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!
The vegan option here was great, and we enjoyed the quiet and cool respite lunch here provided. I just can't rate this meal as highly as some of the others I have enjoyed at Walt Disney World.
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!
If you have a couple of hours to devote to eating dinner at Trail's End, I highly recommend the Chef TJ Experience. We stuffed our faces and each plate that arrived from the kitchen was better than the last.
vegan @ WDW
Walt Disney World is extremely vegan-friendly! Plan your dining here with my tips and information.