The Best Pre-Race Disney Dining Options in Walt Disney World

With the Princess Half Marathon quickly approaching, I keep finding myself not thinking of running as much as I’m thinking about food.  I guess this isn’t very strange since I think about food a lot, but I should be focusing on running, right?  I’ve mentioned before that nutrition has been an issue for me during this training (watch for a nutrition series to follow), so I’ve been concerned about where I’m going to eat prior to the race.  Pre-race meals aren’t a time to try new cuisines or to have your favorite spicy dish because it can wind up causing trouble around mile 5 if you’re stomach isn’t prepared.  To find a meal with a good combination of carbs and protein, I’ve spent some time perusing numerous menus, and have come up with a list of what I think are the best pre-race restaurants in Walt Disney World.

50s Prime Time Café
There’s nothing more familiar than the home cooking found here.  Dad’s Traditional Meatloaf and Mom’s Old-fashioned Pot Roast are two of my favorite dishes at 50s Prime Time Café.  Both are served with creamy mashed potatoes and veggies giving you a great combination of protein and carbs.  These dishes might prove to be a little heavy, so a healthier option might be the Mulitgrain Spaghetti and “Meatballs,” which are actually made out of vegetables.  I’ve heard this dish is a little spicy, so steer clear if spice doesn’t sit well.

Teppan Edo
This is a great combination of good food and fun dining entertainment.  Make sure to get the hibachi entrée where you’ll have your choice of protein: chicken, steak, shrimp or scallops.  This is cooked right in front of you by a very talented hibachi chef, who will not only deliver you with an amazing meal but provide some fun surprises as well.  All of the entrees come with udon noodles, various vegetables, and steamed rice.  Ask the chef to reduce the amount of oil/butter and soy sauce he uses to make the meal healthier and reduce your sodium intake.  Teppan Edo is also a great place for groups because of the large, communal dining tables.  So if you’re with a running team, this is perfect!

Protein, protein, protein!  Can it get any better than simple grilled meats on a skewer?  I think not!  You’ll have your choice of chicken, steak, pork and shrimp to give you that protein boost you’ll need.  Delicious Pineapple-Coconut Bread and Egg Noodles with Peanut Sauce will carb you up and make sure to get some veggie stir-fry as well.  This is hard to say, but I would stay away from the Fried Pork Dumplings and the Chicken Wings before a race.  Those can be greasy and are sure to sit like rocks in your stomach, which definitely won’t help to cross the finish line.

The Wave…of American Flavors
With a menu focusing on sustainable, local and unique dining options, The Wave is a great healthy option for before a race.  The meals are on the lighter side, so they won’t weigh you down the next morning.  A great option is the Sustainable Fish of the Day.  Not only will you get protein from the fish, but also from the fiber filled edamame and vegetable stew.  If seafood isn’t your thing, try the Oven-roasted Chicken with Potato Waffles.  That’s right…I said potato waffles!  Add that to the rice and black-eyed peas that come with the dish and you’ve got all your carbs for the race.

Via Napoli
For some reason whenever I think of pre-race meals, my mind always goes to Italian.  Maybe it’s the carb-loading one often hears about pre-race meals that make me think of mass amounts of pasta.  Yes, Via Napoli has pasta dishes, but I’m more interested in the pizza.  For a pre-race meal, I would build my own pizza starting with the Margherita base and adding chicken sausage, red peppers and arugula.  I’d pair it with that big “Family Style” House Salad to get my fill of veggies.  A good alternative dish to pizza would be the Pollo Parmigiana.  This is a hefty portion of breaded chicken topped with fresh marinara and mozzarella, and served with a Spaghetti Torta, which with a large “disk” of pasta.  I think this is going to be my pre-Princess Half Marathon meal!

So those are my picks, but I want to hear from you!  Where do you eat in Walt Disney World before a race?  What are your favorite meals to get you across the finish line?

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  • I’m new to running these races and I’ve always wondered about this exact topic.. what’s the best thing to eat before a race and when should you eat it? If you had an early morning run what time would you eat dinner the night before? and would you eat some sort of snack in the morning or a full breakfast?

    These are great options Sarah.. though I think at Ohana I would be tempted to eat a bit too much of the bread pudding and would feel sluggish on the run the next day! lol.

    • Finding the proper foods has been one of the most difficult things for me. I’ve been doing a lot of research on how much to eat before a race, when to eat, etc… I’ve been trying to find what will give me the most energy without making me feel too full.
      You’re right about ‘Ohana…it would be really hard to stay away from that bread pudding!

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