Allow me to take you on a culinary adventure through the four parks at the Walt Disney World Resort. First things first: I am vegetarian, and I am on a tight budget. Many of the articles I have seen that address vegetarian dining at WDW focus mainly on the table service restaurants. Don’t get me wrong: the table service restaurants are TOP NOTCH and offer a variety of delicious meat-free dishes. However, as a grad student and mother of three I am often not able to afford many table service meals during our stays at WDW. Therefore, I decided to tell you what my favorite counter service and snack cart items are for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and a snack) at each of the parks. Disclaimer: these options are vegetarian, not vegan.
Magic Kingdom: I love this park! It is truly magical. There are a lot of counter service options, too. One of my absolute must-have breakfast items is at a quick-service kiosk in Liberty Square: Sleepy Hollow’s Nutella and Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich.
This fluffy waffle is coated in creamy, chocolaty, hazel-nutty goodness and topped with sliced strawberries, bananas and blueberries. It is a generous portion; a parent and child could easily share one serving. Now on to lunch… how about a delicious Quinoa Salad – with green beans, potatoes, olives, roasted bell peppers and tomatoes at Be Our Guest in the New Fantasyland? It has a champagne vinaigrette dressing and is a light, but filling delicacy in a supremely elegant and magical place. One great perk to Be Our Guest is that soft drinks are re-fillable; this option is not found at many counter service places in the parks. For dinner, I usually head back to Liberty Square and get a Lighthouse Sandwich with hummus, tomato, and broccoli slaw on toasted multigrain bread at Columbia Harbor House. It is served with potato chips. I might even add the seasonal cobbler for dessert! Last time I was there the peach cobbler had a flaky crust over a warm, gooey sweet peach filling. Would you like to get a snack while waiting for Wishes or perhaps while you wait in line for Pirates of the Caribbean? Of course a Dole Whip would be a delightful idea! You can also grab a box of popcorn, a pretzel, a churro, or a Mickey ice cream bar; those are perfectly fine options. But…how about a vegetable eggroll from the egg roll wagon in Adventureland?
Epcot: This park is a food-lovers dream! World Showcase offers an abundance of delicious and delectable vegetarian choices, however it doesn’t open until 11am. So… for breakfast we usually stop in at Fountainview (now serving Starbucks) for a Spinach, Feta & Cage-Free Egg-white Wrap and a latte or Frappuccino. The wrap is easy to carry on-the-go as you head off to enjoy the many attractions and rides in Futureworld. Come lunch time we are salivating just thinking about the Empanadas de Queso – fresh corn masa (fried dough) filled with Chihuahua white cheese topped with a not-too-spicy green sauce (not too spicy, but has a tangy kick).
The platter is served with corn tortilla chips at Mexico’s La Cantina de San Angel. The portion is large enough for a parent and child to share. This is one of my favorite meals at WDW. In fact, I am not sure I have ever NOT eaten it when visiting!
I like to have dinner at Tangierine Café in the Morocco pavilion. The Vegetable Platter is a perfect collection of savory and filling vegetarian items. The meal includes falafel (deep-fried chicpea dough), couscous salad, hummus with pita triangles, tabouleh a salad made with bulgur, tomatoes, cucumbers, finely chopped parsley, mint, onion, and garlic and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt), and a lentil salad with a garnish of marinated olives. This platter is a great value, but most importantly it tastes REALLY GOOD! Add a piece of baklava (a honey and pistachio pastry) and the meal is a perfect illustration of why World Showcase can be a counter service culinary landscape.
Staying for IllumiNations? I suggest getting School Bread at Kringla Bakeri og Café in the Norway pavilion. Not only will the viewing area right outside offer spectacular views of the nighttime show, but the sweet pastry bread, filled with vanilla custard and coated in vanilla icing and toasted coconut will be something you talk about and crave for months after your visit.
Animal Kingdom: You would think you could find a plethora of animal-flesh-free items at this park, but actually it is a bit harder to find an array of vegetarian options here. For breakfast, I suggest the French Toast Sticks at TamuTamu in Africa. Pair it with some coffee or OJ and head-off to Kilimanjaro Safari to catch a glimpse of the animals on the savannah. For lunch, after riding Primeval Whirl, grab a Black Bean Burger and fries at Restarauntasaurus.
It is a hearty portion; not too spicy, and with all the fixings it is actually my favorite veggie burger on Disney property. For dinner, I always return to TamuTamu for the Vegetarian Curry with roasted vegetables and tofu served with Jasmine rice. This delicious, rich, and fragrant platter will make you feel like you are actually in North Africa. Looking for a snack? Try the Cinnamon-Glazed Pecans at the Dino-Diner; they are sweet, spicy, warm, and crunchy!
Hollywood Studios: Walk the streets of America, ride the movies, and brave the thrills after grabbing a Cranberry Orange Muffin and coffee at Starring Roles. The muffin is moist and bursts with flavor. This ain’t your average pre-packaged muffin. It is fresh-baked and BIG. For lunch, I always get the vegetable pizza combo at Pizza Planet.
The pizza is yummy! It has mushrooms, peppers, onions, olives and tomatoes and comes with a side Caesar Salad. If it is nice outside and you want to avoid the chaos of the arcade, you can enjoy this lovely meal on the outdoor patio. Before you head to stake out a spot in line for Fantasmic, have the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with zucchini, roasted mushrooms, roasted red pepper, vine-ripened tomato, provolone, and sun-dried tomato pesto on basil-asiago artisan bread (served with coleslaw, apple slices or fries) at Studio Catering Company.
This sandwich is hearty, flavorful, and unique. I like to ask for a side of vinaigrette to dip mine in. They also have a homemade banana and toffee bar parfait that is to die for! If you want a snack though, try the orange-pineapple smoothie at KRNR just outside the Rock’n Rollercoaster; it is cool, creamy, fruity, and super delicious!
There you have it: three vegetarian square meals (and a snack) in each of the parks. Of course there are other options! What are some of your go-to vegetarian meals in the parks? What about the resorts? Tell us where YOU find vegetarian favorites at WDW!