Disney with Special Needs…Finding Vegan Holiday Treats

Everyone knows that one of the best parts about a Disney vacation is eating. Everywhere you look there are delicious treats from the simple to the decadent, and during the holiday season, that is just accentuated. There are so many tasty goodies around it would totally be possible to do nothing but eat all day.

Unless you’re vegan.

That’s kind of an ongoing slogan for my people. “These are so delicious!” Unless you’re vegan. “You won’t go home hungry!” Unless you’re vegan. “There’s something for everyone!” Unless you’re vegan.

So if you are in my camp, you might not be able to spin around, point, and find something delicious to munch on — but that doesn’t mean that you are totally out of luck when it comes to enjoying some seasonal sweets and merry meals (and since my family considers Halloween a part of the holiday season…villainous vittles). Remember, you’re in Disney World and there is always magic around you. That includes magical treats to make your holiday trip even more fabulous.

Some come along with me while we do a little exploring and find special treats perfect for my vegan friends — and the non-vegans, too.

Pop while you hop. We’ll just go ahead and start with — you did get Park Hoppers, right? If you’re not sure why I’m asking you this, scoot back and read our discussion on why you should always hop. So now that we’ve got that out of the way, we’ll talk about the first way to get seasonal without straying from your vegan path. Popcorn. Yes, popcorn. All of that wonderful, delicious popcorny smell that you get when you walk into the park is a super fun way to snack through the holidays. Both the butter and the caramel versions are vegan, and there’s something so delightful about carrying around a cute holiday popcorn bucket or munching away during a parade

Seek your cupcakes. Cupcakes are a treasured treat at Disney and they are always changing flavors. While us vegans can’t just stroll up into the Confectionary and grab a cupcake, that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a cute tiny cake. Erin McKenna Bakery in Disney Springs is ALL VEGAN. All vegan, people. You can order anything you want and not worry about it. Victory. If you don’t happen to be in Disney Springs, check out your resort quick service grab-and-go case. They usually contain little sampler packs of vegan cupcakes in a variety of flavors — including special seasonal treats. I had a pumpkin spice one last year that was heaven topped with frosting

Let the chef give you a happy holiday. If you happen to be planning a table service meal during your trip, don’t hesitate to talk to the chef. Hopefully you’ve followed my tips and noted your veganism on your reservation and called the restaurant a couple weeks ahead just to make sure it’s noted. When you get to the restaurant, let the chef come out and talk to you. They’ll find out what you like, what you really don’t like, and if there’s anything that you might enjoy. Though there are a few stand-bys that some of the restaurants use, most of the time you will get something that is seasonal and amazing — and customized for you! Each time I’ve been to restaurants I’ve gotten different meals. I’ve never gotten a re-do and I’ve always gotten tastiness that reflects the season

Get creative. So people without dietary restrictions may be able to frolic happily around discovering new treats with every turn, but we can have astounding holiday wonderfulness, too, if we’re willing to be creative. Are you willing to be creative? I’m willing to be creative. Let’s do it. So you know now that you can find vegan cupcakes, but did you know that a lot of places have vegan cookies all packaged and ready to go? Grab a couple of those and head down the street with me. Now we’re at the Plaza Ice Cream Shop, though you can do this trick in several other places as well. They have vegan ice cream right there waiting for you. Order a scoop and a side of peanut butter sauce or chocolate sauce (or both!) (be sure to check that they are vegan. They have always been for me, but it’s best to do a little check-in if you want to be sure). Now we head to the nearest curb or section of grass in the hub. Take out your cookies. Slather your ice cream on one of them, then top with the other cookie. Dip in your sauce and dig in. If you are feeling particularly fancy (and, really, I’m never not fancy at Disney), pack a little baggie of seasonal sprinkles or colored sanding sugar in your day bag. When you’ve got your sandwich all ready, roll the sides in your sprinkles and feel extra special with your one-of-a-kind holiday treat

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Taryn was born and raised, and still lives in Richmond, Virginia. Neither she nor her husband ever had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World when they were children, but when their daughter Avalon came along, they decided she was not going to follow in their footsteps. They brought Avalon for the first time when she was 3 and have been hooked ever since. Now along with Taryn’s mother and equally Disney-loving older brother, they go “home” at least once a year, and by the time she is staring longingly at Cinderella Castle from the ferry on their last night, Taryn is well on her way to planning the next trip. As a group consisting of two adults with Asperger’s, including one who is also vegan, a very accommodating husband, an only child, a senior, and a service dog, they are a pretty special family, but Taryn is excited to show that the World really is The Most Magical Place on Earth and that there is a place there for everyone. When she isn’t thinking about her next Disney adventure and trying to come up with a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party costume that will beat her Oozma Kappa nerd look, she is a professional blogger and novelist, but Taryn also likes to indulge her Disney passion on her Etsy shop It’s Better in Vinyl.

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