Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up: October 11, 2009

Hi all! The top story in Disney dining this week is that Disney World is trying out a new seating system at four Magic Kingdom counter-service restaurants.

Disney has been restricting seating to groups who have already received their food, hoping to cut down on the amount of people “saving tables” while the rest of their group is still ordering food. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be. In the meantime, Robert Niles at Theme Park Insider has discussed the issue in his blog post: Pecos Bill and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

But while that debate rages on, there’s still plenty of other great Disney food writing going on. The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival continues, brand new hotels have opened (which means brand new eating establishments!), there’s a new food spot for the Alaska cruises, and more! Here we go!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival News
Attractions Magazine takes a look at Epcot’s Party for the Senses, including photos and a video! Haven’t had enough? Laughing Place adds their Party for the Senses photos as well! This is one event I would LOVE to attend someday.

Etckt stopped by the Food and Wine Festival to sample some dishes from the International Marketplaces. He’s an incredible photographer, so be sure to check this one out!

And the Disney Parks Blog posted some great videos and recipes from celebrity chef team The Deen Brothers and Food Network’s Dinner Impossible Chef Robert Irvine. The blog also posted their highlights from the Wine chat with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Other Disney Dining News and Web Posts
Orlando Sentinel’s The Dish columnist Heather Mcpherson reports on honors received by Central Florida’s authentic Mexican restaurants, including two in Disney World!

Disney and More reports and comments on an expansion at the Last Chance Cafe in Disneyland Paris’ Frontierland.

Mouseplanet contributor Chris Barry discusses his Top Five Dining Moments in Disney World.

Main Street Gazette highlights some great themeing by Magic Kingdom imagineers via the Popcorn Kiosks in the park.

Scott Joseph Orlando gives us a first look at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando bars and restaurants.

Stuff From the Park shares a Golden Horseshoe menu circa the late 1970’s — back when there were waiters here! Hmm… that’s the first time I’ve seen Pepsi listed on a Disney Park menu…

Stitch Kingdom shares some photos of the construction of the Outlook Cafe on the Disney Wonder. The Cafe is being built in preparation for the upcoming Alaska cruises.

Thanks for all the great dining news and updates this week, all! We’re grateful for all the great writing you do!

Best Disney World Restaurants for Vegetarians

Boma Open Kitchen

Boma Open Kitchen

This is a tough blog post, as people define “Vegetarian” in so many different ways! To try to give you the most up-to-date and tested information, I’ve included readers’ top picks for table-service and counter-service locations and rounded out the post with some great feedback from travel-blogger SoloFriendly, who’s got some great ideas for meat-free Disney World dishes. Finally, I’ve listed a few other resources for you to check out if you’re doing Disney as a vegetarian or a vegan.

 

 

Best Disney World Restaurants for Vegetarians

Reader Picks: Table-Service
Boma
Boma, Jambo House, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Boma was the landslide winner among food blog readers who chimed in about Vegetarian options. It’s a buffet, which automatically offers a wide variety of choices; but with an emphasis on African soups, hummus, salads, and grain-based dishes, it’s a great option for meat-free eating.

Reader Comment from Beth via facebook:
Hubby is vegetarian when out thanks to being Kosher at home. His favorite was Boma since there was so much to pick from. The staff there was amazing to walk around and tell everything that was safe if you requested it.

Sanaa
Sanaa, Kidani Village, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
One of the newer restaurants in Disney World, Sanaa has another African- and Asian- themed menu (dinner menu) on which every section has at least one (and usually many) mouth-watering vegetarian selections.

While I loved my meal there, I’ll quote SoloFriendly’s helpful comments:

Sanaa Spinach and Paneer Cheese

Sanaa Spinach and Paneer Cheese

They’ve got a lot of very creative menu items that are vegetarian, so if I was really sick of salads and wanted something totally different, I’d go here. They offer all sorts of wonderful breads and vegetarian accompaniments, more than one vegetarian appetizer (paneer cheese, roasted cauliflower, and potato and pea samosas) and entree, unusual salad choices, and a vegetarian soup. There is no doubt in my mind I could have a very filling and delicious meal here without eating meat. In fact, I could do so more than once without repeating the same dish twice. (By the way, here’s SoloFriendly’s Sanaa Review)

Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Downtown Disney
This well-known Downtown Disney restaurant features several meatless choices, including creative salads, vegetarian pasta dishes, and yummy flatbreads/pizzas. The most famous item, however, is the butternut-squash soup! Here’s the dinner menu, and for some photos, SoloFriendly’s Wolfgang Puck Cafe review.

Reader Comment from Jennifer via facebook:
Wofgang Puck’s. Between sushi, salmon, margherita pizza, and [pumpkin] ravioli, you have many options.

Tusker House Buffet

Tusker House Buffet

Tusker House, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Coming highly recommended by readers (and me!), Tusker House serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets in the Animal Kingdom theme park. Vegetarian options abound at all meals, and servers will gladly show you which items are vegetarian. This gives a quick list of some items that are routinely available on the lunch/dinner buffets, including Hummus and baba ghanoush, Jollaf rice, Pearl couscous with sweet basil essence, Spiced tandoori tofu, and Tunisian couscous salad.

Vegetarian Quiche and Coconut Sweet Potato Casserole

Vegetarian Quiche and Coconut Sweet Potato Casserole

Reader Comment from Erwin via facebook:
For ease of locating things, Tusker House. Last time we were there, the server pointed out that (facing the buffet from the dining room) everything to the left of the dessert island was vegetarian, with the obvious exception of the meats on the deli board. Everything to the right was not, which included the Israeli couscous side dish (probably made with chicken broth).

