When you are being a World traveler as a vegan, making your dining reservations is the easy part. Especially with the amazing advent of My Disney Experience and being able to make those reservations online, it’s a snap to know exactly where you are eating each day of your trip. What happens if you aren’t feeling table service meals or you are browsing the parks and you start channeling Winnie-the-Pooh with a rumbly in your tumbly?
Fortunately there are tons of vegan options ready for the grabbing, and most of them don’t even require you to go into a detailed diatribe about what you can and can’t eat. Actually, even the ones that do need a little bit of modification to vegan-ify, don’t require you to go into a detailed diatribe. The Cast Members are very knowledgeable, and if they aren’t sure of something, they will find someone who does know for you.
Eating as a vegan in Disney World doesn’t have to be all about talking to chefs and ordering special meals. With a little bit of inside knowledge and some strategies, you can grab snacks and quick meals in between attractions with the best of them.
There are many, many more, but here’s your primer for vegan quick meals, snacks, and treats for when you don’t have a reservation or don’t want to do another table service meal.
Vegan Options 101
• Popcorn. Oh, yes. That wonderful buttery smell that fills your lungs when you walk out onto Main Street in the Magic Kingdom or wander by carts in the other parks? That’s popcorn and vegans can rejoice, because we can eat it! With the exception of the fancy flavors that you can sometimes find in Hollywood Studios and a couple of other places, all of the popcorn served throughout the Disney parks is vegan. That includes both butter and caramel flavors, so the next time you see that adorable souvenir bucket and don’t want to give up all of the golden goodness inside, grab it and snack your way through the park knowing that it is perfect safe for you
• Ice cream. Let me say that again. Ice cream. Ice cream, ya’ll. When everybody is walking around with Mickey bars and enormous sundaes it is easy to feel a little left out. No more. Head over to Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street for some Rice Dream or Tofutti. If you are OK with playing a little fast and loose with the definition of “ice cream” you can go to the treat carts around the parks and get tasty little fruit bars and sherbet treats as well.
• Mickey pretzel. Just because you forego animal products does not mean that you need to forego the delight of Mickey-shaped food. Those enormous warm Mickey-shaped soft pretzels available at kiosks around the parks are totally vegan. Just don’t grab a cheese-filled version. Clearly not vegan.
• Chili. Your mind might not immediately go to something as hearty and hot as chili when wandering around Florida, but trust me when I tell you that it can get downright cold in the parks at certain times of year. I have been known to wear a hoodie, a jacket, a hat, and gloves at times. Not toasty. Whether it is one of these bracing evenings or you are just feeling like a meal that will stick to your ribs, head over to Colombia Harbour House in Liberty Square. When eaten without the oyster crackers, their chili is vegan…and delicious. If you want to get super fancy and Frankenstein yourself a meal that will carry you right on through the Haunted Mansion, Hall of Presidents, Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Pirates, it’s a small world, and back around to Space Mountain and the PeopleMover for quick break, go across the square to the Market. Pick up one of their enormous baked potatoes and pour your chili on top.
• Cupcakes. This one is going to send you out of the parks a little, but just to Disney Springs. Wander your way through the explosion of stores and restaurants that has happened in the last few months and find yourself at Erin McKenna’s. This amazing little bakery is totally vegan and gluten-free. That’s right. Let that sink in for a moment. Everything at this bakery is safe for you to eat. I specifically mentioned the cupcakes, but there is also a packed bakery case filled with breads, cakes, cookies, brownies, bagels, and even soft serve to fulfill those goodie cravings
• Mr. Kamal’s. No, this isn’t an exotic vegan snack that only exists in Disney World. It is a whole location, which means you can get a few savory delicacies in one stop. Found in Animal Kingdom, Mr. Kamal’s is a little snack kiosk that sits unassumingly, but it is full of snacking potential. Pea and potato samosas are crispy little pastries with a savory, satisfying filling served alongside mango chutney. Get a bit more variety with a serving of smooth, garlicky hummus with crunchy veggies and soft pita. If you are looking for something fried to enjoy on your vacation, go for the falafel. Ask for it without the tzatziki to make it vegan.
So now that you have a few options in your tool belt to carry you through, go forth! Find your own vegan deliciousness and comment them back here so we can all spread the vegan joy!
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.