The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Being Vegan at a Theme Park

Posted on May 19, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Lily Donofrio

Going out for a vegan can be stressful! Being dragged to your redneck uncle’s favorite BBQ place and having the waitress uncertainly declare the salad dressing “vegan” doesn’t always induce trust. I know that I almost always want to follow the waiter back to the kitchen and check for myself. Luckily, there are tons of ways to check ahead when going to popular establishments, but we have to remain skeptical and thorough when choosing our foods.

Who doesn’t love theme parks? They appeal to most types of people, including vegans. The theme park foods are iconic and sell well, because they appeal to the majority. But what about the 1% of the world that is vegan? It is up to us to do our research and get educated on the foods being served at any location we are vacationing.

Disney World

Disney World in Orlando had 18,588,000 attendees in 2013. That staggering amount of people can only mean diversity, and with diversity comes a wide variety of diets and cultures. We can only hope that a park as famous and well ranked as Disney World would be accommodating to all of these groups.

After an unsuccessful attempt to contact a member of the Disney workforce in hopes of getting the scoop on vegan foods served in the parks and restaurants, I resorted to good old-fashioned research. There is literally a website called “vegandisneyworld.com”! Written on the site are reviews from every place in or about Disney World that offer vegan food. Here are just a few examples: Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort serves vegan Mickey Mouse shaped waffles and Tonga Toast (if specially asked for), sushi, and noodle stir-fry; Coral Reef (an Epcot restaurant themed around Finding Nemo) is mostly a seafood joint, but they offer a mixed vegetable with Gardein brand Chick’n Breast, and Earth Balance butter in addition to their vegan bread; Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn (located in Magic Kingdom) serves a Gardenburger Malibu patty. The amazing thing about Disney is that they accommodate upon request, keeping tons of vegan options in store for those that ask. So the polite thing to do is to call ahead at reserved places or restaurants you plan on dining with and see what vegan options they have.

Overall, I am quite impressed with Disney’s awareness of the vegan diet and the lengths they take to make their parks enjoyable for all. Their array of delicious and well-thought-out vegan items are appreciated by the vegan culture!

Universal

I was able to get in contact with a member of the Universal Studios Orlando team. I asked about the options provided in parks and restaurants for vegan people, and she responded saying that the chefs in the full service restaurants (a list of only 4) are trained to accommodate to any diet. She also said that those with special diets are allowed to bring soft sided coolers into the park.

After doing a little research on reviews from members in our vegan community, I found that most people are not pleased with Universal Orlando’s food options. They offer the occasional veggie burger, with egg unfortunately, and most associates don’t even know what the vegan diet is!

As a regular attendee of Universal Orlando, I rarely find a vegan option at the places I go. A couple of restaurants in CityWalk have a few dishes, but the park is very limited. I like the yuca fries at Bob Marley’s, the Tree Hugger sushi roll at The Cowfish, the Beef and Blue salad at Finnegans (minus the beef and blue), and the salads at Moe’s. Hopefully Universal will step up their game in the vegan/vegetarian department.

See: http://vegandisneyworld.com/vegan-magic-kingdom/

Interested in visiting Disney? The Vegetarian Resource Group will be including 4-park hoppers to be used at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL in The Vegetarian Resource Group’s 1st Annual Online Charity Auction, starting June 1st. For more information, see: https://www.facebook.com/events/1412672129044692/

1 to “Being Vegan at a Theme Park”

  1. Raven says:

    I had a great experience at Universal Orlando with vegan food. Better than Disney, which I didn’t expect. Disney was still good. But I found everyone at Universal going above and beyond to accommodate me. It was so sweet and appreciated. Amazing staff!

    Hard Rock Cafe made me a veggie fajita and the manager answered all of my questions, she let me know the fries were fried with the meat.

    At the 3 broomsticks in Hogsmeade I was able to get a completely vegan meal and everyone was very nice about helping to accommodate me. The pumpkin juice at each cart is vegan (if you eat sugar).

    Moes has burritos that are vegan, they have tofu and veggies. This location doesn’t offer the free chips and salsa like other Moe’s locations though but they are still vegan! Check their website for all the ingredients list and their FAQ uses the term “vegan” so the company gets it.

    I went to one of the Irish restaurants (Finnegan’s maybe?) with my family and I couldn’t eat anything on the menu, so the chef came out and offered to make me a salad with potatoes (cooked in oil) served with oil and vinegar dressing (which I really enjoy, but others may find bland).

    Mythos restaurant made me a vegan risotto that was delicious! Probably my favorite meal.

    My hotel was very sparse, Cabana Bay, I only ate salads here with oil and vinegar (I think?). Because we had a car I also went to a grocery store and bought non-perishable snacks, so I had some fruit and a protein bar every morning.

    There may have been more I just can’t remember though. I know we went to Buba Gump (which if I was with other vegans I would normally just avoid cause duh! fish is in everything) and they tried very hard to find vegan food, I think they offered a salad with veggies, and I passed and ate at Moe’s again instead.

    It wasn’t nearly as hard as I imagined it would be. I went in August of 2015.



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