Top 5 Vegan Snacks in Disney World
5. Fresh Fruit
When you’re in the mood for a healthy snack in a Disney World park, fresh fruit is surprisingly easy to find. Whole bananas, apples, and orange are great to pick up and carry around for later (although not too much later in the Florida heat). Some locations even stock fruit cups, like the Liberty Square Market in Magic Kingdom.
4. Mickey Pretzel
A Mickey pretzel is a soft-pretzel shaped like Mickey Mouse, which makes it much cooler than your average soft pretzel. Great with mustard and big enough to split with a friend. Mickey pretzels are found at vendor carts throughout the parks.
The fresh “buttered” popcorn from the plethora of popcorn carts in Walt Disney World is actually vegan. Popcorn is a classic theme park snack and comes in a large enough container to share within a group. Also, popcorn is technically a whole grain so it’s practically health food…
2. Vegan Ice Cream
Vegan ice cream (Tofutti and Rice Dream) can be found at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. Your ice cream is scooped in a separate room so there’s no chance of cross-contamination (important for those with allergies to dairy). Stick with a simple vanilla or chocolate scoop in a cup, add toppings, or go for a Root Beer or Coke float if you’re up for it. Beaches and Cream (a short walk over to the Beach Club Resort) can fill your vegan ice cream fix at Epcot.
1. Dole Whip
Dole Whip is found at Aloha Isle in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom. Even during slow times, the line can be quite long and for very good reason. The fruit flavors of Dole Whip are all vegan. Dole Whip can be served on its own or in a pineapple juice float (my favorite). Dole Whip is one of those treats you can’t get anywhere else so they have an extra special place in many Disney loving hearts.
What’s your favorite vegan snack in Walt Disney World? Have you tried all the snacks on this list?
Top Signature Restaurants for Vegan Diners in Walt Disney World
A Disney vacation is already a splurge for most of us. Why spend the extra money (or dining plan points) to dine at one of Disney’s Signature Restaurants? Well, Disney’s signature restaurants are well worth the splurge and are well prepped to accommodate a vegan diner (no sad $20 side salad and steamed broccoli here!). Of course, some are definitely better than others so stick to these top 5 if you are planning a special occasion meal on your next trip. I am not including Victoria & Alberts in this list as V&A’s is really in another category (both by quality and pricing) and deserves a post of its own. Any of these restaurants are perfect to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or just to enjoy a relatively quiet romantic dinner.
5. The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
My main issue with the The Hollywood Brown Derby is that it’s far too nice of a restaurant to actually be in a theme park. I get why it’s in there, but guests in shorts and Mickey hats really detract from a beautifully detailed atmosphere that could handle tailcoats and evening dresses. In regards to the food, however, I have no complaints. A vegan version of their famous Cobb salad can be made for the appetizer or an entree. Ask the chef if he has any extra veggies to throw in. The Noodle Bowl with Wok-fried Coconut Tofu is an already vegan entree and very good, albeit spicy. The wine flights are a fun addition to the meal. If you’re looking for a special occasion lunch or dinner without leaving the theme park and breaking your touring rhythm, The Hollywood Brown Derby is a great choice.
4. Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Set on the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon, Narcoossee’s offers a beautiful view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks with the music piped in (including Hallowishes and the Christmas fireworks — great if you don’t want to do the hard ticket party). You get a wider view of the show than from Main Street USA which makes for a more complete view of the show and peripheral fireworks. The ambience is an upscale seafood restaurant — lots of couples as well as some families dining here. While the menu is seafood focused, the chef is very accommodating to vegan diners. We had our rehearsal dinner for our wedding here and everyone was blown away by the quality of the food and the service, even with the steep prices. Perfect for celebrating an anniversary.
3. Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Citricos is often overlooked amongst the Grand Floridian restaurants but it really is a hidden gem. The yellow and red Mediterranean vibe and open show kitchen lend a more casual feel than some of the other signature options while still maintaining a refined feel. The waitstaff is well educated about the food and can provide background and modifications for each dish. On our recent trip here, I enjoyed a delicious salad for my appetizer, an amazingly textured seared tofu entree, and a delicious Granny Smith green apple sorbet for dessert (and I normally don’t like sorbet). A great choice for a special couples night out. Continue Reading…
Top 5 Standard Table Service Restaurants for Vegans in Walt Disney World
As any Disney fan and foodie knows, food is a theme park.
When planning a trip to Walt Disney World, I start planning our dining itinerary months in advance so that I can be ready to make ADR’s at the 180 mark for our trip. While you certainly don’t need to be as type A about it as me (the number of spreadsheets happily involved in a 7 day trip is rather embarrassing), planning for and making ADR’s for a couple of good meals during your trip is a must do. While all WDW restaurants can accommodate a vegan diet, some are much better at it than others and do so in a nicer or more interesting setting. For the purposes of this article, I’m focusing on standard table service restaurants, not dinner shows or signature (fine-dining) which will be covered in a separate article in this series. If you are on the dining plan, these restaurants should run you 1 table credit although please check before booking as Disney tinkers with the credits often. Also, even if I mention an item as vegan in this post, double check with your server or the chef as preparations can and do change. Now, without further ado, the top 5 standard table service restaurants for vegans in Walt Disney World are…
5. Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot
Restaurant Marrakesh is probably the most under-appreciated restaurant in Epcot’s World Showcase. The restaurant is tucked back inside the winding Moroccan pavilion, which makes it feel like you are really in another country, especially at night. Last minute ADRs and even walk-up seatings are not uncommon as this restaurant is often overlooked by diners heading to some of Epcot’s more popular pavilions (Italy, Mexico, etc.). However, if you are willing to branch out a little and try a new cuisine, Restaurant Marrakesh is a hidden gem. The restaurant itself is gorgeous, with thousands of mosaic tiles and live music and a belly dancer to entertain guests at intervals during dinner.
