Eating Healthy at Walt Disney World

If you follow my blog, you know of my struggles with clean eating (no processed foods or artificial colors, avoidance of white sugar, no GMOs, etc…) and being a foodie.  I absolutely love food and am trying to raise children who appreciate it just as much as I do, but without all of the crazy additives that have become so commonplace lately.  While we eat less of it than we have in the past, wheat, sugar & dairy are pretty much non negotiable items at this time. I gotta have real pasta, real cookies and real cheese.  Purchasing these items from local sources helps me ensure my family gets the best quality available.

Nonetheless, we still try to eat decently, even on vacation.  In most cases, all bets are off, especially with my husband.  As soon as he gets to the airport he’s grabbing fast food; the faster, the better.  This usually comes back to haunt him in some pretty unsightly ways by the time we arrive at our destination.  More often than not, our destination is Disney World.  Healthy eating is very possible with some careful planning before arriving at the “Happiest Place On Earth.”

This was previously titled "clean eating," but I couldn't in good conscious leave that title as I am certain there are few organic options at the parks and all of the fruit is waxed.  Eating GMO free is virtually impossible outside of your own home.  Don't go to Disney expecting to find a lot of organic options, just choose not to eat a week's worth of junk.  That can be easily done, especially if you are willing to be a little flexible and have fun.  If I’m at Disney World and have not had a Dole Whip, don’t expect me to be truly happy until I do.  Dole Whips, macaroni & cheese hot dogs, cupcakes and waffle sandwiches are some of my park food weaknesses.  Do I indulge? Of course, I’m on vacation!  Some of us that strive to be clean eaters take this way too seriously sometimes.  Don’t be a prude! Disney World has some amazing food.  Have some fun food, unless your clean eating is because of a medical condition, in which case, behave. 

If you can afford it, get the dining plan.  It is worth every penny for us, because we enjoy eating a lot of food while on vacation without worrying how much it costs.  Better still, plan your vacation around the Free Dining promotion.  We often opt for the Deluxe Dining Plan and choose sit down or table service meals because they offer the best choices for meals like the ones I serve at home.  The down side to all of those table service meals is that we’re always looking at the clock to be sure we make our reservations on time.  It also means that reservations made later than our typical meal times means the kids are hungry and grumpy.  Be sure you make reservations 180 days out to avoid this problem. 

If you go for the standard plan, expect to prepare or pay out of pocket for one meal per day.  In this scenario, we use a shopping service and have groceries delivered to our room.  Breakfast and snacks are what we usually buy.  Quick service credits take care of lunch and table service credits are used for dinner.  While it is possible for healthy eating on the Quick Service Dining plan, you need to know your menu options and plan accordingly before your vacation, just as you would with the other dining plans.

On our last trip, we did not use the dining plan because we stayed in a rental home.  While we missed being on property, a rental home is the easiest way to eat healthier on vacation.  Having a full kitchen meant I could cook and prepare a real breakfast, that we would eat by the pool, before heading off to the parks, as well as safely storing our own snacks to be used throughout the day.  Staying off property (and having a car) also meant that I could purchase food from any store I chose, whenever I wanted.  There is a Whole Foods minutes away from the parks.  Our rental home was about twenty minutes away, so it was pretty impractical to return there for meals.

I’m sure what you really want is a list.  Here are options divided by snacks, quick service, table service and signature dining locations that have the best options for eating healthy at Walt Disney World.  I cannot promise that these are organic options.  If you need organic, head to Whole Foods or pay for a grocery delivery service.  Please note that this list will continually change as we visit and question chefs and cast members for information.  Especially at Table Service restaurants, chefs will happily answer questions for you regarding the sources of their offerings.  You can also make special requests based on your food preferences (gluten free, kosher, allergy restrictions, etc).

This is a very new list...bear with me as I add to it over time.  Sorry, no information is listed on water parks. In over 10 years of visits, can you believe that I've never been to either?

Snack Options
Magic Kingdom
Adventureland Market Fresh Snacks (Fresh Fruit)
Aloha Isle (Pineapple Spears)
Cosmic Ray's (Cucumber Salad, Strawberry Yogurt, Applesauce)
Liberty Square Market (Fresh Fruit)
Main Street Bakery/Starbucks (Fresh Fruit, Organic Soy milk)
Maurice's Amazing Popping Machine (Fresh Fruit)
Pecos Bill (Strawberry Yogurt)
Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (Fresh Fruit)
Tomorrowland Popcorn Cart (Fresh Fruit)
Tomorrowland Terrace (Fruit, Oatmeal, Yogurt)

Epcot
Electric Umbrella (Mixed Fruit Cup)
Fountain View Cafe/Starbucks (Organic Soy milk)
Sunshine Seasons, The Land Pavillion (Fresh Fruit, Organic Fruit Snacks, Gluten Free cookies)
Refreshment Outpost (Fresh Fruit)
Promenade Refreshments (Seasonal Fruit cup)
Africa Coolpost (Seasonal Fruit cup)

