Vegetarian Dining in Disney World: Part II
As stated a few weeks ago,, in Part I of this two-part series, my family adores Disney World. I admit that our recent move to Florida certainly counted among it's "pros" that we'd be significantly closer to this magical place which has been the source of so many joy-filled memories. We've been going to Disney World for more than a decade. Our kids have grown up there. My husband and I have taken date weekends there. We've met up with friends and cousins and other important people -- heck, we've even bumped into Tim Tracker (photo below!) and David Bromstead. We've celebrated our anniversaries and birthdays and every other conceivable holiday and special event known to mankind.
We're pretty much 100% Disnerd.
But two of us are also vegetarians (myself included) -- and that has proven tricky in the past, to find some tasty plant-based nosh. So I had the idea of sharing with you where we cruelty-free folks go for yummy nourishment in the Disney parks. Read on!
Up first: Hollywood Studios, where you can find a most surprising (and thoroughly filling) vegetarian chili-cheese nachos! Over at the Dockside Diner (former Bill & Min's), the chili is 100% meat-free. In fact, if you're of the vegan persuasion, you can actually skip the sour cream and make this hefty dish of chips and chili a 100% animal-free meal -- just double up on the pico and guacamole. Because yum.
The new Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios has a vegetarian option for their Tot'chos dish at Andy's Lunchbox (above). All you have to do is ask for the vegetarian version of their Tot'chos -- or ask for the vegan version, with vegan cheese (no sour cream) and voila! Plant-based dining at its nasty-good finest. This is a super delicious treat, and filling, all at just $10.
For dessert, head around to the opposite end of Echo Lake to Oasis Canteen to enjoy a giant funnel cake. Toppings include soft serve ice cream and strawberry syrup, or just go classic with a generous dusting of powdered sugar (pictured above).
Looking for a sit-down spot to get out of the heat? No problem. You can find a delicious greens 'n things salad (replete with goat cheese, sliced pears, and candied walnuts) over at The Hollywood Brown Derby (above Left), or if you're wanting something a little more comforting, head over to Mama Melrose's for a whopping dish of creamy pasta, shaved parmesan, sun dried tomatoes, and basil chiffonade; this was a chef special, cooked up custom for my daughter, upon request.
(Disney is fantastic about cooking up something for anyone with specialized diets -- so if you don't see something to your liking on the menu, ask, ask, ask!)
But the BEST place for food any kind on Disney World property?
Epcot, hands down.
Epcot is world renowned for their food festivals and culinary creations. With so many lands to choose from -- everything from Canada to China -- flavor abounds. We love to spend an entire day sampling this, that, and the other. We almost literally "snack around the world".
Most snacks in Epcot eat like tiny meals -- from sweet to savory. If you're on the Disney dining plan, do save some (most!) of your snack credits to enjoy snack-dining here, especially if Epcot is having one of it's seasonal food festivals, like the Food & Wine Festival in September through October.
But you can totally spend a Quick Service credit in Epcot and feel like it's a credit (or money) well spent. For around $11, you can enjoy the Falafel plate in Morocco (pictured above, top Left), the delicious Cheese Empanadas with seasoned black beans at Mexico (bottom Left), or a simple dish of stir-fried veggies and rice in China (above Right).
As for table service meals in Epcot .... well, the list is simply too extensive. That could be a blog post all its own! I'll simply share here two of my favorites: France and Italy. The best creme brûlée of my life happened at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie (pictured above top Left), but you can get the same thing at the sit-down Chefs de France; you can also snag a truly creamy-gorgeous adult version of of macaroni and cheese, made with Gruyère.
In Italy, I highly recommend ordering a custom pizza at Via Napoli. It really is true, Tuscan style, wood-fired pizza, with generous drops of creamy mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce, and delicious toppings. Pictured above Right: a mushroom and artichoke concoction.
And finally, a quick hop, skip, and a jump (or just a Monorail ride) will find you in ....
Disney's Magic Kingdom!
First off, let's chat SNACKS. Magic Kingdom is my favorite place on earth, and snacking in the Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite things to do. I've already mentioned THE giant Mickey pretzel (which you can find in Epcot), but eating it in the Magic Kingdom is really the best thing ever -- that cheese dipping sauce, y'all ... it is life.
Speaking of LIFE, two words: Dole. Whip. Have one if you've never had one. This vegan treat is to die for! I've had it as-is in a cup, as a pineapple float, even on the pineapple upside down cake.. It never disappoints. Sometimes it "never disappoints" as often as twice a day!
(I have a serious Dole Whip addiction....)
A fairly new treat to be found in Magic Kingdom is the Cheshire Cat'tail, over on the Tomorrowland side of Fantasyland (near the Mad Tea Cups ride). It's a sort of crispy-gooey cruller kind of confection, with melty chocolate in the center, and a sweet icing drizzle. This one kinda surprised me -- in a good way; I highly recommend it.
For a table service meal, you'll wanna head over to Be Our Guest. A lot of people say it's overrated, but I disagree -- and now that it's a Signature Dining location serving a prix fixe menu, it's bound to be every bit is a tasty. I've not yet eaten anything on their new menu, but I hear they're still serving my two most favorite things: the Potato Leek Soup, and the French Onion Soup -- both 100% vegetarian and absolutely delicious!
Tip: if you can't snag a dining reservation for dinner, Be Our Guest is a quick service meal during the lunch hours, and a cup of each of the soups mentioned above make a fantastic meal (and each counts as one snack credit!).
Another super yummy place for some excellent grub can be found at The Crystal Palace, just off of Main Street, and with views of Cinderella Castle. This is an all-you-can-eat buffet, with tons of vegetable offerings -- and the chef will even make you special dishes to suit! If the mac-n-cheese, roasted veggie medley, steamed green beans, and whipped potatoes aren't to your liking (and seriously, why not???), you can request a dish of fried rice with edemame, mushrooms, corn, and carrots -- a perfectly seasoned vegan dish
That's all for today, and we covered some serious Disney ground! Thanks for joining in -- and bon apetit!