Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

SATURDAY SIX: The Top Six Vegan & Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants in Walt Disney World

by on January 16, 2016

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!


Vegan dessert at ‘Ohana.

Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY SIX THANKSGIVING SPECIAL: Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks in 2015

by on November 26, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX  is our annual Thanksgiving Special and takes a look at Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks. 2015 was another great year to be a theme park fan, and for this Thanksgiving we are going to take a quick break from all the turkey, football games, and Black Friday planning to count our blessings and thank the parks and resorts we love so much. So, for one day only, we ask that all Disney and Universal fans put aside their differences and spend a moment appreciating all the wonderful things that we can share together, starting with…

# 6 – Selfie Stick Ban at Walt Disney World


no_more_selfie_sticks_pamphlet_sethIf you noticed any #Millenials or narcissists wearing black armbands this summer, it was because after banning selfie sticks on Disney attractions earlier in the spring, Walt Disney World completely banned the use of selfie sticks at the parks. Seemingly out of nowhere, the edict came down right after another high profile news story of Disney California Adventure’s California Screamin’ roller coaster being stopped mid ride because of a guest using a selfie stick. On June 26th, WDW guests were given a pamphlet at the parking plaza explaining the selfie stick ban, signage was displayed on the walkways to the parks along with bag check explaining the new policy.

The selfie stick ban was definitely a controversial move to be sure. Universal had earlier become more strict on preventing selfie sticks on rides, but Disney outright stopped people from even entering the park with them. Now we joked earlier about only kids and narcissists using them, the truth is that selfie sticks have become increasingly popular across almost all demographics. While people using selfie sticks inside the parks can be a nuisance, they were starting to become a serious safety factor on attractions. You may have seen what is called an Envelope of Protection as Imagineers test out the attractions. This device makes sure that all the attractions are safe for every rider, basically simulating the possible reach of every guest in the ride vehicle. This is why while it may seem like your may lose your arms in Space Mountain if you hold them up during the ride, but in actuality you are nowhere close to hitting anything. What the Envelope of Protection doesn’t take into account though, is guests holding on to anything that extends their reach.

Read the rest of this entry »

Menu Monday: Vegan in Prime Time

by on September 29, 2014

My dish!  Cute plate!

My dish! Cute plate!

There has been one thing holding me back from ever dining at 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Fear (capital F). I am made so completely anxious and nervous by any type of crowd participation, that the fear of being told to get my elbows off the table, or to clear my plate has kept me away from this DHS mainstay. Even when I heard tell of vegan meatballs on the menu, I kept my distance to avoid any playful interaction that might await me.

The few times I have visited DHS in recent months, I have always looked longingly at 50’s Prime Time Cafe. I knew the decor and theming of the restaurant was right up my alley (starburst clocks! Danish-made end tables!), and those vegan meatballs were an actual menu item. Still, I stayed away, until very recently when I decided it was time to face my fear.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eating Vegetarian at the 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

by on October 3, 2013

The 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (see all the menus) is in full swing and continues to pack in the crowds. Some guests like to attempt to “Drink Around The World” and sample all the various drinks, while others like to try exotic food items from countries not regularly found in World Showcase. While eating vegetarian at Disney and Universal can be challenging (especially if you want more than the ubiquitous garden salad or veggie burger), this year’s Food & Wine has many unique options. Below is a list with every vegetarian option at this year’s festival, along with my review of the items I personally tried. (Click on any picture to see a much larger version)


Chili Colorado with House-made Chips and Cashew Cheese (Terra)

We’re going to go through the booths in alphabetical order except to start off, as that spot is going to Terra. Why Terra? Because everything in Terra is vegetarian. That earns it a special spot on the list.

*Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice ($3.75) – A returning favorite from 2012, Trick’n Chick’n is made from Gardein brand chick’n breast with a great spicy curry served over basmati rice. I enjoyed the curry because it had a kick to it, but overall was mild and not overwhelming.

*Chili Colorado with House-made Chips and Cashew Cheese ($3.75) – The chili is made with Gardein brand beefless tips and cashew cheese.  I’m pretty tough on vegan cheeses, as I feel they generally come nowhere close to real cheese (as compared to the incredible advancements in the  meatless meats over the past few years), but this was great. I loved scooping up the chili onto a chip and eating it that way.

Read the rest of this entry »

Vegan Options at California Grill

by on September 15, 2013

I understand there are a lot of mixed feelings out there about reviewing a restaurant on opening night. Let’s, then, consider this a “set of paragraphs with some helpful recommendations” written by the designated vegan, shall we?

After years of waiting, I finally had the opportunity to dine at California Grill on the night of its grand re-opening. I was stoked. Having absolutely no point of reference for comparison, I was blown away by the atmosphere, the view, and the awesome window shades that automatically raised as the sun was setting in the distance. Before even having a taste of my pineapple juice, I made up my mind that I was going to love everything about the evening that followed.



