Tips from the DFB Guide: Healthier Options in Walt Disney World

Many of us regard a trip to Walt Disney World as an opportunity to take a break from healthy eating, and counting calories, carbs, etc.


But sometimes, you don’t necessarily want to check nutritional discipline at the Purple Gates.

You may think that healthy eating at Walt Disney World is an oxymoron. But more and more, that’s simply not so.

Sure, you can indulge to your heart’s content. But whether you’re looking to sub out just one meal or snack a day for a health-savvy option, or you plan to stick to your guns in the nutrition department while you’re amidst the magic, we have some great tips for finding healthy and tasty options at Walt Disney World!

They come courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015! And if you find these tips to be helpful, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Head for the Grab and Go

Not too long ago, Disney World was a sea of hamburgers, fries, and soda pop. And some people think that’s what it STILL is.

But, honestly, things have changed.

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Sure, you still have lots and lots of choices in the burger genre. But they’ve definitely expanded beyond the fast food mentality when it comes to quick eating options.

My best tip for eating healthy — and this goes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time — is to head for the Grab and Go section.

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

You’ll spy Grab and Go spots in lots of places. There are always robust choices in the Resorts. There, you’ll find everything from prepared salads, sandwiches made with lean meats, and even sushi. Check out Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort for a great selection! And when it comes to a Park option, Sunshine Seasons offers choices that can’t be beat.

Grab and Go Sushi

Grab and Go Sushi at Landscape of Flavors

So if you have the resolve to pass the pizza and burgers by, a healthy meal is totally in your grasp!

Be Mindful About Restaurant Choices

If you have healthy eating in mind, then you probably shouldn’t pencil in a counter service lunch at Casey’s Corner. ;-)

Don’t get me wrong — Corn Dog Nuggets and Plastic Cheese are totally boss. But let’s face it — planning ahead to eat at a restaurant that offers lots of fresh choices and grilled options is probably a better idea when you’re trying to stay on the healthy bandwagon.

Fortunately, better-for-you options abound at Walt Disney World. One of my favorite spots to grab a healthy counter service lunch is Tamu Tamu Refreshments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can’t go wrong with their Chicken or Vegetable Curry.

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Another option that I can recommend is the Japan Pavilion at Epcot. Whether you choose Miso Soup from Kabuki Cafe, a counter service meal at Katsura Grill, or you opt for [Read more…]

Guest Review and DFB Challenge: Eat Around the World at Disney’s Epcot

Ready to dine around Epcot? Yep, me too! Join me in welcoming guest author Anita Theiss with her review of some great Epcot eats!

World Showcase Snacks

My husband and I recently spent a day at Epcot celebrating our anniversary. While there, we decided to taste a little something from each of the nations represented in the World Showcase. An “Eat Around the World” challenge, so to speak. It was a lot of fun, and we really enjoyed discussing which foods we liked best and which we liked the least. We followed a few simple rules for our self-assigned challenge.

Eat Around the World Rules

Rule One, choose one country-specific food item (no generic cookies or fries) to order from each nation and share it. (We had a slight breech of etiquette on this rule when we got to France, but more on that later.) Sharing meant that we could discuss what we thought of the item, and it kept us from eating too much.

Rule Two, go to counter service restaurants, kiosks, or food stands only. It just didn’t seem right to take up a reservation spot for just one item.

Rule Three, rate each food item on a scale of one to ten, with one being not quite so palate pleasing, and ten being the best thing to ever grace your taste buds.

Nachos in Mexico

Our digestive expedition started in Mexico at La Cantina de San Angel with an order of nachos. The nachos come with ground beef, beans, cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, and sour cream. We ordered them with the tomatoes and jalapeños on the side -— my husband loves them, but I am not a fan.



I enjoyed the nachos, but we both found them to be a little heavy on the cheese (if food can be too heavy with ‘plastic cheese’) and not heavy enough on the meat and beans. They had just the right amount of spice, and the chips were crisp. The portion was perfect for a meal, but these nachos are a great shareable snack as well. My husband gave them a 4, and I gave them a 6.

Troll Horn in Norway

We moved on to Norway and stopped at the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafé. There were several items on the counter that looked good, and I could not decide between the Troll Horn and the Viking Mousse. I asked the cast member behind the counter which of the two she recommended, and she suggested the Troll Horn, which is filled which cloudberry cream.

