Walt Disney World has unveiled a new plant-based menu icon, as well as 400 vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes, including food at every major counter & table service restaurants. In this guide, we’ll review new items, offer some tips for plant-based dining at WDW, and general thoughts about this trend.
While the “news” of 400 plant-based dishes made a big splash among non-Disney news outlets, there actually hasn’t been a ton of hoopla about this on Walt Disney World fan sites and blogs like this one. In large part, that’s because there are not 400 new dishes–there are a handful of new items, but this is mostly a marketing effort to promote the existing vegetarian and vegan cuisine at Walt Disney World.
This isn’t to downplay the tremendous strides Disney has made on the plant-based dining front. Not too long ago, vegetarian dishes were mostly an afterthought, with salads and a token number of barely-edible bean patty burgers. In the last few years, Walt Disney World has remedied this, making a concerted effort to roll out a wealth of new (and delicious!) plant-based menu items. We’ll cover those here…
From the outset, we should “disclose” that we bring a different perspective to the table here. We are not vegetarians or vegan, but rather, flexitarians. If you’re on an exclusively plant-based diet, you might think that this invalidates our perspective. Obviously, that’s your prerogative.
We’d counter that this simply means we don’t have only plant-based cuisine as our frame of reference, but all cuisine. We know what makes a good or bad meal, not just what’s a serviceable vegetarian meal in a pinch. With the proliferation of plant-based offerings being driven in large part by flexitarians, we think this perspective is valuable.
Surveys find that the burgeoning plant-based food industry is being fueled by flexitarians. The percentage of the population that identifies as flexitarians has exploded, while those with vegetarian or vegan diets exclusively has been stagnant for two decades. In other words, many (if not most) people ordering this new plant-based cuisine at Walt Disney World won’t be vegetarians.
I’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve opted for a vegan or vegetarian restaurant in the real world because it had superlative crowd-sourced reviews. We’re talking a 4.5/5 average or higher. With an explosion in the number of flexitarians, we think this ‘grade inflation’ does a disservice to the bulk of potential guests–and the restaurants. That’s a huge part of the reason why we think Walt Disney World stepping up its game on plant-based dining is so significant.
Suffice to say, our plant-based guide and reviews are grounded in that flexitarian mentality; this is aimed at anyone who wants to make better choices while dining at Walt Disney World, but without making significant compromises on taste or quality. In other words, this is for those vacationeers who have eaten steak 5 meals in a row and want to feel a little less guilty about it by ordering something healthier from time to time. (Not that I’d know from experience or anything!)
With that said, these tips and reviews should be useful to anyone who wants their food to taste good. We’ll start with those recommendations, and then list the current plant-based menu options around Walt Disney World…
Plant-Based Dining Recommendations & Tips
In the last year or so, we’ve made a point of ordering plant-based options at just about every restaurant we’ve reviewed or revisited. In that time, a number of lessons have been learned.
First and perhaps foremost, if you’re going to do a burger, make sure it’s a Beyond or Impossible patty rather than a black bean or generic vegetable patty. The latter is an absolute abomination and is barely edible.
By contrast, Beyon and Impossible burgers are delicious–these brands truly make all the difference in the world. We’re actually a bit surprised that Walt Disney World hasn’t announced a corporate alliance with one of the two companies yet.
The good news is that patties from these two companies, especially Beyond, are becoming increasingly more common throughout Walt Disney World, even at counter service restaurants. Above is the plant-based burger at Restaurantosaurus for dinner, which is also very similar to what’s offered at D-Luxe Burger in Disney Springs. It’s hard to tell this isn’t real meat.
Another “lesson” is that new or reimagined restaurants almost always have superior plant-based options. When Caribbean Beach Resort essentially relaunched all of its restaurants last year, it did so with an ambitious slate of plant-based options, most of which remain available.
This year, Gran Destino debuted at Coronado Springs, and all of its menus have robust vegan and vegetarian options. This includes Chronos Club Level, which is our pick for the best Club Level for plant-based options. The one caveat I’ll add here is that Gran Destino seems to have a lot of plant-based “seafood,” and this leaves a lot to be desired if you’re used to real seafood.
In fact, we’d consider Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs the best Moderate Resorts for vegan and vegetarian guests. Among Value Resorts, Art of Animation is the best option.
Without question, Animal Kingdom Lodge is the best choice for plant-based dining among the Deluxe Resorts.
Centertown Market at Caribbean Beach has several plant-based options for every meal. Our favorite of these is the Plant-based Spicy Jackfruit-Carnitas Burger: Grilled Plant-based Burger topped Spicy Jackfruit, Barbecue Mushrooms, Cabbage Slaw and Chipotle Mayonnaise served with Plantain and Yuca Chips.
Juicy, lightly spiced, and full of meaty flavor, this burger was good enough to trick me. It’s a Beyond Meat patty, but that only partially explains this burger’s quality–the jackfruit plays a big role, too.
Here’s the ‘Cheese Steak’ Griddled Seitan: “Seitan Cheese, Pickle Chip, Vegan Mayonnaise, Peppers and Onions and Pickle Relish melted between French Bread” at Centertown Market.
