Table Service Review: Whispering Canyon Cafe, The Plaza, Yak and Yeti (Walt Disney World)

Whispering Canyon Cafe (Wilderness Lodge)

Whispering Canyon was a favourite on a previous trip. We really enjoyed the shenanigans but I heard that it had been toned down so I wasn’t that bothered about eating here again. That is until I saw the Vegan skillet.

You can get a plant based version of the all you care to eat skillet with corn, green beans, potato wedges, pulled jackfruit, chicken and sausage. And did I mention you can have as much as you want? It’s pretty filling on its own but that sausage was too good to resist a second portion. Even the chicken breast was seasoned and charred around the edges which doesn’t sound like a big deal but a lot of places buy mock meat and then don’t put any effort in. Here you can tell someone has though about it. And, I’m happy to report, there is still shenanigans.

The Plaza (Magic Kingdom)

I teased this one in my review of Beaches and Cream. The Plaza is a vastly underrated restaurant at the top of Main Street with a great turn-of-the-century vibe and a view of the castle. The menu is giant sandwich, burgers, shakes and ice cream. And it is done right.

I was told they can make the veggie burger vegan or do the fried green tomato vegan. I opted for the fried green tomato because it’s more unusual to find. I know other people have been given vegan mayo on theirs but mine came without and as such was a little dry. Which meant I resorted to squirting ketchup on. Which was odd.

For desert I asked if they could make me a vegan version of the banana split. They could. Oh my God it was amazing! Scoops of chocolate and vanilla wedges between a split banana with strawberry and pineapple, walnuts and glacé cherries.

Yak and Yeti (Animal Kingdom)

Yak and Yeti was a last minute reservation. It’s a restaurant that’s always tempted me with the theming but never the menu. Mostly because the prices for the veggie options seem really high. But I’m on the Dining Plan so it’s all the same really. They offered me a couple of options but I really fancy noodles. I ordered the lo mein, which I thought I ordered with tofu but I didn’t get any and it wasn’t on my receipt. By the time I’d got through enough of the dish to realise it want there I didn’t really want to make a fuss. It wasn’t good anyway.

I was told they’d make it without Oyster sauce but I assumed that meant they’d substitute something else. Not so much. It was just salty from the soy sauce. The noodles were over done for my liking and it was just underwhelming. It also seemed like a small portion, especially compared to the ribs and fries that Kelsie and my Dad filled up on. I will say that my mocktail and my sorbet were lovely so I would be willing to try again with a different main. The other options — miso glazed tofu or sweet and sour — sounded good but I really wanted noodles. Unfortunately sometimes we get what we want.

Table Service: Spice Road Table, Sanna, Beaches and Cream , California Grill (Walt Disney World)

We love table service! It lets us sit down. And you also get some pretty good food. We visited some old favourites and tried some new places.

Spice Road Table (Epcot)

There are so many cool snack and counter service options available in Epcot that I always find it hard to tie myself down to a table service but we managed to score a reservation around fireworks time at Spice Road Table.

So let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first: there were no fireworks. They were set back due to the rain so we missed them. But Spice Road Table is still a great place to eat. The dining room is gorgeous, the staff are great (even by Disney standards) and the food is delicious.

I opted for the vegetable platter, because that’s the vegan option. Anti-clockwise from the left (because why not) there are stuffed grape leaves, bread, hummus, and hummus fries. What are hummus fries? Well they’re deep fried hummus blocks. Isn’t that just a falafel? No it isn’t. I’m not sure how exactly these are made but they are amazing. Crisp on the outside, soft in the middle and with a surprising heat.

Sanna (Animal Kingdom Lodge)

Sanna was my choice for my 30th birthday last year and it was probably the best meal of our trip. Great food choices for everyone, savannah views and lovely cast members.

The highlight here is the bread service but all the naans have dairy. They will make you an allergy-friendly flat bread which is free from dairy and gluten. It’s okay, but a little disappointing when the rest of your table is tucking into a fluffy pile of flavoured breads. You can still dip it in all but one of the amazing dips so I’d still recommend bread service.

For mains I chose two dishes from the ‘harvest’ section of the menu. I went for aloo masala and chickpea wat. Both very lovely. The aloo masala was pleasantly hot. But pro tip: keep the dips on your table for the mains. Not that the mains need it but those dips are amazing.

Beaches and Cream (Board Walk)

Beaches and Cream is famous for its ice cream. Eating there as a vegetarian I also enjoyed the burger. Unfortunate as a vegan it’s pretty disappointing.

By all means go for some ice cream. They have soy, rice, or coconut based ice cream to choose from. But don’t go for something savoury. Apparently all the bread products in the place have dairy or egg so I was stuck wrapping my — admittedly delicious — burger patty in lettuce. The fries are from a shared fryer so if that bothers you then all you’re going to get is a dry burger wrapped in lettuce with fruit. Not worth it.

Like I said, if you’re just going for an indulgent vegan sundae it’s one of the nicest places to get one and it’s always fun to walk around the resort but… don’t waste your time with the burger.

