Travel | North America
August 24, 2020
Note: Menu options and prices were current when we visited in January 2020. Due to COVID-19, some menu options have changed or are temporarily unavailable.
Back in October 2019, Disney World announced new plant-based offerings all throughout its parks and resorts. I couldn't wait to try them, so I saved up my coins and headed to Disney earlier this year (pre-COVID). Together with a friend, we sampled vegan eats and treats throughout all four parks. Over three days of dining, we each kept our food spending under $70! Here's a list of what we ate, and what I thought about it.
I cut costs by bringing my own water flasks to the parks to avoid buying bottled water throughout the day. It does add weight to your bags, especially in the morning when the flasks are full, so you'll have to decide if that's worth the savings. I also brought breakfast foods to eat in the hotel before heading to the parks. At Disney World, I shared almost every dish with my travel partner, so we got to sample twice as many foods!
For reference, I'm not a fan of fake meats, so I only tried dishes with fake meat when I couldn't find another option.
The Magic Kingdom seemed to have the most vegan options by far. So we had quite a variety of foods to choose from there.
While Disney calls these tostones, they're actually just plantain chips. (In case you don't know what the difference is, tostones are also made from plantains, but they're thicker slices that are flattened and fried. Plantain chips have a thinner, crispier, chip-like texture.) These chips are served with a black bean salsa on the side, which also has tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers tossed in oil.
The flavors are very mild in this snack, but it feels fresh with good ingredients. It may not be exciting, but it's edible. Sometimes, as vegans, we've gotta be okay with edible when we need something to eat in a place like Disney World.
This one's not exactly on the menu. At Pinocchio Village Haus, they will make any pizza with a vegan crust and vegan cheese, so I went with the Margherita. There's no extra charge for that; the price is the same as the non-vegan version of the flatbread you order.
The flatbread is on the small size, definitely meant for one person, and it's cut into six small pieces. Each piece has its own tomato slice on it, along with pizza sauce and vegan cheese. The pizza was definitely one of the nicer-looking foods we ate at Disney World. This one had more flavor to it than the tostones, and I'd say it's a decent lunch option. The flatbread was a little thinner and crispier than I would have liked my pizza crust to be; it was almost cracker-like. I also prefer lots of veggies on my pizza instead of vegan cheese. If I were to eat it again, I might try putting a little salt on top to bring out more of the tomato flavor.
The Mickey pretzels that are found throughout the parks are vegan! Just hold the cheese, obviously. Though they're pricey for a pretzel, they're big, filling, and absolutely delicious!
The falafel is an appetizer that's served with five pieces of falafel, slices of radish, and edamame hummus. The falafel is a delicious way to end a long day at Disney. It has just a tiny bit of spice to it.
This is a big dish with a variety of flavors. It has coconut rice, breaded pineapple tofu, and mixed vegetables in a red sauce. Although I'm not usually a tofu person, there is a thick layer of breading on it which gives the tofu a nice crispy texture. My friend (who does eat tofu regularly) didn't like the breading as much as I did. The highlight of this dish, for me, was the flatbread that was served with it. It has a crepe-like texture, a potatoey taste, and the seasonings and spices flavored the bread in a really nice way.
This park was probably the hardest place to find good vegan food. But we were only there for the morning, so we just had a snack.
This was the surprise standout snack from this trip. Two flavors of hummus (regular and roasted red pepper) are served along with mini pita bread, lettuce, and crunchy garbanzo beans. On the regular hummus, there are some fresh cut tomatoes and onions on top. There is also a "meat" crumble on top of the red pepper hummus, but it's not a meat imitation, it's just crumbled garbanzos. The red pepper hummus was the clear winner of the dish (and the whole trip). It was full of flavor and tasted freshly made. The only negative was that we didn't have enough pita bread for all the hummus they gave us. But that didn't stop me from scooping up the hummus with the lettuce we had on the side!
The Balinese Breeze is an iced tea with mountainberry tea, simple syrup, and lemon juice. The berries really show in the red color of this tea. I usually drink water, but this was a nice, flavorful change of pace!
These tacos have plant-based tinga that tastes very much like real meat in my opinion (tinga is shredded chicken or meat with tomatoes, chiles, and onions). Because I don't like the taste of any meat, this was not one of my favorites. My travel partner, on the other hand, didn't think it tasted like meat and she liked the tacos.
