs from back there. 

While he waited for his Tomorrowland Speedway Lightning Lane, he mobile ordered from the Lunching Pad. He got over to the Speedway at 11 a.m. and got some sunshine! 

There was a Lightning Lane for Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid so he got that one next. 

Because he was right there, he got a Lightning Lane for Dumbo the Flying Elephant. After Dumbo he got a Lightning Lane for Mad Tea Party

Paul then decided to stop booking Lightning Lane after Lightning Lane. So around 1 p.m. he booked a Lightning Lane for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at 3:45 p.m. to give himself a break from looking at his photo. 

At this point, Paul walked through, looked around, and enjoyed the park! He walked to the train station at the front of the park and sat down to watch the Dapper Dans

From there, he walked back to the castle to watch the cavalcades at the Hub. Main Street was relatively empty. 

Paul then mobile ordered chicken and waffles from Sleepy Hollow. While he was eating in Liberty Square, he saw the Princess and Mickey and Friends cavalcades. As he walked through Frontierland, he saw Tinker Bell. 

Splash Mountain was running but the boats were empty, so he walked over there. He’s never been on this ride before, so he got on! He waited about 35 minutes through standby for this ride. 

The clouds came back and it was cooling off as Paul walked over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at 4 p.m. The standby wait was 50 minutes. 

Paul’s wife texted him that Mickey was at Town Square and there’s no wait! So Paul walked back to the front of the park to meet Mickey in his 50th Anniversary attire with a 5 minute wait.

After meeting Mickey Paul did some shopping on Main Street and grabbed a Turkey leg before leaving the park. 

He was back in his room by 7 p.m. to get ready for the race in the morning!

Race Day (November 7)

Paul’s alarm went off at 2:05 a.m. and was on the bus by 2:57 a.m. for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon! It took 11 minutes to get to the parking lot to begin the half marathon. He was one of the first buses there and there were only a few hundred people there.

There were several photo backdrops and photopass photographers ready to go. Paul checked everything out – the medical tent, the bag drop-off, and stage. 

By 3:30 a.m. more and more people are arriving. It’s very cold and windy, but there was a lot of great energy.  

Lots of people dress up or bound for the races. Paul dressed up as Hades – simple but effective! 

There were four very large corals and people are starting to gather. You needed to have a bib in order to gather in the queue corals. Paul lined up at 4:30 a.m. for a 5 a.m. start. 

At 5 a.m. there is a countdown, fireworks, and the elite 15 start the race! 

Then they open the first coral, second, and so on. Paul was in coral 3 which was about .25 miles from the start. He’d already walked about 3 miles before he even got to the start of the race! 

Every few hundred people get their own start celebration. Paul began the race around 5:30 a.m. Fireworks happen about every 3 minutes. 

As soon as Paul began running, people were cheering! The energy was wonderful and supportive.

Every mile has a clock and a cute character mile marker sign. Everything was villain themed for the Wine and Dine races. This includes the meet and greets on the route. 

Paul hit the 2nd mile around 5:45 a.m. and there was mood music, smoke, and lights. Every mile after the 2nd mile has a water station every mile as well. They were served by volunteers cheering you on.

Paul stopped for a few character meets and then saw the sunrise in Animal Kingdom. He ran around Animal Kingdom, through Pandora, and to the parking lot. 

Then he hit the long stretch between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. After running on roads to Hollywood Studios, he ran through Hollywood Studios and out to the Boardwalk. 

There were meet and greets and music along the way to keep the energy up! 

Paul ran around the Boardwalk and into Epcot to run around the World Showcase and around Epcot. The finish line is just outside of Epcot. 

Paul said that the race was so much fun and he’s never smiled that much while running before. 

Once you cross the finish line you cast members place the medal around your neck. Then it was on to food, drinks, and after party! Paul finished the race at 8:30 a.m.

Paul knew he didn’t want to sit down yet so he went ahead and got in line for photos. There were tents for coffee and food as well. 

Paul left for his hotel just after 10 a.m. He relaxed and napped a bit in his room to recover. He got something to eat from the food court. 

He got ready for the after party at Epcot and got on the bus at 4:55 p.m. There was a separate line for runners and he was given a wristband and a map. 

Paul was fueled by adrenaline and the sun was setting so he had his list of things to do and photos to take.

