Getting Groceries While Visiting Disney World

Morning routines are something that you don’t like to change even when you’re on vacation. Waking up and enjoying a cup of coffee with french vanilla Silk creamer is a staple for us. Since we have to fly to Orlando we can’t just pack up our favorite foods and fly down with them. We often find that the best meal to plan at the resort is breakfast, even though pretty much all restaurants now offer vegan breakfast options, they’re still pretty minimal. Plus you’re often in the park for lunch and dinner. We try to plan one or two actual breakfast reservations and the rest we just eat in the room.

There are several options to getting groceries to enjoy in your room. One of the easiest for more people is to bring your own from home. We do this too but only with dry items that pack well like nuts, ClifBars, dried fruit, instant coffee, and vegan jerky. The first year that we traveled to Disney together we decided to bring A LOT of ClifBars and eat them for breakfast each day, after day two I didn’t eat anymore.

Another way to get groceries is to buy the expensive items offered in your resort store. They often have loaves of bread, peanut butter and cereals. You will be paying the Disney price on these items, so I suggest only doing this if it is your only option.

Resort Store - IMG from AllEars

Resort Store – IMG from AllEars

Our favorite option is to rent a car from Alamo at either the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel or the Airport. On our last trip we picked up a rental car from the airport and drove to find groceries. We found a Whole Foods, Publix and Walmart all together off Route 4 near Universal Studios. You can then drop the car off at the Dolphin Hotel when you’re done and just take a boat or bus from there to a park. Renting a car through Alamo will be between $20-$50 a day depending on your vehicle choice. If you rent a car from the airport you can still take the Magical Express to the airport at the end of your trip, just make sure to tell your Travel Agent to select the option of taking it from resort to airport.

Distance to Whole Foods

Distance to Whole Foods

Similar to the previous option, you can rent a cab or take an Uber (Uber is similar to a cab but is a done via your mobile device). This might be more pricey then just renting a car but you don’t have to deal with driving yourself. There is also a Super Target near Disney in Kissimmee that may be closer if you are paying someone to take you. For reference of cab pricing in Disney – we took a cab from the BoardWalk Resort to Animal Kingdom Jamba House last trip and were stuck in traffic for a while and paid an $18 fare for a 5 and a half mile trip.

Distance to Super Target

Distance to Super Target

Last you can just order groceries online from either Garden Grocer or Orlando Theme Park Shoppers. These two delivery services will drop groceries off to you at your resort. No need to deal with a car or a cab driver! The only downside to these services is that their prices are a bit higher then you would find at a grocery store and they have a minimum amount that you have to spend.

Any of these options are great. I like to get my own items because I might see something that I would have forgotten if I just wrote up a list. Our last trip we picked bagels, Tofutti cream cheese, Soy  & Co yogurt, Silk Creamer, juice, and lots of fresh fruit. An added benefit to getting a rental car is being able to stop and eat at either Ethos or Loving Hut which are both all vegan restaurants that are worth checking out when you’re in town!

 

Cheers,
Melissa & Corey

Aloha from Aulani

Aloha kakahiaka and good morning! Today we’re taking a detour across the country (and the ocean) to Aulani in Hawaii. In November 2012 I (Melissa) went with my family to enjoy a few days in paradise with board shorts Mickey and friends. Aulani sits roughly 20 minutes west of the Honolulu airport on the “dry side” of the island. It is tucked away with a private beach and is neighbored with 2 other resorts. The resort is huge, two large towers with rooms, multiple places to eat and drink and a whole separate adult only area. From Aulani you can do several excursions to see the island from land or sea.

Aulani from the ground

Aulani from the ground

Aulani was a beautiful resort, there was plant life everywhere and lots of hidden Menehune’s. Menehune’s are from ancient South Pacific folklore that are tiny elf-like creatures who become frozen statues during the day and become mischievous during the night. There are tons of them throughout the property which gives you even more to look at while you’re there, as well as plenty of hidden Mickey’s. There is a private beach for Aulani guests, a large pool, lazy river and two infinity hot tubs, perfect for watching the sunset. You can even swim in an aquarium with fish, I would rather snorkel out in the open water but I’m sure others would like the feeling of safety this brings.

