Sunday, May 31, 2009

amazing disney dining review

For anyone planning a trip to Walt Disney World, you've just got to check out this new blog by Vegan Satori. This vegan has given a nice, long, detailed report of his latest vegan Disney dining experiences, just full of photos and tasty morsels of advice. I must confess that I actually learned a few things from him...

which leads me to an apology, and a word of advice. According to Vegan Satori, the standard buns used for the veggie burgers at the counter-service locations are *not* vegan, as I had been previously told. Either I received some incorrect information, or they changed at some point. There *are* vegan buns available - but you have to ask. I will follow up on this when I can, but in the meantime, if this is a concern for you, please *ask*before taking anything for granted.

To end this on a positive note, though, this new blogger reported getting some good service where others have not, leading me once again to believe that most of the bad experiences I hear about are the exception, and that for the most-part, Disney cast members continue to go out of their way to take care of us.

Happy Disney Dining!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

picnics and the animal kingdom lodge

Two bits of exciting news! First, you may have all heard about the "Picnic in the Park" being offered at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The park is now offering a "picnic lunch" all wrapped up in a nice reusable bag. You purchase the lunch, and then you can eat it at any of the nice "picnic spots" around the park. This is such a beautiful park that a picnic sounds like a pretty good idea. However, when it was first announced, the meal options were pretty much what you would expect: meat, meat or meat. But never fear - Disney has come through for us veggie lovers! They now offer a portobello mushroom and vegetable wrap, along with a number of veggie and fruit side options! I have yet to confirm if the wrap is vegan, but I'm guessing that it will be. You can check out the menu and details here, at If anyone tries this, I'd love to hear your opinion!

And in our second bit of exciting news, the new restaurant, Sanaa, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, has officially opened. This restaurant is part of the new Disney Vacation Club section added onto the lodge. Unlike the other two (wonderful) restaurants at the lodge, this one was designed so that the savannah comes almost right up to the windows, offering some amazing views of grazing animals while you dine. I had hoped that, as with the other two restaurants, this one would be reasonably veggie-friendly - and it appears to be even better than hoped! They actually have both a vegetarian menu and a vegan menu! How's that for veggie-friendly! Thanks to, the first reports from diners are in, and while the menu is just a bit exotic for some, in general the reviews seem to be positive - though I haven't yet heard from a vegetarian or vegan. I'm not sure when my next trip to the World will be, but you can bet I'll be adding Sanaa to my "must try" list!

That's it for today. My plan is to begin work on an article about the off-site veggie-friendly restaurants in the Orlando area. I never seem to be able to tear myself away from Disney property on my own visits, so I'm going to have to rely entirely on the information I've received from others. If you have any info or advice, please let me know! I know this is a subject of some interest to vacationing Disney diners, so hopefully I can shed at least a little light on the subject.

Happy Disney Dining!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

popcorn and ice cream

Just a couple of vegan Disney news bits I wanted to get out there...

I just got word that the popcorn at Walt Disney World may have changed. As I'm not there (bummer!), I haven't been able to confirm this myself yet, but Lisa (another observant guest), mentioned to me that the popcorn kiosks no longer display the Orville Redenbacher name. As I've mentioned before, after some effort, I had found that the popcorn sold at Disney parks was, in fact, vegan. They used a combination of corn, canola, palm and coconut oils to pop it in. This may still be the case, but since the popcorn itself has changed, I cannot be certain that the oil is the same anymore. I plan to find this out at my earliest convenience, but for the time-being, please be aware that it *may* not be vegan anymore. (If anyone has more information, please let me know, and I'll make sure I post it!)

I also received a very nice e-mail from Elizabeth, with an unfortunate story about the Main Street Ice Cream Parlor at the Magic Kingdom. She knew that both Toffuti and Rice Dream were reported to be available here, and she was eager to try a non-dairy ice cream. She proceeded to ask for some, and the cast member working the counter asked her if she had an allergy. She responded "no", to which the cast member responded with "I'm sorry, but that product is only for those with allergies". What?!!! She nicely asked to speak to a manager, and eventually she did get her frozen treat, but it wasn't without difficulty. In my heart of hearts, I really want to believe that this was a one-time fluke - a misguided cast member that simply didn't understand. But I felt it was important to pass it on.

Here's my feelings on the subject: I really, really hate to lie, but I have to admit that the word "allergy" certainly gets more attention than "preference, diet or vegetarian/vegan". I still believe that it is important for us to use the "V" word, because it gets the word out there. The more of us vegans that speak up, the more the world will start to recognize this as a reasonable path, and understand that vegan options need to be made available. However, I won't begrudge anyone who feels the need to mention allergies, if you feel it will help you get an animal-free item. And as far as Disney is concerned? Never be afraid to ask for a manager. While I hope you never have to, as long as you are polite, most often Disney managers will do what they have to, to make things right.

Thanks Lisa and Elizabeth for the heads up! Happy Disney Dining! ºoº