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First Look at 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Commemorative Products

posted on January 1st, 2016 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


The 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend returns to Florida from January 6-10. I recently caught up with the product development team at Disney Theme Park Merchandise who gave me a first look at commemorative merchandise. This is the biggest runDisney event of the year, so here is a sampling of what guests may find during the upcoming weekend.

First Look at 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Commemorative Products First Look at 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Commemorative Products

This year will see the return of products celebrating the entire Marathon Weekend. These items include apparel, hats and drinkware. I particularly like the new Mickey Mouse tees in pink and blue.

For each race, we will have apparel for both women and men including short and long sleeved shirts, Sweaty Bands, Bondi Bands, and vehicle magnets.

First Look at 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Commemorative Products First Look at 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Commemorative Products

Guests will also find “I Did It!” shirts designed for both women and men (including the 5K and 10K races). Select races will also have running pants and running shorts included in the mix.

First Look at 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Commemorative Products First Look at 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Commemorative Products

Finally, we will have a Disney ear hat and a fun “Future Disney Runner” shirt with Mickey Mouse for kids.
I could only show a handful of items in this article. There is so much more to see including jackets, hooded sweatshirts, pins and other runDisney logo products.

Guests attending the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will find these items at Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Expo will be open during the following times:

  • Wednesday, January 6 – 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 7 – 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, January 8 – 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 9 – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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Celebrate National Cupcake Day at Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

posted on December 15th, 2015 by Rachel Bshero, Food & Beverage Marketing Communications Coordinator


It’s no secret that I love cupcakes. The pastry team at Disney’s Contemporary Resort creates beautiful cupcakes, each one a work of art. (Check out how they’re made in this video!) Each month, cupcakes are themed to the season, holidays and more. To celebrate National Cupcake Day, I’ve got a sneak peek of the Contempo Café 2016 cupcake calendar:

  • January (December 26 – January 30): Strawberry Cupcake with strawberry filling and buttercream icing; Vanilla Cupcake with cookies and cream filling and chocolate buttercream. Also look for a cupcake to commemorate the winner of ‘The Big Game.’
  • February (January 31 – February 27): Mexican Coffee Cupcake–chocolate cake with Mexican coffee cream filling; Vanilla Cupcake with cookies and cream filling and chocolate-orange swirled vanilla buttercream. Look for a special Sweetheart Cupcake on Valentine’s Day, as well as a special cupcake to during the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

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  • March (February 28 – April 2): Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake–vanilla cake with strawberry filling and buttercream; Indiana Jones Cupcake–chocolate cake with peanut butter filling and chocolate-raspberry buttercream. Special cupcakes will also be offered on St. Patrick’s Day, as well as Easter.
  • April (April 3 – April 30): Carrot Cake Cupcake with cream cheese filling and white chocolate buttercream; Indiana Jones Cupcake.

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  • May (May 1 – May 28): Watermelon Cupcake with watermelon cream filling and buttercream icing; Churro Cupcake–cinnamon cake with vanilla-cinnamon custard filling and vanilla buttercream. Make Mom smile with a Coconut Cream Cupcake, available only on Mother’s Day.
  • June (May 29 – July 2): In addition to the Churro Cupcake, the café will serve a Pineapple Cupcake–pineapple cake with pineapple filling and raspberry buttercream. Look for a Peanut Butter Cupcake, available only on Father’s Day–vanilla cake, peanut butter and chocolate chip filling topped with peanut butter buttercream.

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  • July (July 3 – July 30): Cherry Cupcake with cherry filling and pistachio buttercream; Banana Flip Cupcake–vanilla cake with banana cream filling and banana buttercream. You won’t want to miss the Independence Day S’mores Cupcake—graham cracker cake with chocolate ganache filling and marshmallow buttercream—available only on July 4.
  • August (July 31 – Aug. 27): Banana Flip Cupcake, as well as the Turtle Cupcake with caramel cake and chocolate-pecan filling topped with caramel-chocolate icing. On August 4, look for a Neapolitan Cupcake to celebrate the birthday of Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

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  • September (August 28 – October 1): Candy Apple Cupcake with vanilla cake and candy apple filling and buttercream; Candy Bar Cupcake with chocolate cake, peanut-caramel filling and caramel buttercream. On Labor Day (September 5), look for a special red velvet cupcake with blueberry pie filling, topped with cream cheese buttercream.

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  • October (October 2 – November 5): Candy Bar Cupcake, as well as the Pumpkin Cupcake with cream cheese filling, topped with cinnamon buttercream. Just for Halloween (October 23-31), look for a spooky Skeleton Cupcake.