Lazy River

Lazy River

Aulani has two main restaurants, ‘Ama’Ama and Malahiki, a quick service at the pool and two bars that offer appetizer style meals. ‘Ama’Ama is set back by the beach and offers beautiful evening views of the sunset. I wasn’t sure what kind of vegan options I would be able to get on this trip, so I went in with a completely open mind and was willing to eat anything at this point. We ate at ‘Ama’Ama for lunch when we first arrived and I was able to speak to a chef about my diet. He told me I could get a vegan version of the Char-grilled Vegetable Sandwich on Focaccia which typically comes with Basil Aioli. My sandwich came with zucchini, portobello, eggplant, red pepper, onion and spinach and was sautéed in balsamic vinegar to replace the aioli. I also had fries as a side with my sandwich. This appeared to be the only vegan offering at this restaurant, so luckily it was really good!

'Ama'Ama at sunset

‘Ama’Ama at sunset

After dinner there is plenty to do at Aulani from Hawaiian shows, fires, movies and two fun bars. The Olelo Room offers small plates and the whole bar is covered in common words and objects that are written in both English and Hawaiian. The other bar is outside near the pool, Off The Hook, features more of a restaurant menu. There appears to now be Soy-Marinated Tofu Lettuce Wraps which I would hope be vegan but can not confirm as these were not there when I went in 2012. My parents and I stopped at both bars during our stay and I really enjoyed Off The Hook since we could sit in an open air bar and enjoy the Hawaiian warmth.

Off The Hook fancy drink

Off The Hook fancy drink

There are two options for breakfast at Aulani, you can do the character buffet at Malahiki or a table service breakfast at ‘Ama’Ama. We opted for the character breakfast at Malahiki. It is not a quiet breakfast, we ended up moving to outside seating because of the noise, grumpy dad wasn’t enjoying Aunty’s singing and children banging on pans. I was able to speak to a chef about my vegan diet and he said he would make me vegan Mickey waffles, which made me very happy! I was surprised that I could get them in Hawaii too. He asked if I wanted maple or coconut syrup, I naturally opted for coconut since I had never had it before and I am now obsessed.

Vegan Mickey Waffles

Hawaiian Vegan Mickey Waffles

The chef also walked me around the buffet to show me what I could eat. The buffet at Aulani was much different then one in Disney World. Since there is a large Japanese influence on the island much of the buffet was typical of a Japanese breakfast. I was able to eat potatoes, lots of fresh fruit, steamed rice and miso soup, yes miso soup. On the buffet they made fresh omelets, pancakes and waffles as well, for your omni loved ones.

Goofy inspecting Melissa's tattoo

Goofy inspecting Melissa’s tattoo

We were seated outside next to all the Koi ponds which they began feeding while we were out there. The fish began jumping out the water to eat and it was a fun experience. If you come here for breakfast ask to be seated outside for the fish and the lack of noise. The characters made their way to each table in typical Disney fashion. Mickey and the gang came around for pictures and autographs.

Alex (sister), Nancy (aunt), Minnie, Melissa and Denise(mom)

Alex (sister), Nancy (aunt), Minnie, Melissa and Denise(mom)

We were only at Aulani for a few days and the food situation was definitely not ideal. Since there was only two main restaurants the food selections were pretty slim. We went back to Malahiki for dinner where there wasn’t a single vegan-like item on the menu. The chef came out to talk to me and said he was excited to try to make me something different. He made me a plate or risotto and lots of veggies, brussels sprouts, asparagus and many more. It was pretty tasty for him just throwing it together but not something that I would come back for.

Wooden Stitch

Wooden Stitch

The resort was great, the food was pretty good and the Disney vibe was strong. If you are planning on coming here I suggest renting a car. We ate at Malahiki twice for breakfast, ‘Ama’Ama twice for lunch and Malahiki once for dinner. When you can only eat one thing at each restaurant there isn’t a huge variety. We were there for Thanksgiving and in our effort to find something else to eat that night my aunt and I found an all vegetarian grocery store. This is worth checking out if you go to get some grab and go food or something to change it up from just eating waffles and vegetable sandwiches!