Troll Horn

Troll Horn

The cloudberry cream was smooth and sweet, but not too sweet, and the pastry was tender but a little bland. The sugar crystals sprinkled on top added a nice sweetness and crunch, but overall the Troll Horn was just meh (how do you like that technical culinary term?). We both gave it a 4 on our grading scale — not horrible, but we won’t be rushing back to Norway to get one during our next trip.

Egg Roll in China

After a ride on Maelstrom (RIP), we headed to China. We stopped at Joy of Tea to place an egg roll order. An order of egg rolls actually includes two nice-sized pork and veggie egg rolls, which was a pleasant surprise considering how very delicious they were. (My husband had already snagged his and started munching when I took the picture which is why there is only one pictured.)

Egg Roll

Egg Roll

The egg roll wrapper was both tender and crunchy, and the filling was flavorful with seasoned pork and crisp veggies. There were packets of soy sauce (and other condiments) which just added another layer of fabulous flavor. We both gave the egg rolls an 8.5; we would definitely get them again and feel that they would be an excellent use of a snack credit if you are on the Disney Dining Plan since they are easily shared.

Bratwurst in Germany

We moved on from China to Germany for a stop at Sommerfest. To be honest, I had my heart set on wrapping my lips around a Nudel Gratin for days, but I was starting to get full and knew that such a dish would be both rich and heavy. So, I passed on the Nudel Gratin (which I now regret — I really should have persevered) while my husband ordered a bratwurst. He loves a brat, and this one did not disappoint.



Bratwurst Cross Section with Mustard

Bratwurst Cross Section with Mustard

The bratwurst comes on a very large crusty bun topped with loads of sauerkraut. He said the sauerkraut was alright and the bratwurst itself was delicious, but he felt that there was just too much bread. The bun was quite large and had a pretty tough and crusty consistency. He still enjoyed it and gave it a score of 6.

Gelato in Italy

After a quick shopping break in Germany, we headed to Italy, which had me a little worried because there is no counter service restaurant. But as we were walking into Italy, I spotted Gelati — a nice little gelato stand, so I stopped for a cup of chocolate gelato.



It was smooth, thick, creamy, quite tasty, and reminded me of a cold version of hot chocolate. It would definitely hit the spot on a hot summer day in Florida. My husband had a taste or two of it, but he is not much of a chocolate fan and didn’t like it as much as regular ice cream. I, on the other hand, much prefer the thicker consistency of gelato to its thinner American counterpart and gave it a 7.

Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel in American Adventure

After Italy, it was time for a return to our homeland of America. Now during our last trip to Disney a few months ago, I fell in love with the [Read more…]

Review: Steamed Vegetables and Rice at Katsura Grill in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

I bet we caught you by surprise with the title of this post ;).

After all, here at the DFB we’re known for our love of all things fried, frosted, or otherwise fixed up in the name of vacation indulgence! It’s not that we’re opposed to veggies, believe it or not. (I love ‘em!) It’s just that in the Vacation Kingdom that is Disney World, we enjoy showing you all sorts of decadent vacation treats you might not typically encounter.

But sometimes maybe you just feel the need to switch things up for whatever reason… to counteract overindulgence, or just fulfill a sudden craving for more simple, natural foods.  For such times, I’d like to introduce you to one of my (surprisingly, I know!) favorite finds in Epcot: Steamed Vegetables and Rice at the Japan Pavilion’s Katsura Grill.

Katsura Grill

Katsura Grill

Now, the Steamed Vegetables and Rice aren’t sold as a combo – they are each [Read more…]

Review: Green Tea Cheesecake at Katsura Grill in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

We’ve been enjoying snack time at Walt Disney World as we launched our Disney Food Blog Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book, 2014 Edition earlier this week!

To continue the celebration, let’s check out one of my favorite spots in World Showcase. And while we’re there, we’ll sample a never-featured-here-before snack today!

I think Epcot’s Japan Pavilion boasts some of the loveliest landscaping in Epcot, and a lot of it can be enjoyed from an outdoor seat at Katsura Grill.

Katsura Grill

Katsura Grill

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

The greenery, the paper lanterns, and waterfall all contribute to a sense of beauty and peace — even on the busiest of park days — so I’m always looking for reasons to spend more time in this spot.