Reader Picks: Counter-Service

Tangierine Cafe

Tangierine Cafe

Tangierine Cafe, Morocco Pavilion, Epcot’s World Showcase
Another multi-vote winner, Tangierine Cafe offers numerous wraps and side dishes that are, or can be made, vegetarian. Check out SoloFriendly’s photo-packed review of her Vegetable Platter dinner, which includes “falafel bread, olive salad, hummus, lentil salad, tabouleh, and a tangierine couscous salad,” at the cafe.

Reader Comment from @jobber99 via twitter, recalling his favorite veggie meal at Tangierine Cafe: Falafel with hummus, pita, rice, taboueh, and baklava.

Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons, The Land, Epcot’s Future World
Sunshine Seasons always tops best counter-service lists, and this is no exception. The food-court-style restaurant offers different stations for different types of food, including Asian Cuisine-inspired foods, Soup and Salads, Sandwiches, Grilled items, and Desserts.

Sunshine Seasons Asian Cuisine Station

Sunshine Seasons Asian Cuisine Station

In addition to the standard vegetarian fare (soups and salads) at Sunshine Seasons, you can find grilled vegetable sandwiches and other vegetarian entrees.

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom
Cosmic Ray’s is truly a favorite among vegetarians for its (actually quite good!) veggie burgers and vegetable wraps. Perhaps the out-of-this-world (sorry. had to do it.) burger fixin’s bar will sway your decision… .

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Other reader suggestions included: Garden Grill (dish suggestion: tofu veggie noodles), Columbia Harbour House (dish suggestion: lighthouse sandwich), Yak and Yeti (make a meal of the veggie side dishes), Starring Rolls Cafe (dish suggestion: Veggie Wrap), Mama Melrose’s, Coral Reef (dish suggestion: Wild Mushroom Lasagna), Coronado Springs’ Pepper Market, California Grill, Chef Mickey’s, Kona Cafe, and The Hollywood Brown Derby. We’d love to hear your suggestions; contact Disney Food Blog via facebook, twitter, or email.

Cosmic Ray's Condiment Bar

Cosmic Ray’s Condiment Bar

If these suggestions don’t strike your fancy, remember that Disney offers a whole website page about special dining options as well as phone numbers and email addresses to connect with dining personnel before your trip. This is a great way to get information and request special dining options for your vacation. Disney is very accommodating when it comes to ensuring your dining experience is a good one; it just may take a bit of pre-planning. Also, if you’re already in a restaurant and don’t see anything for you on the menu, mention to your server that you’d like to hear more about Vegetarian and Vegan options. Many Disney World Chefs are more than willing to put together a delectable dish just for you — even on short notice!

Disney Contact Information for Special Diet Considerations
General Disney Special Diets Contact: SpecialDiets@DisneyWorld.com, or 407-824-5967
Animal Kingdom: WDWAKSpecialDiets@email.disney.com, or 407-938-3288
Hollywood Studios: WDWSTSpecialDiets@email.disney.com, or 407-560-3551
Epcot: WDWECSpecialDiets@email.disney.com, or 407-560-6395
Magic Kingdom: WDWMKSpecialDiets@email.disney.com, or 407-824-5967
(thanks to WDWinfo)

Other Helpful Links, Books, and Tips
Helpful grid of Vegetarian and Vegan items in Disney World Parks: While this does not include all restaurants and dining locations (and no resort options), it’s still a VERY helpful guide for those visiting the parks.
Vegetarian Walt Disney World and Greater Orlando (2000): One of the only dining guides for vegetarians in Disney World
Vegetarian Walt Disney World and Greater Orlando, Second Edition (2003)
Website and Book Updates For Vegetarian Walt Disney World and Greater Orlando

As a disclaimer, in this blog post “Vegetarian” pretty much means the ingredients are “meat-free;” the qualification does not pertain to how or where the dishes are cooked, and does not take into consideration inclusion of eggs/dairy.

Check out the other “Best Disney World Restaurants” in our series!

Reader Favorites: Best Disney World Counter Service Restaurants

Got a great question via twitter about best counter service restaurants, and I thought I’d poll the DisneyFoodBlog Facebook Fan Page members about their favorites! Here are the winners in each Disney World theme park:

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe: Magic Kingdom

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe: Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe
“Pecos Bill’s” as it’s commonly called, is located in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland, between Splash Mountain and El Pirata y El Perico. It’s a HUGE counter service restaurant offering burgers (including a veggie burger), wraps, chicken and taco salads, and a pulled pork sandwich along with several sides and dessert offerings. Kids’ offerings include a hamburger and a salad with chicken.

Magic Kingdom Runners Up: Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland

Sunshine Seasons Food Station Categories

Sunshine Seasons Food Station Categories

Epcot: Sunshine Seasons
The runaway favorite for favorite Epcot counter service choice, Sunshine Seasons is located in The Land pavilion in Future World.

Sunshine Seasons is one of the only true “food courts” in the Disney World parks, and offers different stations for different types of food, including Asian Cuisine-inspired foods, Soup and Salads, Sandwiches, Grilled items, and Desserts. There’s also a self-serve beverage station.

In the morning, Sunshine Seasons is one of the only places to get a hot breakfast in Epcot!

Epcot Runner Up: Tangierine Cafe in the Morocco Pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase
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