Tag Archives: Disneyland

Disneyland: The FOOD!

It would be remiss if I didn’t mention the food aspect of Disneyland. I mean, this did start off as a food blog, didn’t it?

Magic on the West Coast

Magic on the West Coast

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to Disneyland dining. With the introduction of the Disney Dining Plan a few years ago, my return to yearly Disney trips has always included them. When I used to go with my family, there wasn’t a dining plan option. So, we did a variety of quick service and table service meals, while trying not to spend too much money (we would even go to the grocery store and get already cooked chicken and sides for dinner at least one night). The dining plans now really allow you to enjoy all that Disney has to offer when it comes to dining. It’s pretty awesome to know you have X number of meals available to you, to use however you please. At least, that’s the case for Disney World. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how the Disneyland dining plans work, aside from the fact that they’re different than WDW’s options, and are not worth it (according to multiple people).

That being said, we opted out of a dining plan option while in Disneyland, and just did our own thing. Having never been to Disneyland, I really didn’t know where to start when it came to dining; what restaurants were the best? Who had vegetarian friendly food? Where would we get the most bang for our buck? I did as much research as I could, and decided to book two meals ahead of time: dinner on Saturday night post-10k and pre-half marathon, and breakfast on Sunday morning after the half. I figured those were the two most important meals of the weekend, and I didn’t want to run into any issues by not having reservations.

When we arrived on Friday, we weren’t sure what to have for dinner, after devouring some delicious mini cupcakes at the cupcake meet-up. But as we were walking through Downtown Disney, we spotted Tortilla Jo’s, and knew we had to eat there. When faced with the option to eat Mexican and Southwestern food, we will almost always choose it. There was a bit of a wait, but we were eating so early (we had been up since 2am EDT) we didn’t mind the wait. Once seated, I had no problem enjoying a skinny margarita and guacamole, followed by a delicious veggie burrito. By the time dinner was over we were stuffed to the gills and ready for bed… no dessert necessary.

Does it get any better than this?

Does it get any better than this?

After the race on Saturday morning, by the time we showered and were in the parks and finally hungry, it was around 11am. We headed to Paradise Pier in California Adventure and got ourselves a giant sourdough bread bowl filled with soup. Only after we ordered and started eating did I realize we were enjoying a San Francisco favorite, a city we’d be visiting in just a few days… go figure! The bread was the perfect post-race treat, and the broccoli and cheddar soup that came in it was awesome – just the right amount of cheese and cream to broccoli ratio. Since we had a later meal (we’ll call it brunch?), I opted for ice cream as an early afternoon treat once in Disneyland. I certainly was not a poster child for proper pre and post race fueling on this trip, but hey, you have to live a little.

Rainbow sprinkles. Always.

Rainbow sprinkles. Always.

Dinner reservations on Saturday were at 6pm, which gave us enough time to enjoy the parks before dinner so we could head back to the hotel afterwards for an early bedtime. I had heard wonderful things about the Monte Cristo sandwich served in New Orleans Square, so I knew we had to go. After reading a few reviews and tips, I decided to make a reservation at Cafe Orleans, rather than Blue Bayou (it was noted as slightly cheaper, but pretty much the same). We enjoyed some Parmesan garlic fries to start, and by the time our Monte Cristo’s came out, I was already on my way to being full. As you can see in the picture below, it’s A LOT of (fried) food. I wound up only eating one piece, and brought the rest back to the hotel (we had a fridge and microwave!). It was delicious, but heavy. There were a bunch of tip son FourSquare saying it was big enough to share, and we should have listened. Oh well, next time!

Fried, cheesy deliciousness.

Fried, cheesy deliciousness.

Sunday’s breakfast was planned at Carnation Cafe, another noted favorite by many of the blogs and articles I read while researching. Apparently their head chef has worked in Disneyland for 55+ years! I hadn’t really looked at the menu before (which is rare for me) but I was pleased to see Huevos Rancheros – they are one of my favorite breakfasts! The eggs were perfectly poached and I’m always thrilled to see things like black beans, avocados, and cilantro on my plate. We weren’t rushed at all, and it was nice to sit back and relax after the half marathon.

huevos

Pretty much all of my favorite things.

Being the bad blogger that I am, there were also a lot of other delicious things we had on our trip that I just didn’t take a picture of. Like an awesome jalapeno stuffed pretzel with a Torpedo IPA at Bayside Brews and an epic java explosion sundae from Ghirardelli, both in California Adventure.

