Now we can talk about a topic I get really excited about! Where are we eating?! If you are going down for the Disney Marathon Weekend and you have a steady flow of chicken fingers and burgers, you have done it wrong. Now, you might find a burger or two on this list because there is just something about a burger after a run that does the heart good. So here is what I have done below. We have 2 different categories. We have the "preparing to run Top 5" and the "Celebrate your run Top 5". Or we can just say I was trying to find a way to include as many of my favorites as I could. I might have Disney fans that will look at this and not believe my choices, but these are just that, my choices. I hope you enjoy…
Side note: One thing I would be aware of is to watch the timing of your meal. The race starts at 5:30-6:00AM. I would not recommend eating late. I always like to have the last meal no earlier than 12 hours before I run. I might consider a late lunch or early dinner as that last larger meal. However, don't go crazy on this meal. The good news is since you wake up so early on race day, you have plenty of time to put something in your stomach before the race. I highly recommend doing just that. Most resorts will be open to serve something to runners before the race or take your own food for race morning. Remember to do what you have done in training. I would recommend to start testing things now. You have some good long runs coming up in the next few weeks. Start testing this now.
Top 5 picks by Trey
#5: Tutto Italia
This Italian restaurant is located in Epcot. I am not a huge fan of Italian food in Disney World but there are several reasons for my pick. The food here for me has always been solid. There is a lot of variety and it will have something your stomach can handle without a problem. Also, the location is great. It is a place that will allow to you unwind, relax and take in a good meal as you get ready for what is ahead of you.
#4: Mama Melrose’s
No, I don’t plan to list every Italian place in Disney. This in fact will be my last for this list. I think there are some really good and safe picks on this menu and again, I have had good experiences here. I also enjoy the location as this one is off the beaten path at Hollywood Studios. I feel like it is a little bit of a hidden gem.
#3: Kona Café
I think I have worn this place out over the years, but I really like Kona. I really enjoy the breakfast but I have also had great success with dinner at Kona. I love any meal in the Polynesian Resort and I like the menu picks for a pre-race meal. It is a nice relaxing atmosphere the night before a race. That is also important. Not just for the meal, but for your state of mind. You want to be relaxed and not stressed before you run. It is important to keep that in mind.
#2: Be Our Guest
Good luck getting reservations though. You might want to hit this one for lunch instead, but each time I go to 'Be Our Guest' I am always impressed. It is located in the Magic Kingdom and the atmosphere is amazing. I have not had anything I did not love!
#1: Raglan Road
I have a soft spot in my heart for this place. First, I think the food is amazing. Second, the entertainment and atmosphere are fantastic. Third, you can easily find something on the menu your stomach can handle before the race. With all of that being said, this place was kind to me. Back in 2010 when I did the Goofy Challenge, this place was the meal between my 13.1 and the marathon. This is when it was one of the coldest Orlando days on record! I remember this place being one of my highlights when I had no desire to get up the next morning and go 26.2 miles. I really enjoy this place.
Now, let’s talk about where to celebrate for a good post-race meal...
#5: Yachtsman Steakhouse/Le Cellier
So I was really torn on this pick. I wanted to give you a really good option on where to get a fantastic steak in a beautiful location. Truth be told, I like the steak better at one of these but I like the whole meal better at the other. So I plan to cheat and give you both. If you are looking for a great steak, I really enjoy the Yachtsman Steakhouse. The steaks are fantastic and the location is wonderful. This place feels like a steak restaurant. I have really enjoyed the meals I've had there. However, your 2nd option is Le Cellier in Epcot. The steaks are really good, but the Cheddar Cheese soup and pretzel bread makes this amazing. Since it will be winter and not quite as hot, the soup will be a nice option before your steak. When you are done you can finish the night off with Illuminations fireworks in Epcot.
#4: Via Napoli
I am going to stay in Epcot for this pick. You could have eaten here before the race, but I prefer it after, so I can indulge in one of the fantastic pizzas. Yes, I said fantastic pizza and Disney together. This is a really good pie. It’s all about the water!
#3: Beaches and Cream
Time for the burger! Oh yes, my next stop is Beaches and Cream. Go for the burger but you better not leave without the ice cream. You did run 13.1 or 26.2 or maybe more, so you should celebrate! I have always enjoyed this place and the location is fantastic at the Beach Club Resort. (Peco's Bill is another nice burger option in the Magic Kingdom)
Ok, so I really struggled with these last 2. I could flip these at any time. My thoughts are this, if I was going only by food, I would have listed this one as number 1. However, Boma for now is #2. I love sitting by the fire at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort and I love the variety of options this place offers. In fact, as good of a dinner option as Boma is, it might be even better for breakfast. This allows you to hit both my #2 and #1 option.
First, I will tell you why. This is a place where my family has gone since I was a kid. It is a place that has always been our "family location". I love the atmosphere and it truly feels like a place we can celebrate. We really love the food but this is where we celebrate after each one of these races. Whether it is Christmas, summer or a race weekend, we love experiencing Ohana together.
The good news is we have more food coming in future weeks as we talk about snacking your way around the world!
So, back to the course…
We left off on Bear Island Road. This stretch is pretty challenging, but getting through these next 2 miles will make a difference. During this time you will pass a pretty horrific location. I am not sure whether it is a water treatment facility, garbage or recycling, but it will hit you pretty hard. Not a pleasant smell at all! All you have to do is look up and see the number of birds circling the area and you know there is something close by.
The next thing you are looking for is the road, Western Way. Once you cross over Western Way you begin to see backstage areas of the Animal Kingdom. During the marathon you begin to understand just how big this theme park really is. Just before you get to mile marker #12, you have a place to get some calories. I would recommend heavily you take in some calories and hit the water.
It is still a mental game right now. You have finished 12 miles and you know the math. The good news is that you are about to enter into the Animal Kingdom. These means this is the 2nd park of the day and you are making some good progress. You need the calories and you need to keep cool. You never know what the weather will be for this race but if it is on the warmer side, you will start to feel it in this section. Hopefully you have dialed in that pace and are staying consistent. If so, you should still be feeling good.
After you take in some calories you are soon approaching the back entrance of the Animal Kingdom Park and you have finished mile #12!