A Week at runDisney’s Wine n Dine Half Marathon Expo

For this week’s Weekly Wrap with Tricia and Holly, I wanted to take everyone through a “day in the life” of an expo worker. This week, I had the opportunity to work the runDisney Wine n Dine expo with my job at Fit2Run. Every time Disney has a race, they have a HUGE expo. Fit2Run is a major sponsor of runDisney races, so we have a large presence at every expo they have, both in Orlando and California. I had never before worked an expo, but I knew people with the company who did. I also wanted to run the Wine n Dine 10k, so it worked out in my favor to work the expo. Here’s how my week went!

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Sunday, October 30: Today I drove back from South Carolina after running the Spartan Beast the previous day. Side note: never drive 9 hours back in a car the day after running an 18 mile hilly race. Bad idea. Very bad idea. My muscles pretty much atrophied during the long periods spent in the car and it really hurt to get out and walk at bathroom and gas stops. Anyway, driving home we met my friend Alex in Savannah. She moved to Georgia earlier this year and I hadn’t seen her in months so it was great to grab lunch and catch up.

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My entire day was pretty much filled with driving though, so nothing major other than our Savannah stop happened. I do love that city though. Being there even for a few hours made me realize how much I actually missed it since my last visit.

Monday, October 31: Today was kind of a crazy day. I found out that I was supposed to go to Orlando Tuesday instead of Wednesday to help with set up for the expo, but I had to work a double (my last one, yay!) on Tuesday. So after getting off work Monday and dropping the rental car off, I had to zip home and re-pack my suitcase for Orlando. I didn’t really think it through because I packed it full of running clothes and not much else, figuring we’d be at the expo the entire time. I’d regret that once we got there and I didn’t even have one pair of jeans to go out to dinner in though.

Tuesday, November 1: Today was my last official day at my job of 9 years at Lowe’s. It was a little bittersweet to say goodbye to so many people- especially since I didn’t really socialize with them very much outside work so the chances of me seeing them again are slim to none. However, it was time to move on and I was super ready to say goodbye to Lowe’s and hello to full time at Fit2Run. I closed the store at Fit2Run Tuesday night and then headed up to Orlando to our hotel room. I was kind of surprised when I got in and found out how nice the hotel was. We stayed at the Embassy Suites; I had never stayed there before but it was like a small apartment! There was a bedroom, living room, bathroom, mini kitchen…! I unpacked and went to sleep almost immediately though, because I knew working these next few days would be tiring.

This was what our bedrooms looked like- pretty nice right?
This was what our bedrooms looked like- pretty nice right?

Wednesday, November 2: We woke up around 7:30, showered and had breakfast and carpooled over to the expo hall to set up. Set up actually went fairly quickly and we were out of there in time to go for a short run. I went with two other girls from different stores and we did 2 miles from the hotel. It was a nice run! This was the only running I’d get in all week before the 10k though because of the crazy expo hours.

Thursday, November 3: Ok, here’s my day in the life:

  • 7:15 am: Wake up, shower, get dressed.
  • 8:10 am: Eat breakfast in the hotel lobby. It was actually a really nice complimentary breakfast with made to order omelets and everything. They also had Mickey Mouse shaped waffles. Totally ate those.
  • 8:30 am: At the expo to set up and get ready for the first wave of customers to come in at 10. Finished putting out the last pieces of merchandise and setting up registers.
  • 10:00 am: Let the madness begin! They start letting people in the expo.
  • 10:00 am-2:00 pm: I’m working register, so it’s a constant stream of people checking out. Literally a constant stream. There’s never an empty area in the booth- these are some of the busiest hours of the expo.
  • 2:00 pm: Finally lunch break. They ordered pizza for us and we quickly ate out in the truck and headed back into the expo hall to continue working.
  • 2:30-7:00 pm: Once again, working register. Less people in the afternoon than in the morning so I did have a few breaks between crazy bursts of customers. By 5:00 pm I was kind of getting tired of talking to people though. It’s really exhausting when you have to be “on” for 10-11 hours straight. At least the music was decent so I had something to dance to and distract me.
  • 7:00-7:30 pm: Closing registers, tidying up and setting up for tomorrow’s expo. It was a really long day.
  • 8:00 pm: Dinner. It took us a while to decide where to go (because no one really wanted to make a decision). I was kind of hangry and just wanted to eat somewhere. We ended up at this place called Sofrito’s, a latin cafe which was really good. After that we went back to the hotel and relaxed.
  • 11:00 pm: Went to bed.

So that’s basically how it is working an expo. Constantly busy, people always there, seeing/meeting about 5,000+ people per day. It’s really crazy. The first two days were pretty hard with the long hours (basically 8:30-7:30 the first day and 9-7:30 the second). Overall it was fun though.

what a disney expo looks like.
what a disney expo looks like.

