Veggie sandwich from The Plaza.
Veggie burgers do not have to be your default meal.
As a vegetarian, you're probably used to having to "make do" when you eat at fast food places and that usually that means ordering a bland, boring veggie burger and loading it with veggie-friendly toppings to add some taste. While you can get a veggie burger just about anywhere on Disney property, you don't have to settle for one. Each park has at least one quick-service location that serves more inventive vegetarian options. Some favorites include:
- Columbia Harbor House in the Magic Kingdom has a good vegetarian chilli and the Lighthouse Sandwich, which is one of the best quick-service items in the park.
- The veggie sandwich at Cosmic Ray's is good, but for a few dollars more, you can try out a far superior version of the same sandwich at The Plaza, a sit-down place right off Main Street. You can usually get a reservation there on short notice except during the busiest times of the year.
- The Studio Catering Company in Hollywood Studios has a decent pressed veggie sandwich. Pizza Planet has a decent cheese pizza (it basically looks like a small frozen pan Pizza) but avoid this place if you don't want to deal with a lot of noise.
- Animal Kingdom has some of the worst vegetarian options. In addition to that old standby, the veggie burger, try the eggrolls at Safari Eggrolls.
- Epcot is one of the best locations for quick-service meals, particularly in the World Showcase. Don't miss Sunshine Seasons in the Land for interesting sandwiches and stir-fries.
- Most Disney bakeries will have a good veggie sandwich.
How many times have you walked into a restaurant and the only vegetarian item on the menu is a pasta dish? I know from dining with my best friend, a long-time vegetarian, that this gets old, especially in her case as she tends to prefer eating lower-carb meals. The good news is that if you don't see anything on the menu that you can (or care) to eat, you can ask to have something prepared off menu. The easiest way to do this is to arrange this ahead of time by filling out a dietary request worksheet. It's an uncomplicated three-step process.
1. Have the cast member make note of your dietary request when you make your advanced dining reservations.
2. A few weeks prior to travel, email Disney at WDW.Special.Diets@disney.com and request a dietary worksheet and then just email or fax it back.
3. Finally, when you check in, reiterate your request for a special meal; your information should be in the system already. My best friend was given a vegetarian version of the soup that they served as well as grilled vegetables (her request). Another time, she had vegetarian sushi from California Grill that was both a bargain and almost too pretty to eat!
While it's easier on the kitchen, it's not mandatory that you do this far in advance. If you're going to a restaurant on short notice, just make sure your server knows what you need and they'll take care of you.
Some final thoughts.
- Don't just order the soup without asking! It might contain chicken or beef broth.
- All veggie burgers at Walt Disney World are vegan, but the buns are not. You can request a vegan bun.
- Breakfast in your room is easy. Just take some supplies from home or order from a grocery delivery service. I like Garden Grocer but if you have more specific needs (gluten free, organic, etc) consider a service like WeGoShop, which will go anyplace you like and then deliver to your resort. There's a Whole Foods near Disney property at 8003 Turkey Lake Road, right at the Universal Orlando exit.
- Buffets and family style meals at locations like Ohana or Whispering Canyon Cafe aren't off limits. Just make sure your server knows ahead of time what your preferences are; you'll usually be given an alternative entree or shown what's safe for you to eat on the buffet.