We went to Disney, y'all! This week on the show, Melissa from Vegan Disney World joins us to talk about all things vegan in the parks.
Update: We went back to Disney over President's Day weekend 2022! I've updated the post below to include the new-to-us vegan foods we ate on this trip.
Melissa is the creator of Vegan Disney World, which reviews the vegan options around Walt Disney World and other Disney parks. On the website, you can find easily accessible lists of the vegan options around Walt Disney World Resort.
We were over the moon that she agreed to not only come on the show after our trip but meet us in the parks for a sweet treat while we were there!
We stayed at Boardwalk Villas!
Not food related, but Dave scored us a room at Boardwalk Villas for our visit. Our room was basically a condo with a full kitchen, a separate bedroom, a balcony, and a fold out couch.
Boardwalk is a stellar location. It's walkable to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios and about a 20 minute bus ride to Magic Kingdom.
It also has a great pool with a water slide and restaurants nearby with a few great vegan options. The standouts for me and Dave were the veggie sandwich at Boardwalk Bakery and the fully loaded avocado toast at Trattoria al Forno.
The avocado toast was incredible! It included a chickpea scramble, which was basically like scrambled hummus, and they topped it with tomato, radish, arugula, and a balsamic drizzle. Just so, so good.
We stayed for five nights and had park hopper passes to various parks throughout. Below, I'm going to list our vegan Disney World eats by park.
(We didn't visit Animal Kingdom, because I'm not super wild about the captive animals angle of it. Melissa has a great guide to vegan food at Animal Kingdom here.)
I also do want to mention that we visited in early June 2021, so restaurant options were more limited, because not everything was fully open yet in the parks. That said, there were still plenty of great vegan options everywhere we went.
One must-have on the Boardwalk was a vegan sundae from Boardwalk Ice Cream. They stock chocolate and vanilla Tofutti ice creams.
For toppings, the chocolate syrup, strawberry sauce, pineapple sauce, peanut butter sauce, and marshmallow sauce are all vegan. The chocolate fudge is not. They also offer coconut whipped cream!
The kid and I shared The Classic Wave, which is just two scoops of ice cream. We got a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of chocolate. Then, we added strawberry and chocolate syrups, because we know how to LIVE!
The strawberry sauce really wowed us. It's not just a syrup. It has actual big chunks of berries in it! Do not miss it.
What we ate at Magic Kingdom
We were super excited to meet Melissa and Corey in person at Magic Kingdom! She suggested we go to Storybook Treats for a Peter Pan Float, which is vegan if you ask for it without the chocolate feather.
The Peter Pan Float is a generous portion of Lime Dole Whip in a cup of Sprite, and it is a treat! It's super refreshing, which was great on this 95° F day. Definitely recommended!
Melissa also says that all of the fruit flavors of Dole Whip are vegan.
The Vanilla and Coconut contain milk. That Coconut Dole Whip is actually the vanilla with coconut flavoring added, but any fruit flavor without vanilla is vegan.
There was a morning when I forgot to pack granola bars for the kid and I to have for breakfast. I popped into one of the shops to see what granola bar-type offerings they have, and many of the Snacks with Character are vegan. These are packaged snacks, like granola bars and trail mixes.
I grabbed a couple of the Chocolate Chip Banana Fruit and Oat Bars for us to eat. They were basically cookies, but they did the job. If you want a cookie for breakfast, this is for you!
And you're at Disney, so why not!
Another vegan meal we got at Magic Kingdom was an Impossible burger and fries at Starlight Cafe. There wasn't really anything special about this burger, but it hit the spot for sure.
Dave also managed to score us reservations to Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen. This sit-down restaurant has two vegan main dish options and a vegan dessert. We skipped the dessert, but I got the curry and Dave got the Thai noodles.
The curry was absolutely awful. I honestly don't think I've ever been more disappointed in a dish. It was just absolutely flavorless, despite boasting pineapple tofu. Even the sauce, which there wasn't much of, was bland.
The flatbread that came with the curry was nice, but not worth slogging through the main dish just for that.
Dave's noodles, though, were incredible! The sauce was spicy and flavorful, and the texture of the tofu was lovely. In fact, I was able to dump some of his extra sauce onto my tofu curry to save the dish.
Probably the highlight of our Magic Kingdom treats was the I Lava You float from Sunshine Tree Terrace. If you get it without the popping candy, it's vegan. And my, oh my.
This dessert is orange Dole Whip floating in Strawberry Fanta and red passion fruit syrup. It was absolutely incredible! So refreshing during the hot part of the day, and I'll definitely get this again next time we go.
For an extensive list of vegan options at Magic Kingdom, check out this guide from Melissa's blog.
What we ate at EPCOT
We are big EPCOT fans over here. Dave and I are children of the 80s, and we both just love the 80s-driven futurism in this park. It was a lot of fun to see that they are bringing back the old logos that used to be all over the park when we were kids!
On our first night in EPCOT, we were delighted to find veggie sushi rolls and edamame at Katsura Grill. They also have a vegan udon, which sounded incredible, but we weren't feeling soup that evening.
The sushi roll was just what we needed. It has pickled ginger in it, which you know I love! I even have a sushi burrito recipe that does the same thing.
The edamame was....edamame. For the three of us, we got three rolls and an order of edamame to share, which was a good amount. Next time, I might up it to two orders of the edamame.
One EPCOT eat that I would not recommend is the Chicago-style hot dog salad from Fairfax Fare. This salad was a big swing -- all of the elements of a Chicago-style dog in a bowl -- but it was also a huge miss. Just weird. Weird and bad. Don't do it!