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  • November (November 6 – December 3): Apple Cupcake with cinnamon cake and apple filling, topped with apple-butter rum buttercream; Villain Cupcake with vanilla cake, topped with vanilla buttercream. For Thanksgiving (November 24), look for a pumpkin cupcake with cherry pie filling and cream cheese buttercream.
  • December (December 4 – December 31): In addition to the Villain Cupcake, enjoy the Eggnog Spice Cupcake with eggnog cream filling and vanilla bean buttercream. On Walt Disney’s birthday (December 5), celebrate with a Lemon Meringue Cupcake—Walt’s favorite! For the holidays (December 23 – December 25), enjoy a Mickey Santa Hat Cupcake with gingerbread cake, chocolate buttercream filling, topped with vanilla buttercream.

In addition to the cupcakes listed above, you’ll find a “Frozen“-themed cupcake every month in addition to the popular Dirt and Worms Cupcake.

How will you celebrate National Cupcake Day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Are you ready to runDisney? Fast Facts about Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

posted on December 15th, 2015 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney


Have you ever participated in a runDisney event? If so, you know that there is no other race like it! Whether it’s your first time participating in an event or you are a seasoned racer, here are a few “fast” facts you might not have known about Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna.

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Who exactly likes to runDisney?

Not only are all 50 states represented during marathon weekend, but athletes from 67 countries participate as well. In fact, there are over 56,000 unique runners registered in all of the events.

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The start line of the Walt Disney World 5K, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon will have approximately 113,500 pairs of shoes that will cross the combined start lines.

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Are you a fan of our theme parks? If you’ve visited Epcot and explored World Showcase, you might not be too far off from completing a 5K! Walking from Mexico to Canada clockwise is roughly 1.2 miles. If you walk around World Showcase three times, you’ve gone a little bit further than the distance of a 5K, which is 3.1 miles. When you think of distance in Disney terms, it’s completely achievable!

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What do you love most about runDisney?
Or, have you ever considered joining the fun?
For more information on upcoming races visit runDisney.com.

Participating in the upcoming races? Share your #WDWMarathon experience with us:

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runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Style

posted on December 10th, 2015 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney


What do you get when you mix running with Disney? Running through our incredible theme parks, world-class entertainment and, of course, characters! In fact, many participants transform into the themes of our weekends and channel their favorite Disney characters while creating their costumes. With the runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna right around the corner, I’ve collected pictures from last year’s event that really showcase the spirit of the weekend.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is the only race weekend that has a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon. Within these four races there are also two challenges: the Goofy Challenge and the Dopey Challenge. Wondering what that means? Keep reading!

The Walt Disney World 5K is perfect for the whole family. The 5K theme is Pluto, and last year, runners really embraced their Pluto style!

Minnie Mouse is the star of the Walt Disney World 10K, which is a great distance for runners of all skill levels.

The Walt Disney World Half Marathon’s amazing 13.1 mile course is a runner’s delight, taking you through the magic, wonder, and sheer charm of Magic Kingdom Park, then on to Epcot, home of international World Showcase and Future World. The race concludes with a spectacular finish in the shadow of Spaceship Earth.

The Walt Disney World Marathon is an adventure! Being the only course that takes you through the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the only true owner of this race has to be Mickey Mouse!

There are two challenges within Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. First, if you are “Goofy” enough to run the half marathon and marathon back-to-back, you will have successfully completed Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. That’s 39.3 miles in two days!

The ultimate (and Dopiest!) challenge of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is the Dopey Challenge! The Dopey Challenge is 48.6 miles in four days. That is participating in all four races: the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon. In addition to the finisher medals, participants also receive the Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge medals upon completion of all four races within the pacing requirements.

Whichever distance you chose, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend has something for everyone. For more information on upcoming races visit runDisney.com.

Participating in the upcoming races? Share your #WDWMarathon experience with us:
Twitter: @runDisney
Instagram: @runDisney

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16 Reasons 2016 Will Be An ‘Unforgettable’ Year at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 4th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


With innovative attractions and entertainment set to debut at Walt Disney World Resort in 2016, plus new dining locations and inaugural sporting events on the horizon, the year 2016 is shaping up to be truly Unforgettable for our guests.

If you’re considering planning a Disney vacation in 2016, be sure to check out our 16 reasons why the new year should be the year for your visit!

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  1. Experience The Newest Offerings, Like Jungle Skipper Canteen & More – The new year is the perfect time to explore the latest and greatest guest offerings that will debut in late 2015, including the Jungle Skipper Canteen restaurant at Magic Kingdom Park; Club Disney at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; and the Ganachery candy shop at Disney Springs.

