This week reader Julie shares about her recent trip to Walt Disney World, thanks Julie!
Before this trip, I had never been to Disney as a vegan, so I did tons of research before I went to make sure I could get the most out of my trip (and this blog was my best source of information!). We arrived on Sunday, June 10. We were staying at Port Orleans French Quarter (which is awesome, by the way!). Our first park was Magic Kingdom, and we got in and immediately went to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café for lunch. If you tell a cast member you’re vegan, they might not know exactly what that means, so it’s best to tell them exactly what you don’t eat. After I explained it to the cast member, he gave me several options. I ended up with a bowl of rice and black beans with roasted zucchini on top. Of course, I went over to the toppings bar and piled it high with tomato salsa, guacamole, hot peppers, and onions. With the extra toppings, it was plenty of delicious food.
For dinner, we ate at Skipper Canteen. Many table service restaurants have an allergy-friendly menu, which is basically the same menu as the regular one, but it lists under each dish which allergies it accommodates.
Sometimes, your food will have an “Allergy” stick in it, so everyone can be certain you’re getting the correct dish. I got the noodle bowl with tofu. I’ll be honest: while it did have a lot of flavor (and tons of heat from the jalapeños), the broth had a very strong mushroom flavor, and *gasp* I don’t like mushrooms (which is very unfortunate for a vegan). My mom got the bowl with duck, and she absolutely loved it, but then again, she loves mushrooms.
When I go to Disney, my party just brings things to eat in the room for breakfast (saves time and money!). I made myself some date/fig/almond bars and had one for breakfast each morning, along with a pouch of pureed fruits and veggies. This kept me plenty full until lunch, which was at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. The waitress brought out Chef Kit, who took note of the foods I avoided and offered to make me something special. I ended up with a huge bowl of pasta, which included marinara sauce, asparagus, carrots, capers, and bell pepper. It was so delicious, and I inhaled the whole thing! And it was super hard to get a good picture in the dark.
For dinner, we went to 50’s Prime Time Cafe. Chef Noli came out to speak with me, and he made me a special bowl of rice with edamame, black beans, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, yellow squash, zucchini, and sautéed spinach with some type of oil or vinegar (not sure which, but it was heavenly). This was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip! It was so flavorful and salty, and the potatoes were nice and crispy. If only moms in the 50’s cooked up this delectable vegan food, everyone nowadays would be vegan! As a side note, they can make you a vegan milkshake as long as you’re not picky about yours being made using the same appliances as dairy ones. **This can be hit or miss, some cast members are willing to do this others will refuse due to cross contamination, regardless of not having an allergy.
The next day, we went to EPCOT, the epicenter of food at Disney! While my party got fish and chips at the Yorkshire County Fish Shop, I power-walked to Morocco a few countries over. This was one of my favorite parts of our trip. I had heard Morocco was accommodating, but I didn’t expect the mass amounts of food I got! At Tangierine Cafe, I told the cast member taking my order I was vegan, and he said I could have the vegetarian platter without the falafel, since it was fried in the same fryer with the chicken. As they assembled my platter, all the cast members and chefs kept asking what I could and couldn’t have and just kept adding more and asking if they could get me anything else. And all of it was amazingly delicious! The platter includes hummus (plus they gave me more on the side!), tabouleh, couscous, lentil salad, and marinated olives with a big portion of pita bread. They also gave me a lettuce and onion salad, something salsa-like, pickled beets, and cucumber sticks.
For dinner, we ate at Chefs de France. I’d read the chefs here were accommodating, and I had high expectations (after all, Miss, this is France). However, I was highly disappointed. All they served me was a plate of steamed vegetables. Which would have been fine if I made them myself at home because I was too lazy to actually cook anything. At least the baguette was vegan. Plus, it started raining towards the end of the meal, so we decided to stall and get dessert! I ordered the assorted sorbet with fruit, which was amazing (and shaped like a hidden Mickey)! There was a scoop of coconut sorbet, a scoop of pineapple, and scoop of orange. Yum! It comes with a Madeleine, which I asked for on a separate plate and gave to my mom.
The following day we were in Animal Kingdom. For lunch, we went to Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafe, where I got the roasted vegetable couscous wrap. You don’t need to worry about the lemon yogurt sauce; it comes in a container on the side. The wrap is decently sized and comes with grapes, which made me so happy to see fruit on the side! Overall, this was a really good lunch. Great flavor, and the perfect amount of food.
Unfortunately we had to cut our trip short. After making arrangements with the front desk to cancel all our reservations and such for our remaining five days in the parks, we couldn’t go back to the parks, and we couldn’t fly home until the following morning, so we walked to Boatwright’s Dining Hall. I asked if the vegetarian jambalaya had any dairy or egg in it. The cast member immediately asked if I had allergies, and I told him everything I didn’t eat. He whisked off to the kitchen and brought me an allergy menu, assuring me he would make sure there was no cross-contamination, and he even came back with two allergy-friendly rolls and non-dairy butter since I couldn’t have the cornbread brought to the table! I did end up getting the vegetarian jambalaya, which was amazing. My party got their leftovers boxed to take back to the room (I didn’t have any because it was so delicious), and when they asked to take the cornbread, the cast member even brought out a bag with another roll and more butter for me to take! Shout out to Nelson; he’s absolutely wonderful!
Since we were upset about the entire situation we’d been thrown into, we decided to splurge and get beignets once we returned to French Quarter. Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is currently under refurbishment, but you can get almost everything in another location just off the main entrance of the resort. I asked for the vegan beignets. They are smaller than the regular ones, but they’re scrumptious! They’re so good, my mom and I went back for breakfast the next morning before Magical Express came! I’m not sure if the berry dipping sauce is vegan, but I didn’t get any sauce because I honestly thought they didn’t need any. And my first batch had about ¼” of powdered sugar on it. No regrets.
Though it was sad our time in Disney was shortened due to unfortunate events, we still had an amazing time while we were there, and I got to have some excellent food. Plus, I love that most was specially made for me! My mom and I are already planning to resume our trip in October, and I absolutely cannot wait!