The 5 Very Best Disneyland Restaurants

Updated: This post originally appeared in 2013 and I am updating it now, in October 2018.

I have had the pleasure of going to Disneyland 3 times, and all three times were for runDisney races. We stayed for 4 nights each time and had the opportunity to eat at some fabulous restaurants. I don’t want to make one post per restaurant or go into a ton of detail, but I wanted to share with you all my favorite five table service Disneyland area restaurants and why I loved them. I hope you find a new favorite from my very best Disneyland restaurants list!

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1.) Napa Rose: Hands down the best meal we have had at Disneyland Resort. It reminded me somewhat of Citrico’s in WDW which I love. The service was impeccable, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was relaxing but sophisticated. We ate here the last night of our trip on two separate vacations, and it was a great way to cap off a wonderful time. Don’t miss this one! They had a great steak for this meat lover.

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2.) Blue Bayou: This one wins the top prize for best theming. What a cool idea to have a ride (Pirates of the Carribean) pass by the guests eating at the restaurant. The theming is amazing, and it feels like you are outside under the stars, on the bayou eating dinner. We loved the ambiance and the food was good for this Cajun girl, too. We asked to be seated by the water, (you may have to wait a little longer but worth it!) and got to watch the boats full of riders float by into the ride.

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3.) Steakhouse 55: This restaurant is a fancy place at the Disneyland Hotel. It has a beautiful waiting area and the restaurant itself is quite swanky, reminiscent of old Hollywood. The food was top notch here, I would put it as second best in the food category food under Napa Rose.  The mac n’ cheese was amazing. order it. Seriously. Another reason to stay on property. We just walked over from the Grand Californian for dinner. So easy!

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4.) Café Orleans: Café Orleans is a quaint little place in the Orleans Square section of Disneyland park with an adorable outdoor eating area. I love that the weather in southern California is so mild that there is lots of outdoor seating at Disneyland. We sat outside and people watched and ate gumbo and other goodies under an umbrella. it was peaceful, and a perfect lunch spot. This says a lot coming from a New Orleans native who is usually very critical of places claiming to be “New Orleans-Y.” The Monte Cristo sandwich is to die for, but is very rich, so be warned!

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5.) Storyteller’s Café: This was the first dinner we eat after arriving in Disneyland. It is at the Grand Californian where we typically stay and is a fun way to kick off the trip. Bobby loves a good buffet, and this one while not huge, had a lot of delicious food that we both love. It has a light and childlike atmosphere while still being beautiful! If you aren’t staying at the hotel this would be a great opportunity to check out the beautiful grounds.

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QOTD: Have you eaten at any of these places? Which one looks the more appealing to you? Do you have a different Disneyland favorite?

Walt Disney World 2016 Vacations

As I have mentioned many many times here on my blog, Disney vacations are my favorite. I have some amazing memories as a child and an adult with my family and friends thanks to the mouse. In 2010 I went on my first Disney Cruise Line cruise (not just for kids, I promise!) and am hooked.

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In 2012 I ventured to the west coast for my first trip to where the magic all started, Disneyland.

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These three vacation spots mean a lot to me, but Walt Disney World will always hold a special place simply because it was my first and most frequent Disney destination.

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Why am I telling you all of this? Because prices and packages for 2016 are coming out JUNE 22 for Walt Disney World and I cannot wait to start booking clients!!!! I have been a Disney travel planner for over five years now, and this is always a crazy but rewarding time of year for me. If you are interested in vacationing to WDW in 2016, email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free no obligation quote (my services are FREE!) Pricing for Disney cruise line for 2016 has been out for awhile, so I would love to give you a quote for that as well.

I can book your hotel and tickets

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Help you decide where to eat

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and even help you with those special extra activities while you are there, like spa treatments

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or a round of golf.

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Don’t forget about the waterparks, too!

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There is so much to do in WDW besides just ride rides, and I would love to tell you more about it!

Shoot me an email at heather@travelwiththemagic.com so we can start planning your family vacation.