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  1. Wonder at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Through January 3 – The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will end its holiday run at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on January 3, 2016. Enjoy this holiday offering in its finale season while you can.

Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland Park

  1. Enjoy “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” Fireworks – Disney’s Hollywood Studios will debut its latest Star Wars-inspired experience with the addition of “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks, beginning December 18. (And don’t forget the newly launched Star Wars Launch Bay experiences, pictured above).

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  1. runDisney Events – The 2016 runDisney racing season kicks off January 6-10 with the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This will be the first of four racing weekends held at the resort in 2016. Visit the official runDisney site for more information.

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  1. Experience Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Grown-up guests can party with the Disney Villains in a soiree led by Dr. Facilier at the new Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The fun starts January 16.

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  1. Experience The Magic of Nature With “Rivers of Light” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Starting this spring, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will come alive at night with the new Rivers of Light show. This innovative show will feature entertainers, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery in a performance that truly brings the animal kingdom to life at night.

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  1. Explore The Kilimanjaro Safaris After Sunset – Kilimanjaro Safaris will expand operating hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, allowing guests to travel through the African savanna amid the orange glow of the setting sun. Look for it this spring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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  1. Dine at Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – The park’s newest eatery will open its doors this spring to offer a menu inspired by the places the Imagineers traveled when developing the park.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

  1. Enjoy Springtime Events at Walt Disney World Resort – Dates have already been released for fun springtime events, including the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (March 2-May 30); and Raglan Road’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival (March 17).

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  1. Experience Frozen Ever After at Epcot – The new “Frozen”-inspired attraction will open its doors in Epcot’s World Showcase this spring. In it, guests will be transported to the Winter in Summer Celebration where Queen Elsa creates a special day for the kingdom. Guests will also travel to Elsa’s Ice Palace, the ice-blue world of the North Mountain, and the Bay of Arendelle.

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  1. Stop By The New Frozen Character Greeting Location at Epcot – Meet the royal sisters Anna and Elsa at Epcot at a new dedicated character greeting location starting in spring.

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  1. Celebrate The Invictus Games at ESPN Wide World of SportsThe Invictus Games will come to the United States for the first time ever in 2016. The games celebrate our wounded servicemen and women from around the world competing in a variety of sports events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex May 8-12.

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  1. Remember Magic Kingdom Park’s 45th Anniversary – Magic Kingdom Park, the first Disney park to open at Walt Disney World, will mark its 45th anniversary on October 1. Keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more information.

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  1. Share An Unforgettable Fall – A new year means the return of our favorite fall events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties.

Disney characters dressed in their holiday finest parade down Main Street, U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom during "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade." The festive processional is one of the happy highlights of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, a night of holiday splendor with lively stage shows, a unique holiday parade, Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime fireworks, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A. The special-ticket event takes place on select nights in November and December in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Ryan Wendler, photographer)

  1. Celebrate The Holiday SeasonMickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and more. Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for news and dates on our returning special events.

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  1. Try New Dining Offerings at Disney Springs – Disney Springs will continue to grow in 2016, with plans to add new eateries like STK Orlando, plus the opening of Town Center, which will feature Zara, Lilly Pulitzer, UGG, UNIQLO and many others. Watch the Disney Parks Blog for more information and opening dates.
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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney Springs, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World Resort

Moms Panel Monday: Our Most Interesting Questions

posted on November 30th, 2015 by Leanne O'Regan, Director, Social Media, Disney Parks


Each week, the Disney Parks Moms Panel receives hundreds of questions from people planning their upcoming Disney vacations. Sometimes these questions can get very specific but nothing our 50 panelists can’t handle!

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For this week’s Moms Panel Monday, we asked our panelists to reflect back on some of their favorite or most interesting questions from this year.

Moms Panelist Diane, who specializes in answering Disney Cruise Line questions, loved helping a guest getting ready to sail on the Disney Magic learn whether or not she’d be able to find her favorite food – chicken wings – on the ship. Diane knew exactly how to help her. Find out here.

Jason, one of our dads on the Panel, did a lot of research to help answer a question about the countries in the “it’s a small world” attraction. Read his fun answer here.

And finally, Faith, our runDisney specialist, absolutely enjoyed answering a wardrobe question for an upcoming runDisney event. To tiara or not to tiara? Find out here.

