Disneyland has some incredible dining options and choosing which ones are best while you are visiting for a race weekend can be a tough decision!! You want to enjoy all that goodness, but you have to keep in mind the optimal nutrition for the races. Now after the races are a whole different story…
Well I’m happy to say that Jenna is back today with a TON of tips and delicious food porn from her recent trip to Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. If you are hungry, you have been warned!
Whether you eat to optimize your running, or run so you can eat all the things, you’ll be able to find something great to eat on a race-cation to Disneyland. I took full advantage of the diverse choices available.
While you’re at the Race Expo at Disneyland Hotel, why not stop over at Tangaroa Terrace for this beautiful salad? The Tangaroa Terrace Salad has mixed greens of lettuce, cabbage and kale, and is topped with pineapple, grape tomatoes and toasted macadamia nuts. It comes with crispy marinated tofu, but I opted for sautéed shrimp instead. It was extremely good and fresh tasting.
The one big drawback of staying on property at Disneyland is that you are somewhat limited for early breakfast. I couldn’t find any information on whether Paradise Pier was going to have food for sale early on race days, so I packed a package of bagels and some single serve peanut butter packs for breakfast. That banana cost me $2 at the coffee/breakfast stand at Paradise Pier. All subsequent bananas were 2 for $1 from the 7-11 a half mile from Disneyland. The ART bus makes that trip a little shorter, but you’ll still have to walk a ways. I understand Von’s grocery store delivers!
After an early morning running the 5K, I needed two things: caffeine and carbs! The Carnation Café on Disneyland’s Main Street met both needs admirably. I started with a lovely vanilla latte.
Then I moved on to the apple-granola pancakes. The pancakes are light and fluffy and the apple and granola toppings are yummy! It comes with either hickory smoked bacon or chicken-apple sausages. I had the sausages and added a side of fresh fruit. They serve breakfast until 11:00. A later breakfast meant no lunch for me that day.
A corn dog and fries is probably not the healthiest choice for race-cation dining, but there’s no denying that it’s a tasty choice! Stage Door Café in Disneyland and Corn Dog Castle both sell hand-dipped corn dogs that are better than any corn dog you’ve had in the past, hands down. If you want to healthy it up a little bit, you can opt for apple slices instead of fries.
For a far healthier choice in the same general area of Corn Dog Castle in DCA, one of the Mediterranean skewer platters at Paradise Garden Grill is excellent. You can select your choice of grilled steak, lemon-oregano chicken, spicy meatball, or grilled tofu and vegetables. You then choose either chili sauce, chimichurri sauce, or tzatziki. All platters come with rice pilaf, cucumber salad and pita. I chose the grilled steak with chimichurri sauce. The steak was well-marinated, tender and tasty. The whole platter was delicious and I would definitely recommend Paradise Garden Grill for someone looking for a good counter service meal in DCA.
As a bonus, Paradise Garden Grill has lots of comfortable outdoor seating and a bandstand for entertainment. I just happened to sit down when the Ellis Island Boys jazz band was playing. It was a great way to enjoy a meal!
If you’re in the mood for a homey, filling counter service meal in Disneyland, I recommend the River Belle Terrace. I had tender roast turkey and gravy, roasted potatoes and succotash with a buttermilk biscuit and a side of cranberry marmalade. They also have roast beef, fish, black bean cakes, as well as sandwiches and salads. Its close proximity to the Rivers of America make it a great choice for a quick meal before staking out a spot for Fantasmic.
If you haven’t opted for the Pasta in the Park party the night before the half marathon, but you want to carb load, Wine Country Trattoria in California Adventure is an excellent choice. We were seated a few tables over from runDisney hero Sean Astin, which confirms my opinion. We started with the rustic bruschetta with roasted artichokes, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and caramelized onions. There were four pieces of bruschetta (two of our party were a little quick to grab theirs, so the picture is missing a little something), which turned out to be the perfect portion to share.
All three of us chose the campanelle Bolognese as our entrée. The servings are quite large (I only ate about half of mine) and the sauce and pasta are excellent. The “pasta your way” at Wine Country Trattoria comes with three pasta choices (campanelle, spaghetti or tagliatelle) and five different choices for sauce.
When you’ve finished your race or races, you will naturally want to celebrate! Luckily, Disneyland offers a lot of different choices for a celebratory meal or drink! I chose to celebrate the 5K and the Half Marathon three different times, just because I’m like that!
Immediately after recovering from the half, I texted my friends “I need champagne.” They didn’t need to confirm. We knew where we were going. Mendocino Terrace in California Adventure is next to Wine Country Trattoria and offers a lot of different red, white and sparkling wines, as well as beer and soda. I started with a sparkling flight poured by friendly and knowledgeable sommelier, John. Flights are not listed on the regular menu, so you do have to ask if you want that option, and because they use glass glasses instead of plastic, you do need to stand at the bar while tasting. It soon became apparent that the St. Hilaire was my favorite, so my friends and I had an additional flute or two while enjoying the afternoon parade from the terrace.
I also got the cheese box which had an assortment of cheeses (including a fantastic bleu)), grapes, candied walnuts and a couple of packets of grissini breadsticks.
But how would you like to have dinner with a view like that, knowing that you’d have an equally great view of World of Color later? We had our post-race dinner at Ariel’s Grotto for the World of Color package. It’s a fixed price meal, and you really can’t beat the view down on the lower terrace.
Upon being seated, we had beautiful bread and the superfruit sangria that’s available at nearly every Disney lounge. I’ve even had that sangria at Disney’s Vero Beach resort!
The meal starts with a choice of two soups: butternut squash and crab chowder; or a house salad. I got the delicious butternut squash soup and my friends had the crab chowder, which they said was excellent. The serving size is exactly right for a three course dinner.
There are a number of different entrees on the dinner menu, but I didn’t stray too far into the exotic. I had the red oak smoked honey-whiskey barbecue tri tip. It came with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes. I enjoyed the sauce and the beef was cooked exactly the way I like it. My friends had the tri-tip with the addition of a grilled lobster tail.
Dessert at Ariel’s Grotto is a trio of petite desserts: a chocolate covered strawberry, s’mores cake, and crème brulee. All were delicious and right-sized.
The dinner package includes preferred viewing for the California Adventure night time show, World of Color. The viewing area is not the innermost “wet zone” ring around the lagoon, but is just inside that ring. I got thoroughly misted by the show, but had a fairly unobstructed view. I had a FastPass for World of Color the previous year and would have to say that this viewing area is better and less crowded.
If a view like this and a chance to celebrate while sitting and enjoying decadent desserts is more your celebration style, I can’t recommend the Fantasmic! Dessert Party enough. It’s a little pricey, but definitely worth it if you don’t want to stake out a spot hours in advance to stand up for the duration of Fantasmic with what might still end up being an obstructed view. I was lucky enough to have a front-row center seat for the show. And besides that: dessert!
When you’re seated for Fantasmic, a server takes your drink order. Coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, soda and water are all available. I had hot chocolate and water. Then your server brings you a large box filled with tasty treats. This included flourless chocolate cake, cheesecake, a coconut macaroon, a lemon tart, and a huge, raspberry-filled cookie. The box also contains a bunch of red grapes, five pieces of individually wrapped cheeses, two packs of crackers and two truffles. The box’s size and shape makes it a neat lap top table/container and makes it easy to carry leftovers out of the park. I was only able to eat some of the desserts, and took the rest, all of the cheese, crackers, and truffle back to my room to enjoy later.
I thoroughly enjoyed eating my way around Disneyland and I think it’s clear where my running/eating motivation lies. What are your favorite Disney foods to eat on race-cations?