As far as vegan dishes go, this is solid. My only complaint is in terms of texture—it’s just a tad on the slimy side, but I think that’s par for the course with seitan. It’s still a good, filling dish that we’d recommend if you’re vegan.
Continuing on the new items note, there are several options in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Our favorite of these is the Felucian Garden Spread: Plant-Based “Kefta”, Herb Hummas, Tomato-Cucumber Relish, Pita.
Sarah has already proclaimed it her new go-to dish in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (It’s not just us–everyone we know loves this.) It’s light but filling, inexpensive, and featuring a range of refreshing flavors. I also really liked it, and didn’t even realize it was plant-based meat at first.
Although not expressly listed on the menus below, buffets are one of the best new go-to options for plant-based dining.
We’ve done a handful of buffets since this new initiative rolled out, and every one of them has introduced new (or at least new-to-us) items. These are about a 50/50 mix of ambitious and phoned-in items, but the upside with buffets is that you can simply go back for more if something you choose is a dud.
Along these lines, anywhere with a “Build Your Own ____” tends to be a decent option for vegetarians or vegans. The plant-based option for these is frequently tofu, which I find to be a far cry from beef, but the fresh, vegetable accompaniments usually help carry these bowls.
This includes Satu’li Canteen in Animal Kingdom, and many of the food courts at Value and Moderate Resorts. (Again, Coronado and Caribbean Beach come to mind here.)
Here’s the Vegetable Quinoa Salad at Electric Umbrella, which is arguably one of thestandout items on the menu. It’s healthy, filling, and will leave you feeling energized.
Salads have improved dramatically in the last few years, and are no longer just iceberg lettuce with a small ration of vegetables tossed in for color. Nonetheless, I’m still surprised at just how good some of these salads taste.
Also in Epcot, we enjoy the Vegan Korma with Gardein Meatless Chik’n at Sunshine Seasons. I was incredibly skeptical of this before trying it, but this vegan korma is good.
The spicy curry masks the flavor of the “Chik’n” and that helped fake the flavor of meat. The end result is much better than I anticipated.
Magic Kingdom has good options for plant-based dining at just about every single counter and table service restaurant in the park. We’ll draw your attention to a couple of things that we really enjoy.
First, the Slaw Dog at Casey’s Corner. This can hold its own with any of the hot dogs here, which may not seem like it’s saying much, but this is seriously impressive.
Second, Skipper Canteen has several great plant-based options if you have multiple vegan or vegetarians in your party and want choices.
(In general, we think Skipper Canteen is one of Walt Disney World’s most under-appreciated restaurants.)
Finally, when it comes to the menus below, a lot of great options are omitted because Walt Disney World has only provided plant-based menu information for Disney-owned restaurants. This is why Epcot, which is disproportionately third-party dining, seems like it has so few options. In reality, Epcot is the best park at Walt Disney World for culinary variety, including vegetarian and vegan options.
Per Walt Disney World, here are the current plant-based menu options at each of the parks, starting with Animal Kingdom…
Flame Tree Barbecue — Lunch and Dinner
Hot Link Smokehouse Sandwich
Harambe Market — Lunch and Dinner
Roasted Vegetable Bowl
Pizzafari — Lunch and Dinner
Sicilian-style Pizza Slice
Restaurantosaurus — Lunch and Dinner
Spicy Southwestern Burger
Onion Jam and “Gouda” Burger
Non-dairy Frozen Desserts
Satu’li Canteen — Lunch and Dinner
Create Your Own Bowl with ingredients including Chili-Spiced Crispy Fried Tofu, Black Beans and Rice, Hearty Salad or Potato Hash and Charred Onion Vinaigrette
Tiffins Restaurant — Lunch and Dinner
North African Spiced Tofu and Seasonal Vegetable and Tomato Chutney
Passion Fruit Tapioca Creme
Tusker House Restaurant — Breakfast
Black Eyed Pea Salad
Tusker House Restaurant — Lunch and Dinner
Tandoori Vegetables with Tofu
Black Eyed Pea Salad
Banana Cake with Raspberry Coconut Cream
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall — Breakfast
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall — Lunch and Dinner
Scandinavian Potato Dumplings
A variety of salads, including: Bean Salad, Beet Salad, Tomato Salad and Cucumber Salad
Non-dairy Frozen Desserts
Biergarten Restaurant — Lunch and Dinner
Fishless Filets or Beefless Tips available upon request
A variety of salads, including: Bean Salad, Beet Salad, Tomato Salad and Mushroom Salad
Non-dairy Frozen Desserts
Coral Reef Restaurant — Lunch and Dinner
Mushroom (Lobster-style) Salad
Grilled Garden Skewer
Baileys Almande and Jack Daniel’s Mousse
Electric Umbrella — Lunch and Dinner
Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Garden Grill Restaurant — Breakfast
House-made Salsa Fresca
Garden Grill Restaurant — Lunch and Dinner
House-made Berry Shortcake
Le Cellier Steakhouse — Lunch and Dinner
Steamed Asian Dumplings
Maple Whiskey-glazed Brussels Sprouts
Black Forest Trifle
Rose & Crown Dining Room — Lunch and Dinner
Savory Hot Pot
Sunshine Seasons — Breakfast
Overnight Oats with Blueberry, Chia Seeds, Vanilla and Almonds
Breakfast Power Wrap
Sunshine Seasons — Lunch and Dinner
Korma with Plant-based Chicken and Cashews
Cookies and Cream Chocolate Mousse Cup
Various Grab-n-Go Items
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
50’s Prime Time Café — Lunch and Dinner
Cousin Amy’s Iceberg Lettuce Wedge
Cousin Harold’s Vegetable Garden
Traditional Warm Apple Crisp
ABC Commissary — Lunch
ABC Commissary — Dinner
Backlot Express — Lunch and Dinner
Two Suns Hummus
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo — Lunch
Felucian Garden Spread
Fairfax Fare — Lunch and Dinner
Southwest Bowl Bowl
Hollywood & Vine — Breakfast
Breakfast Cereals and Oatmeal
Roasted Red Potatoes and Onion
Hollywood & Vine — Lunch and Dinner
Apple, Kale and Cranberry Salad
Wild Rice Pilaf
Three Bean Quinoa Cake
The Hollywood Brown Derby — Lunch and Dinner
Super Salad of the Stars
Chocolate Coconut Cake
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano — Lunch and Dinner
Polenta Cake, Mushroom and Herbed Cauliflower
PizzeRizzo — Lunch and Dinner
Hot Italian Sausage Sub
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant — Lunch and Dinner
Szechuan Lettuce Wraps
Woody’s Lunch Box — Lunch and Dinner
Plant-based Totchos available
Potato Barrels (side)
Pineapple Dole Whip
Dole Whip Pineapple Float
Be Our Guest Restaurant — Breakfast
Le Fou Festin
Be Our Guest Restaurant — Lunch
Cannellini Bean Cassoulet
Be Our Guest Restaurant — Dinner
Roasted Corn and Spinach Tortellini
Mixed Field Greens
Vanilla Cake with Lemon Curd
Cinderella’s Royal Table — Breakfast
Royal Avocado Toast
Cinderella’s Royal Table — Lunch and Dinner
Coffee Pots de Crème
Columbia Harbour House — Lunch and Dinner
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café — Lunch and Dinner
Plant-based Sloppy Joe
The Crystal Palace — Breakfast
Roasted Breakfast Potatoes
Oatmeal and Home-style Grits
Breakfast Granola Medley
The Crystal Palace — Lunch and Dinner
Oak Fired Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower Rice
Garden Patch Cottage Pie
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Coconut Panna Cotta
The Diamond Horseshoe — Lunch and Dinner
Smoked Stuffed Peppers
Campfire Apple Cake
The Friar’s Nook
Plant-based Brat and Tots
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen — Lunch and Dinner
Shiriki Noodle Salad
Falls Family Falafel
Curried Vegetable Crew Stew
Perkins Thai Noodles
Panna-Connie’s Congo Lime Delight
Liberty Tree Tavern — Lunch and Dinner
Portobello Pot Roast
Roasted Vegetable and Tomato Soup
Johnny Appleseed’s Warm Apple Cake
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe — Lunch and Dinner
Vegetable Rice Bowl
Assorted sides including — Guacamole, Chips and Salsa, Yellow Rice and Black Beans
Topping Bar with multiple plant-based options
Pinocchio Village Haus — Lunch and Dinner
Plant-based Pizza Options
Pasta with Marinara Sauce
Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
Non-dairy Frozen Desserts
The Plaza Restaurant — Breakfast
Breakfast Plate featuring Plant-based Eggs, Sausage and Breakfast Potatoes
The Plaza Restaurant — Lunch and Dinner
Plaza Burger (Lunch only)
Bangers & Mash (Dinner Only)
Dark Chocolate-Banana Bread Pudding with Soy Milk Frozen Dessert
Sunshine Treats Terrace
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant — Lunch and Dinner
Spaghetti and Mushroom Meatballs
Italian Strawberry Shortcake
In addition to these in-park restaurants, there are a ton of options at the resort hotels, water parks, and Disney Springs. You can find every single thing served at all of these locations here on DisneyWorld.com, or via individual restaurant menus.
While theme park restaurants are important because they’re where most guests will dine at Walt Disney World, the options outside the parks are inarguably better. The resorts and Disney Springs are not churning through guests as quickly as possible, and thus can slow down and take time for more ambitious or personalized dishes.
Overall, there’s a large–and growing–number of plant-based options at Walt Disney World, with multiple great options in every single park and something worthwhile at almost every restaurant. This is a sea change as compared to even 5 years ago, when doing vegan or vegetarian dining at Walt Disney World meant significantly compromising on quality. Now, you should give some of these plant-based options a try even if you’re primarily a carnivore!
What do you think of the plant-based food options at Walt Disney World? Any specific dishes you’d recommend? Anything you would *not* recommend? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!