Thursday, 25 August 2011

Vegetarian dining in Disney World - part 3

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Well done if you've made it through parts one and two of my Disney dining guide. Here's part three...which is kind of a review, plus a few more tips...

Making Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs)

If you book your table service (TS) meals in advance, you can place a dietary restriction on your restaurant reservations, but as vegetarian and vegan aren't options on the online booking form (for some strange reason), I went for a shellfish allergy! This strategy seemed to work well. All restaurants we had booked for, except Wolfgang Puck Cafe, confirmed details of my 'allergy' when we arrived and all seemed relieved, when I said that my daughters and I were vegetarian and not allergic to anything!

If you're vegan or have any genuine food allergies, I would suggest that you email your requests once you've booked your ADRs, to: SpecialDiets@DisneyWorld.com. State your reservation numbers, where you will be eating each day and what you can/can't eat (one recommendation on Disboards says that it might be a better option to state that you are vegetarian with an egg and dairy allergy, rather than vegan). We didn't do this, as I was confident that we would be able to find something vegetarian that we would all eat in the restaurants I had booked at.

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The waiting staff were generally knowledgeable about the menus, and asked the appropriate questions about whether we ate eggs and dairy. In the buffet restaurants, they offered to ask the chef to give us the tour of the buffet, to let us know what was suitable, which we accepted each time (surely it would be easier to label foods with a V for vegetarian though!)

Several non-buffet restaurants were able to vegetarianise meals by leaving the meat/fish part out, but the vast majority of our meals contained some cheese or dairy, so vegans would need to check whether this could be left out of their meals. 

If you want to take a gamble, try to find out where Chef TJ is working and book a meal there (apparently he doesn't work in the same restaurant each night). Chef TJ has reputation for cooking great vegetarian food - just Google him to find out more.

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Luckily, we found him working at 1900 Park Fare the night we ate there, and instead of the buffet on offer, which had quite a limited vegetarian selection, we were treated to a freshly cooked selection of starters and a main course for the same price. The characters there also made this a fabulous night out, as the ugly sisters, Cinderella and Prince Charming all gave a good performance as they went around the tables.

Our favourite places to eat in Disney World were:

Table Service

  • Tusker House, Animal Kingdom - African/Asian buffet with lots of salads, rice, vegetable samosas, fresh fruit etc.
  • Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge - African buffet with lots of hot and cold vegetarian options. Dishes are generally sweet in taste with cinnamon, mild spices and dried fruits.
  • Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Downtown Disney - Italian/American with several vegetarian pasta options, plus the offer of making omitting meat from a couple of other dishes. 
  • Raglan Road, Downtown Disney - Irish pub food which serves real chips (not fries!) and fabulous desserts.
  • Sanaa, Animal Kingdom Villas - South Asian/Indian food with a good choice for vegetarians and vegans. Dishes are quite spicy, so might not appeal to children.
  • Hacienda, Epcot - Mexican with a separate vegetarian menu including 4 main courses (you need to ask for this as it's not on display).
  • Cape May, Boardwalk/Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom character breakfasts - Similar foods available at both with plenty of delicious pastries, breads, waffles and fresh fruits.
  • Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom lunch/dinner - Lots of tasty salads, fruits, pasta and desserts. Limited vegetarian hot food.
  • 1900 Park Fare, Grand Floridian  - Great for characters and to sneak a peak at the Grand Floridian Hotel, but generally quite limited vegetarian options (pasta, salads, fruit and vegetarian sushi). Fantastic food if chef TJ is working there.
Counter Service

We weren't particularly impressed with the quick service options available, as the vegetarian options were often limited to one choice. We were very glad that we only got one counter service (CS) meal each day on our dining plan. The quick service dining plan (QSDP) includes 2 CS meals plus 2 snacks per day, which really wouldn't have suited us.

Our favourite CS locations were:
  • Earl of Sandwich, Downtown Disney - Sandwiches, wraps and salads with a few vegetarian options.
  • Wolfgang Puck Express, Downtown Disney - Vegetarian pasta and flat breads/pizza available.
  • Restaurantosaurus, Animal Kingdom - only one vegetarian option (veggie sub with sweet potato fries) but it tasted good and there was a toppings bar available.
  • Boulangerie Patisserie, Epcot (cheese tartine) / Main Street Bakery, Magic Kingdom (mozzerella and tomato focaccia roll) - again limited vegetarian savoury options but great pastries!
  • La Cantina de San Angel, Epcot - one vegetarian option (cheese empanadas) but it was tasty and filling.
Snacks

There are plenty of snacks and drinks available if you are peckish or thirsty between meals. The best place to find out what counts as a snack on the dining plans is back on Disboards, where you'll find a snack credit thread which is updated each year. Frankly we didn't use many of our snack credits during our holiday, as we just didn't need any more food! We did enjoy the odd ice cream and frozen lemonade though, and we sometimes used them to buy pastries to eat for breakfast the next day. Snack credits can also be 'spent' on sweets and treats to take home  as presents.

To summarise, we were all pleasantly surprised at how good the food was in Disney generally, as we'd expected to see fries with everything. It's perfectly possible to find good quality, tasty vegetarian food, but be prepared to do your research before you go!

If you have any tips or recommendations to add, please feel free to add them in a comment below. Pin It

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had some great meals. I am looking forward to trying Earl of Sandwich in November as they have opened one in the Disney village at Disneyland Paris.

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