Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Wonderful Foods of Disney

It has been forever and a day since we got back from Disney World (World not Land - Land is in California). We went back in August.

One of the things I did to prepare for the trip was research the restaurants we would be eating at. Partly out of vegan-necessity but part of it because if you are on the meal plan, you have to have reservations for your sit down dinners - or you have to wait forever. Fletchers hate to wait.

So, 2 months before I started searching the Disney website for places for vegans to eat at Disney. There are a lot actually.

But, before I start describing my glorious meals, I must tell you that I didn't keep completely vegan on vacation. HELL - I was on VACATION. I had some baked stuff that more than likely had eggs in it. AND I had some cheese. I love cheese. But I didn't cave and eat ice cream. Oh okay, I did have some whip cream but I'm sure it was edible oil product and not real cream. (God it was good though!)


First night...we went to the Animal Kingdom lodge to a buffet restaurant called BOMA. It is African themed and was recommended by the nice lady who was doling out the reservations on the Disney phone line.

Because it was African, there was a HUGE amount of vegan products. On my plate you can see evidence of the nice salad bar. And the selection of dips (black bean hummus, red bean hummus, and red pepper dip) on the right hand side. The giant flat bread that i dipped is the triangle on the top right on the table.

Next is corn bread, Spanish rice, ratatouille, baked pumpkin and of course, falafel and sauce. Mmmmm. I think I ate my own body weight in falafel!

I recommend Boma because the Animal Kingdom lodge was gorgeous. Because everyone in my family loved the food and because it was so unusual and delicious.

The next day we spent the day at Magic Kingdom. Lunch was an awesome veggie wrap with carrot cake and fries that I wish I had a picture of. It was awesome. Snack - funnel cake with powdered sugar. Messy but good.

And dinner was at the "Crystal Palace". This is a "character dining experience" which I wasn't sure we would like but, it was a buffet where we could watch the amazing fire works show so I thought it couldn't suck that bad.

Turns out, the kids loved the idea of visiting with Winnie the Pooh and friends while they ate.

The food was really basic but fresh and quite nice. I really liked the salads and the breads. Again, all you can eat. I should have stopped eating long before I did but hey, I was on VACATION!

Day 2 we were at a water park - Blizzard Beach where I ate the worst veggie burger of all time. Veggie burgers can be so very hit and miss no matter where you are. I don't blame Disney really.
That night we went to Epcot - to the Fresh Dinner place...I can't remember the name really. It was "family style" dining.
We had big salads with the largest cherry tomatoes I've ever had. They were also the best cherry tomatoes I've ever had. All served with hot biscuits and corn bread. Yes, I ate my own weight in corn bread.
Hubby and the kids got platters of steak, catfish, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, roasted potatoes and veggies. Later we learned most of the food is grown underneath Disney in their super farm place - we went on a cool tour of the place.
I, as a veggie, got the best risotto ever. Made with veggie stock and peas and asparagus. SO good. Sure, it had Parmesan on it but it was so amazingly good I didn't care.
The next day we were at Hollywood studios. We had excellent Pizza and giant salads at "Toy Story Pizza Planet" which I didn't get pictures of. Frankly, we didn't like Hollywood studios much. We enjoyed the Muppets theatre and the stunt driver show but, we didn't like all the scary rides and the High School Musical crap. ICK.
Dinner was another story!
We went to this 50s diner. Very kitchsy. They check that you don't have your elbows on the table and that sort of thing.
Ben had the best fried chicken he's ever had - or so he said. He also fell in love with collard greens and bacon. Who wouldn't?
And his dessert was
I think it was M&M brownie cake.
It was smothered in whip cream and came with ice cream too!
My dinner was good. It was a rice stuffed pepper with ratatouille (I should really learn to spell that word!) on the side. Good but not very filling.
I could easily have eaten two peppers. AND there was no protein in the meal at all. No beans. Nothing.
It was one of those meals that I'm glad we were on the meal plan or I would have been pissed at paying a lot of money for it.
Dessert was a different story...
I had an angel food cake - most likely full of egg whites - oh well - with berry compote. It was all fresh and yummy!
The dinner was good but we were all hungry later. Sorry Disney, but it isn't exactly filling in the 1950s!
We ate in the German Buffet the next night. It was a cool place where you share tables with other families. We had dinner with a nice lady (it was her birthday) and her daughter. They were from Florida and just there to celebrate her day.
It was a challenging meal for the family though. Wayne told sammy that the schnitzel was chicken nuggets and he ate it - but they he went back to get more, figured out it was pork, and was pissed off.
Ben ate his own weight in mini wieners and sauerkraut.
Wayne loved it all.
I liked the salad part. You can see here - pickled cabbage, roasted potatoes, pretzel bread, apple sauce, carrots, spetzel, and tomato salad. MMMM.
AND all of that while listening to a live polka band. Does it get any better than that?
The last night we went to Planet Hollywood in downtown Disney. I didn't get a picture of my meal. Or the meal of the guy beside me - although I wish I had!
The emo/semi goth kid sitting beside me had vegan fajitas. They fried up onions, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and stuff and served it with tortillas, lettuce, guacamole and salsa. It looked amazing. And wasn't on the menu. If I'd known about it before I ordered, I would have had that!
As it was, I had yum-o-lish pasta with fresh tomatoes, herbs, peppers and mushrooms. Really huge portion and really really good!
Everyone liked their dinner there - and it was on the meal plan!

I really did think before I left for Florida that I would end up eating nothing but french fries and ice burg lettuce salads the whole week. Instead I had really good meals that for the most part were better balanced nutritionally than I eat at home. Bravo Disney for a good vegetarian menu!

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