Although the thrilling rides and memorable characters may be the main attraction, no trip to a Disney theme park is complete without sampling the food. From roasted turkey legs to Mickey-shaped soft pretzels to the iconic Dole Whip, Disney parks are known for offering guests a litany of delicious, and oftentimes unique, treats. Until now, however, finding a mouth-watering bite could be tricky for those who are vegan. But, starting in October, vegans will find themselves overwhelmed with options as Disney theme parks rolls out vegan food options at all of their major quick service and table service restaurants.
Disney Parks announced Tuesday that more than 400 plant-based dishes will soon be available at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. While Disney isn't using the word vegan to describe their upcoming culinary offerings, by being plant-based, every new menu option meets the simplest definition of a vegan dish.
"Dishes that are crafted with plant-based ingredients are just that, plants," John State Culinary Director at Disneyland Resort said in a promotional video released by Disney Parks. "Whether it's fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, or legumes. Just keep in mind there's no animal meat, no dairy, no eggs, and, of course, no honey."
While Disney plans to bring hundreds of delicious plant-based dishes to all of its U.S. parks by spring 2020, Walt Disney World Resort is expected to roll out plant-based culinary options first. According to Disney Parks Blog, menus at all major quick and table service restaurants in Walt Disney World Resort will offer new dishes free of animal meat, dairy, eggs, and honey starting the first week of October.
For those nervous that Disney's definition of "plant-based" translates to boring salad, fear not. The hundreds of plant-based dishes expected to land on Disney menus will, according to Disney Parks, include things like steamed Asian dumplings with radish, bok choy, red peppers, and Chinese long beans at Epcot's Le Cellier. Over at Satu'li Canteen in Disney's Animal Kingdom you'll find chili-spiced crispy fried tofu topped with boba balls and vegetable slaw while California Grill in Disney's Contemporary Resort will soon boast a cashew cheesecake. Star Wars fans, meanwhile, will soon be able to treat themselves to a Felucian garden spread with plant-based kefta and hummus from Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in both Walt Disney World Resort's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Resort's Disneyland Park.
Of course, salads are still on the menu. However, if the shiriki noodle salad with edamame, mushrooms, green mango, and cucumber tossed in a sweet chili sauce set to be on offer at Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen in Disney's Magic Kingdom Park is any indication, they'll be far from boring. To help guests better identify its new plant-based cuisine options, Disney Parks will also roll out a new (leaf-shaped) menu icon.
While Disney's new cuisine options are great news for anyone who follows an exclusively vegetarian or vegan diet, they'll likely be a hit with guests who don't consider themselves to be vegan as interest in plant-based nutrition has grown. According to a 2017 Nielsen Homescan survey, 39 percent of Americans are now actively trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet. In fact, Disney's upcoming plant-based menu expansion could mean that Disney's parks truly become "the happiest place on Earth" for even the most health-conscious individual.