Eating is important. Eating at a Disney Park is fun. Eating for runners is crucial and should be fun. In picking my Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Dining Must~Dos, there were two stand outs that racers seem to gravitate towards. I thought I’d share my best pre- and post race spots for eating what you need AND what you like.
Pre-Race Top Pick:
Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria
Located in Downtown Disney District, this authentic Southern Italian eatery is a casual, colorful and energetic stop during your pre-race carbohydrate hunt. This Carnivale-inspired surroundings are more expansive than the exterior lets on; with a 2 story dining room, an expansive balcony overlooking the shoppers, and an adjacent outdoor patio. (Don’t you just love dining al fresco in Southern California??) The menu has genuine Neopolitan elements that might stand out to a runner: Bruschetta alla Checca (ciabatta bread, garlic, tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil); a variety of Insalate (salads); hand-rolled and gluten-free pastas (try the veal meatballs if you are not racing the very next morning); fresh fish; and “Build Your Own Pizzas” made with Caputo flour imported from Southern Italy, San Marzano tomatoes, handmade mozzarella and spring water. Doesn’t that make your mouth water?! Go easy on the cheese, and load up the fresh veggies, and make your own “runner’s pie”. The wine list at Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria is extensive and irresistible, so be strong and limit yourself to one glass of liquid carbs!
Because of its location, no park ticket is required for dining. Be sure to make a reservation on the Disneyland website or by calling Disney Dining at (714) 781-3463. Plan on $20-$30 per person for dinner.
You’ve trained through all kinds of weather, scrutinized your diet, shaved your calluses, and in short, sacrificed for months. Now is the time to really celebrate! Napa Rose in Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa is my favorite place to do that at the Disneyland Resort, but this past August we really kicked up our heels and reserved our spots at the Chef’s Counter. These most-coveted seats, (only 8 of them per sitting: 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each evening), must be reserved well in advance. We called the day reservations opened, up to 60 days prior to your stay, (you must call Napa Rose directly at (714) 300-7170, though Disney Dining will connect you), and we had to adjust our date and time request several times before we got the “yes”. After all, it was Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and there was a whole lotta partying going on! ** Don’t dismay if you get closed out; a close second is “The Vinter’s Table” menu, which you can partake of from any seat in the house.
This meal is an experience; Signature Dining that truly deserves the moniker. You may choose off the standard house menu, the four course Vintners Menu, or have Chef Sutton “whip up” something special. Since we had previously tried the first two options, we were settling on nothing less than customized treatment! After asking about our palates and inquiring about food allergies, the chefs went to work.
Did I mention we also did the Wine Pairing option??
The food and wine was as good as it looks, but the best part of the evening was our many interactions with almost everyone in the kitchen and our server. It felt like a family affair! Was it worth the per person $90 tab (before wine)? If you’ve hit a special milestone in your life, (say your first half marathon, perhaps), there is no better place to profess it to the world than the counter at Napa Rose. Wear your medals, your birthday button or your tiara. Just be sure to come very hungry and flush in cash and ready for the show!
Full of the best race restaurants in Disneyland? Be sure to skip through the rest of the Virtual Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend Blog Hop, with my co-host Kimberly Torres Markey, @MMMarathoner, HERE.