this review reflects my experience in October 2016
While we had planned a majority of our table service reservations prior to departure, we did leave some wiggle-room in our schedule for flexibility. We spent quite a bit of time at the Magic Kingdom on this visit, and while this isn't a park I really enjoy for dining, we found ourselves very hungry with a table service dining credit to use. We ended up at Tony's Town Square, located near the front of the park on Main Street USA. Themed from the Lady and the Tramp, the restaurant offers lots of windows (great for people watching) and a comfortable dining room.
I spoke with our server about my needs and the chef came out to speak with me about my options. I had bread, a salad, and a vegetable pasta dish. (The serving was enormous, and my husband warmed up the leftovers at the hotel for a meal later in the day.)
This was my least favorite dining experience at Walt Disney World, but that is partly because I don't get overly excited about pasta. I appreciate the effort of the chefs, but all of my dishes were heavily oiled - not something I am accustomed to as I normally skip the oil in my cooking. Had I known this ingredient would be so prominent in my dishes, I would have mentioned omitting it to the chef.
Review: 2/5 - Too much oil, and options were just not my cup of tea. I would pass this by on our next trip.
Epcot has long been my favorite park for food at Walt Disney World, largely because of the many delicious options available throughout the World Showcase. (I also love The Land pavilion - that post coming soon.)
After a fun morning enjoying a mostly empty Hollywood Studios, we took water transportation to the rear of Epcot in the World Showcase to enjoy lunch at Tangierine Cafe, located in the Morocco pavilion.
We used a quick service meal credit from our dining plan - I drank a Coke with my lunch, and no vegan-friendly desserts were available here.
The vegetarian platter served up all of my favorites - falafel, fattoush, hummus, lentil salad, etc. Check to be sure the pita bread is vegan, as the suppliers change. I believe the falafel is cooked in a shared fryer.
We enjoyed eating outdoors in the quiet courtyard, watching park visitors stroll by. This was easily one of my favorite meals of this vacation, and a dining location I can highly recommend.
Review: 5/5 - A large plate of food, great ambiance, and quality make this an Epcot standout.
After a long day at the parks, I found myself craving a sandwich and fries, so we stopped at the Everything Pop food court to see what the chef would be able to do for me.
He offered up a roasted veggie sandwich, and served me this monstrous delight, which I slathered up with honey mustard, and then enjoyed while we watched the Cleveland Indians dash our dreams for a World Series victory.
Because I used a quick service credit from our Disney Dining meal plan, I also received a side of fruit and a container of vegan ice cream (which I used to make a root beer float).
Tusker House, home to Safari Donald Duck and friends character dining, is a must-visit restaurant during your vegan vacation.
This expansive buffet features an unbelievable number of already-vegan dishes, and the chefs of the restaurant will happily guide you through the serving stations to inform you of your options. There are so many, you'll forget, so don't be afraid to ask for a refresher as you're filling your plates. Rice, creative salads, pita, tabbouleh, hummus, a wide range of vegetables , and potato dishes are a sample of what you can enjoy.
I ate without shame, loading up two large plates of food and enjoying every bit of it. When I finished my meal, the chef brought me out a plate of cookies and brownies. I stashed the bagged chocolate chip cookies for a snack later.
My husband wanted to return to Tusker House a couple of days later, and while I was tempted, I told him we needed to check out other table service options.
Review: 5/5 When about 1/2 - 2/3 of a buffet is accessible to vegans, you go for it, and stuff your face with abandon.
This post reflects my experience in October 2016.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is a vegan food paradise - each of its three table-service restaurants (Boma, Jiko, Sanaa) are known favorites among the vegan community for incredible food options.
I have previously dined for Christmas Day dinner at Boma - Flavors of Africa as a non-vegan and thought the buffet options were plentiful and delicious, but this was my first experience there both for breakfast and as a vegan.
The chef here was very accommodating, as is the trend at Walt Disney World, and offered me a couple of additional options besides showing me what I could eat from the buffet.
I happily dug into a large plate of fruit, oatmeal with all sorts of toppers, and the trademark Mickey Mouse waffles.
My husband and I decided that while we really like buffet at Walt Disney World, we are not "breakfast buffet" people because we don't eat large quantities of food in the morning. We thought our table-service dining credit would be better used for another time of day.
Review: 3/5 ...But only because I don't feel the value is here for breakfast buffet. I would recommend trying Boma for lunch or dinner instead.
At first glace, the offerings at the Everything Pop food court are relatively disappointing for vegans...several of the stations offer vegetarian options, but a few language barriers prevented me from conveying what I was looking for and how I might be able to adapt existing menu items.
Don't fear! Ask to speak with the head chef on duty, and your needs will be met! The veggie burgers on the menu are not vegan-friendly. but the chef will prepare a vegan-friendly patty in the kitchen just for you...you just need to ask. Allow ample time, as this is a special order - I waited about 25 minutes for my food order but really enjoyed a "guilty pleasure" sort of meal...especially with brownies and a soda!
I used a quick-service dining credit for the following meal:
vegan burger with all the trimmings
Erin McKenna's brownie bites
Overall, I had a very pleasant experience and the chef on duty was very friendly in assisting me. This meal was exactly what I was in the mood for: a "junk-food" sort of meal...burger, fries, soda, brownies. It really hit the spot, even though I had about to wait for the specially prepared food. (Plan ahead.)
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.
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.