Carb-loading before a runDisney Race: Best Restaurants in Disney World
Whether you’re a new or seasoned runner planning to head to the most magical place on earth for a runDisney race – congratulations on challenging yourself to do this! It’s an amazing experience you’ll always remember, and it’s definitely something to be proud of.
First, some general tips:
- A Disney World vacation with a runDisney race is much different than a Disney World vacation without a runDisney race. For example, your packing list is different and it’s important to think about what you’re eating, how much sleep you’re getting, and how much you’re walking or standing in the days leading up to the race.
- Practice eating as you train for your race. It’s important to know what carbs are best for your performance and for your digestive system. Also, some people like to carb-load for lunch the day before their race, and others for dinner. Everyone is different – so know your body! This will help you plan your vacation accordingly.
Now let’s talk about fueling up for a race.
At home, you know what you like to eat before your long runs. But when you’re on vacation, it may seem like your options are limited. But don’t worry – they’re not! While these restaurants below are by no means your only options, below are my personal favorite places for pre-race meals around Disney World.
If you’re in Magic Kingdom:
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant is my favorite restaurant for carb-loading in this park. The pasta dishes are large, and there are a number of options that come with a marinara or dairy-free sauce. If you’re interested in a short monorail ride, consider Kona Café or Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian. Kona Café has a number of different Asian noodle bowls, and at Captain Cook’s, there are flatbreads and dishes that come with pan Asian noodles, quinoa, or rice.
If you’re in Epcot:
One of my favorite features of Epcot is the food. There are a lot of options here! One obvious choice is any of the restaurants in the Italy pavilion – Tutto Italia Ristorante, Via Napoli, and Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar. You can also check out Teppan Edo in the Japan pavilion for dishes with lots of rice or noodles. Outside of World Showcase, and a good choice if you can’t get a reservation at a table service restaurant is Sunshine Seasons in the Land pavilion of Future World where there are a variety of Asian noodle bowls.
If you’re in Hollywood Studios:
The clear choice for carb-loading at Hollywood Studios is Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano where there is a variety of pasta options. If you can’t get a reservation here, consider taking a quick boat ride over to the BoardWalk for Trattoria al Forno, which has an extensive pasta menu.
If you’re in Animal Kingdom:
Take a look at the menu for Rainforest Café and Yak and Yeti Restaurant. Rainforest Café has a few pasta options and Yak and Yeti has lo mein bowls. If you’re looking for something quick and without a reservation, consider the Satu’li Canteen in Pandora: Land of Avatar. These make-your-own bowls come with plenty of rice or quinoa with whatever additional flavors and add-ins you choose.
If you aren’t using a park ticket:
Take a look at restaurants in Disney Springs, Disney’s BoardWalk, or at any resort. I’d like to call attention to Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge – simply for the Indian-style bread service. It’s amazing, with your choice of five breads and three accompaniments! And if you’re headed to Disney Springs, consider Morimoto Asia for their extensive noodle and rice dish menu or Portobello Country Italian Trattoria for their pasta menu. It may not hurt to grab something from Wetzel’s Pretzels on your way out, too!
If you’re staying in a resort with a kitchen:
In this case, you have the option to make your personally preferred carb-loaded recipe. For those who are very particular about what they eat the night before a race, this might be the best option. My friends and I did this recently – we bought ingredients to make spaghetti noodles, grilled chicken, salad, and garlic bread and prepared it the night before the race. This worked really well for us, and also gave us the chance to buy our favorite pre-race snacks for the morning of the race.
With so many options for carb-loading before your runDisney race, it’s hard to go wrong. Just remember – to get the time and place of your choosing, you need to make dining reservations in advance. Your Disney travel agent can help you make dining reservations 180 days before your travel dates, so think about where you want to eat early! And of course, know what works best for your body – and you’ll be well fed and full of energy for your race! Happy running (and eating)!!
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