QOTD: When is your next vacation? Where did you stay the last time you were in WDW?

runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Registration

It’s finally time to register for the runDisney Disneyland half marathon! Today, at noon EST, you can sign up at rundisney.com to take part in this amazing weekend. This is one of my favorite races, and the first time I ever visited Disneyland was when I ran it in 2012. I had hoped to be able to come back for 2015, but my money tree hasn’t started producing anything yet. Smile

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However I am stoked to let you in on a few details that have been released and get you pumped up for registration day! This particular year is a special one, because it’s the 10th anniversary of the race. As if runDisney medals weren’t cool enough, there will be a special commemorative 10 year one placed around your neck after you cross the finish line.

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2012 medals

Also, there will be a special party, see below, taken from the official press release:

“… a special Disneyland Half Marathon Annual party.  This private, ticketed event, held Thursday evening Sept 3, will give guests access to select attractions, Disney entertainment and character meet & greets in Disneyland Park West Side.”

How fun! Oh, you need even more to celebrate? How about the newly-announced 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration? The special party will offer an exclusive viewing of the new “Paint the Night” parade!

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This weekend promises to be jam packed with fun from the health and fitness expo, to the kids races, and the 5k, 10k, and half marathon. Also, I DARE you to sign up for the Dumbo Double Dare race challenge!

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2013 Dumbo Double Dare

Good luck and happy registering! See below for full event schedule:

Event Schedule:
Disneyland Half Marathon Anniversary Party
Thursday, Sept. 3, 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Disneyland Family Fun Run 5K
Friday, Sept. 4, 5:30 a.m.

Disneyland 10K
Saturday, Sept.5, 5:30 a.m.

 

runDisney Kids Races
Saturday, Sept. 5, 9 a.m.

Disneyland Half Marathon
Sunday, Sept. 6, 5:30 a.m.

 

Disneyland Health & Fitness Expo
Thursday, Sept. 3, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 4, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 5, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Remember, registration opens at noon. Do NOT wait! This anniversary year is going to sell out fast!

QOTD: Will you be signing up this year? Have you ever been to Disneyland?

What’s On Your Tree?

When I visit someone’s house during Christmastime, I like to spend some time looking at the ornaments on their tree. Not only do I find them beautiful and fun, but I think you can find out a lot about a family by looking at their tree. I look at it kind of like a scrapbook of sorts, and think that Christmas trees have so much personality! Let’s take a look at what I am talking about.

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Here are a few of the categories of ornaments you can typically find:

Hobbies: A lot of people have ornaments that tell you about what they like to do. For instance, my dad has a couple of golf ornaments, and at my house, you will find a volleyball ornament and running ornament.

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Favorite things: Just like different hobbies, everyone has their favorites. Movies, sports, teams, animated characters, sayings, and colors. Bobby has a Gandalf ornament on our tree, and I have a New Orleans Saints Superbowl one. Also, anyone who looked at my tree would know that I am a fan of McAlisters, especially their sweet tea. You may also find a few Disney princesses chilling on my tree.

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Occupation: Ornaments may also give you a hint as to a persons occupation.Fun fact some of you newer readers may not know, but I used to teach 5th grade!

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Handmade/Kid ornaments: Whether you have children in your house or are just sentimental, you probably have a few very old handmade ornaments hanging on your tree (ok, some of them may have been pushed to the back). The two below are ornaments that I made in grade school but can’t seem to part with. besides, who HASN’T made a clothespin reindeer?!?

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Places Visited: Another favorite category is places visited. I know a lot of people (myself included) that like to collect ornaments whenever they go on vacation or visit a new place. I think these are a great reminder of the fun vacations I have had, and bring back some of my favorite memories. I have several Disney resort ornaments, but the Polynesian and Grand Floridian are my favorites, along with my Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland ornament.

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Favorite Memories: Following along the same thread as vacation/places visited, a special milestone such as a wedding or gradation always make great ornaments. Some of my favorites are ones that we purchased after running races. For instance, below you will see the ornament I bought after we completed the Inaugural Dumb Double Dare in Disneyland.