Of course, none of that matters without good vegan food, which Restaurant Marrakesh can definitely provide. For our most recent meal at Restaurant Marrakesh earlier this month, hubby and I split the Moroccan Salad Combination For Two (already vegan) as our appetizer and the chef was able to do their Couscous with Vegetables with olive oil instead of butter for us. Simple and surprisingly flavorful. The chef was great and sent out a vegan bread with olive oil for us instead of the standard bread service. The mint tea, hot or iced, is a lovely accompaniment to the meal. I’ve never had enough room for dessert but it looks like they have some fruit options on the menu as well as the Disney-standard Tofutti option.
4. The Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom
The Crystal Palace is a buffet located at the end of Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, featuring character dining with Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet from the Hundred Acre Woods. Even as an adult, it is a lot of fun to meet with the characters and get some good photos. The Crystal Palace serves above-average standard buffet fare at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just let your server know that you are vegan and a chef will come out to show you around the buffet and let you know what you can and cannot eat. If you see a non-vegan item that you would like to try, let your chef know and he or she can usually make you a delicious vegan version. Between the standard buffet items that happen to be vegan and the extras by the chef, I always leave here stuffed. For dessert, the chef often sends out vegan cookies or cupcakes if the kitchen has them on hand. Breakfast is the cheapest of the meals if you are looking for character dining at a good price. Reserve the 8am seating and enjoy walking into a nearly-empty Magic Kingdom before the general public.
3. Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom
Be Our Guest is the newest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom and is one of the hardest reservations to get on Disney property. Be sure to make your dinner ADR’s well before your trip or you may be shut out. The amount of detail that Disney put into creating Be Our Guest is amazing – talking suits of armor, an enchanted rose, visits from “The Master” (aka the Beast), snow falling softly outside the windows of the ball room, etc. Continue Reading…
Top 5 Tips for Vegan Dining in Walt Disney World
Today we’re focusing on the most magical place on earth… Walt Disney World! Specifically, how to enjoy a trip to “the World” while sticking to a reasonably healthy vegan diet.
Depending on the last time you visited Walt Disney World, you make think all they have to offer is burgers and fries. If so, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. On the whole, WDW is well known for being very vegetarian friendly–almost every eatery in the World has vegetarian and sometimes even vegan options directly on the menu. WDW chefs are also well equipped to handle a variety of special diets, from allergies to lifestyle choices. One of the reasons why I love visiting WDW is that I can sit down at any of their table service restaurants and know I’ll get a delicious meal that’s not salad-with-no-dressing or white-pasta-with-tomato-sauce. Here are 5 tips to get you started:
1. Make Advance Dining Reservations
If you do nothing else for your Disney trips, make Advance Dining Reservations (“ADR’s”) as close to 180 days in advance as you can. This will make your vacation better in two ways.
First, when making the reservation online or via phone, you will have the opportunity to note special dining needs, like allergies to dairy, eggs, shellfish, etc. When you arrive at the restaurant, the host/hostess will already know of your special dining needs and will alert your waiter and the chef. I have found that this helps the chef be ready for you and makes the experience go faster and easier for everyone. After you are seated, your waiter will take your drink order and alert the kitchen that you have arrived. A friendly chef will come out to talk to you and work with you to make your meal.
The second reason to make ADR’s is that during busier seasons at WDW, you will get turned away from many table service restaurants if you do not have a ressie. During slow seasons, Disney tends to run free dining promotions, which can make getting a walk up table just as hard. Taking the time to make ADR’s can make the difference between fast-food veggie burgers at every meal and foodie heaven.
2. Review the Menu from Home
Although chefs at WDW are on the whole extremely accommodating, you can make their lives a lot easier if you have already looked at the menu and can suggest a modification to an existing dish (most restaurants have at least one vegetarian appetizer and entree or can modify a pasta or rice dish usually made with meat). If you don’t like any of the dishes on the menu, the restaurant is probably not a good fit for you.
For counter service restaurants, there is a much more limited menu so there is only so much the chef can do for you. Looking at menus ahead of time lets you pick restaurants with delicious vegan or veganizable dishes without always having to get a veggie burger.
3. Have a Treat
Think being in Disney means never having a fun treat? Think again! While Disney offers a lot of healthy snack options like fresh fruit, hummus and veggies, side salads, etc., there are also several vegan options for treats. The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor in the Magic Kingdom offers vanilla and chocolate Tofutti and Rice Dream (so do most table service restaurants — ask your chef!). Another beloved Disney treat, the Dole Whip, is accidentally vegan for the fruit (pineapple and orange) flavors. Most of the Deluxe Resorts stock treats from vegan bakery Babycakes at their food courts. Also, know that the chef at The Primetime Cafe in Hollywood Studios keeps a vegan, I think gluten-free brownie on hand that is amazing with Tofutti on top. Pop into the bar area to order this treat without needing an ADR or go for a full meal. Plan your park touring so that you’ll be by one of these treats when hunger cravings hit mid-afternoon. Continue Reading…