A view from Katsura Grill

A view from Katsura Grill





One of those reasons, recently, was to try the Green Tea Cheesecake. I adore cheesecake, but have had both good and bad experiences with green tea infused food, so I was curious about what I might discover.

Upon receiving my slice, the first thing my eyes took in was the color. As expected, it’s rather green :), but a very light hue.

Green Tea Cheesecake

Green Tea Cheesecake

Green Tea Cheesecake

Green Tea Cheesecake

The portion size, I must say, seemed [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that my daughter Louisa is more than a little produce averse. There was a period of about four years when NO fruit or vegetable crossed her lips, and even now at age 12 she still has to be cajoled into having more than a bite or two of something as innocuous as sweet potato or banana.

Frozen bananas, a gateway fruit.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to the Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti restaurant, she consumed nearly the entire plate of wok-fried green beans we had ordered for the table. It was one of those parenting moments where you hold your breath and move slowly so as to avoid breaking the spell.

Yak & Yeti wok-fried green beans. My hero!

Those Yak & Yeti yummies didn’t turn Louisa into an inveterate bean eater, but she is now occasionally willing to nibble on a tempura string bean if we’re out for Japanese. Based on our prior track record with legumes, I’m going to count that solidly in the win column.

The Theme Park Food Effect

What was it about the Yak & Yeti beans that made Louisa such a fan? Yes, they were quite tasty, and yes, the green part was handily obfuscated by a crunchy, yumtastic fried breading coating; but we had tried similar ploys in the past to no avail. My theory is that the Yak & Yeti beans were flavored by the spice of (cue the orchestra) The Theme Park Food Effect.

Much like campers will say that meals eaten on the trail are the BEST, you know that their experience is colored by the fact that their senses are overwhelmed and they’re starving from an [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: December 18, 2011

Try a Red and Green Twist Cone at Storybook Treats in the Magic Kingdom!

The holiday season is in full swing! I hope you’re checking things off of your list and maybe even getting some time for a sip of egg nog! Don’t forget to check out our “Holidays in Disney” page full of great tips, treats, and dining events and options for you if you’re visiting Disneyland or Disney World this holiday season!

We’re just back from Walt Disney World and will be showering you with even more news, updates, and yummy treats over the next few weeks. We’ve even got some fun updates from Disneyland! By the way, while we were in Disney World, we got the chance to celebrate 15 years of great Disney info with, and to have a blast with the WDW Today Podcast at their reunion! Congrats all!

In the meantime, sit back, relax, and get caught up on this week’s Disney food news and a few of the great articles out there about our favorite subject!

A Stocking Full of Disney Food News

  • We encountered so much Disney food news while we were in Disney World that we had to do a whole post about it! Click here for a myriad of Disney food news and updates. Fun stuff!
  • Nominate your favorite Disney restaurants in our 2011 DFB Choice Awards! Once nominations are in, voting begins next week!
  • Highlighting the 2011 Walt Disney World Resort Gingerbread holiday displays, these Disney gingerbread pins are a great souvenir or gift!
  • Storybook Treats in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland introduced (officially) the Hot Fudge Cookie Sundae! And don’t forget to ask for the holiday swirl soft serve ice cream!
  • We have a few new insights into the “Be Our Guest” Restaurant plans for late 2012. Take a look at the concept art, atmosphere, location, opening time, and more!
  • We have our review of the new Katsura Grill at the Japan pavilion in Disney World’s Epcot!

For more delicious food news, stop by our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis! And don’t forget to follow along on our 2011 Holiday Dining page!

Disney Food Blog Gift Certificates Make Great Gifts For Disney Fans!

Down to the wire and not sure what to get that Disney fan on your list? Our popular Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, and new DFB Dining Adventures e-Books have been very popular, and now there’s a way for you to give them as gifts to your friends, family, boss, dentist, UPS delivery person, mailman, babysitter, dog-walker, or…yourself (you deserve a treat, too)!

Using our new Disney Food Blog e-Book Gift Certificates, you can instantly give all of this great dining info and advice to your favorite Disney fan, and it’s EASY! Get all of the details — and great holiday discounts — at!

Don’t let your friends and family go to Disney World unprepared. Get a DFB Gift Certificate for your favorite Disney fan today!

