Where to Eat Organic at Disney World

Where to Eat Organic at Disney World

In the last decade, organic food has grown in popularity and become increasingly available, from your local farmer’s market to the most unlikely of places, Walmart. As organic food has become easier to find, it’s also gotten less expensive, which is great for people like me who feel that organic is not only better for the environment, it just tastes better.  But what do you do when you go on vacation?  For people who are serious about eating a mostly-organic diet, this can be a huge challenge. It was with this in mind that I called Disney to find out where I might find organic food on Disney property.

Every person I talked to at Disney was helpful and friendly.  They really went out of their way to answer my question.  But their responses ranged from the perplexed to the downright confused, so much so that I felt sheepishly obligated to say “Oh, this isn’t for me.  I’m writing about it.”    I don’t blame them.  I think for some people, the idea of eating organic is probably still pretty foreign, something that only health food fanatics do.   And since most of us lighten up on our dietary restrictions when we go to Disney, why would not eating organic for a week or so matter?    After talking to several cast members, I finally got my answer:  You can’t buy organic anywhere on Disney property.  Some organic produce is grown in Epcot, but it may or may not be available.

There are two factors which explain why Disney hasn’t ventured into organic food at this point:  Availability and cost.  Sure, organic food is more accessible than ever before, but there’s still some ways to go before it’s cost-effective and reliable enough that a huge organization like Disney, which feeds hundreds of thousands of people every day, can make the switch. Still, I can’t help but think that Disney, a company that seems to be able to do anything and that has shown a strong commitment to environmental causes, could do this.  They could be the company that makes a statement and makes a difference.

Still, organic is cropping up on Disney property,  sometimes in the strangest places:  You’ll find a Bloody Mary made with organic vodka on the menu at The Wave Restaurant in Disney’s Contemporary  Resort, where they also serve organic beer and wine.  One area where chefs are making a difference is, not surprisingly, in Disney’s signature restaurants. Following the nationwide trend in telling diners where their food comes from and how it was grown or raised, you’ll frequently find references to “free-range,” “organic,” and “hormone-free” on these menus.  While organic isn’t always available, these restaurants are your best bet on property.   Keep in mind too, that locally sourced produce and meats are often a more environmentally-friendly choice than something that’s been flown in from thousands of miles away.  Disney chefs often use local cheeses and produce.

Resort gift shops, even those located in DVC properties where guests have full kitchens in their villas, don’t have organic products.  I suppose this isn’t surprising given that they don’t have a lot of selection in general, but I was a little shocked to find that they don’t sell organic milk since many moms I know, even those who aren’t don’t usually buy organic food, serve it to their kids.  Perhaps at some point they’ll make the switch and offer some organic milk; it seems like an easy one to make.

If sticking to a mostly organic diet is important to you or if members of your party have food allergies, you’ll need to go off-site to shop.  If you don’t have a car or don’t want to waste precious vacation time shopping, Garden Grocer delivers right to your resort; the resort will hold your food and if necessary, keep it cold,  if it arrives before you do.  While they don’t offer organic produce, they do sell organic milk.  Call a couple of weeks ahead to place your order to get the best delivery times.   You might also try WeGoShop, which will go to the stores you specify.  Both require a minimum order (usually around $40)  and charge a small delivery fee.

Goodings has very small selection of organic products. The store is convenient from Downtown Disney, just off SR 535, and more importantly, it’s location right off I-4 means it’s really easy to find. It’s also overpriced and a bit scruffy. Unless you’re going by cab, are walking from Downtown Disney or are the type who gets hopelessly lost after a couple of turns, there are better grocery stores nearby. Goodings is at SR 535 and I-4. Take Exit 68 off of I-4.  On a recent trip to Goodings, the price for a half-gallon of Horizon Organic Milk was an appalling $5.99, nearly double the price at Super Target.

You can find milk and other organic foods at Super Target, which has the lowest prices in the area.  There are several within a few minutes of Disney property, the closest located at 3200 Rolling Oaks Boulevard, just right off 192 heading away from Disney World (you’ll cross I-4 and go a couple of miles).  You’ll know you’re there when you see the brightly colored townhomes on your right; Target is right across the street.  If you pass the Waffle House, you’ve gone too far.  There’s also one located across the street from the Mall of Millenia, off I-4 at Exit 78.

While Goodings and Target have some organic items,  for real variety you’ll need to go elsewhere. You really can’t beat Whole Foods for the widest selection of organic produce, dairy, and free-range meats. They also have a wide selection of soy and gluten-free products. There’s a new store in Orlando at 311 World Drive, Bay Lake, FL 32830. It’s about 15 minutes from Disney property (and practically right next to Universal Studios), but well worth the drive for the selection and prices; if you can’t find it there, you probably won’t find it in Central Florida.  If you prefer a local natural foods market, you might want to look into Chamberlin’s, which has several locations in and around Orlando.

Photo copyright Walt Disney World.

Chris blogs here at at  Everything Walt Disney World.

Where to Eat Organic at Disney World
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2 thoughts on “Where to Eat Organic at Disney World

  1. I read an article that talked about Disneyland and the author was upset how she thought being in CA there would be more choices but how there werent anything available

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