If you’ve got a question about planning your upcoming Disney vacation, be sure to visit the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

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Top 5 Ways the Disneyland Resort Saluted Veterans for Veterans Day

posted on November 13th, 2015 by Kevin Rafferty, Jr., Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort


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At the Disneyland Resort, we have a long-standing tradition of supporting our military servicemen and women. Here are the top 5 ways we saluted veterans this Veterans Day:

  1. Our latest Million Dollar Dazzle gift of $60,000 was given to Habitat for Humanity of Orange County yesterday to help provide new homes for local veterans.
  2. Retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Juan Valdez, a recipient of the Purple Heart, was our guest of honor during the “it’s a small world” Holiday lighting ceremony.
  3. Medal of Honor recipient Sammy L. Davis, whose heroic actions inspired parts of the movie “Forrest Gump,” was recognized at the flag retreat ceremony on November 5.
  4. The Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend once again benefits the Anaheim 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit Adoption Committee, which supports real super heroes at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. (If you are a race participant, stop by the Health & Fitness Expo to write postcards and prepare care packages for troops overseas.)
  5. Cast members who are veterans, including our diversity resource group SALUTE, took part in a special flag retreat ceremony for Veterans Day.
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Show Your Super Hero Style at Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend

posted on November 12th, 2015 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney


We are excited our friends Ryan Penagos and Judy Stephens will be joining us for Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort this weekend. Not only will this dynamic duo be participating in the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge, they will also join the Speaker Series during the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo located at Disneyland Hotel Exhibit Hall.

Ryan and Judy will be sporting these mighty looks from Champion and New Balance throughout the weekend. Ryan will be the First Avenger, Captain America in this patriotic ensemble.

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Judy will be channeling her inner Super Hero as the mighty Thor.

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Judy and Ryan will be speaking on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. PST, Friday; Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. PST; and Saturday, Nov. 14, at 11 a.m. PST. Don’t miss their series on “Breaking Into Comics, The Marvel Way.”

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Good luck to all participants during Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. Show us your Super Hero style on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #AvengersHalf throughout the weekend!

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First Look at runDisney Avengers 2015 Super Heroes Half Marathon Merchandise

posted on November 10th, 2015 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


The runDisney Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend is back, taking place November 12–15 at the Disneyland Resort! If you’re not sure about your own super hero identity just yet, here is your first look at this year’s merchandise — which just might help you out.

“Lock on Target” for an array of character and phrase themed performance tees, tanks, hoodies, jackets and other novelty items that will get your “Pulse Rate Rising” and make a statement letting those around you know “I Did It.”

Are you participating in the Inaugural Infinity Gauntlet Challenge? Make your dream of conquering this challenge a reality as you transcend time and space with a powerful line of themed performance apparel that will blow your mind and satisfy your running soul. Yes, I just threw down the gauntlet. Best of luck to all who are participating!

In addition to the pre-purchased pins available for the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon, the Avengers Super Heroes 5K and Inaugural Captain America 10K at the Disneyland Resort, also being offered is the medal spinner pin reminiscent of a certain super hero logo, which I know you are all familiar with, and an Inaugural Infinity Gauntlet Challenge pin. But that’s not all. If magnets are more your speed, you won’t be disappointed and for those of you who strive to be a head above the rest, you’ll find runner’s headwear themed to different phrases, logos and super heroes for the Half Marathon and Inaugural Infinity Gauntlet Challenge.

Fans of Dooney & Bourke bags – if you are still trying to determine whether or not to add this new line to your collection, here’s another look at the pattern that will appear on several silhouettes including a satchel, letter carrier and backpack.

Finally, keep an eye out for additional runDisney apparel, 2015 runDisney Coast to Coast Race Challenge offerings, and more.

It’s time to assemble your list of must have items. See you at the finish line!

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Disney Style to Rock the Finish Line Party at Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon!

posted on October 22nd, 2015 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney


With Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend right around the corner, we’re cooking up our favorite looks to celebrate your accomplishment after your half marathon.

The Finish Line Party happens immediately after completing your race, which includes entry to over 30 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Marketplaces, access to select favorite Epcot attractions, Disney character meet & greets, musical performances, entertainment and a live DJ! Friends, family and spectators are also invited to join the party with a special ticket. *Tickets to the Finish Line Party are sold out.

After completing 13.1 miles, changing into something a little more comfortable is recommended. I love the official runDisney “I Did It!” merchandise that will be on sale at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7.

The women’s look includes comfy “French Terry Closed Leg Pants” from Champion and stylish accessories to share your accomplishment.

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The retro New Balance shoes will be perfect for the men’s look to walk around the world and try all of the delicious offerings of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

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Share your Finish Line Party looks with us using the hashtag #WineDineHalf. Make sure to check out some of the other merchandise for the event from our friend Steven Miller. See you at the Finish Line!

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