My dietary preferences had been noted in the reservation ahead of time, and confirmed again with the host a few hours prior to our reservation. Upon being seated, our server confirmed to me that both types of bread – a lavender focaccia and whole wheat sourdough rolls – were both vegan. I was very surprised by this, since many restaurants in Walt Disney World use bread that contains eggs. I even asked twice, but was assured that both types of bread were vegan. Both options were delicious, I could have eaten the whole basket on my own.

After quickly perusing the menu, I noticed there were no options that were vegan by default, but gave an extra glance to the Roasted Squash Ravioli, since it sounded delicious (Root spinach and parsnips? Don’t mind if I do, but I didn’t.). I was also really interested in the Carrot and Cilantro Soup, but unfortunately it was cream-based and contains halibut. Two strikes, soup! Our server, Abdou, coached me through the Soup, Salads, and Appetizers section of the menu. He recommended the “Romaine Salad,” to which I agreed. When it arrived, it was tomatoes atop leaves of Romaine lettuce seasoned with oil, a bit too much salt, and pepper. There wasn’t much to the dish, as you can see, I was underwhelmed yet hopeful for what was to come next.

Read the rest of this entry »

This Is A French Restaurant…

by on January 15, 2013

“This is a French restaurant.” That is what my server felt necessary to point out when I asked what the vegan options are at Monsieur Paul. A French restaurant? Really? I had no idea! The fact that it’s a) called “Monsieur Paul b) located in the France Pavillion at Epcot and c) a mere few feet away from a giant replica of La Tour Eiffel did not tip me off.

I realize that traditional French fare is not typically plant-centric. Being in a theme park and not traipsing around the 5th arrondissement, however, I figured I would be met with the typical Disney restaurant procedure: ask if anything is vegan, explain what “vegan” means, then usually talk with a chef about things that can be created, or menu items that can be modified. Instead, at Monsieur Paul, I was told that there was nothing available to meet my requests, but the server guessed they could make me a salad (a French salad, I hoped!).

Unfortunately, there was no vegan option for an appetizer, or an amuse bouche so I settled on sparkling water, until my entree arrived. The entree was good, and may deserve an extra bunch of kale on top of the rating given, but the journey to said entree was disappointing.

So, what did I eat? I was served hash brown potatoes, over grilled potatoes, over asparagus and carrots, over leeks, with a side of potato beignets. Yes, lots of potato. The presentation was pretty, and I must say the triple potato whammy was the best part. Though everything was a bit overly greasy and salty, in the end, I appreciated the effort and managed to eat every bite. 


For dessert, I was served raspberry sorbet, strawberry sorbet with raspberries.  This is a fairly standard vegan dessert option at just about every Walt Disney World restaurant, and is always a delightful end to any meal.

Now, I get it. I understand menus are written to please the general public, and not always with special diets in mind. I also am well aware that the vegan diet is not always the easiest to accommodate on the fly. I would have like to feel that someone was trying to give me a good dining experience, though. I’ve had good meals and bad meals while dining in Walt Disney World, but I was extra surprised at the lack of feigned effort at this restaurant. Best part of my meal? The swanky fizzy water.

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant for vegans or vegetarians based upon this experience. Maybe we would have better luck in real France.

Terra, Everyone’s Favorite Vegan Marketplace

by on October 4, 2012

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is many things. A drinker’s paradise, an adventurous eater’s heaven, and a vegan’s worst nightmare. I know, it’s blasphemy to not be completely head-over-heels in love with the yearly foodfest that draws so many visitors to The World Showcase Promenade, so hate me if you must. I have to admit that up until this year, the Food & Wine Festival was probably my least favorite time of the year at Walt Disney World. Why, you ask? It boiled down to pure jealousy. Hearing everyone rave about all of the options they were exploring from different countries, spooning edible culture into their mouths as I sat chomping on a plain pretzel just seemed unfair. That is, of course, until this year.

Now, I can’t claim to have singlehandedly strong-armed Epcot into having vegan options at the International Food & Wine Festival. However, I also can’t deny sending numerous e-mails, and making a few (ok, a lot of) “suggestions” regarding the lack of vegan options available around the ‘Showcase. And as Disney magic would have it, the fine folks at F&W dreamed up Terra, a brand new marketplace for 2012 in which all of the food options, yes, I said all of the food options, are vegan!

The marketplace itself is presented by Gardein, a brand of mock meats with which I am quite well acquainted. Gardein is a favorite among vegans for meat alternatives, and offers meatless meatballs, chick’n strips, and barbecue riblets just to name a few. The Terra menu features two items: Trick’n Chick’n Curry and Chili Colorado, each priced at $3.75. Each item is paired with a wine option, but please be forewarned: neither of the wines offered, the Paul Dolan Sauvignon Blanc nor the Paul Dolan Pinot Noir is vegan. The Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch and Silk brand Berry Smoothie, however, are totally vegan so you can get your G-rated drink on!

Read the rest of this entry »