On to the Round-Up!

Daveland shares a Golden Horseshoe cast photo from 1979.

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups heads to the United Kingdom in Epcot for eats and drinks at Rose & Crown.

WDW Radio takes a look back at the origins of the Sunshine Terrace’s Orange Bird.

Main Street Gazette gives us something delicious to chew on — churros! stops by Contemporary Grounds for a cup of java!

DisneyParks Blog showcases a video from the Tangaroa Terrace in Disneyland. Let’s make sweet potato cake!

Review: Katsura Grill

The day is finally here! I get to review the new Katsura Grill at Epcot’s Japan pavilion!

Photo Copyright Disney

This spot opened last week in the former location of the Yakitori House in Epcot’s Japan pavilion. Yakitori was not necessarily a fan favorite, but I always found it to be a nice, out-of-the-way place to dine on passable Asian food while taking a bit of a break from the crowds of the World Showcase.

At Katsura, the location and look of the restaurant is still largely the same, so you get to take advantage of that relaxing, “away from the main drag” feeling while dining on a relatively new menu.


Katsura Grill is pretty much Yakitori House with a new, sleek, modern look when it comes to atmosphere. There are digital menu boards, a “Wendy’s-esque” counter ordering set-up, and a “clean lines” feel to the place now, but the general vibe really hasn’t changed all that much. :-)


You still have the option of [Read more…]

Top 5 Disney Dining Plan Quick-Service Values for 2012

It’s time to re-visit our Top 5 Quick-Service 2012 Disney Dining Plan* Values! Last year, our choices were great bargains because they offered good portions and quality food — and they were less attractive when paying out-of-pocket!

Since then, prices and options have changed, so it’s time to re-evaluate for 2012!

Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney

While shopping at Downtown Disney, use your quick service credit at Wolfgang Puck Express! The Pennette Chicken Alfredo with peas, bacon and parmesan at $15 is very filling (an easy meal to split)!

Pennette Chicken Alfredo

Here are some other smart choices:
Spaghetti & Meatballs with tomato-basil-garlic sauce and fresh herbs $16; Oven Roasted Salmon served with fennel, tomatoes, arugula, roasted potatoes and horseradish cream $18; or the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf accompanied by mashed potatoes, port wine sauce and crispy onion rings $15.

Quality and quantity make WPE the place at Downtown Disney to get the best value with your DDP credit!

Katsura Grill

We’re assuming that Katsura Grill, which opens TODAY at the Japan Pavilion in Epcot, is on the Dining Plan as a counter-service location. If we’re right, it will be a great value for a counter-service credit. (By the way, since it’s replacing the Yakitori House, we’re guessing that it will be on the Dining Plan; but we don’t know yet for sure!)

On the new menu the Sushi Combos, including the California Roll and the Spicy Tuna Roll, top out at $12.99, as does the Tonosama combo, with comes with teriyaki beef, chicken, and salmon. The Teriyaki Salmon is $11.99, while the [Read more…]

News! Epcot’s Katsura Grill Grand Opening and Menu Announced

As reported in August, counter-service restaurant Yakitori House is being transformed into a new restaurant in the Japan Pavilion. The new Katsura Grill is set to open its doors on December 7, 2011, to Epcot visitors.

The Yakitori House in Epcot's Japan Pavilion

Taking inspiration from the Katsura Imperial Villa of western Kyoto, Katsura Grill will reflect the Japanese architecture and incredible gardens of this Imperial Family villa.

The menu will include [Read more…]

Katsura Grill, Rogue Food & Wine Booths, and More Changes in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

Andy over at Eating (and Drinking) Around WDW got the inside scoop on a bunch of news coming out of the Japan pavilion in Epcot! Here are the main subjects, but be sure to head over to his site for details!

Katsura Grill and Gardens Replaces Yakitori House

The Yakitori House, now closed for refurbishment, will reemerge as Katsura Grill (menu will stay essentially the same, Andy says), and the beautiful gardens next door will be refurbished as well!

The Yakitori House in Epcot's Japan Pavilion Will See Some Changes

Japan Food & Wine Festival Booth Being Used as a Stand-In Counter-Service Spot

Those of us familiar with the Japan Booth will recognize the structure and sign here! It’s serving a limited menu of [Read more…]