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Vegan Dining in Disney World

Update: Disney is no longer offering Divvies. They are currently offering bakery items from the Enjoy Life and OMG Manufacturers along with Rocky Mountain Popcorn, and Surf Sweets Jelly Beans throughout the Parks and Resorts.

Those who are vegan or who are visiting Disney World with a vegan family member or guest often have a bit of stress about how they’re going to find vegan-friendly foods in a theme park! Luckily, Disney is known far and wide for their ability in working with special diets. Click here for a few resources we’ve put together for those dining with special diets in Disney.

Recently, I interviewed Anna G., who writes the wonderful Cookie Madness blog, who headed to Disney World earlier this year with a vegan guest…who happened to be 9 years old!

Plan Ahead
Usually, the first step in dining with a special diet in Disney World is to contact Disney dining before your trip to give them a heads’ up. When Anna contacted the special diets line (407-824-5967), she was sent this email along with several attachments:

Thank you for inquiring about Vegan options at the Walt Disney World Resort.

All of our restaurants offer at least one vegetarian option and most can be modified to be vegan. We stress that you ask to speak to a Chef or Manager when you arrive at each location. They will be happy to assist with your selection and provide product labels and ingredients for menu items.

The attached documents should help you with your planning. Please check the Walt Disney World Resorts Dietary Reference Sheet and it will give you more information regarding the products we carry.

Please complete and return the “Guest Allergy-Dietary Request Form” by email to [specialdiets@disneyworld.com] or fax to 407-560-2992. Be sure to list the restaurant names and dates where you plan to dine. This way we can alert all the various restaurant Chefs and Managers of your upcoming visit and your meal requests.

Let us know if you need any further assistance.

Lee Brady
Guest Communication Services
Walt Disney World

Attachments included a form to fill out indicating the dietary requests and restaurants where you’ll be dining, a letter detailing options for those dining with special dietary needs in Disney World, and a nutritional information guide.

Disney Popcorn

Upon Arrival
Once Anna and her family arrived in Disney World, they were pleasantly surprised by the individual attention they received by the chefs in each restaurants. Here are some of her thoughts and experiences:

1. What were some vegan snacks and treats that were available in Disney Parks?
Vegan snacks available in the park were pretzels and popcorn. One of the popcorn stand vendors was a vegan herself and assured us that Disney used an animal free type of butter flavoring in their popcorn.

2. What were some of the common vegan items served at table service restaurants? Was there good variety, or was everything pretty much a variation on a theme?
To be honest, there weren’t a lot of “common” vegan entrees at most restaurants. I’ve heard that’s not the case at Boma, where they do have quite a few vegan dishes, but at most restaurants we had to tell the water we were dining with a vegan. The waiter would send the chef out, the chef would discuss likes and dislikes, and then the chef would prepare something that suited the diner. Being that we were with a 9 year old, our little vegan chose pasta with marinara sauce on most occasions, but on two evenings she let the chef make a stir-fry. At Chef Mickey’s and California Grill, the chefs brought out incredible looking stir-fries that made me wish I was a vegan. As for vegan desserts, they were scarce. However almost every table service restaurant served Tofutti (Editor’s Note: Magic Kingdom’s Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant also has tofutti).

3. Was it easier to eat vegan at counter-service restaurants or table-service restaurants? Would you specifically recommend any restaurants to those with a vegan diet?
It was definitely easier to eat vegan at table service restaurants considering all of the above. A vegan will be treated nicely and have a wonderful time at just about ANY table service restaurant, based on our experience.

Pasta and Marinara at Citricos

4. How did the chefs interact with your guest? Were they thrown when having to interact with a child about a dietary restriction, or did the communication go smoothly?
When the chefs came to the table they spoke directly to her. They were polite to the family and made eye contact with us adults, but they made it really clear that this conversation was to be with her and that she was the one running the show. Also, they didn’t call her princess or speak to her in a fun and casual manner, but rather a very friendly, sincere, and mature manner. It was very clear that the chefs did not want her to break her diet (which would be even more critical in the case of a food allergy) and respected her wishes. They also didn’t seem the least bit put out or bothered by special requests, which was admirable. What was also impressive was how the chef and the waiters timed things. In some cases, we had to wait a little longer to place our order because we’d be waiting on the chef and the waiter held off taking the rest of the family’s order until the chef had come to the table to talk to the vegan. This was a good thing because it ensured we were all served at the same time. Also, the waiter took our guest’s order as well even though she’d already ordered from the chef. So the waiter already kind of knew what she was getting, but he included her in the ordering process.

