Coral Reef Restaurant
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Table Service Dining
If you are able to separate the cruelty of guests enjoying The Living Seas with Nemo & Friends while eating sea creatures on the other side of an aquarium enclosure (oh, the disconnect), then I highly recommend the Coral Reef Restaurant for its fantastic vegan take on a seafood offering. Before visiting WDW, I was aware of a beloved "chicken" dish at this dining location and excited to try it; however, the menu was changed shortly before travel.
The Crabless Cakes were delicious - I enjoyed every single thing about this dish, from the perfectly seasoned crabless cakes to the cranberry cous cous to the cucumber and vegetable salad atop the whole shebang.
Since we were using the Disney Dining Plan, I was able to order a giant bowl of assorted berries for my dessert. Perfect lunch - filling, healthy, and pretty!
When we were seated, we let our server know we were vegan and he informed us that there were several other vegan tables that evening and Chef TJ would be out shortly to speak with us. Chef TJ is all smiles, so very happy, and obviously loves his role in feeding vegans on vacation. He showed us the vegan-friendly options on the buffet (not many, as the restaurant is very meat/dairy-heavy), and then asked if there are any particular foods we do not eat. I mentioned eggplant, and he gestured to the kitchen and declared, "the rest of your meal I will make back there".
Then he started showing up with food. And lots of it.
First...a salad. But not just a salad. A fancy salad. With some sort of dressing that I am certain was blended by Zeus and Hera themselves.
Second...samosas. So obviously this guy knows the calling of my heart.
Third...the most gigantic plate of nachos I have ever seen, drenched in a heavenly homemade cheese sauce and dotted with caramelized onions. At this point, I should mention, we were already becoming full. Yet we couldn't. stop. eating.
Fourth...a bowl of mushroom soup. And I loathe mushrooms. And I completely forgot to tell Chef TJ. And yet, this soup...it spoke to me. I ate the entire bowl. It made me question if I really dislike mushrooms, or if I just need Chef TJ to do all future mushroom-prep in my life.
Fifth...our entree...a heaping mass of grilled veggies, tofu, and quinoa, all perfectly seasoned and lovely to gaze upon. I will admit, people were watching as these dishes emerged from the kitchen. It was like artwork.
And finally...dessert, A tower of ice cream sandwiches, bananas, strawberries, and chocolate sauce. Don't worry. I managed to fit this in as well, then casually mentioned to my husband that this might be my first weight-gain vacation. (Post script: it was.)
I felt like I was going to burst when we left the restaurant. This was one of the greatest vegan meals I have ever experienced (even just that entree would have razzle-dazzled me) and I live in Cleveland, Ohio...home to amazing vegan food. Is Trail's End off the beaten path of WDW? For sure. Is it worth venturing there to dine with Chef TJ? Without a doubt. Make sure to check his schedule to be sure he is cooking when you plan to visit.
Getting there: boat from MK is the easiest - you can also Uber from anywhere (relatively inexpensive at WDW) or take a resort bus there from another park
As always, let me know if you have questions!
Upon entering the Magic Kingdom, we made our way down Main Street U.S.A. and through Liberty Square to Frontierland for our first meal at Walt Disney World - a quick-service lunch at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. After a 4:00am alarm clock and a day of travel, we were ready to eat!
While the menu does not feature vegan or vegetarian items, options are available upon request, so ask the cast member what is currently available. The cast member taking our order provided me with a couple of menu items that would suit my needs, and I easily decided upon the roasted vegetable bowl. The meal consisted of brown rice, perfectly seasoned zucchini, and a serving of black beans. At the toppings bar, I loaded up the entree with lettuce, corn salsa, tomato salsa, and guacamole. Because we were using the Disney Dining plan, I also received Enjoy Life brand cookies for my dessert and indulged in a Coke, something I rarely drink at home.
Review: 5 stars/5 stars
The bowl was deliciously seasoned and very filling. I enjoyed selecting my toppings from the bar to personalize the meal. We enjoyed our food here so much, we almost returned, but I felt we needed to try some other quick service options around the resort so I could better assist clients.