Friday, November 4: This was essentially a repeat of the day before, except today we got to sleep in a bit because we didn’t have to be to the expo as early since everything was already set up. Otherwise it was a bunch more people and selling! Today I got to sneak away from the booth to meet Jeff Galloway though! It was so cool because I’ve followed his training plans and advice for about a year now. His method is what helped me through my first half marathon and helped me PR in almost every distance I’ve run this year.

It was so cool to meet him! Totally had a fan girl moment.
It was so cool to meet him! Totally had a fan girl moment.

Saturday, November 5: I woke up extremely early today (3 am!) to run the inaugural Wine n Dine 10k! I dressed as the Mad Hatter and got lots of costume compliments. The race was pretty fun though and Disney is always full of emotional highs. The hard part was working the expo afterwards because my energy was pretty much gone and my feet hurt a lot. I think next time I do an expo I’ll do the half. Since the expo doesn’t run on Sundays, after the half you can just relax and don’t have to worry about being at work.

The Genie and I! I've never seen him in the parks so I was excited!
The Genie and I! I’ve never seen him in the parks so I was excited!
My finisher pic!
My finisher pic!
Alicia and I around mile 4
Alicia and I around mile 4

This was a whirlwind week. I really felt like it would last forever during the expo because it was pretty tiring working those long hours. But overall I really enjoyed my first expo experience. I like being around people for the most part and I love being at races where I get to hang out with a bunch of other people who live, sleep, eat and breathe running. And it’s really fun to look at all the fun running related items you can purchase! Plus sometimes you get 15 minutes to walk around and buy things yourself 😉 I’d work another expo!

So, yes, my week didn’t involve that much running. But I did a lot of running related things! I do think I need to rest for a few days though because I’m having some weird discomfort in the backs of my ankles. I’m supposed to do a half this coming weekend, so hopefully I can rest and heal this issue so I can race!

How was your week? Have you ever worked at an expo of any kind? 

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12 thoughts on “A Week at runDisney’s Wine n Dine Half Marathon Expo”

    1. Most of them are about two days long. RunDisney has longer ones because they have a lot more going on throughout the duration of the week. And of course not working it means you don’t consider set up and take down, which adds a day to the process.

    1. Haha I think a lot of people spent too much money there! A common thing I heard while working was “When I fill up this bag it means I have to go home and stop shopping!”

  1. I don’t know if I could’ve done a race after working an expo. I know my legs would be tired.

    I also sat for hours after my first half marathon, and standing up was quite slow. I flew home the same day, so I’d try to stand up on the flights to stretch, but it was too much sitting.

    1. Yeah I don’t think the sitting helped with recovery after Spartan. Because it was a 10k I don’t think my legs minded as much as they would have if it were a half.

  2. Great report and congratulations on the new job.

    I once worked a job where I traveled and did expos almost constantly. I loved the social aspect of it and I got lots of valuable experience but I’m happy not to spend so much at expos any more.

    That’s cool that there is now a Wine and Dine 10k – I had no idea.

    1. It was a new addition to this year! I enjoyed it. So far I like doing the expos. My job won’t require constant travel. Occasionally I will travel to do expos, but not all the time. We typically do the runDisney ones, so about 8 per year?

  3. I love these day in the life posts and wow very interesting you chose to do it while at the expo! I ran the marathon this past January and I was blown away with how big the expo was. I had never been to one that big and overwhelmed was an understatement for me!
    OMG I love love your costume! Did you come up with that all your own or did you buy it? I so could do that!
    I ran my marathon on Sunday and we drove 12 hours home on Monday but I was in an RV and tried to get up and walk around a bit, but it was really hard on my poor body!
    Tricia@MissSippipiddlin recently posted…Weekly Wrap 66 Hello NovemberMy Profile

    1. Well as part of working the expo we get some free entries, so that was the motivation behind that. Also my best friend was running her first 10k and I wanted to be there with her for that!

      Costume idea was mine, but I purchased the accessories. I bet I could make them if I had the time, but I work a lot and procrastinate so… haha.

      Being in an RV was probably a little better than a cramped car but it’s definitely hard to travel directly after running!

  4. I agree those long car rides after a race are not pleasant. Disney expos are insanely overwhelming to me! I think I hit them during peak crowds. It’s very impressive you spent that much time on your feet and ran the 10k. Great job on your costume too! Thanks for linking!

    1. Thanks! Yeah I think next time I’ll just do the half so I don’t have to work after 😉 It’s best to go during the early afternoon. I noticed the most sparse crowds around 2-4 pm. In case you need to hit one up in the future 🙂

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