Our big, delicious surprise at EPCOT was that our trip happened to coincide with the Flower and Garden Festival, which is a food and flower fest. There were cool topiaries all over the place and pop-up stands with all kinds of food.
The standout for us, which is unfortunately not a permanent fixture, was Trowel & Trellis, a pop-up restaurant sponsored by Impossible Foods.
It had an all-vegan menu, and we got the same meal from this place three times during the week:
- Impossible short ribs with sticky rice, pickled vegetables, baby bok choy, and kimchi mayo
- garlicky street corn
- lavender pots de creme with lemon whipped cream and blueberry compote
I am not exaggerating when I say that we are obsessed with these dishes, and I hope that some of this stuff makes its way to a permanent menu somehow.
The other standout for me at EPCOT was a Mickey soft pretzel. Simple, I know, but it was a great late-night snack. You can find the Mickey pretzel at carts all over EPCOT and the other Disney parks, and it's vegan if you get it without the cheese sauce. They also charge you less if you get mustard instead of cheese!
We grabbed a very quick dinner on our last night there at Sunshine Seasons in The Land Pavilion, which was a huge let-down. They used to have tons of amazing vegan options, and now the only vegan meal on the menu is a jackfruit wrap.
Since the original writing of this post, Sunshine Seasons has added back more vegan options! We got the Vegan Korma, which Dave liked a lot. I thought it was a fine option, but more bland than I like in a curry. Some hot sauce would have gone a long way.
Melissa did point out that Sunshine Seasons has a good vegan dessert, which we didn't get. The Oreo Chocolate Mousse is incredible, she says, and I wish I'd gotten that for dinner instead of that bad wrap.
This wrap was terrible. Did they season the jackfruit at all? I am guessing that they did not. It was a sad, sad meal that I ate to fill my belly.
One meal that we didn't get this time but have had on past visits is the vegan fish and chips from Rose & Crown Pub. It's a very simple meal: Gardein fishes filets, chips, and a side of mushy peas.
Melissa also shared a helpful Rose & Crown tip! If you eat at the bar, you can get the fish and chips for $10 less. It doesn't come with the mushy peas, but worth it to save that much on a meal!
Rose & Crown has a couple of other vegan options. They do a Tofu Masala Curry and a Bangers and Mash.
If you're craving a vegan burger at EPCOT, Melissa mentioned that she really likes the BBQ Jackfruit Beyond Burger at Regal Eagle in the America Pavilion. It's a Beyond burger topped with BBQ jackfruit. Next time, for sure!
Vegan food at Hollywood Studios
Looking back, we ate the most variety at Hollywood Studios. There are just some stellar options at both Galaxy's Edge and at the park in general.
Dave managed to snag us dinner reservations at Sci-Fi Dine-In, which is a restaurant that gives you a drive in movie experience. Instead of tables, there are booths shaped like old timey cars, and they all face a huge screen playing trailers for old sci-fi movies.
It's a really wonderful experience, and that menu has a few great vegan options:
- Island Cakes - These are Melissa's fave, and we ordered them on her recommendation. They're vegan crab cakes made from hearts of palm over apple slaw with vegan tartar sauce and topped with mushroom bacon. Amazing! Dave and I split these, but I could have eaten a full order as my entree.
- Flying Saucer Impossible Burger - The patty on this burger is thick, and they top it with a grilled portobello cap, vegan pesto, cashew ricotta, lettuce, tomato, and onion.
- Vegan Milkshakes - Sci-Fi Dine-In offers several vegan shakes. Melissa recommends the Oreo shake, because she loves Oreos.
- Cookie Shake - If you want something super decadent, they have a Cookie Shake that is also vegan. It's packed with cookie pieces, and they top it with vegan whipped cream and a mini cookie! It's a solid dessert shake.
For lunch at Hollywood Studios, we hit Rosie's for their Vegan Lobster Roll. This is a quick service location, and we loved this sandwich!
Like the Island Cakes, they use hearts of palm to make the lobster salad, and it was a great, quick, filling lunch. It came with a side of chips that were incredibly salty. Melissa says the salt levels are a little hit and miss, so be ready for that. Still worth going, in my opinion!
Another quick lunch that we didn't mention on the pod but bears mentioning is the veggie meatballs at Docking Bay 7.
These are quinoa meatballs that had a great texture and flavor. They come with herb hummus, fresh veggies, and soft pita bread. It was a great, quick meal. Refreshing and energizing!
Vegan drinks at Hollywood Studios
Also at Hollywood Studios, we got a reservation at Oga's Cantina for drinks. This is a really stellar experience! The bar is styled to make you feel like you're in the movie, and the drinks are delightful.
Drinks to avoid at Oga's, according to Vegan Disney World, are:
- the Black Spire Brew, which contains honey
- the T-16 Skyhopper, which contains half & half
Melissa also cautions that the blueberry popping pearls at Oga's are not vegan (they contain gelatin).
I ordered the Blurrgfire, which is a lemon-pomegranate drink with habanero-lime syrup that was stellar. The kid had the Hyperdrive, which was blue Powerade, white cranberry juice, black cherry puree and Sprite. His was sweeter than I like in a mocktail, but he loved it!
Dave had a Sierra Nevada IPA, which tasted like you'd expect.
We also asked Melissa what her favorite drink at Oga's was, and she said she loves the Fuzzy Tauntaun, because it makes your mouth go numb when you drink it. Wild!
The other vegan drink we had at Hollywood Studios was the green milk. The milk comes in green, which is a fruity flavor, and blue which Melissa says tastes like bubblegum.
I found the green milk way too sweet, but Dave and the kid loved it. We all loved how frosty it was on a hot day, but I couldn't handle more than a few sips. It wasn't like a flavored milk. Think more of a creamy slushy drink.
Where to listen
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