Our final meal wasn’t actually in Disneyland, but rather at Buca di Beppo, about a mile down the road with my cousin and his family. My cousin has lived in California all his life (after my Aunt packed up and moved there when she was 18 – my mom always jokes that she moved across the country with garbage bags full of her stuff), and we don’t get to see each other that often because of the distance. Since he only lives about an hour outside of Disneyland, we made sure to meet up with the whole gang (he has three kids, all under the age of 5!). It was a great way to cap off our Disneyland trip.

Since we spent the next 3 1/2 days in San Francisco, you better believe the eating did not stop there! I can’t wait to share that part of the trip with you as well… I fell completely in love with that city.

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Disneyland: Dumbo Double Dare

Another Disney race is in the books! A week and a half ago now (whoops) I headed to the west coast to run the Disneyland half marathon and complete the Dumbo Double Dare with a 10k as well. This was my first time in Disneyland, and it was tons of fun.

DL_1st

I know a lot of people have a hard time understanding why someone would pay so much money to run a race that is generally not competitive, where a lot of people dress up and there are storybook characters on the course. And I get it – it definitely isn’t for everyone. But as someone that spent pretty much every family vacation in Disney World and loving it, when I became a runner it seemed only logical to do a Disney race. It combines two of my favorite things, and it’s a great way (for me) to really enjoy both of them at the same time. But after four Run Disney weekends, I’m ready to take a little break to enjoy other races across the country. But back to the races!

We arrived in Los Angeles on Friday and took a shuttle bus to our hotel in Anaheim. This was the first time I wasn’t staying on Disney property, but the hotel was literally across the street from the parks, and significantly cheaper. When I’m in Disney World I always stay on property (I think it adds to the experience), but it isn’t necessary in Disneyland. We headed to the expo to pick up our bibs, and then went to Krissy’s geniusly organized Cupcake Meet-up! I enjoyed some mini cupcakes and got to hang with one of my favorite running pals (Krissy, duh). It was an early night of course, and the 4am wake up call came quickly.

The beauty of racing in Disneyland is that you can walk to the start – unlike in Disney World where you have to take a bus, and then walk 20 minutes to the corrals. Before I knew it we were off, running our first Disneyland race!

The 10k was tons of fun – it went through both Disneyland and California Adventure Parks and ended in Downtown Disney. Since we were in corral A, as we were heading to the finish we stopped to take a picture with Tweedles Dee & Dum since they were all alone. It was my first mid-race character picture! The race ended (55 and change, nice and easy) and my ankle felt FINE!

DL_Tweedle

We spent Saturday walking around the parks an enjoying all of Disneyland. After a morning in California Adventure, we stopped by the Grand Californian Hotel for a Twitter meet-up put on by @pavementrunner, @katsnf, and @seesharprun. It was great to catch up with old running friends and finally meet new ones in person! We finished the day in Disneyland with an epic Monte Cristo for dinner (more on the food later), and I was in bed and asleep by 8:30pm (old lady status) ready for my 3am wake up!

Sunday morning was easy during the Dumbo Double Dare compared to Goofy Challenge’s Sunday. I had no problem getting up, had plenty of energy, and was ready to run more! While we were waiting in our corral for the start, we ran into Krissy again! Fate, I tell you. After watching a couple get engaged, seeing Sean Astin and Joey Fatone be interviewed, and general pre-race Run Disney fun, it was time for 13.1. My plan was to try and run a 2 hour half marathon. I really haven’t run consistently in the last two months, and I had no idea what to expect from my ankle. So we started off easy, and each wound up taking a bathroom break in the first 2 miles (too much Nuun, apparently). We kept a pretty steady sub-9 pace for the first 10 miles (minus the bathroom break), and enjoyed the parks again. Even though the second half of the race was just through streets of Anaheim, it was much more entertaining than Disney service roads.

DL_10k

This is a picture of me running on Saturday. Pretend it’s Sunday – it looked the same.

Once we made it to the Angel’s stadium (which was so loud with spectators), I decided to see if I could do what has now become “running the Disney way”… A serious negative split and push in the last few miles. We’ve managed to do this on the second day of each challenge weekend since we started, and in a sick way I look forward to it. We slowly picked up each of the final miles, with the last one clocking in a 7:40 average. We crossed in 1:57, which I was more than happy with considering the easy pace, bathroom breaks, and lack of consistent training I’ve had recently. And as I crossed the finish line and got my medals, I ran into Krissy (who ran the 10k the day before and another half the day after!) and Emily (who just BQ’d!), some of my Oiselle teammates!

Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 10.29.55 PM

After breakfast in Disneyland and a picture with Dumbo himself, I was ready to fully enjoy the parks for the last day and a half. Unfortunately, my left foot started to hurt around the arch and inner ankle bone by late Sunday, and by Monday I was struggling to walk (yes, that’s the opposite foot that has been giving me trouble). It was very similar to the pain I had last January during marathon weekend. I have a feeling I was overcompensating for potential ankle pain, and my feet were just exhausted from 19.3 miles of running and walking through all the parks (I wore my sneakers with orthotics every single day) in such a short period of time. It certainly wasn’t the way I wanted to end the trip, but I was happy my ankle pain was pretty much non-existent!

Before I knew it we were heading back to the airport, but instead of heading home, we were on our way to San Francisco (recap of that awesome city to come)!

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Gearing Up

This coming weekend, I’ll be running my fourth marathon, and my fifth half marathon as part of Disney’s Goofy Challenge! If you remember, I ran this race last year; it was fun, but definitely harder than I had anticipated so I wasn’t sure if I’d be giving it a shot again. After minimal persuasion, I signed up. And just like last year, I’m hoping that my fall marathon training will help carry me through the weekend’s races (don’t worry, I’ve been running A LOT since then, but October marathon training is hopefully a solid base). Since this is my third trip to Disney to run, and my 4th trip there in the last 4 years (all in January!), I’m really excited for the familiarity as well as the new changes that I’ll experience both during the races as well as at Disney in general.

In terms of the race, the marathon course is different this year, including a trip to the speedway and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. I’m looking forward to this for one very big reason – it breaks up the course! The old route spent so much time on service roads, which is not fun at mile 16 of a marathon… especially when it’s really your 29th mile of the weekend. Those service roads were what I like to refer to as “the dark times” of the race last year – I really struggled due to a lack of proper nutrition before the race… So I’m going to be sure not to have a repeat. Of course I’m also looking forward to the mile 20 party (since it’s the 20th anniversary of the race), the medals, and seeing all the ridiculous costumes and characters along the way! I’ll also be keeping my eyes peeled for Joey Fatone and Sean Astin (Rudy!), because you better believe I’ll start singing or chanting, depending on who I find!

For the parks, I’m super pumped to check out the additions to Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom. Since I’m an 8 year old at heart, Magic Kingdom is my absolute favorite. I was able to score a reservation at the new Be Our Guest restaurant to celebrate finishing Goofy, so expect a review on that once I get back! Aside from the update to Fantasyland, I’m just excited to visit all the parks and go on every ride – multiple times. Plus, I’m a huge fan of Disney dining, and have a few new restaurants I’ll be checking out as well as dining in Mexico because it’s my hands-down favorite. Disney food has never disappointed (me), so it’ll be fun approaching it as a vegetarian for the first time.

And, maybe most importantly, this will be my first race (well, first two) representing the Oiselle Team! I wound up sitting out the Hangover 5k due to foot pain and not wanting to risk the upcoming races and vacation, and based on the fact that it feels almost 100%, I’m happy with the decision. I have my racing singlet, Rogas, Lori shorts, arm warmers, and sweet temporary tattoo all ready to go for two days of racing… and lots of other Oiselle shirts packed for my days at the parks. Here’s to hoping I don’t stink up my singlet too much on day one (I’m only half kidding…)!

In addition to running for Oiselle, I’m really looking forward to hopefully meet up with a lot of people I’ve connected with online. I already have plans for a character breakfast with Krissy, and I can’t wait! We started chatting via Twitter after last year’s Disney Marathon, and I’m really excited to finally meet her. So for anyone that’s heading to Disney for this weekend’s races – let me know – I’d love to meet up!

I know that running races “for fun” and taking it easy isn’t for everyone (believe me, I have trouble with it sometimes too), but this is the one time a year I really take the time to enjoy running. I mean, what a benefit to being obsessed with running – a Disney vacation (or vice versa)! I already have my sights set on the Disneyland half in September since I’ve never been to Disneyland, so 2013 may be the year of Run Disney events. I can’t wait to share the race and dining experiences with you when I get back. But in the meantime, tell me:

Have you ever been to Disney (land or world)? What’s your favorite ride? Favorite park? 
Do you ever run races “for fun”? 

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