The earlier portion of the evening went by very quickly. He took photos of Spaceship Earth and walked around World Showcase. 

There was no wait for Frozen Ever After at all so he walked right in and waited about 10 minutes (with a 50 minute posted wait!). 

The food booths were all very busy but he was able to get paella in Spain.

After grabbed something to eat, Paul went back to the front to check out the 50th Anniversary statues. Happily, he found that the food booths toward the front of the park were empty and he was able to snack some more. 

Now that the sun has set, Paul was able to set up near Spaceship Earth and take some photos and watch Spaceship Earth.

After that, he was able to head back to the World Showcase and set up to photograph Harmonious. He really liked it! 

The Wine and Dine After Party started at 9:30 p.m. and almost immediately characters came out for meet and greets. There was a deejay playing music throughout the whole park.

Paul did some of the meet and greets and made his way back to France. He was able to avoid spoilers and enjoyed seeing the renovations in France. He’d hoped to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventurebut it was down. 

The back of the World Showcase was very crowded so Paul made his way back toward the front, grabbed some noodles, and went into Soarin’ as a walk-on.

Around 11:30 p.m. Paul made one more time around the World Showcase. By the time he got to France, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure was back up and the wait was 30 minutes. He loved everything about it! 

After Remy’s Paul made it back to his hotel and went right to sleep after an incredibly long day.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (November 8)

Paul had a 7:30 a.m. wakeup to get his Boarding pass for Southwest and pack to move over to All-Star Movies.

Paul left his room at All-Star Music around 11 a.m. and Goofy and Pluto were outside at the resort! 

His room wasn’t ready yet at All-Star Movies so he went over to Disney Springs. He walked around for a bit and knew he’d need to stop at Gideon’s. He got in the virtual queue for Gideon’s and was called back in about 30 minutes. 

He got 6 cookies, the daily cookie, and the peanut butter coffee. The cookies were coming home for his family, but the coffee was delicious! 

He put his name in at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar and he was called quickly and sat outside for lunch. He had great service and a great lunch. 

He continued wandering around and shopping until his room was ready at 5pm. Thankfully that gave him some time to get a flannel to stay warm!

He went back to the room to get ready and then went straight to the Christmas party! He was to the bus line at 6:30 p.m. and the line was already very long.

Paul arrived to the Christmas party just after 7 p.m. and was to Main Street at 7:30 p.m. It was very busy as people were leaving the parks and entering for the party.

He got his wrist band, map, and schedule quickly and went to get settled for Enchantment. He opted to watch it from behind the castle and then turn around and ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

After that, he went to Astro Orbiter for the first time! 

At 9:30 p.m. Paul got popcorn and water before going to Club Tinsel. He then got hot cocoa and a cookie. 

Paul wanted to watch the first parade so he went to Liberty Square to get ready and watch that. It was so wonderful to see the full parade! 

After the parade Paul went back to meet Santa in the gazebo. It was a very quick wait. He walked from there to the castle to see the stage show. 

From the stage show, Paul went back to see Minnie’s Fireworks show from Main Street.

Paul loved that this was such a wonderful, full fireworks show! The show ended with snow on Main Street.

Paul loved the party and thought it was definitely worth it. He stayed until about 1:15 a.m. It was a very long night, but the party ticket was his park ticket for the day. Definitely worth it! 

He was back to his room at 2 a.m.

Final Day (November 9)

After a quick sleep, Paul was up at 4 a.m. to catch Magical Express. There weren’t any delays at the airport that early. He was back in Albany late that morning and drove 2 hours back home.

Key Takeaways

  • RunDisney high-energy and lots of fun. Paul highly recommends.
  • Plan for rain and varying weather even in November.
  • You can get a lot done and have an excellent experience traveling alone.


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Friday 15th of March 2024

Thank you Paul for Run Disney trip overview! One thing I learned from your post is there are bags to checked belongings prior to run began. I will be running my 1st run at Disney for Food and Wine. Thank you Shannon, I been following you since 2011. I’m an OG fan lol.


Friday 19th of November 2021

Hi Shannon, I just wanted to say I love the trip reports you post. I’ve been listening for years, and over they years I tried different pod casts, but I’ve dropped all others and so look forward to yours. Thank you for sharing these!