It has been a long time since my last trip to Orlando, Florida and Walt Disney World. We planned a five day family trip with plans to visit three of the four parks – the Magic Kingdom, Epcot (see that gorgeous night time photo!), and Hollywood Studios. I did a little research before our trip on a website called Vegan Disney World, and even with the options listed, I still wasn’t sure what to expect. It turns out Disney is really vegan friendly! I am so pleasantly surprised by the food we ate that not only did I have to write about it but (a) I wanted to write about it (2) I recreated some of the meals at home and (3) I kind of want to back just for the food!
That is really saying something, isn’t it? I don’t remember liking the food when I was a kid, but times, they are a’changing! Upon arrival, we headed to Morocco in Epcot for a meal at Spice Road Table where we enjoyed hummus, olives, pita, and carrots, and the Mediterranean Vegetable platter with hummus fries, grape leaves, couscous salad, and and babaganoush. I didn’t snap a photo of this because I didn’t think that this was a surprise. Hummus and pita. Basic vegan options, right?
Our next meal was dinner. At this point, we had been in several countries in Epcot and on a few of the rides. We were so exhausted, we decided to head back to The Contemporary and order room service, mostly because we had a front row seat to the nightly fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.
I called room service and told the lovely man on the other end of the phone that we were vegan and asked if there any options for us. Besides fruit and pasta, he said that the chef would be happy to make a dish with tofu, vegetables and rice. Well, that’s perfect for all of us! I ordered one all the way done up with whatever spices the chef was using and two plain (for my husband and son) just in case. The tofu came with this amazing sweet chili sauce which my husband bogarted immediately. I didn’t take a photo of any of the four times we ate this meal but I did come home and recreate it straight away. The recipe for the sauce is below!
For breakfast, we love to order room service so every morning, we ordered a spread of oatmeal made with water, fruit, toast and Mickey waffles (which are vegan and gluten-free.) They really got the whole vegan thing because they even brought us vegan butter without us having to ask! That really blew me away.
For our next lunch, we headed to the Biergarten at the Germany pavilion for their surprisingly vegan friendly buffet! The allergy menu clearly marked what had what in it and we ended up with plates similar to the ones I made below. A nice white bean salad with roasted red peppers, roasted beets, seasoned potatoes and a big plate of sauerkraut and mustard. And tons of watermelon and pretzel bread.
We loved this meal so much we went back for lunch the next day.
The next day for lunch we headed to Fairfax Faire at Hollywood Studios and had these amazing vegan chili bowls. The dish is actually called “7-Layer Rice Bowl with Vegan Chili.” I was super surprised to see the word VEGAN on anything but I’m starting to think I shouldn’t be anymore.
The chili is served over rice – you have to ask for the allergy rice for it to be vegan although I only found that out when I placed the order and the manager said that is what I wanted – with black beans, fire-roasted corn and pico. Just leave off the dairy! This stuff was spectacular. I would go back to Disney just for this bowl!
For our last lunch, we headed over to Via Napoli at the Italy pavilion at Epcot. This was our last lunch and our “ciao” to our family so we sat and ate like the big (half) Italian family that we are! My husband and I both had this gorgeous bowl of salad – the Insalata del Contadino to be exact – with cucumbers, shaved fennel, green beans, tomatoes, radishes tossed in a red wine vinaigrette. Sans cheese, course.
Then all three of us had big bowls of spaghetti and tomato sauce that were so big and so delicious that we were sad when they were finished. I didn’t snap a photo of them but I recreated this one below, just for fun. (Note that my son said my sauce is better! Love that little boy!)
It turns out there are lots of snack options in the park including the Mickey pretzels and popcorn. We also we found these little candies at the Germany pavilion. Just in case, I carried bags of Brazil and macadamia nuts as well as Hu chocolate bars for sustenance between meals.
By the end of the trip, I was checking Instagram hashtags #vegandisneyworld and #vegandisneyfood as well as the feed for the ladies behind Vegan Disney World and realized that all we had to do is tell the restaurant we were vegan and options would materialize. It was too late for us to explore more but I am seriously excited to go back just for the food!
Our favorite thing was that sweet chili sauce so I created this recipe below. It is easy to make and stores well in the refrigerator. I pan seared the tofu on my cast iron and then poured about a half a cup of sauce over the top and waited for it caramelize before serving it with rice and sautéed onions and broccoli.
If you go to Disney, let me know what you eat. And if you make the sauce, let me know what you serve it with!
Sweet Chili Sauce
Make this sauce and then use it on tofu and in stir fries!
- 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 cup golden maple syrup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
Add the chili flakes, maple syrup, vinegar, garlic, and 1 cup of water to a saucepan.
Bring to a simmer over a medium-low flame. Cook for a few minutes to reduce the liquid.
In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder with the extra water and then add it to the sauce. Whisk in and cook until the sauce thickens, a minute or so. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Once completely cooled, store in a jar in the refrigerator. Enjoy!