Mickey Goes Vegan
Our vegan travel guest blogger series continues with a look at going vegan at Walt Disney World!
You finally did it. You booked your first vacation at Disney world. You have been looking at deals for months for something to come into your price range. You found the resort you wanted at the price you wanted, and you were able to get the free Disney dining plan for booking a hotel on Disney property. The one thing you are worried about it the food selection.
There’s never been a mouse as magical and enchanting as Mickey. Vegans who love Disney but were worried about the fare need fear no more. Walt Disney World offers plenty of tasty and healthy options for guests with very specific dietary needs, even fully vegan menu choices. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the wide range of choices available at any given restaurant and by the amazing deals on the menus. What’s more, chefs sometimes create masterpiece meals from scratch based on your needs. Take a look at some of these meals and get ready to pack your bags!
Jiko – The Cooking Place is a jewel in the landscape of Disney World’s dine in restaurants. It is located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, so the food has a distinctly African flair. It also boasts one of the biggest selections of South African wines in North America, many of which are vegan. This is a big deal for wine lovers, as they have the option of pairing wines with great vegan creations. A typical vegan dinner includes an appetizer called Taste of Africa. This is a wonderful sampler of four African styled dips, including a masala and green olive hummus dip with lentil pappadam bread. An entree option is the roasted curry vegetables in a coconut basmati rice, various colorful vegetables and nuts and a gorgeous curry sauce. Hungry yet?
Faithful Disney visitors love two things: good deals and great food. Sometimes, the chef is more important than the actual restaurant, and this is certainly the case with Chef TJ, who was previously at 1900 Park Fare, but is now at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Since both restaurants have a joint kitchen, it’s reasonable to think that he’s got his hand dipped in both. Vegan guests often plan their trips around eating at his restaurants, and there’s are two reasons why:
- Sun-dried tomato hummus, with plantain chips, and vegan spring rolls and sweet sauce are to die for vegan options available at 1900 Park Fare. .
- A salad of a grilled head of Romaine with cubed mangoes, avocados, pistachios and balsamic vinaigrette also available at 1900 Park Fare.
- The Grand Floridian Cafe doesn’t have vegan dishes on its menu, but if you call ahead, Chef TJ and company can create something delectable for you.
The buffet at Tusker House has a stellar reputation as the place to go if you’re looking for an amazing vegan buffet experience. The buffet menu changes often, but some of the mouth-watering dishes you’ll find there include Moroccan-inspired cous cous with vegetables, green beans coated lightly with olive oil, barbecue glazed tofu strips, and broiled, seasoned potatoes. The best part is, the buffet is a great deal: it’s an all-you-can-eat affair, so there are no limitations on how much you can eat in one sitting. That’s definitely a plus!
If you want something a little different, there’s The Wave. You might need to call ahead to plan your menu with the chef and plan on something like the portabella mushroom stack entree complete with zucchini, yellow squash, tomato sauce and eggplant. For a more casual experience, the Columbia Harbor House offers up a vegan chili, which might be featured as a soup of the day, or listed on the menu, depending on the season. It is thick, fragrant and flavorful, with beans and tofu for texture.
Disney is very flexible, so It’s easy to have a wonderful dining experience at Walt Disney World, even if you’re a vegan. Plan a little, communicate with the hotels and restaurants you plan to eat at to give them an opportunity to plan your meals, and you’ll enjoy sumptuous, stress-free dining experience!
About the Author: Margaret Swanson has taken her children, ages 9 and 7, to Disney many times. She resides in Spring Hill, FL.
Photo of Mickey Mouse courtesy of Flickr/Richard Stephenson