Disney World is the land of wonderment and imagination. But it can conjure up some anxiety for Vegans when it comes to finding food selections. After a full week of asking, explaining, and hunting for plant-based options in the various Disney parks, I put together a compilation of photos and destinations to help you navigate your way through the slew of hot dogs, milkshakes, and turkey legs.
Options outside of the resort were a bit tougher to spot. I had to do a lot more investigating and ask numerous staff members before I could get definitive answers on where to find plant-based options. In fact, most people looked at me like I had three heads when I would ask for Vegan food. This was especially the case in Magic Kingdom. But I managed to find something everywhere I went. Some of the highlights, by park, include:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
50’s Prime Time Cafe – They offer spaghetti with Vegan meatballs. Nothing special, but not bad either. Your kids will love it. Ask for steamed veggies on the side to get your greens in! For dessert, they have coconut-based ice cream that I asked them to make into a PB&J shake. It was delicious!
Anaheim Produce – This is a small outdoor produce stand that serves conventional (non-organic) fruit. It beats not having any fruit and it’s great for bringing kids after they come off of Tower of Terror.
The Hollywood Brown Derby – The Derby offers a spicy curry tofu noodle dish that is very hot. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they woudl customize a tofu dish by request. They also have soy vanilla ice cream.
Rose & Crown Pub – There weren’t any specific plant-based dishes, but the chef did come out and offered to make me a selection of sides for a meal. The result was beans, rice, and a nice salad. It was nothing fancy, but it definitely sufficed. This would make a great meal for kids too!
Sunshine Seasons – This was a huge win. It’s basically a large food court that rewards you for going on the amazing ride Soring. You are deposited in it when you get off the ride. They have a variety of cuisine with lots of fresh veggie and fruit options. I got a delicious beet salad (sans cheese) and a bean soup. You can customize and mix and match as you please here.
Tangierine Cafe – This meditteranean cafe is an excellent source of plant-based dishes. Moroccan food is delicious and since I couldn’t choose, I opted for a veggie sampler and tried everything! That included hummus, lentils, tabouleh, and marinated olives with pita.
L’Artisan des Glaces – France also offers great options for your sweet tooth. The sorbet is delicious and the perfect refresher for a sunny day.
Katsura Grill – Japan’s fast food sushi bar is also pretty good for a quick plant-based fix. While the veggie sushi rolls are not all the imaginative, they do hit the spot if you’re spending time in Japan and need something tasty to nosh on. The iced green tea is also great.
The Polynesian – The Spirit of Aloha luau offers family style eating with a tofu stir fry of sorts option. This was not my favorite dish, but it was plentiful and did hit the spot. They also offer a fruit salad for dessert. The Pineapple Lanai hut just outside of the igft shop also offers amazingly delicious pineapple soft serve!
The Contemporary Resort – When I let the staff know of my dietary restrictions, they were very accomodating. While the selection wasn’t terribly vast, they did offer a veggie flatbread with Vegan cheese, I opted for it plain with sauce and veggies but without cheese. They also had a hummus platter, mixed fruit, and some oatmeal for a breakfast option.
Chef Mickey’s – This buffet-style restaurant in the Contemporary Resort was a bit of a disappointment at first. The chef (not Mickey lol) offered to escort me around the buffet and fill me in on the Vegan options. Well, 3 seconds and 2 options later (both side steamed veggies) we realized this wasn’t exactly proper options. So he offered to finesse a veggie burger (without the bun, per my request) with stir fry veggies and even provided me with a Vegan cupcake and ice cream! While none of these options were particularly healthy, I did appreciate the effort and ate some of it. Ask and you shall receive!
California Grill – My first culinary experience was California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary resort. Every restaurant in Disney always has the chef come out to address your dietary needs when you tell them you have constraints. They offered to come up with a variety of plant powered bites for me to enjoy. Everything was absolutely delicious, including the strawberry salad I had for an appetizer, which was already on the menu. (The main course is the feature image of this post.) They not only managed to make everything delicious, but it was also presented every dish beautifully. Another chef approached me and let me know she made a Vegan chocolate cake because she enjoyed trying new recipes and wanted to provide a decadent option for Vegan patrons. The cake was amazing and got the attention of many non-Vegans around me. This was definitely the highlight of my trip, but it was only my first stop of the trip, so the bar was set pretty high.
That about wraps it up, but as you can see, there is an array of plant-based/Vegan options that are pretty delicious and can be custom-made to your liking. While I found myself a bit disappointed when I asked for vegetables in a lot of parks, I was still happy that most places were aware of plant-based eaters and were mostly happy to accomodate us. However, I do see the need for improvements as our children and families need better real, whole food options that don’t require a concerted effort to find. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to create the demand by asking for more nutritious options and speaking with our dollars. Share your Disney dining experiences below.