 

Mahalo,
Melissa & Corey

Tangierine Cafe – Morocco’s Quick Service

When you’re walking around the World, you are bound to get hungry at some point(har har). Luckily half way around World Showcase in Epcot you will find Morocco. Morocco now offers three separate dining experiences; Spice Road Table, Restaurant Marrakesh and Tangierine Cafe. For a quick meal we often stop in Tangierine Cafe where they offer a vegetable platter and a falafel wrap.  They offer minimal seating inside, which is a bad situation if it’s raining, but there is a large patio area outside as long as it’s nice out.

Interior Image from EasyWDW.com

Interior Image from EasyWDW.com

When you go to Tangierine Cafe as a vegan there are a few things you need to know. The Vegetable Platter consists of Falafel, Pita, Hummus, Olives, Couscous Salad, Tabouleh and Lentil Salad. The Lentil Salad IS NOT vegan, this item contains mayo. They will easily swap this item for you with extra of something else. The Pitas they use are also NOT vegan. Make sure you tell them this and they will swap them for honey-free pitas.

Modified Vegetable Platter

Modified Vegetable Platter

We often eat here at least once a trip. The food is really filling, relatively healthy and reasonably priced (about $11 a plate). The service is quick and the couscous and tabouleh are incredible. We have been told from a source that the falafel is cooked in a  shared fryer so if this is something that concerns you, ask for something to swap it.

 

Would we go back again?
Yes, every time! It’s a quick meal and will keep you full for hours.

Price:
$

Cheers,
Melissa & Corey

How Do You Plan?

We often see people asking about calling ahead to restaurants before their ADR (advance dining reservation). We want to know how you let restaurants know about your diet so they can accommodate you. Personally we just mark ‘allergies’ when booking our ADR’s and have never called ahead. When marking allergies we also tell the host about our diet so she makes sure that we will talk to a chef upon being seated.

 

Feel free to comment about any experiences you have had from no warning to calling ahead.

Cheers,
Melissa & Corey

Liberty Inn, American Adventure

When you’re from the United States, it’s pretty easy to skip dining in the America Pavilion in World Showcase. Every time I have been to Epcot we have avoided eating at Liberty Inn since it was full of burgers and hot dogs, which you can get at any of the other parks, so it has never appealed to my family (pre-vegan). However last trip something new appeared on the menu and it was even vegan!

Liberty Inn Menu Board

Liberty Inn Menu Board

We were pleasantly surprised to see they had Vegetarian Chick’n Breast on their menu in May 2014. It seemed rather out of place though among the hot dogs and burgers. The Chick’n Breast comes with guacamole, corn salsa, lettuce and tomato. The sauce that is pictured on the chick’n isn’t vegan so make sure to omit that.

Since this is a quick service option there is seating all over. The dining hall was very loud, there is a large seating area outside so I suggest eating there if it’s not unbearably hot or raining. We ordered our plate and they forgot the guacamole, we assume many people don’t get this odd dish for this restaurant. We also ordered a side of french fries because we assumed this wouldn’t be very filling, we also eat a lot.

Chick'n Breast plate

Vegetarian Chick’n Breast Plate

The Chick’n Breast had a bit of a grilled flavor to it but was pretty unseasoned and generally bland. The corn salsa was actually the best part of this plate and it wasn’t even that great. The guacamole was clearly a quick bagged option and was severely lacking in flavor and texture. We weren’t really sure what to expect with this meal, but now know that we won’t be eating it again unless they make some changes to it. All we could think was why isn’t this on a sandwich? Everything else they serve is so why leave this item without a bun? Corn salsa and guacamole don’t scream American Adventure to us, but a BBQ Chick’n Breast sandwich would, so maybe opt for BBQ sauce over guacamole if you go. For a quick service in World Showcase I would suggest walking over a few more countries and getting some falafel.

Cheers,
Melissa & Corey

 

Would we go back?
Not anytime soon, there are other quick service options we like more in Epcot. If they were to make it a sandwich with some more flavor I would consider going back. For now we’ll stick to the Frozen Red Stag Lemonades at Fife and Drum Tavern outside in American Adventure.

Price
$