This is my first post that isn’t actually written by me. This one comes from a friend of mine, who is an excellent writer. I always enjoy reading her posts. And, as she takes herself on some pretty great adventures, her posts are usually pretty entertaining. Actually, the only reason that I can call her a friend is because we worked together for a while. She and I are extraordinarily different, and it’s unlikely that our paths ever would have crossed if we hadn’t shared an employer. We aren’t BFF’s or anything, but we keep in touch on social media, and I count myself lucky to have someone as unique as her in my ‘social’ life. She has lived all over North America, rides a bike everywhere, and is a vegan. In fact, her dedication to being a vegan is what brings us to this post. Recently, she visited Walt Disney World, and while there she was determined to find good vegan foods. Luckily for us, her findings are well documented.
“When you think of Disney, veganism is not the first thing that comes to mind. Oppressive ‘No Running’ rules and long lines in the scorching-hot sun is. However, I am the wishiest of wishful thinkers, and was determined to find something to eat other than a side salad. SUCCESS!!!! And now, because I know you’re all secretly curious behind that relentless teasing I’m subjected to on a daily basis, here is a list of vegan-friendly places in Disney.
Our first destination on this magical trip was to Downtown Disney, a lakeside crescent of larger-than-life shiny pretty things that leave you starry-eyed and emptied of monies. I dragged G through crowds of tired families, past guitar-shredding street performers, and away from the LEGO store just to force him to eat one—just ONE—vegan dessert at Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC. Regarded as the premiere vegan and gluten-free bakery in the world, McKenna’s recently opened a storefront location in Downtown Disney, even though the company has catered to the resorts and parks for several years. G got a vanilla cupcake (best to keep it simple when first delving into the vegan world) and I got what can best be described as the KFC Famous Bowl of vegan dessert: a plastic cup crammed five-layers deep with donuts, cookies, and a cupcake. I ate the entire thing.
Don’t judge; disgusting eating habits don’t apply while on vacation.
The following day G and I went to the best of all Disney parks, Epcot! We avoided the lines by pavilion-hopping until the day grew cooler to go on the rides. G had found a list online of vegan eats at the Disney Parks, so I made a scavenger hunt out of it and was able to scrounge up a delicious falafel wrap and mouth-watering grape leaves for lunch from the Tangierine Cafe and the Spice Road Table at my favorite pavilion, Morocco. The biggest surprise of the day came in the form of vegan mixed berry sorbet from L’artisan des Glace in France.
Day 3 we hit up Hollywood Studios, which never fails to make me nostalgic for L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard and the Fairfax Farmers‘ Market. I heard rumor of a vegan-friendly veggie burger in one of the park’s many eclectic restaurants, but I was too busy being traumatized on both the Tower of Terror and the Rockin‘ Roller to find it (re. photos). After an even more horrifying once-around on the Toy Story ride (I accidentally shot Rex :-0 ), we took a bus to Animal Kingdom. Last year, Animal Kingdom surprised me as the best-kept secret in all of Disney World, simply because I stumbled upon a kiosk that sold vegan donuts. My heart is easily won, shut up. This time around, I hit up Mr. Kamal’s food truck in Asia and got an order of vegan samosas, with a side of spicy mango salsa. Too delicious.
G and I did the Kilimanjaro Safari, which was filled with lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ at the beautiful creatures and set the day off on a magical note. As G said, “Karma is on our side!” He was absolutely right. After one continuous scream on Expedition Everest we bounded back to Epcot for dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh, where poor G compromised and ate Middle Eastern food, and we watched an incredible belly dancer who made me feel bad for eating the KFC Famous Bowl of vegan dessert.
Thank you so much for a lovely vacation, G!!!!”