by Kylina Matteoli
With summer vacation upon us, I am reminded of my childhood filled with backyard BBQ’s, fun pool days (or running through sprinklers on the lawn), and awesome adventures at theme parks like Six Flags, Universal Studios, and, the mac-daddy of them all, Disneyland. Now, more than ever, Disneyland truly is the happiest place on earth where all your dreams can come true – your vegan dreams that is.
The thing that I constantly forget when I travel to Disneyland is that people from all over the world visit, meaning people from all sorts of backgrounds, including dietary backgrounds, come to enjoy this theme park. And the people at Disney know and consider this, especially when it comes to their food selection. In this post, I’ll be going over the food I enjoyed while visiting, as well as other, newer, options available. Keep reading to the end to see a guided list of where all vegan food options are located within the park.
Chances are after walking around all day, you’re probably looking for easy, on-the-go snacks. My go-to snack is the Mickey Pretzel, which is a soft pretzel in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. This is a nice snack because the large size is rather filling. Plus, if it’s chilly, this snack is perfect because it’s been under a lamp to keep warm and it’s nice to munch on something toasty when it’s cooler out. You can typically find these pretzels available at the food carts and/or food stalls which are found on Main Street or near the exits of some rides. Other favorite vegan snacks that are available at these food cart/stalls are:
- Sabra Pretzel and Hummus snack boxes
- vegetable platters (comes with packaged ranch dressing that you can omit)
- watermelon and pineapple slices/spears
- mango with lime juice and Tajin spice
- fruit cups
And for a vegan snack that is more on the dessert side, they also offer:
- frozen lemonade
- packaged kettle corn
- cotton candy
- Dreyer’s whole fruit bar
My favorite spot to dine, as in sitting down to eat, is in New Orleans Square. Even before I became a vegan this was my favorite place to eat, and since I’ve been vegan it turns out this is the best place in the park to eat vegan because it offers the most options. Over previous visits, I have tasted the following two main courses in New Orleans Square, and let me say these are the best, most delicious vegan meals I’ve eaten within the park.
First, I had the vegetarian gumbo in a sourdough bread bowl at the Royal Street Veranda. This was a delightfully, lightly spiced, version of classic gumbo with black-eyed peas, chopped celery, onions, bell pepper, corn, and okra made even yummier with the bread bowl. If you have a gluten allergy you can easily ask for a regular bowl instead of the bread bowl to make it gluten-free. My second favorite meal while in New Orleans Square is the vegetable jambalaya found in the French Market. This classic southern dish has similar vegetables as the gumbo with chopped onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. But it differs from gumbo in that it’s cooked in a tomato-sauce base with tomatoes, cayenne and fennel seed. Then rice and beans are added to give a substantial amount of protein to the dish which I found to be very filling.
Another great thing about eating in this location is I find that you tend to be pretty close to the center of the park, making it easy to get around, especially if you need to get across the park in less than fifteen minutes to go to the ride you have a Fast-Pass for.
Disney Fun Fact: In New Orleans Square, there is a secret club called Club 33, located at 33 Royal Street. The entire top halves of all the buildings in New Orleans Square make up Club 33 which is a French-American restaurant that serves a six-course tasting menu. But unfortunately, it is not open to the public. Members pay $25,000 to join and pay annual fees of $10,000. So even though you and I might not be able to get inside the club, all you have to do is look up and you can see the outside of Club 33.
So, my day at Disneyland ended in Adventureland where I went to the infamous Tiki Hut. If this is your first time visiting Disneyland, or if you’ve never been here, then I highly recommend that you go to the Tiki Hut and try the Dole Whip. This is a pineapple-flavored soft-serve frozen dessert that is only available and sold at Disneyland (and Disney’s Polynesian Resort).
It is the perfect soft-serve with a creamy texture that tastes like a mix of sorbet and rich ice-cream. But, the best part is that you can order a Dole Whip float which is the soft-serve served in Dole pineapple juice with a cherry on top. I can’t tell if it tastes so good because I know how rare it is to get it, or because it’s so delicious after a long, hot day at the park. Either way it doesn’t matter though, because it is purely magical.
I know there are so many more options available at various locations in the park where you can order vegan food. Even though I haven’t eaten these vegan food options, listed below are the vegan eats with their locations to help you navigate around the park. Also, if you’re planning a visit to Disneyland, and you’d like to have a meal at a sit-down restaurant inside of the park, you can call them in advance about getting a vegan meal. Special dietary needs — including kosher, vegetarian, veganism, and medically restricted diets — can be accommodated at most table-service restaurants. Request this service at least 24 hours in advance at (714) 781-DINE (3463).
- Tiki Hut -Dole whip
- Bengal BBQ - Veggie Skewer
- Hummus and pretzel snacks
- Watermelon slices
- Mango with lime juice and Tajin spice
- Berry box / fruit cups
- Mickey Pretzel
- Frozen Lemonade
- Packaged Kettle Corn
- Cotton Candy
- Carnation Café – Chef’s Vegan Burger
- Fully Holiday Bakery - Tomato Basil Soup, grilled veggies, and whole grain salad
New Orleans Square
- Royal Street Veranda- Vegetarian gumbo in a sourdough bread bowl
- French Market- Vegetable jambalaya
- Blue Bayou Restaurant- Portobello mushroom and couscous maque choux
- Hungry Bear Restaurant- Sweet potato fries
- Candy Palace & Critter Country Shop- Rice milk chocolate bar, dark chocolate bar, and sugar cookies
- Rancho del Zocalo Restaurant- Everything that is vegetarian can be ordered vegan except the enchiladas
- Big Thunder Ranch BBW- Veggie skewer
- River Belle Terrace- Becky Thatcher’s Black Bean Cakes, Aunt Polly’s Harvest Medley without cheese
Mickey’s Toon Town
- Dreyer’s whole fruit bar
- Maurice’s Treats- The boysen apple freeze
- Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port- Tomato basil pasta, spaghetti with “Mars-inara” sauce with vegan pasta and without cheese, vegetarian pizza without cheese
- Tomorrowland Terrace- Portobello and veggies sandwich without cheese or sauce
Make sure to check Disneyland’s official Fact Sheet (link below) because food items are constantly changing and hopefully in the future they will be adding more vegan options. And stay tuned for next week’s post which will cover the vegan food options to eat at Disney World and Disney World Resorts in Orlando, Florida.
Disneyland Vegan and Vegetarian Fact Sheet