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As much as I love all of my ornaments, this last one means the most. If it wasn’t for Jesus’ birthday, we wouldn’t even be celebrating at all HE is the reason for the season, so amongst all your shopping, wrapping, eating and baking, don’t leave him out. Happy Birthday Jesus!

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QOTD: If I looked at your tree, what would it tell me about you?

Friday Flashback: September 2013

It’s time for another Friday Flashback! I don’t do this all the time, but sometimes it is fun to look back on what I was doing a year ago, and see how things have changed. This year it has been especially fun to look back since all of my flashbacks are from pre-pregnancy!

Last September…

I was in Disney World for work for the Earmarked Conference. I had my own room at the Contemporary (glorious) and had a great time. My boss and I went a little early and got to hang out, and we also rented a pool cabana at the Contemporary which I highly recommend if you want to splurge.

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I did a lot of recapping of things like the Disneyland half marathon,

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and my visit from July to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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Not to mention the Disneyland half meet up

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There are several other recaps if you search September 2013 archives on my blog (my archive list is on the left sidebar) so if you are looking for trip reports and such that is the place to go!

So basically September was a super busy month of travel and recapping travel last year. This September…well…I didn’t go anywhere, sad times. No trips to recap, but hopefully next year! I would love to run in Disneyland again!

QOTD: What did you do last September?

5 Reasons to Run a runDisney Race

It’s no secret that I love runDisney races. My very first one was in January of 2010, and I have been hooked ever since. The great thing about these races is that now there are so many, so there is something for everyone, at many different times of the year. If you are on the fence about signing up for a race, here are just a few of the many reasons why a runDisney race may make sense for you and your family.

5 reasons to runDisney

5 Reasons to run a runDisney race:

1.) Vacation for family: I like to call this a “racecation”. You don’t just have to come in the night before, run, and then go home like any other race. No no, you can make a whole week of fun out of a runDisney event! Many of the events are across multiple days, and then people sometimes choose to add a few days for relaxation after the race as well. With so many resorts, parks, and other activities to choose from, there is no shortage of fun. Just don’t forget to wear your medal around the parks, you earned it!

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2.) Everyone can participate: What some people don’t realize is that a runDisney event consists of more than just a half marathon. Most of the event weekends also include kids races (all the way down to the diaper dash!), a family fun run 5k, and some even have a 10k and full marathon. So everyone from the smallest mouseketeer to grandma can join in the fun.

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3.) Characters and course entertainment: Where else can you stop along the course to snap a picture with a few princesses or the big cheese himself? Not to mention the idea of running THROUGH Cinderella castle or around the World Showcase in EPCOT? There are plenty of things to see to keep your mind busy and a smile on your face as you race to the finish line. Not to mention, there are tons of awesome spectators along the routes!

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4.) Great expo/speakers: One of my favorite parts of a runDisney race weekend would have to be the expo. So, so, so many vendors with great products for you to test out and purchase. There is also a plethora of official race merchandise, a speaker series where you can hear from some of your favorite knowledgeable runners, and not to mention those coveted New Balance running shoes.

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5.) Amazing bling: I have a lot of race medals, but my favorites generally are those I earned from completing runDisney events. The designers do such a great job of incorporating magical components, shimmering touches, and even moveable parts. I always feel so accomplished after running a race, so having a beautiful medal to commemorate my experience makes it even more worthwhile. These guys are always outdoing themselves!

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I could go on for days about why I love runDisney races and think you would too, but these are the top five that came to my mind. If you have any questions about runDisney, or want to know more about my personal experiences, I would love to hear from you or even help you plan your next trip! Email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com so we can chat!

For more information on registering for a runDisney race, visit rundisney.com

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course!

QOTD: What is the main reason why you run runDisney races? Is there something that just keeps you going back for more?

runDisney Star Wars Registration Day

Back at the end of May, a new Stars Wars themed runDisney race was announced. Well, registration day has arrived! Today at noon eastern time, anyone can register for the race weekend which will include kids races, a 5k, 10k, half marathon and the rebel challenge. The races will take place January 15-18 2015 at the Disneyland resort in California.

