My parents came out for a visit this past February, like they do every year. Sometimes, my sister joins them too and we all go to Disneyland! It seems like a good idea since we live so close now (about a half hour drive). Growing up in NJ meant a trip to Disney World was a big deal, so we only went a few times.
Before this trip (and based on my last experience), I did some research on where/what to eat. There are many blog posts and Facebook groups dedicated to eating vegan at Disney so apparently, I’m not the only one interested!
Many spots carry fruit, fruit cups, chips, cotton candy, hummus and frozen fruit bars… you just need to look. Bottom Line – you never know until you ask what items can be easily altered to be vegan.
However, they are also always changing menus too SO… even after looking online you really need to go and check. We were excited about some options that didn’t work out. (e.g. everyone online raved about the veggie burger at Smokejumpers in California Adventure so we made a bee-line there the first night… but they don’t have it anymore!) 🙁
I do think a BIG opportunity for great food is missed here. Disney DOES have vegan options but they are average at best and still seem very limited. Yes, you don’t go to Disney for the food but everyone needs to eat. It might as well be yummy and healthy. Seriously, how can California Adventure not have an avocado toast? So… I call upon all my plant based friends, Matthew Kenney, Moby, Plant Alchemy, Roy Elam, Seabirds Kitchen, Real Food Daily, Veggie Grill, JOi Cafe… can SOMEONE please open up a vegan spot?!
This is by no means an exhaustive list. I like to write and share about what I KNOW, and these are the places I’ve checked out on this past visit, and one the year before. They have a a TON more vegan options like pizza, pasta, veggie burgers, Mexican dishes, chili, veggie skewers, BBQ tofu, etc that we didn’t even get to!
BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich @ Smokejumpers, Disney California Adventure
As I mentioned, the veggie burger here sounded excellent so we went the first night. Sadly, they no longer have on the menu so I got a BBQ Jackfruit sandwich instead. It seemed good but was too spicy for me and my girls. My hubby and Dad enjoyed it though!
Salad @ Smokejumpers, Disney California Adventure
When in doubt.. you can almost always find a salad. After my BBQ Jackfruit didn’t work out, I got the chicken salad – hold the chicken! It was a decent salad with pumpkin seeds and corn too. I did ask if they had a side of avocado (it’s California after all!) but sadly they said no. That would have really taken this salad to the next level nutritional & taste wise. It would have been easy so perhaps in the future they can add that on? 🙂
Portobello Mushroom Philly ‘Cheese-less’ Steak @ Award Weiners, Disney California Adventure
This one worked out much better that the BBQ Jackfruit. I got it without cheese, so it was just the marinated mushrooms, onions and pepper. I thought it was a little too vinegary, but I love that they put some thought into it. Way more interesting than an iceberg salad. 🙂
Portobello Wrap @ Rainforest Cafe, Downtown Disney
This was probably my favorite meal on this most recent visit. It came with a side of fries, rice or veggies. I got the veggies (don’t forget to request no cheese). It was a totally solid veggie-friendly wrap. (And the girls LOVED the giant fish tank at the entrance.)
Dole Whip @ Tiki Lounge, Disneyland
A classic (vegan) Disneyland treat! My sister made the mistake of looking up the ingredients. Why can’t they just blend up pineapple with coconut milk ? (It has both, but also a lot of other stuff and preservatives.) Still at Disney… it’s definitely not the worst snack you can have. It’s a treat so just be sure to enjoy every bite. We did!
Mickey Pretzels @ Disneyland
So… this and the next one are the exception to the “only stuff I ate” rule. I really wanted a Mickey pretzel, but my 16 month old had a meltdown and we were done for the day. Next time though, it’s on my list!
Popcorn @ Disneyland
We didn’t have it and apparently this one is up for debate online. IF there is even ‘butter’ on it… people seem to agree that it’s probably just all chemicals anyway, so it’s probably vegan! LOL! :)-
Side dishes @ Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria, Downtown Disney
On our previous visit, we had dinner at Naples and the sides are solid. I got a small salad to start, then some roasted potatoes, sautéed spinach and broccoli with garlic and olive oil. I left satisfied!
Portobello Mushroom over Couscous @ Blue Bayou, Disneyland
I really enjoyed this dish. I got it without candied nuts and cheese, and had oil and vinegar instead of the house dressing. I was looking forward it again this year, but apparently you have to make reservations 2 months in advance! I was bummed since I LOVE the atmosphere inside. I guess we really lucked out last visit – we showed up as a walk-in and got one of the first seatings of the evening.
New Orleans Salad @ French Market Restaurant, Disneyland
I just wanted a salad. Talk about ordering off-menu! I ended up with a New Orleans salad, hold the bacon, hold the egg, no onions (personal preference) and no cheese with a basic vinegarette instead of the mustard-bacon one. The waiter was understanding, and even got the kitchen to add in a few extra veggies. I had a similarly challenging time finding vegan food in “real” N’awlens so I guess Disneyland gets points for authenticity, lol!
So there you have it – as you can see, if you do your homework there are definitely plant based dining options. It might not be a bad idea to bring in some snacks/food with you when you go, though. My girls (both under 5) enjoyed the fruit, hummus and veggies I brought for them just as much (if not more) than they did the various entrees we found (way more affordable and so much healthier, so I highly recommend this for the littles!). For my husband and me (and parents/sister), we enjoyed the food in Downtown Disney way more than in the parks. It’s a bit of a schlep to get back and forth, so you need to plan accordingly.
What’s your favorite thing to eat at Disney? How do you navigate the food options? Share below! 🙂