5. Was there any particular meal she seemed to enjoy, or was anything her “favorite” from the trip?
She really enjoyed all her meals but her favorite was Citricos. Along with assuring her that their artisan bread was vegan (she was hungry and very happy to hear this!), they brought her a salad of fresh fruit. She also commented that the marinara sauce at Citricos was the best she ever had. Plus, she’s 9 and liked the “fanciness” of the place.

Thanks to Anna for the opportunity to learn about her experience with special dietary requests in Disney World!

Other Tips From Pros
We were also lucky to catch up with Cheryl Perlmutter, who often dines vegan, gluten-free, and sometimes even kosher in Disney World restaurants. Here are a few of her comments regarding dining vegan:

Divvies Chocolate Chip Cookies

1. What foods are your most common options when visiting Disney World with a vegan or gluten-free diet? Are there specialty products that are available?
For snacks Fruit cups is great, also there is carrots and celery (which could be lower priced). There are 2 types of special cookies, Enjoy Life and Divvies (divvies are not gluten free).

2. What are your top tips for those dining vegan or gluten-free in WDW?
Be specific, I sometimes get chefs who like to embellish. Don’t be afraid to say what you like and don’t like. (Example: “I don’t like tomato and garlic in my meals.”)

3. Are there resources in Disney World for those dining at counter service restaurants with special requests?
For counter service, every location has a nutritional book with all the ingredients.

4. What are the best vegan meals you’ve been served in Disney World?
The best meals were Citricos and Artist Point.

You can also find some of Cheryl’s vegan specialty celebration cakes in this thread about Birthday Cakes in Disney World! Stay tuned for more from Cheryl on gluten-free dining and kosher dining in upcoming posts.

Another pro we caught up with is Disney World Moms Panelist Kara B., who has spent time in Disney World while eating a vegan diet. Here are her suggestions:

In my past, I spent many years as a vegetarian, of which 6 months I went vegan. Those 6 months included a trip to WDW, and I felt like a vegan princess while there. No weird stares. No explaining why. No defining what a vegan is. Just grand service. However, I did some work up front before visiting.

When I made all of our dining reservations, I made sure to clearly note my dietary restrictions (no meat, no dairy, no eggs). With one week left before the trip, I confirmed with Disney dining that all the reservations had a note included in our reservations. I also carefully studied all the menus on line (www.allearsnet.com is my favorite source) to be prepared; however, at each of the table service restaurants the head chef came out to talk with me.

On several occasions I was given something on the menu, prepared just for me! And by far, the best place was Boma. Not only was I walked through the food selections to know which were vegan, but the chef made me a HUGE plate of goodies for my entree and the most amazing dessert: fresh pineapple, chocolate syrup, and avocado sorbet. Again, it was ginormous and delicious.

Boma Vegan Dessert

And More!
Facebook Fan Miranda Kelly says this: “My father is Vegan, and we recently spent the weekend at WDW. All if the TS restaurants we went to had a separate vegan menu. He loved it, he didn’t have to explain what his restrictions were. Best place was Sanaa, he loved the bread service and the salads.”

Have you experienced — or will you be experiencing — a visit to Disney World with a specialty dietary request? Let us know how it went or what you’re planning in the comments section below!

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18 Comments

  1. Sara says:

    Thanks for this informative post!! I personally am not vegan, however I am lactose-intolerant and do have food allergies, so it’s great to know that some restaurants offer non-dairy alternatives for items such as ice cream. I was especially excited to find this out about Beaches and Cream…sundaes here I come!

    Based on my experiences, Disney World is fantastic with special diet restrictions. All of my questions were always answered with confidence, and I was never made to feel as though I was being a pain. My most memorable experience was at Boma, where a very kind chef walked down the entire buffet line with me, telling me item by item what I could and could not have (based on my allergies to cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove – which I thought would limit me a lot more than they did!).

  2. We have friends that are vegan and if we’re going to go out to eat, the only place to do so is Walt Disney World. They are so accommodating for vegan guests and I’m always amazed by what the chef is willing to prepare for them each time my friends speak to the chef.