January is a great time to visit Disneyland. The weather was great when I was there this year for Tinkerbell. I didn’t feel that it was excessively crowded, and the weather for the actual race was perfect.

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Fair warning…..this race is going to sell out FAST, yall. I highly highly encourage you to be online and ready to register a couple minutes before noon eastern on runDisney.com. I want everyone who wants to run to have the opportunity! Good luck to everyone registering, and may the force be with you!

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***Other notable registration dates:

Princess half marathon on sale July 15, 2014

Tinkerbell half marathon on sale August 12, 2014

QOTD: Are you registering for this race?

Catching Up at Tink

Hey everyone! Sorry I have been MIA for a bit, but I was literally not even home 24 hours before I was off to California for the Tinkerbell half marathon weekend. My mom and I arrived Thursday right after lunch time, and we headed to the expo after we checked into the hotel.

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We stayed there for awhile, then had dinner at Storyteller’s Café at the resort and we fell asleep a little after 7:00! Central time it was 9:00, and my body still on Eastern thought it was 10:00, so I was wiped. The good thing was we slept until 4:00 when we had to get up for the 5k, but we still got nine hours of sleep.

Yesterday we ran the runDisney 5k, then went to the parks for a bit and did a few things. We still have a lot of ground to cover, but were able to get some things done including Radiator Springs Racers.

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Today it is more time at the parks, and then Sunday is the half marathon! We go home Tuesday then things will get back to normal on the blog and I will recap all of my Dopey races and my Tinkerbell races!

Have a great day everyone, it’s beautiful here in sunny California!

QOTD: What is the earliest you have gone to bed?

Disneyland Trip 2013: Sunday-Wednesday

I left off my recap with our dinner at Blue Bayou Saturday night. Sunday morning, we got up and completed the Dumbo Double Dare by running the Disneyland half marathon. After the race, we showered, ate breakfast, and headed out to Disneyland park.

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Not gonna lie…it was REALLY hot outside, I was exhausted, and pretty miserable. After walking around a bit and realizing the lines were long for everything, we decided to go grab some lunch, take a nap, and go back to the parks that evening. We ended up in Downtown Disney at Naples and got some pizza.

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We were both really dehydrated and drank a ton of water. I felt better after eating, but we still decided to go take a nap which was glorious. We relaxed in the room and the lounge before heading to dinner at Steakhouse 55 with Karen and Jason.

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After dinner, we never ended up going back to the parks. I was falling asleep just walking through Downtown Disney, so we decided to call it a night.

Monday morning, I felt much more like a human again, and we headed to California Adventure park to take advantage of the extra magic hour. We headed straight for the single rider line of Radiator Springs Racers, and walked right on twice, and were even in the same car.

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Bobby rode California Screamin a couple times, and we also rode Toy Story Mania twice.

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We then headed over to Disneyland before it got too crowded.

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Why hello, Dumbo!

We discovered the petting zoo, and hung out with the goats for awhile. They were cracking me up climbing up on the barrels. They all had on collars and had really cute Disney names like Bolt and Pongo.

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We went back to the hotel after that to meet up with some friends from the area. Allen and Grace are somewhat of runDisney royalty. Allen is a perfect 20 WDW marathoner, and we actually met them after this year’s marathon, and they told us when we came out to Disneyland to let them know and we would go have lunch. Well, we stayed in touch over the last few months and actually made it happen!

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Allen and Grace with Alice

They picked us up at our hotel and took us to eat lunch, and out for amazing dessert while we heard all of Allen’s past Disney marathon stories, and about how cool it is to live so close to Disneyland. We had a great time and hope to see them again at the marathon next year!

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After we got back to the hotel, we relaxed and got ready for an early dinner at Wine Country Trattoria in California Adventure park. We ate outside and ran into Kat and her husband again (we saw them a couple other times that day!) before riding a couple of rides.

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We got to see the lights come on in Cars Land before heading over to Grizzly River Rapids.

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Last year we were stuck on this ride for a very long time, and luckily that did NOT happen again. We went back to the room which was SO close to the ride, super nice being able to walk right over! We changed and walked over to Disneyland where we had preferred seating for the fireworks at the train station.