Hollywood Studios
Anaheim Produce (Fresh Fruit, veggies, pickles)
Starring Rolls Cafe (Fresh Fruit)
Dinosaur Gertie's (Whole Fruit)
Hey Howdy Hey Take Away (Whole Fruit)
Ice Cold Snack Stand (Whole Fruit, Granola Bar, Pita Chips)
Popcorn Kiosk (Whole Fruit, Granola Bar, Pita Chips)
Writer's Stop (Assorted Yogurt)

Animal Kingdom
Harambee Market (Fresh Fruit)
Bradley Falls, Asia (Edamame Beans, Fruit Salad)
Drinkwallah, Asia (Fresh Fruit Cup, Whole Fruit)

Counter Service
Magic Kingdom
Columbia Harbor House (Lighthouse Sandwich, Grilled Salmon)
Cosmic Rays (Veggie Sandwich)
Friar's Nook, (Veggies & Hummus)
Gaston's Tavern (Hummus & Chips)
Pecos Bill (Veggie Burger, sweet potato fries)
Pinocchio Village Haus (Tomato Basil Soup)
Tortuga Tavern (Vegetarian Burrito)

Epcot
Electric Umbrella (Vegetable Flatbread)
Ice Cream/Treat Carts (Whole Fruit, Mixed Fruit Cups, Frozen Bananas, Pickles, & Grapes)
Sunshine Seasons, The Land Pavilion (LOTS!)
Kabuki Cafe, Japan (Edamame, Miso Soup)
Katsura Grill, Japan (Miso Soup, Edamame, Sushi, side salad)
La Hacienda de San Angel, Mexico (Great Vegetarian menu available)
Liberty Inn, America (Kosher meal available)
Lotus Blossom Cafe, China (Vegetable Curry)
Tangierine Cafe, Morocco (Tabouleh, Lentil Salad, Marinated Olives, Couscous Salad, Veggie Platter)


Hollywood Studios
ABC Commissary (Couscous, Quinoa & Arugula Salad, additional price for chicken or salmon)
Backlot Express (Grilled veggie sandwich, salads)
Herbie's Drive In (Pita chips, granola bars, whole fruit)
Starring Rolls Cafe (Sushi, after 11:30)
Studio Catering Company (Grilled veggie sandwich)
Pizza Planet (Antipasto Salad, made to order)

Animal Kingdom
Tamu Tamu Refreshments (South African Quinoa Salad)
Allergy Dining Kiosk (Gluten free options)

12 comments:

  1. Thank you for this list! I'm on a 100 day journey of clean eating before our trip to WDW and didn't want to give up all I've accomplished. So grateful for a list of healthy snacks to refer to when we're using our DDP!

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    Replies
    1. The list is nowhere near complete, but I'm happy it's here for you to reference!

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  2. This is very helpful ... you mentioned a shopping service that delivers food to one's room? Can you share the name? Not sure what to call it as I search! Thanks again.

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    Replies
    1. I suspect she was talking about Garden Grocer. I have heard A LOT of recommendations for them:

      https://www.gardengrocer.com/

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  3. Oooo I love your blog! Thanks for all the detailed information!

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  4. As we prepare to visit DisneyWorld, I'm really stressing about eating clean. Though it's a choice, it's also a necessity. 2 daughters will become ill if we don't (struggling with health issues). If all that is out there is 'fruit cup', neither of them will be able to enjoy their days there at all. Do you feel you can keep your clean food choices sustained on a Standard dining plan, adding groceries for those breakfast and snack options? (I'm a chef so that's not an issue for me, thankfully).

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  5. As we prepare to visit DisneyWorld, I'm really stressing about eating clean. Though it's a choice, it's also a necessity. 2 daughters will become ill if we don't (struggling with health issues). If all that is out there is 'fruit cup', neither of them will be able to enjoy their days there at all. Do you feel you can keep your clean food choices sustained on a Standard dining plan, adding groceries for those breakfast and snack options? (I'm a chef so that's not an issue for me, thankfully).

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! No, I don't think it's possible to sustain clean eating on a standard dining plan. It is really hard to find clean options at quick service restaurants. There are a few available, Sunshine Seasons at Epcot is our favorite, though one would probably not call it 100% clean eating. You'll have to upgrade to the deluxe plan, which includes primarily table service credits. Depending on how your family eats and the size of your family, it is often less expensive to pay out of pocket for table service meals. As a chef you have a leg up on the average Disney guest. Plan ahead, read menus and talk to the culinary staff. They are happy to answer any questions you have!

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  6. If you're unsure- just ask! They'll be happy to share the information with you and you may even be first in line. Disney World Tips and Tricks

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  7. Have you looked into DVC rental? DVC rooms are in park AND have a full kitchen. You can even have groceries delivered. All the perks and healthy food!

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    Visit: https://www.horlicks.in

    ReplyDelete