  3. Celia says:

    My aunt is vegan and the chef’s were wonderful when we went last year. Sanaa was the best of the three we went the chef searched for some new recipes and made them for her and they also ended up on the menu when I checked this year which was great. The only thing is my aunt is one step above a vegan so she doesn’t eat any pasta, rice, honey, wheat or anything with flour so it makes her choices a little more scarce but Disney made it so much easier not only on her but on the rest of us as well.

  4. nahtazu says:

    @Sara Thanks so much for posting. I never thought to ask whether or not B&C offered non-dairy alternatives! I’m lactose intolerant too and have always skipped ice cream at WDW, but now I don’t have to. [finally, I'll get to try the much-mentioned No Way Jose, LOL!]

  5. Lisa says:

    Great information, Thank you!
    I found it easy to have amazing Vegan dinners every night in Disney World. But desserts were hard to come by, aside from pre-packaged stuff. The avocado sundae at Boma looks fabulous, I will remember that one for future visits!!!! :-)

    ~The Vegan Mom

  6. Hedy says:

    Thanks for this article-I’m a vegetarian and found it interesting.

  7. runner53 says:

    This was a great article! I went there is I believe around 2000/2001? with my family, and I was around 15 years old and the only vegan in my family. Originally I was worried that being a theme park it would be difficult; but after our first dinner I was very full and very happy. The chefs were all happy to create meals for me. It makes vacationing there easy on the whole family :).

  8. Ellen D. says:

    Our most recent trip in August was my first as a vegan. Eating at TS restaurants was not only manageable and easy, but even gave me ideas for new meals to make at home.

  9. Josh says:

    I have been seeing recent articles pop-up saying how eating vegan is better for you, and this is a way to start a such lifestyle.

    I’m guessing that Lactose-Intolerance would fall under the “Special Diet” category? As I am partially lactose-intolerant.

    Great article!

  10. Cathy says:

    Jan. 17, 2011
    Returned last night from Disney World. I can’t tell you how pleased I was to be able to eat vegan on vacation. Enjoyed 3 table service meals and left the restaurants stuffed! The Crystal Palace has an amazing pasta salad and lemon rice and many vegan items. The restaurant in Morocco had no-butter couscous and veggies. My favorite was The Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge. Although this is a typical meat-laden eatery, Chef Junior went all-out for my quinoa cakes with red pepper coulis over frisee lettuce and roasted fingerling potatoes. He added tortilla chips for crunch and a fresh made salsa. Each restaurant’s chef came out to our table and spoke to me about my dining expectations.
    I did request special meals when I made restaurant reservations weeks ahead of time, so the chefs were able to anticipate my arrival. Breakfast was usually a granola bar on the run and lunch was often salads or roasted veggie sandwich, no cheese of course.

  11. M Bullard says:

    We have just returned from a week at Disney World. I am not really vegan. I will eat things prepared with butter or milk if there are no other options, no eggs or meat of any kind though and I am real weird about the hidden animal derived ingredients that I have trouble pronouncing. It is just all real gross to me. I traveled with my husband, my six year old twins, and my parents – all meat eaters.Here is what I ate and my experiences dining at Disney.

    Day 1 – Vegan chili, fries, and apple pie at Columbia Harbour House – always very good
    Day 2- Lunch -Tusker House – Marakesh couscous, roasted potatoes, pita bread, and fresh fruit – best pineapple ever, not crazy about much else
    Supper- vegan pizza at Wolfgang puck express- tomatos, zucinni, onion, and peppers,NO cheese- Special ordered – very good but it could have used a little sauce
    Day 3 – Lunch – Via Napoli -there vegetable pizza minus the cheese added olives- OK but no where near as good as Wolfgang Puck
    Supper – Garden Grill – special ordered- vegetarian pot pie no topping to make it vegan, side of corn and other mixed veggies (heavy on butter if that bothers you), bread, fruit crumble ( again has butter in the topping, comes with cream but they put that on the side – I talked with the chef here – not a great meal, however I think my special order was better thatn my families preplated meal – good only if your kids really want to eat with Chip and Dale, mine did
    Day 4- Pop Century food court – Lunch – Black bean burrito (not on the menu) pick your own toppings, comes with tortilla chips – this was good, but I tried to order it later in the trip at supper and the black beans have meat in them at night
    Supper – food court again- Asian salad no chicken -I did not ask about the dressing – just hoping for the best – I really wanted the salad so I really just did not want to know – it was a good salad
    Day 5 – Lunch – Hollywood and Vine – Bean cassarole and rice, roll, tofutti ice cream (you have to ask) with strawberry syrup – I really like the mixed beans here
    Supper – vegetable soup (food court again)
    Day 6- Liberty Tree Tavern (had not planned to eat here, but it turned out Ok) Liberty salad – no meat, cheese or pecans (candied with egg glaze, I was sad because I really wanted pecans in the salad)- talked to the chef- he thought I was crazy because they have a vegetarian burger that he can make vegan – I just don’t like fake burgers it is too much like the real thing plus I can’t help but think there are gross animal by products in the bun – he really recommended the burger but reluctantly made the salad – it was pretty good with just greens, dressing, cranberries, and apples. I also got a very good strawberry sorbet.
    Day 7 – 50′s Prime Time – spaghetti and “meat”balls- on the menu, minus cheese to make it vegan, decent if you like spaghetti. I did not try the “meat”balls, I just pushed them to the side, I had another tofutti sundae, and a vanilla coke – the coke was great!

