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Great Places to Celebrate your runDisney Race!

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is upon us! And it got us thinking… where would we most like to relax and celebrate after a runDisney race in Disney World? There are lots of things to consider when planning your post-race celebration. So, lace up, friends, and read on!

Chef Mickey’s

Located in the heart of the Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s fun-filled buffet is also character meal featuring the Fab Five… which, of course, includes the Big Cheese himself, Mickey Mouse!

Chef Mickey's!

Chef Mickey’s

Pros:
• A great buffet with an abundance of choices to fill most any post-race craving;

• If your race happens during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, this is the place where you can get your picture taken with a character that likely matches the one on your medal! (Minnie for 10K finishers, Donald for Half Marathon finishers, Mickey for full Marathon finishers, and Goofy for those just goofy enough to run both the half and the full!)

Chef Mickey

Chef Mickey

Cons:
• There will be a fair bit of standing (for character pics) and walking (to and from the buffet)… something to keep in mind for tired legs;

• Chef Mickey’s is not open for lunch (when most runners will finish the full marathon), so you’ll need to wait for dinner or next morning’s breakfast to celebrate.

OTHER CHARACTER MEALS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:
• Epcot’s Akershus in the Norway Pavilion: We’re thinking of all of you Princesses running the February races with this one!

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Snow White at Akershus

Snow White at Akershus

Crystal Palace: while you won’t see the Fab Five at this Magic Kingdom buffet, you will get to hang out with Winnie the Pooh and friends. AND it’s open for lunch (as well as breakfast and dinner).

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

Garden Grill

Interested in the all-you-care-to-eat feature of a buffet, but not so excited about walking back and forth to fill your plate? Why not let all-you-can-eat come to you at Epcot’s Garden Grill?

Garden Grill

Garden Grill

Pros:

• As we mentioned, all the food here comes to you, served family style;

• Mickey is here, too, along with your hosts, Chip and Dale!

Garden Grill Menu

Garden Grill Menu

Here he is again... in OVERALLS!

Here he is again… in OVERALLS!

Cons:

• Again, this one is open just for dinner… but, hey, that’s plenty of time to take a shower and a big ol’ well-deserved nap before your meal!

OTHER FAMILY-STYLE OPTIONS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

‘Ohana: Features Hawaiian cuisine for dinner and a Character breakfast in Disney’s beautiful Polynesian Resort.

'Ohana means "Family"!

‘Ohana means “Family”!

'Ohana Grill -- where the magic happens!

‘Ohana Grill — where the magic happens!

Liberty Tree Tavern: Lunch is a la carte (though I don’t think you can go wrong celebrating with Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake, served at Lunch only), but dinner is Thanksgiving served family style all year ‘round!

Thanksgiving Dinner served all year long at Liberty Tree Tavern

Thanksgiving Dinner served all year long at Liberty Tree Tavern

Big River Grille & Brewing Works

After a long race, sometimes there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a burger and a beer (or two ;) ). The BoardWalk’s Big River Grille & Brewing Works has both! Bonus: five signature beers are brewed onsite.

Big River Grille & Brewing Works

Big River Grille & Brewing Works

Pros:

• Big River Grille doesn’t accept Advanced Dining Reservations, so you can go on the fly.

Cons:

• Big River Grill doesn’t accept Advanced Dining Reservations, so plenty of other people can go on the fly, too ;).

OTHER BURGER JOINTS (AND A PIZZA PLACE!) FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

ESPN Club: more burgers and beer, and you’re keeping the sports theme throughout the day! ESPN Club currently does not accept Advanced Dining Reservations.

ESPN Club

ESPN Club

Beaches and Cream: This beloved burger spot at Disney’s Beach Club, on the other hand, has very recently started accepting ADRs.

Beaches and Cream at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Via Napoli: For burgers? Not so much. But that thing I mentioned about a burger hitting the spot? I think the same can be said for a really, really, REALLY good pizza ;) ! And you can definitely find that at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion.

Via Napoli Pizza Margherita

Via Napoli Pizza Margherita

Fairfax Fare

If you’re one of the brave souls tackling the Parks after running the distance… well, first of all, MAJOR kudos to you!

Fairfax Fare over at Hollywood Studios made the list thanks to their offerings of Gourmet Hot Dogs: the Macaroni & Cheese and Truffle Oil Dog and the Barbeque Slaw Dog. Have you seen these things? It’s like getting two meals in one! Typically I recommend sharing one, but you’ve EARNED two-meals-in-one with your finish ;) !

Mac & Cheese and Truffle Oil Dog

Mac & Cheese and Truffle Oil Dog

Pros:

• It’s Counter-Service, so no pre-planning is necessary;

Cons:

There may be a line. On a typical day, this is no big deal, but if you’ve just completed The Dopey Challenge (4 races in 4 days), you may want to have a friend place your order and let them do the “I’ve-got-two-huge-hot-dog-trays-oh-please-PLEASE-don’t-let-me-drop-one” two-step!

OTHER HOT DOGS SPOTS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

The Lunching Pad: Not only can you find a couple of Gourmet Hot Dogs (Philly Cheese Steak and Coney Island Dogs, to be precise), but you can hop on one of the most relaxing attractions in Magic Kingdom right after you finish: Tomorrowland Transit Authority (the People Mover!).