On the plus side, the avocado was fresh, and I enjoyed the plant-based cheese. They give you two tortillas with each taco, which were needed because the tortillas crumbled easily!
This one's not on Disney's plant-based menu, so I asked our waiter if there was an animal product in it. It turns out, it doesn't contain any animal ingredients, it's just fried in the same oil with meats. That wasn't a deal-breaker for us, so we went ahead and tried it.
I love breaded cauliflower, and when I made Manchurian sauce at home, I absolutely loved it. So I definitely wanted to try this dish. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my home-cooked version, and while it was certainly okay, between two people we didn't finish it. I can't explain exactly why. We weren't full, but something about this dish made both of us physically feel like we couldn't continue eating it.
Rounding out our dinner at Tiffins, we tried this dessert. It wasn't my choice, but I do love passion fruit, so I was fine with trying it. Unfortunately, this was another disappointment. It's gelatin with some random citrus fruit pieces inside and a coconut creme with chocolate crumbs on top. The creme and chocolate crumble were the best parts of the dessert. But the rest of it was... well... fancy Jell-o. I ate it, though, so I guess it wasn't terrible. It could be a nice option if you want something light and fruity.
Based on my review of the food, you might think you should skip Tiffins, but I'd encourage you to go anyway. There are a few other vegan options there that we didn't try, but regardless of the food, the restaurant is amazing. There is a nice ambiance to it, from the art on the walls to the lighting and soft, exotic music. It felt like a real restaurant that we'd eat at if we were outside of Disney.
Our host Ko was extremely gracious and showed us each room of the restaurant while explaining the stories behind each object or piece of decor. He explained, for example, that Tiffins was named for an Asian lunch box (called a tiffin). They have a few tiffins in the display case at the front of the restaurant. Ko had probably explained these things thousands of times to other guests, but you'd never know it by his enthusiasm.
I love Indian food, and this dish at Epcot is a pretty good version of korma. It does contain some vegan "chicken." But this meal is spooned from large trays, so I asked the server to give me more veggies and avoid the fake meat. I think we only ended up with one piece in the whole dish.
Even though this is a quick-serve meal, it's one of the better vegan meals in the park. The sauce is great, and it has some of my favorite foods: peas, carrots, and cashews! It pairs really nicely with the jasmine rice.
Guac is great on its own, but this one has mango and pumpkin seeds too! It is a little spicy, so if you're not into that, you will probably want to skip this particular rendition of guacamole. Here, they give you plenty of chips to eat with the big serving of guacamole, and the chips are thick, crunchy yellow corn chips.
Wow! There's a lot of sugar in this thing. We wanted to try an authentic Mexican candy, and I like guava, so this seemed like a good choice. But it's basically just guava-flavored sugar. The guava has a chewy texture, and the sugar coating is very crunchy. We each ate about one bite-sized chunk and had had enough of it. It's worth a try just for the experience, but I wouldn't buy it again!
This treat is offered with a sweet milk topping, which you obviously have to leave off to keep it vegan. I have a feeling that the topping may be what makes the kakigori special. Without it, it's basically just a snow cone: crunchy ice with a fruity syrup. Snow cones are great, though, so I enjoyed this one!
These are crunchy dumplings filled with veggies and edamame, served with a really yummy teriyaki sauce. The filling is creamy, and it has a starchy texture, almost like the potato filling inside pierogies. They come with mashed potatoes, but we had to order the gyoza without them to keep the dish vegan. They're only available during the Festival of the Arts, but if they bring them back next year, don't skip this one!
So that was our three-day vegan food journey through Disney World! I have to say that I really enjoyed having more options to choose from during our trip, but I also hope they'll continue to improve and expand their vegan options. As of now, Disney's not a place I'd go for the food, because there are better versions of almost every dish available somewhere else for less money. However, I love Disney, so having options that are "good," is a huge improvement from the vegan options just a few years ago.
My one gripe is that while Magic Kingdom seems to have plentiful vegan options, it was especially hard to find something that I wanted to eat in the other three parks. Epcot is the most adult-oriented park, so I'd like to see them have the grown-up food options to match. And Animal Kingdom being... well, Animal Kingdom, more animal-friendly foods would make sense there. Nonetheless, progress is progress!
As you can tell, a lot of the snacks and meals are quite large and can be easily shared by two people. So if you want to sample more foods, bring a friend with similar tastes!
What's your favorite vegan food at Disney? Let me know in the comments.
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