    Snacks – Divvies cookies (first time to try them – I am definately a new Divvies fan), donut and cupcake top from Babycakes ( I am not a fan. The donut was the size of a half dollar and very dried out. The icing on the cupcake top was foamy and gross). Pretzel and popcorn (Disney has the best popcorn ever!)

    I hope this is helpful to somebody headed to Disney and don’t forget get fastpasses to Toy Story Mania early – it’s the best ride there! Also if you have a little boy between 4-10 sign him up for Jedi training.

  12. AJ says:

    Thank you so much for the additions and suggestions! Please keep the suggestions coming.

  13. Melissa says:

    I am planning a trip to WDW for next year, my 2 year old is allergic to all dairy, eggs and soy. I am struggling to find menus that meet her needs. All the vegan products have soy in, I’m particulary stuck on desserts. Please help!

  14. Sensible Seamstress says:

    I cruised on the Disney Dream last month. I’m… let’s say, on the road to becoming vegan, but it’s been a process. I did not make a big deal of it either on the ship or later at WDW, but I did eat vegan or vegetarian every chance I got. I found it very easy to do, even without talking to chefs. I’ve seen Disney over the years add more and more plant-based meals to every menu I come across.

    That having been said, I DID tell the dining staff on the Disney Dream that I was vegan and dining at Remy on our last night. Holy cow. That vegan meal prepared especially for me by one of the Remy chefs was The. BEST. Meal. I’ve ever had in my entire life. And I even took home a souvenir menu printed with the special dishes they’d made just for me.

    After reading all these comments and all the info on this blog, I’ll be preparing for an all-vegan Disney vacation next time, not just because it’s healthier, but because Disney makes it such an amazing, delicious, and unique experience.

  15. AJ says:

    Melissa — Please contact Disney’s special diets line — they will go out of their way to help you! :-)

    SS — What great reviews! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  16. Sherlynn McKeown says:

    While I find on this blog that many of you found vegan varieties while on your visits, my experience was not so “filling”.

    I love Disney and we have been just a handful of times. I was very encouraged when our travel agent told us there were vegan options at the restaurants we were planning to visit. He called ahead and alerted the venue. When we arrived we alerted the server and the chef met with us and took around to the buffet or guided us through the menu. Although most of the dishes were great, the fact was that we left most places hungry as we are not 9 like some of the guests listed in some of the posts, . The options were sparse and were nothing more than side dishes. I will say Hollywood and Vine and Boma were the most accommodating and we did not leave hungry. But this is NOT in my opinion a Disney experience. There are multiple parks with numerous restaurants and counter services that fall very short of the “where dreams come true” and “If you dream it, you can do it”. Disney can certainly improve in this area, train each chef, or at least make it easier to locate such things. We could find almost nothing at the resort we stayed at. Good thing I had the forethought to bring our breakfast foods.

    I’m glad the people on this blog had better experiences than my husband and I did.

  17. LeKarls says:

    I’m going to Disney World for Valentine’s day with my fella. This is my first time being in Disney and being vegan. Really hoping I get some of these excellent meals that were listed! I’ll post an update after the trip. Really wanna try Boma too!!!

  18. Lauren Ashley Minchin says:

    I am very suprised that disney pays so much attention to us vegans! I was very worried about our vegan familys trip to disney world coming up next year but now i feel much better phew!

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