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I enjoyed them, but Wishes is still my favorite show. It was bedtime for us after this, and we had one day left before going home.

Tuesday we had breakfast and went back into the parks one last time.

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Bobby had never been on Dumbo before, so I thought it was appropriate for us to ride, and there was NO line.

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We rode some of the other Fantasyland rides, as well as Indiana Jones and Pirates before eating lunch outside at Café Orleans.

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We also ran into this cowgirl with no line. I’m telling you, the day after Labor Day is the time to go to Disneyland!

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We wanted to spend some time at the pool, so after lunch we took the trolley back down Main Street and went to the pool at the resort.

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I love the lounge chairs at the pool, they are HUGE with giant cushions on them, it’s like being on a bed. We lounged for a bit  before getting ready for dinner at Napa Rose at our hotel. But first, we hit up the lounge one last time.

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We were given a cute little table in the corner by the fireplace at Napa Rose, and had a great server along with amazing food.

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We took our time, as we didn’t have anywhere to be until World of Color later that night. We even had time to go ride Radiator Springs Racers one more time.

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I LOVE this show, it is my favorite show in Disneyland. It’s so unique and hard to explain to people who have never seen it.

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It was a great way to end our trip, and I am glad we saved it for the last night. If you ever have the chance to go to Disneyland, don’t miss World of Color. They even have fastpasses for it!

Thanks for reading along about my trip, can’t wait to share the next one with you!

QOTD: Do you prefer parades or fireworks?

Want me to help you book your magical vacation? Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com to get a free quote, or visit our website to fill out a quote request form, just be sure to add my name on it!

Disneyland Trip 2013: Thursday-Saturday

I have recapped my races during the runDisney Dumbo Double Dare weekend, but not my time doing other things in the parks, so I thought I would do a couple of quick recaps of the rest of our trip.

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We flew in to California on Thursday, and arrived at the hotel in the mid afternoon. We used the Disneyland resort express and had to wait forever for a bus (45+ minutes), so I was a little frustrated by the time we got to the Grand Californian.

Luckily, our room was ready,  and it was on the fifth floor overlooking the beautiful pool and Grizzly Peak.

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We headed to the concierge lounge for a snack before meeting Karen and Jason for dinner. it was warm out, but there was low humidity and I was pretty excited about the fact that I could breath outside.

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mmmmm cheese.

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We had reservations at Storyteller’s Cafe which was at our hotel. We also celebrated Karen’s birthday which fell a few days earlier. We always laugh a lot when the four of us get together, and this night was no different.

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We were pretty tired from the day of travel and time changes, so we headed to bed early. I woke up before the sun was up for the runDisney meet up, and afterwards I met Bobby and we headed over to the expo for a couple of hours. We decided to not go to the parks that day since we had already been on our feet a lot, so instead just rested and went to dinner with Karen and Jason at Tortilla Joe’s.

I had never eaten there before, and was pleased with the food. After that, I headed over to the House of Blues to meet up with some other bloggers and runDisney staff members before turning in for the night. The next day was the 10k race, and we went to the park after and hung out with Karen and Jason.

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We rode some rides (Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, Pirates) and had lunch with them at the Carnation Café. They have really good potato soup that I highly recommended.

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We then attended at tweet up hosted by some blogger friends, and had fun meeting other runners. There was a lot of picture taking.

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Bobby and I headed to California Adventure afterwards and rode Radiator Springs Racers via the single rider line (much shorter)!

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We met up with Karen and Jason again for dinner at Blue Bayou, and ran into our friends Crystal and Mary.

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Remember this picture from January? Sad we didn’t have matching shirts this time though. Smile

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We love Blue Bayou, and had a great time there. But, we had to run a half marathon the next day so we headed off to bed after dinner. I know. Such an exciting young couple, no?

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Up next: Sunday-Tuesday, our last days in Disneyland.

QOTD: What do you usually eat the night before a race?

Want to take a trip to Disneyland? I would love to book for you! Email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com or go to Travelwiththemagic.com and request a quote. Just be sure to add my name to it!