One of the questions I get asked most often is “Where is the best place to eat before a runDisney race at Walt Disney World?” This is such a difficult question and something I struggle with before every race. Luckily, WDW has a TON of dining options, so there is generally something for everyone.
Here are a few of the places I have dined at before runDisney events…the good, bad and meh.
Italian food always seems to be the go to meal before races, probably because of the abundance of pasta for carb-loading. So before my first half marathon (Princess 2012), that’s exactly what I decided on and headed to Via Napoli. I really wanted Chicken Parmesan (one of my favorite pre-race meals anywhere!) which is what I ordered. At Via Napoli, this comes with roasted potatoes, but I wanted some pasta. The waiter would not make the substitution, saying that the chef absolutely refuses. Really? In Disney? Interesting…
So I settled for the potatoes, which were good but just didn’t hit the spot. Also, the restaurant is very loud and busy so I didn’t enjoy the overall experience for before a race. You can read my full review here.
San Angel Inn
I had a late lunch here before the 2013 WDW Marathon to fuel up for those long 26.2 miles. I LOVE Mexican food and while it might not be good for some before a race, it’s perfect for me. Well as long as it’s something mild and not too acidic. The enchiladas at San Angel Inn are just perfect. Corn tortillas, rice and beans for carbs and tons of chicken for protein. Unfortunately, I had to pass on having a yummy margarita, but there’s always next time…
Oh look…more Mexican food! Maya Grill is an absolute hidden gem at WDW. Fantastic food, fun entertainment and it’s pretty easy to get a reservation. Before the 2013 Princess Half Marathon, my fellow Mexican food lover Amanda and I headed to Maya Grill to fuel up with some of our friends. We shared a giant bowl of guacamole to start, which was some of the best guac I’ve ever had, and I ordered the Grande Taco Platter for my entree. I got a combination of beef, shrimp and chicken tacos, and the beef tacos were by far the best. The shrimp and chicken were just meh. It came with a generous portion of rice, beans and corn pudding. Overall, it was amazing and great fuel for the race!
It’s no secret that I LOVE Kouzzina breakfast, so it probably comes as no surprise that this is my go to place for meals before any of the night races at WDW. Before both the 2012 Tower of Terror 10-Miler and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I had a late breakfast (around 10:00 am) at Kouzzina. Before I found out about my egg sensitivity, my favorite dish was the Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash, which is topped with a perfectly poached egg and arugula. Drooooooolllll. Perfect fuel for a night race!!
Since both those races, I have taken tests that have shown that I have a severe sensitivity to eggs. Booooooo!!! But guess what?? I found out from Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free in WDW that Kouzzina has some of the best allergen free waffles around. And YES they do!! Get these bad boys with a side of that delicious sweet potato hash and you are good to go. You know where I’ll be for all the WDW races this fall. You can read my full review of all the allergen free options here.
Landscape of Flavors
There are so many options at Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, but my favorite pre-race option is their smoothie bar. I drink a smoothie everyday for breakfast to get me going, so this was a seriously awesome find for me in WDW. The only bad thing is that they wouldn’t add any spinach from the salad bar in the next station…come on!! But even without the spinach, the mango, blueberry and banana smoothie I had was delicious and a wonderful snack before the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.
If you’re staying at the Boardwalk, this is an easy option to get a good meal. Before the 2012 Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I ate here and ordered the Champion Chicken Sandwich without the bun. I also got the sun-dried tomato pesto and goat cheese on the side so I could limit my intake of that. The chicken was very good and the dish was a nice combination of protein and carbs for the race. I just wish they had sweet potato fries!
I would also recommend getting your food to go if you plan on dining here before a race. The restaurant is very loud with all of the games going on, so it’s not the best place to relax and get your head together.
This combo is my must do meal prior to any race. Whenever I’m in WDW for a race, I make a point to stop for some bagels, almond butter and bananas. For me, this is the ideal race fuel…carbs, protein, sugars…perfect. This combo is also great for staying in a hotel room because nothing needs to be refrigerated. Trust me on this one…you’ll love it!
Well those are the restaurants I’ve visited so far prior to runDisney events. What is you’re go to meal before a race? What is your favorite WDW dining location before a race?