Review: Lunch at ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill in Disney World

Welcome, Sports Fans, to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill!

To clarify before we begin, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill is not to be confused with the ESPN Club located on Disney’s BoardWalk. The ESPN Grill is a Counter Service eatery found in Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex — a place you may be familiar with if you’ve participated in a runDisney event, attended a Major League Baseball Spring Training game here, or visited as a participant or spectator in a sporting event hosted at the facility.

My visits to the Complex stem from being a participant in runDisney races (the Fitness Expos including runner Packet Pickup are typically housed here). Understanding how jam-packed any runDisney race weekend can be — from transportation to and from both the Expo and the races, the events themselves, as well as packing in all the park touring you want to do — it can be convenient to have access to some Counter Service eats at one of your required stops during the trip.

When I went to pick up my race packet for the Inaugural Star Wars 10K, I figured it would be a good time to grab a bite and give Complex visitors an idea of what’s available. After all, if you’re here, you’ve clearly got sports on the brain, so you’d better fuel up :)!


As a facility that hosts numerous sporting events throughout the year, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex spans over 230 acres that include playing fields and building facilities. The ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill is located in the Complex’s Jostens Center.

Jostens Center

Jostens Center

The very first thing you see upon entering are the menu boards and ordering counters, located outside of the main dining area. So you’ll place your order here… [Read more…]

News: Two NEW Challenges Join the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2016!

We don’t often report on runDisney news here at the DFB (unless it has to do with WHAT you’re going to eat BEFORE your race and WHERE you’re going to eat after to celebrate your accomplishment!).

wine and dine logo

But we make a small exception for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon… ‘cuz wine. And DINE! And also because it takes place in tandem with the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, our favorite celebration of the year!

So we thought we’d chime in with some news about the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which will take place November 3 – 6, 2016.

Here’s the RUNdown, along with details on two NEW challenges debuting this year!

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

First: the Half Marathon — typically a nighttime race — will take place in daytime hours moving forward, beginning at Epcot at 5:30 AM on Sunday, November 6th. An updated course will bring runners through Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Please note that the Post Race Party will take place on Sunday evening, and runners will have exclusive access during “later hours,” according to runDisney. (This is AWESOME, because it means you don’t miss out on party fun if you’re a slower runner…not that I have any experience in that department at all, of course. ;-D)

2015 Epcot Wine and Dine Medal

2015 Epcot Wine and Dine Medal

Wine and Dine 10K — NEW!

Second: a Disney Wine & Dine 10K has been added to the weekend, with Chef Remy on the way to host the race! The race will start at Epcot at 5:30 AM on Saturday, November 6th. (There will still be a 5K race as well :-D; Mickey’s Holiday 5K will take place at Animal Kingdom on Friday, November 4.)

Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge — NEW!

[Read more…]

Guest Review: Disneyland’s Pasta in the Park for Avengers Half Marathon Weekend

Welcome DFB Reader Megan Figuly today with a guest review of Pasta in the Park at Disneyland!

On Friday, Nov. 13 I attended the Pasta in the Park Party for the Avengers Half Marathon weekend. The event was held at Big Thunder Ranch in the Disneyland Park.

Big Thunder Ranch

Big Thunder Ranch


Beginning at 7 p.m., guests with pre-purchased tickets were allowed in. The area was tented and had long rows of tables set
up. A DJ played music and asked Avengers trivia questions. In the back were two lines for character meet and greets: in one line was Hawkeye and Black Widow; in the other — Thor and Captain America.

[Read more…]

Grab and Go Food Items at Disney Resorts for Your runDisney Race

Is 2015 the year you will tackle your first runDisney race?

Artwork from the 2014 WDW Half Marathon t-shirt

Artwork from the 2014 WDW Half Marathon tee

Maybe you’ve already put some thought into where you’ll celebrate your accomplishment once the race is over. But what about before the race? You might have some questions about what’s available to nosh as you prepare to make your way to the starting line.

With Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend upon us, we thought now might be a good a time to show you some items that are typically available across Disney World Resort food courts — just some simple eats that might be similar to food you’ve eaten prior to training runs at home.

Everything Pop Food Court at Pop Century

Everything Pop Food Court at Pop Century

One thing all Disney races have in common (well, the daytime races, in any case :) ), is that they start EARLY. And you’ve got to get there even earlier. Your resort food court can be a great place to grab a few items the night before your race to have at the ready as you get dressed in the morning, or even bring to the race staging area to eat while you wait for your race to begin (at long last!).

Now, for many readers familiar with Disney Resorts, this info might be old hat. Then again, maybe it’s your first time visiting as a race participant, and you may never have looked at Grab and Go selections very carefully. So, here’s your chance to check it out!

A note before we begin: items may vary across resort food courts, but the photos below (taken at  Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors and Pop Century’s Everything Pop) are intended to give an idea of items that are typical around the food courts.

Be sure to check out both the bakery cases and refrigerated sections of the Grab and Go areas.

Bakery Case at Landscape of Flavors

Bakery Case at Landscape of Flavors

While the bakery cases are bound to have primarily dessert-style options, you can often also find muffins, bagels, and in some cases, plain white bread.

Assorted muffins

Assorted muffins

Assorted bagels

Assorted bagels

White bread

White bread

Spreadable toppings may be a little more difficult to spot, but pouches of peanut butter (not refrigerated), cream cheese, and Smart Balance (refrigerated) are usually not far away.

Peanut Butter pouches

Peanut Butter pouches

Cream Cheese and "Smart Balance"

Cream Cheese and “Smart Balance”

The refrigerated section holds [Read more…]

News! 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Events and Registration Announced

Registration for the 2014 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Events opens March 4, 2014, at Noon!

Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members — booking starts today! Click here for registration.

wine and dine logo

Once again, runDisney invites you to a nighttime race that takes place during the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Our favorite time of the year!

This year’s race weekend is November 7-8, 2014!

Pre-Race Taste Party

This year, the weekend kicks off again with a Pre-Race Taste Party on Friday, November 7, 2014, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.! The party takes place at the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where guests can relax before the big race.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon!

The Pre-Race Taste will feature:

  • early entry into Disney’s Hollywood Studios at 6:00 p.m.;
  • a private party at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show;
  • four tastes from the Epcot Food & Wine Festival;
  • one “signature sip” drink coupon;
  • cash bar;
  • and Disney character meet & greets.

Tickets will be $79 (ages 3 and up). Children under 3 do not need a ticket.

Half Marathon and Finish Line Party

Join the ultimate runners night out as you race a half marathon through three Disney Theme Parks. Throughout your journey, you’ll pass entertainment and characters. Imagine running a race that circles the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, cruises down the Streets of America underneath the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and finishes near Spaceship Earth at Epcot.

Then, the party gets started after you cross the finish line! Celebrate your achievement at the Finish Line Party – an exclusive, after-hours [Read more…]

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

• 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

• 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.

• Epcot’s Akershus in the Norway Pavilion: We’re thinking of all of you Princesses running the February races with [Read more…]

News! Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Merchandise

One of my BEST experiences at Disney — hands-down — was participating in the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend with my friend Todd P. a couple of years ago!

Wine and Disne Half Marathon Apparel

I bought a shirt to commemorate my accomplishment, and I still wear it all the time! :-D

Well, the half returns again this year — The Walt Disney World Resort will host this event November 8-9, 2013, as part of the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival. And those running in the race can get their own swag to celebrate…

Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Merch

Whether you’re shopping for apparel, pins, home goods, or other souvenirs, many of the items will feature artwork designed by Paolo Gutierrez, a Disney Design Group artist. Paolo explains “…I purposely designed the logo to resemble a bottle label.”

I LOVE this “I Did It” T-shirt with a stylized course map! Make sure everyone knows what a big deal you are!!

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Course Shirt

Participants can choose from T-shirts, long-sleeved apparel, and a navy colored polo shirt. There will also be an assortment of women’s shirts, including a [Read more…]

Review: Disney World Resort Quick Service Pasta Options

Thanks to DFB Author Wendy for a look at some great counter-service carb-loading options for your runDisney races this year!

Are YOU running the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler (or any of the other runDisney races this year)? If so, you might be interested in participating in a good old-fashioned carbo-load before your race!

Even if you’re not tackling those ten on October 5th… odds are good you’ll be putting in plenty of miles at the Parks at some point, no matter what.

It’s time to fuel up, people ;)!

Spaghetti time!

For those running one or more of the east coast races this season, there are plenty of places all over Disney World property where you can take part in the time-honored runners tradition of a pasta “carbo-load.”

Today we’re going to focus on some of your pasta options in the resort Quick Service restaurants.

Counter Service Pasta Options at Walt Disney World Resorts

Let’s start with this terrific trend: Create-Your-Own-Pasta stations are cropping up in a few of your favorite Quick Service restaurants!

Create Your Own Pasta

Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors already has a reputation for innovative and delicious dining, and you can read a full review of the Create-Your-Own-Pasta experience here.

Add-ins for Create Your Own Pasta at Landscape of Flavors

Spaghetti Carbonara with Broccoli

The Riverside Mill at Port Orleans Riverside also offers this fun option!

Riverside Mill

Create Your Own Pasta Options at Riverside Mill

Unique to the Grand Floridian’s recently refreshed Gasparilla Island Grill is a [Read more…]

Great Places to Carb Load for a Disney Race!

Alright, fellow runners! For those of you in Orlando this weekend for the Disney World marathon and half-marathon, it’s time to decide where those all-important pre-race carbs are going to be consumed!

Carb Loading Tips: Experts say the best carbs for increasing those super-important glycogen stores come from starchy carbohydrates like pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes. You should also have some protein alongside your carbs. Try to avoid sugary options, such as fruit and baked goods.

So let’s take a look at a few of our favorite carb-tastic treats!

Dinner Carb Loading

When planning for an early morning race, it’s at dinner the night before where you’ll truly pack your energy stores. And when it comes to starchy carbs, everyone knows the king of eats is pasta!

Epcot‘s Italy is THE place to find incredible dishes that will help you distribute your energy throughout the race.

My first pick? Definitely Via Napoli. This place has incredible pizza, but the pasta selection is fresh and delicious as well.

Be warned that the options here are baked and tend toward the heavier side, so you may want to make a few special orders to lighten them up a bit.

Candele from Via Napoli

Next door to Via Napoli you’ll find the more upscale Tutto Italia. You can’t go wrong with either location when carb-loading.

Magic Kingdom
If you find yourself in the Magic Kingdom the night before your big race, head over to Tony’s Town Square for a traditional dishes like their Chicken Parmigiana or [Read more…]

2012 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Registration Now Open!

Registration is now open for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon! runDisney invites you to a nighttime race that takes place during the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

Date: November 9-10, 2012 — note that the date has been moved from the standard first weekend in October this year!

I had an AWESOME time running the half-marathon relay last year with my friend Todd Perlmutter, and I’m hoping to be able to swing an extra Disney trip this year to run again!

Get ready to run under the stars as you race through Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. Along the way, find motivation from on-course entertainment as you set your sights on the finish line. It’s not over once your sporting that finisher medal! Celebrate your achievement at the after-hours race party at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

Specially priced hotel rooms are also available for Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon participants! Stay at [Read more…]