If you do want a burger and ice cream combo I recommend the Plaza in the Magic Kingdom. One of my family’s all-time favourites and I’ll talk about it a bit more in the next review.

California Grill (Contemporary Resort)

Another reservation we made mostly for fireworks viewing. California Grill sits at the top of the Contemporary Resort. I was also excited about the California inspired menu, more so than the rest of my group who can’t be persuaded that sushi is edible.

As a vegan you get to choose four small plate options from a choice of five. In one way this means you get quite diverse options, in another… you didn’t. You get get the same veggies on each dish. I got the flatbread which was good, a little bit dry but I appreciate the fresh rocket on top. The fried rice was also a solid choice. The sushi was one of my favourites, especially with the application of a little wasabi. The Pho though was amazing. The rest of the dishes hit about 4/5 and the pho was a 5.

I also got a real desert at California Grill! A chocolate dome with some fresh fruit. It was delicious. We even got to see the fireworks this time.

The view from California Grill is amazing.

We viewed the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the observation deck and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in Disney. Last year we booked Ohana for the firework view and it just doesn’t compare. California Grill is wonderful.

Review: Food and Drinks of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (Walt Disney World)

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an evening event that takes place in the Magic Kingdom during October and November. You buy tickets for it separately so if you are hanging around the parks in the day you’re going to need another ticket for the party. The rides are open but the main draw is the exclusive parade, fireworks and character meet-and-greets. And the snack stops, but I wasn’t expecting much in that regard.

Each of the stops had a bag of allergy-friendly cookies available that was also vegan-friendly. Pretty decent for mini cookies. At the various stops there were also sno cones which were sorely needed considering how stupidly hot it was the evening we visited.

I also got a nice glass of cold apple cider (that’s just apple juice right?) which saved my sanity. Honestly it was so warm I never even bothered to investigate my hot chocolate options. And I was really looking forward to blowing my snack credits on a huge Starbucks. I did just about manage a warm snowman pretzel. It was rather overdone, tough, a little burnt.

But it was still bloody hot, so I went to get myself another sno cone. The snacks were decent, I got enough to eat and hunting them down was fun but the highlight of the party was the parade and the exclusive shows and characters.

Review: Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam Desert Party (Walt Disney World)

Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam are the Christmas themed fireworks over at Disney’s Hollywood Studio and with every firework show Disney World puts on you get a dessert party. It’s $79 per adult on top of your park admission. For that you get dessert and a reserved spot for the fireworks. This isn’t very well lit so I apologise for the pics.

When I checked in I was told a chef would make their way over to my table. She was lovely and came over with a goodie bag of snacks. Two cakes – a gorgeous pumpkin spice and chocolate and cherry – and some snickerdoodles.

Then I was brought some hummus and chips, some Rice Dream with a chocolate peppermint sauce and more chocolate peppermint sauce to dip strawberries in. All good stuff. The chocolate peppermint sauce especially worked equally well when poured on ice cream, strawberries or in my mouth.

We also got a Christmas Ornament each and a picture with Christmas Goofy. I definitely ate well, I had to save one of the cake jars for later, and the view of the fireworks was fantastic. I don’t mind spending the cash the experience is totally worth it. Even if you have a special dietary requirement.

Vegan In Disney World

Hello! I’m currently hanging out in the happiest place on earth. As a vegan. With two members of my family who aren’t vegan. And a side trip to Universal Orlando. There are going to be a lot of blog entries on all the food I’m going to eat so I thought I’d make this post an introduction.

Is visiting Disney World Vegan?

Well probably no, strictly speaking. Animal Kingdom and Epcot are both theme parks with animals in captivity. There are carriage rides. There’s a ranch at Fort Wilderness.

However you can eat a vegan/plant based diet which is what these entries will be about.

How easy is it to eat vegan in Disney World?

Really easy. Most places have vegan options , really good ones at that. You’ll want to do some planning but you need to do some planning for a Disney trip anyway. For vegan food tips Vegan Disney World is invaluable. For everything else you can’t beat

Tell me all about your trip

Glad you asked, imaginary interlocutor. I’m staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge for two weeks with my Dad and my cousin. We have 14 day passes for Disney included and we’ve got 3 day passes for Universal Studios. We have tickets for the Very Merry Christmas Party one night, which is a first for us.

We’re also on the dining plan so we get one sit down meal, one counter service meal, and one snack a day. Whether this is good value as a vegan I don’t know but worrying about whether I’m making the most of my dining plan is the type of thing that drives me crazy. So I’m not going to.

Urm… you sound like you’ve really over-thought this…

Yeah, I’ve been planning for over a year. I had all but one of my ADRs nailed down 180 days in advance and my fast passes 60 days I advance. I’m pretty sure my dad and my cousin hate me a little but you really do need to plan a Disney trip especially if you don’t want to wait an hour to go on the latest rides and you want to eat at places like Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Right, so you are crazy…

Right! But you can benefit from my crazy! By checking back to read my Disney food reviews… watch this space.