Vegan Eating In Disneyland
The Quest for a Family Meal
So what do you do when you’ve lived your life as a confirmed and card-carrying member of the Junk Food Nation and you suddenly find yourself faced with living your life as a Vegan? At home, although the transition wasn’t easy, it was eventually obtainable. But what happens to your new found life style when you find yourself in the Happiest Place on Earth with churros staring you in the face at every turn-how will you ever survive? Just as Lori talked about last week with her article dealing with food allergies, Disney once again has you covered no matter what your needs happen to be.
Most people know what vegetarians are but not Vegans. I know we didn’t until a year ago when two heart attacks brought on a complete life style overhaul for one of our family members. Simply put, Vegans, like Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry. In addition, Vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products so that means no dairy, eggs or honey of any kind. I think the heart attack wasn’t nearly as scary as being faced with the terror of not knowing if we would be able to eat as a family ever again at Disney. I am here to report that even at Disneyland there are many places for a not so healthiest of eaters ( I am convinced that whatever the preservatives are that keeps a Twinkie around for hundreds of years is working on me too), a teenage boy and a Vegan to sit down and eat as one big happy family. Below is a list of eateries we have personally tried just for you!
Plaza Inn- Host to one of the best character meals around and a great way to start your Disney day! We were happy to discover that not only was there a great fruit, cereal and oatmeal selection as part of the breakfast buffet, but if you ask the chef, any of the waffles and pancakes can not only be made gluten free, but Vegan as well. What a relief to know that even as a Vegan, you do not need to give up your Mickey Waffle! If you find yourself there in the afternoon, try Penne Pasta with Marinara sauce.
Carnation Café-Although we didn’t try it, we were told that the Apple-Granola
Pancakes could be made Vegan style. For afternoon fare, we can say from first- hand knowledge that the House Salad and fruit selections are very filling.
Throughout the Park- From Main Street to locations throughout the Park, Disney is putting its best healthy foot forward with their many locations of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Stands. Here you will find apples, bananas, Fruit cups, strawberries, as well as trail mix and pickles-enough Vegan snack to keep you going all day long and into the night. Also at these stands, you will find a great selection of juices. We were also excited to learn that the Mickey Pretzels, Minnie Mouse ‘Oreo’ Cookies, both vanilla and chocolate and the pre-bagged Mickey Mouse kettle corn are all Vegan friendly! Who knew?
Jolly Holiday Bakery Café- Located at the end of Main Street near the entrance of Adventureland is this newly opened delight! Try the Grilled Vegetable & Whole Grain Salad-a wonderful combination of seasonal vegetables and mixed greens with Barley, Spelt and a Basil vinaigrette. If you are looking for Soymilk or a Soy Latte, Jolly Holiday has what you’re looking for. Apparently, Soy Lattes are hard to come by!
Bengal Barbecue- Located right across from Indiana Jones is this little slice of Barbecue heaven. For your Vegan barbecue fix, try the Outback Vegetable Skewer. Looking for sides to go with it? Bengal Barbecue has both chips and fruit cups to round out your meal.
River Belle Terrace- Practically next door to the Bengal Barbecue you’ll find my daughter’s favorite restaurant because they serve Mickey Mouse Pancakes that can be made gluten free and vegan upon request. We found many choices here including Becky Thatcher’s Fruit Plate, which included a very generous assortment of strawberries, melons, grapes and kiwi. For lunch, try the Vegetable Po’ Boy Sandwich or the P B & J Sandwich.
New Orleans Square:
Royal Street Veranda- Nestled directly above Pirates, here you will find one of the best Vegan dishes in Disneyland-the Vegetarian Gumbo. A Louisiana style gumbo, this delicious meal combines rice, onion, okra, and tomatoes all served in a sourdough bread bowl. Tables are hard to come by here so if you see one, grab it quickly!
Blue Bayou- Tucked away inside Pirates, right on the water is the Blue Bayou. Blue Bayou is on every Disney fan’s must do list and luckily it’s still a can do eatery. For your Fine Dining experience here, Vegans and non-Vegans alike will love the Portobello Mushroom and Couscous Macque Choux. Even the fussiest of eaters will love this delectable treat. Because this is Disneyland Fine Dining at its best, advance reservations are strongly recommended!
Café Orleans- Also located near Pirates is the Café’ Orleans. Vegan meals that can be found here include Creole Ratatouille and the Pommes Frites but make sure you indicate when you are ordering that you would like them both without the cheese.
Harbour Galley- Waiting for your Splash Mountain Fastpass time or trying to dry off? Try the Vegetarian Chili with a side of fruit located at this small food stand located directly across from the ride at water’s edge.
Hungry Bear Restaurant- Have an appetite the size of a bear? Hungry Bear serves up a great Veggie Burger as well as Big Al’s Chicken Salad-minus the chicken of course. Like many of the other restaurants throughout Disneyland, sides here that work with a Vegan diet include Sweet Potato Fries and Onion Rings. We checked first with our server to see if the onion batter contained dairy or not and asked what kind of oil was being used. Disney employees are trained in food allergies of all kinds. We also saw more than once servers double checking for us in their large binders labeled “Food Allergies: Dairy, Soy, Nut….” etc. Part of the Disney magic is that they do take the time to try to think of and anticipate your every need.
Rancho del Zocalo- The pickings are plentiful when it comes to Vegan eating at this great Mexican restaurant. Choices here include the Burrito Sonora with vegetables, Tostada Salad with veggies, as well as the Fajita Veggies. Make sure when you order that you let your server know not to put cheese on any of the items. We found that when eating here, it was better to go with the beans rather than the rice as many times red rice is cooked in animal stock. Polish off your meal here with the Fresh Tropical Fruit for dessert.
Village Haus- As with Hungry Bear, Village Haus makes a great Veggie Burger. There was also a wonderful looking Apple and Cheddar Salad combination, which we saw the people in front of us order without the Cheddar.
Red Rockett’s Pizza Port- Once you get off Space Mountain, head over to Pizza Port for your Italian food fix. One of the great things about pasta is that it works for Vegan and picky eaters alike, Try the Terra Nova Basil Pasta without the parmesan addition-you won’t be sorry! Craving pizza? Ask the chef to make you the Venus Vegetarian Pizza without the cheese. We’ve said it before and we will say it over and over again-Disney is there to make all your dreams come true, even if that dream happens to be pizza!
As you can see, there is something for everyone when it comes to dining at Disneyland, no matter what your dietary needs are preferences are. Still not sure where the best places for you to eat might be? Stop by City Hall on Main Street when you first arrive. There you will find an up to date list of all the Vegan eating options throughout the Park. Even if you’ve eaten there many times before, because recipes are always changing, it’s always good to ask for one with ever visit. Additionally, you can always call ahead to any of the sit down restaurants and they will go out of their way to accommodate you. Happy Eating!
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Gayle is a Disney Gal that loves churros for breakfast, still gets giddy with delight at the first sight of the “Disneyland next exit sign”, loves the overwhelming emotions and memories that come with each and every return to the Happiest Place on Earth and dreams of one day being the Captain of the Jungle Boat. To learn more about Gayle, click here