I usually find it a little challenging to go a few days without a kitchen, but the culinary masterminds in Disney World have made it so easy to find allergy-friendly foods wherever you go. Lots of vegan food and a week in the sun? Yes please! A vegan Disney vacation is completely possible, and I’ll tell you all about my favorite places to eat.
It always takes extra time to talk to a manager and confirm that all the ingredients are acceptable, but a vegan/gluten free trip is completely possible. If you have serious allergies or multiple dietary restrictions, it’s obviously always easier to bring your own food (and completely allowed in the parks), but Disney will make every effort to ensure that your allergies are accommodated. You can also see the menus for every restaurant online, and plan your meals before you go.
Trail’s End and Chef TJ!
We started out our trip by going to Trail’s End restaurant at Fort Wilderness campground to meet the legendary Chef TJ! After reading about his amazing food from Bianca at The Friendly Fig, I couldn’t believe I had never heard of him before. Well, I’ll add to the countless blog posts and articles praising him as an incredible chef and a vegan culinary genius. Trail’s End is a buffet full of great comfort food (non-vegans will love the fried chicken), but vegans are pretty limited to the salad bar. Chef TJ made us a five course vegan feast separate from the buffet, and was even able to accommodate my soy and gluten sensitivities. Chef TJ gives the vegans so much food that you’ll have more than enough to share with even the non-vegans too! So much happiness!
So, what did we get to eat? Nachos with TJ’s own vegan cheese sauce and caramelized onions, BBQ baked potatoes, asparagus soup with V/GF bread, a huge plate of grilled vegetables, and a towering cookie-marshmallow-strawberry dessert covered in chocolate syrup. All of it was absolutely delicious and invented by TJ himself. I was totally blown away by his amazing creations, and really wish he would open up a restaurant or publish some of his recipes!
After talking to Chef TJ I also found out that he originally opened Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge—my favorite restaurant of all time! I haven’t had a chance to see what Boma offers in terms of vegan food yet, but I’ll have to go there next time.
Note: Trail’s End is a bit far away from the parks or other hotels, so leave enough time to get there by ferry or bus!
Outside the Parks
Whether you’re staying at the resorts or just want to check them out, there are some great veg options to try! Most resorts (and sit-down restaurants) that serve breakfast will make Vegan/GF Mickey Mouse Waffles if you ask. I personally had them at the Beach Club’s Cape May Café, and at the All Star Sports resort’s food court. Cape May Café is a also had lots of breakfast options including oatmeal, quinoa cereal, fruit, and salads for vegans, and is a great brunch for non-vegans too. Bonus: they had a vegan gluten free donut for us too!
If you’re looking for some allergy-friendly sweets (because you’re in Disney World, so you’re allowed to have some fun!), you’re in luck. Disney has partnerships with a bunch of great snack companies, including the Erin McKenna Bakery (formerly Babycakes). This bakery in Downtown Disney is completely vegan and gluten free, and many restaurants will have an Erin McKenna or Enjoy Life vegan/gluten free cookie, cupcake, or donut dessert option. You can also find the Erin McKenna cupcakes in the Boardwalk Bakery.
Another great restaurant is the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian hotel (right by the Magic Kingdom). There are tons of vegan and gluten free options, including stir fry noodles and delicious veggie sushi. Non-vegans will love the sushi and BBQ chicken wings!
I made a special trip to the Sassagoula Floatworks Factory in the Port Orleans French Quarter because I heard there were some vegan/gluten free beignets, and I was not disappointed. I had planned a trip to New Orleans for early March that fell through at the last minute, and was really craving some fried dough deliciousness. See the happiness below:
Most of the quick-service places in the theme parks will have some sort of vegan sandwich option (veggie burger or just hummus and veggies) and gluten free bread if you ask. I had an OK veggie burger with gf bread and french fries at Cosmic Ray’s. Too many fries and burgers can make me feel kind of gross after awhile though, so I made sure to snack on lots of fruit during the day too.
If you want to go full on junk food, you can also find Pineapple Dole Whip (vegan frozen treat!) in Adventureland, and Tofutti and Rice Dream ice cream at the ice cream shoppe on Main Street.
What’s the best place to eat in the Magic Kingdom? If you can score a reservation at the Be Our Guest restaurant, you’re in for a treat. The onion soup and ratatouille are completely vegan and wonderful, and they’ll give you an Enjoy Life cookie for dessert. YAY.
Non-vegans: try the grey stuff, it’s delicious! (seriously, it’s a thing)
If you’ve ever tried to drink around the EPCOT countries, you know that you need lots of food to keep you going. Even if you’re skipping the world tour of alcoholic beverages, it’s still so much fun to try some food in every country. Some of them can be a little tough for vegans, but most restaurants will be accommodating. My favorites are below:
Japan’s Tokyo Dining has great veggie sushi, and if you happen to be in EPCOT during the Flower and Garden festival, Japan’s festival booth has Frushi: fruit sushi! It’s my new favorite word. And it’s delicious and dairy-free, as long as you get it without the whipped cream! China’s Nine Dragons restaurant has a great vegetable stirfry dish too.
The Rose and Crown in England is my sister’s favorite restaurant (she loves the cheese plate, and I love the beer and cider!), but it’s tough for me to eat there. They will make a vegan curry dish, but if you’re allergic to cloves like me, you can stick with the apple salad and fries. If you’re still hungry later, stop by the La Cantina de San Angel quick-service restaurant in Mexico that offers nachos, rice, beans, guacamole, and salsa—all vegan and gluten free! Then get some more frushi because you can. I’m seriously addicted to frushi now.
Sunshine Seasons in The Land has some really great vegan options. It’s got two totally v/gf salads if you ask for no cheese, and vegan beef stirfry too. There are also lots of allergy-friendly snacks available, like Enjoy Life cookies and chocolate bars, and surf sweets gummy bears.
There are so many options! There’s even an entire kiosk just for allergy-friendly snacks. Many of them are gluten free but not vegan, but they do have some enjoy life cookies, Erin McKenna cupcakes, and hummus and veggies. I didn’t get the chance to check out the veg options at the Yak & Yeti or Tusker House restaurants, but I’ve heard they’re really great.
Mr. Kamal’s has some great veg-friendly lunch options. I had the falafel with mango salsa and hummus, avoided the pita bread and tahini (apparently had dairy) and it was fantastic.
Tamu Tamu Refreshments had a vegan curry with tofu that was so good we almost went back for a second one (but decided to try the falafel instead!). They also had pineapple dole whip, a totally vegan frozen treat.
I didn’t spend too much time in this park, but I had a good veggie burger at Rosie’s All American Café, and an Asian salad (without meat or crunchy noodles) at the ABC Commissary. I’ve heard that the 50’s Primetime Café and Sci-Fi Diner have some great veg options and milkshakes, but will have to try those next time!