Week Four: Occasions Week
We love a good celebration! This week focuses on those special occasions in your life.
Strong opinions abound when it comes to Disney World (and presumably Disneyland, though I have much less experience there!). One of my friends adores it and really does believe it’s the happiest place on earth; even now it’s the destination of choice for most of her family vacations. Then there are the haters, those who claim it’s too expensive/too crowded/not worth the fuss. I can see both sides, but I’ll admit it: I fall in the former category. Would Disney ever be my top choice for a holiday destination? Probably not. But did I complain when, a few years back, my parents decided we’d head there for a big family reunion-type vacation? Absolutely not!
I really enjoy Disney. I love how immersive an experience it can be, maybe because I have such fond memories of the visits we took there when I was younger. My parents scrimped and saved to take us when I was 9 or 10, and it was, dare I say it, magical. My number-one favorite ride has always been Tower of Terror, though I love all the roller coasters too. I appreciate that there are legitimate adrenaline-boosting rides in the middle of a child- and family-themed park. Yeah, the lines can be horrific, but if you go in the off season or hit certain rides at off hours, you can do just fine.
When we went to Disney in 2015, it was my first time visiting as a vegan. And guess what? I ate juuuust fine. There’s a robust subculture of vegan Disney fans who share all sorts of insider tips about where to find the best animal-free fare. You can find one helpful site here, and Peta has its own guide here. The much-beloved Dole Whip is vegan, and there’s an all-vegan bakery (!) in Disney Springs. Many of the park’s restaurants have vegan options, too. While I don’t remember every last place we ate, here are a few highlights.
Vegan pizza at Pizza Planet! Toy Story fans will recognize Pizza Planet from the movies, and I love that this super-fun, super-thematically-appropriate Hollywood Studios dining establishment offers personal vegan pizzas. They use Follow Your Heart cheese and serve the veggie-laden pizzas uncut, presumably to avoid cross-contamination in case you have an allergy. I thought getting an entire personal pizza for myself was pretty fun!
An entire multi-course vegan dinner at Trails End at Fort Wilderness! Getting here is no joke; if you drive to Fort Wilderness (a Disney property campground and cabin site), you then have to take a bus to the restaurant area. We made a reservation for our 15-person group in advance and requested special meals for the vegans among us. Chef TJ brought out dish after dish: tofu, samosas, salad, nachos, and the crazy ice cream and marshmallow dessert tower that broke my belly. We were celebrating Steven’s birthday, which made it all extra special!
We also enjoyed burgers in Frontierland, vegan pretzels throughout the park, and undoubtedly other things I’m forgetting. So, yeah: Disney World is a pretty darn good place for vegan eats.