This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Top Six Vegan & Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants at WDW. When readers come to the SATURDAY SIX for food they are generally looking for the most unhealthy (Pop-Tart Sandwich), most outrageous (Beaches & Cream’s Kitchen Sink sundae), or most likely to have been created out of a fever dream (Animal Kingdom poop snacks). But there’s actually another side to theme park dining: a healthy side. Today we are going to look the top six vegan & vegetarian friendly restaurants at WDW. Some people choose to eat vegan because of dietary restriction or allergies, some due to animal welfare concerns, and others for their health, but whatever the reason Walt Disney World is a great place to accommodate their needs. Today we reached out to an expert in this area, Emily Woesthoff, former general manager of Erin Mckenna’s Bakery NYC in Disney Springs (a vegan bakery). Emily is a lifelong Disney fan and just celebrated her 11th year of losing her mind eating vegan. There is no better person to guide us on this journey, so take it away Emily!
If I was given the good fortune to have a limitless supply of cash, and the superpower to make an ADR wherever I please, the following six-ish restaurants would be my go-to table service locations for vegan dining at Walt Disney World! While I haven’t yet managed to eat at every restaurant on property, I’ve dined at quite a few. The list below features my favorites, please keep in mind they are in no particular order.
6 – ‘Ohana (Polynesian Village Resort)
Yup. The infamous meat-fest that is ‘Ohana made the list. Crazy, right? I waited a really long time to eat here for a few reasons. First, all anyone ever talks about when they mention ‘Ohana is that it’s very meat-heavy. I had only assumed that they basically sat you in front of a roasted pig with an apple in his mouth and said, “have at it!” Second, I’m not a huge fan of the stuff-your-face-as-much-as-you-can-we-are-not-going-to-stop-bringing-you-food restaurants. It’s just too much pressure! And finally, I had accidentally been reading the restaurant’s name as O’Hana for quite a number of years, and I just didn’t think Polynesian-Irish fusion food would work.
Much to my surprise, the vegan options at ‘Ohana are outstanding! The same lettuce wraps that meat-eaters rave about can be made vegan! There was also a considerable portion of stir fried noodles, vegetables, and tofu from which to choose, along with a starter of crispy pita chips and hummus, too! Vegan ice cream was available for dessert, if one can manage to save room for dessert at ‘Ohana. There’s also a bit of during meal entertainment, which definitely enhanced the experience. Since this restaurant is “all you care to enjoy,” the price can be a little steep. I recommend coming here with a big appetite!
Rumors abound that the American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be closing January 3, 2015. The attraction opened, even as it was obvious that the American Idol phenomenon in the U.S. had peaked, in 2009 and plays at the Superstar Television Theater at the Studios.
This is a huge footprint in the park, and has been the set of many great interactive shows at the Studios. While the closing is probably not seen as that big a deal by the many guests who were not flocking to see the attraction, eventually something will need to take its place.
What do you think should replace the American Idol Experience if it is indeed closing?
This weekend marked the debut of Harambe Nights – a hard ticket (that is, extra admission) event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And earlier this week, Disney announced the one-night only (for now) Villains Unleashed party at Hollywood Studios, which sold out of discounted tickets for Annual Pass and DVC members the same day they were offered (regular price tickets go on sale today). These events, along with the After Hours Wind Down at Epcot’s World Showcase, are new money-making ventures for Disney that promise lower crowds, exclusive entertainment, and special food and beverages for people willing to spend money for an extra admission ticket. It’s a strategy that has been wildly successful at Magic Kingdom with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – the combined seasons of which seem to now last a third of the year.
The prices vary from $35/guest plus gratuity and tax for the Epcot event to a whopping $134 plus tax for Harambe Nights for adults with premium seating (which sold out for all dates this summer, by the way). Keep in mind these prices are per guest. For a family of four (2 adults, 2 children under 10) to experience Harambe Nights, the cost is over $400 for a single night’s entertainment (including food and beverage, but not including any “commemorative merchandise” you pick up at the event).
Everyone is getting excited about the final piece of New Fantasyland, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The new Magic Kingdom roller coaster was first announced on January 18, 2011. It has been over three years, and we still do not know when the attraction will open.
Since we don’t like to speculate or go on rumors, we’re going to let you do it! When do you think the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will soft open? (We will define a soft open as the first day Disney guests are allowed to ride.) Disney cast members will get to ride before the soft open date.)