The Lunching Pad

The Lunching Pad

Of course no Disney World Hot Dog list is complete without mentioning Casey’s Corner, but since it’s currently closed for refurbishment, we wanted to present a few other options :).

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop

Yep, Beaches and Cream made the list twice… first, for the burgers, and second, for a little something known as The Kitchen Sink.

If you’ve grabbed a few friends to run the race with you, you may want to keep them by your side to see if you can finish this mountain made of eight scoops of ice cream, angel food cake, Oreos, brownies, candy bars, and “every topping in the place!” Oh, and an entire can of whipped cream, too!

Kitchen Sink Sundae

Kitchen Sink Sundae

Pros:

• The Kitchen Sink also has bananas in it… post-race potassium!!!

Cons:

Ummm… I can’t think of any cons to eight scoops of ice cream ;) . But this place DOES get crowded and there may be a wait.

OTHER GINORMOUS SUNDAES FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain: Downtown Disney’s best stop for ice cream boasts the Earthquake Sundae, another eight-scoops-with-all-the-fixins’ explosion… and you don’t need an Advanced Dining Reservation! Just show up good and hungry!

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain Downtown Disney, Orlando

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain Downtown Disney, Orlando

Well, that’s quite a few spots, and we’ve barely scratched the surface! There are so many great places you can celebrate your accomplishment. No matter where you choose to eat, wear that medal (or “those medals,” for those of you taking on the Goofy or Dopey Challenge :) ) with pride. You’ve earned it!

I’ll see you there!

Where would you most like to celebrate a runDisney race finish? Please let us know with a comment!

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14 Comments

  1. I’m having a Lapu Lapu after my race at Ohana!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’ve got my reservation for Akershus in February!! I’ll be there will all my medals on!!

  3. Wendy says:

    Daniel — that is PURE GENIUS :). Good luck!!

    Jennifer — awesome! I hope you love Princess weekend! Sounds like you’re running the Glass Slipper Challenge :)?

  4. Joy says:

    A light lunch (really!) at Beaches and Cream and dinner at Ohana is exactly what we did last year following the Princess Half Marathon. Wish I could be running at Disney this weekend!

  5. Emily says:

    It’s probably not the greatest post-race meal in terms of carb reloading, but I someone managed to snag a lunch reservation at Le Cellier right after the Disney Princess Half. They’re such hard reservations to get, and definitely a celebratory caliber meal! But I’m sure I’ll be snacking nonstop until I get there.

  6. Wendy says:

    Joy — that sounds like it was a great plan… two awesome places in one day!

    Emily — Celebratory caliber for sure :)!! Have a great race in Feb!

  7. Essie says:

    I’ll never be able to do a race at WDW, but I loved to run and it’s something that I would love to do. I wonder what a ‘Harvest Skillet Cake’ at the Garden Grill is like; I’ve never heard of one before.

  8. Kevin says:

    We did Hoop-Dee-Doo as a celebratory dinner years ago. All you can eat AND drink! There is a lot of getting up to stand / stomp during the show though, which presents it’s own challenge after running the races.

  9. Katie says:

    Ohana is a great idea! I had a pop waffle at Everything Pop after the Princess last year, showered, took a nice long nap, and went to Ohana for a lapu lapu and dinner! It was a perfect celebration meal!

  10. gaby says:

    I’m going to disney with my family for the first time in february…do you think the princess race will have a significant impact on rides/restaurants?

  11. Brooke says:

    We have a reservation at Raglan Road after the Princess Half this year. It will be my first half and I figure brunch and Irish music is a great way to celebrate afterward. Plus I’ll have plenty of time to nap and lounge by the pool as needed! :)

  12. Wendy says:

    Kevin and Katie — excellent choices, both :)! Kevin, I may have to steal your idea for my next race. Love me some Hoop-Dee-Doo! And Katie, you had a great idea to start small, then go for the big time meal later :). I bet that’s playing it really smart! Happy Running to you both!

  13. Kathryn says:

    Has anyone heard reviews on the Princess Breakfast after the 5K on Feb 21st? My girls and I are doing the 5K (our first!) and trying to figure out what to do for breakfast. We were planning on doing Whispering Canyon skillet but that seems like a transportation nightmare (staying at Pop). Not sure if it’s worth the $40 per person for this one… $120 +tax/tip breakfast for 3, ouch!

  14. Wendy says:

    Brooke — Raglan would be a blast after a race :)! I love it there…

    Hi, Gaby! I don’t know the exact stats on crowd levels, but my understanding is that the races affect the resorts more than the Parks. It may bring some extra crowds to the Parks, I would think, in the afternoons of Fri & Sat. A lot of people come in and out specifically for the race over the weekend, so it affects the weekend more than the surrounding weekdays. Your best bet (any time of year :) ) is making sure you have some Advanced Dining Reservations lined up if you’re hoping to eat at any particular restaurants!

    Kathryn — Unfortunately, I haven’t experienced the breakfast. That is AWESOME, though, that you three are running the 5K together! Hope you have a blast at your first race :)!

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