The happiest places on Earth are about to dive ears first into the latest meatless food craze. Beginning next month, Walt Disney World Resort will introduce more than 400 (not a typo!) plant-based items property-wide. The rollout officially launches at quick service locations Oct. 1 with table service eateries following suit Oct. 3. Restaurants at California’s Disneyland Resort will join the fun beginning next spring featuring a brand new set of offerings—menu overlap with its Florida-based sibling will be minimal.
All these new options, along with previously available plant-based selections, will be designated on menus with a green-leaf icon which will indicate that the item was prepared without animal meat, dairy, eggs, or honey. Though vegetarian and vegan-friendly, these dishes were conceived with all diners in mind, says Cheryl Dolven, manager of food & beverage health and wellness for Disney Parks and Resorts.
This ambitious plant-based initiative, which, according to Dolven, has been more than two years in the making, will ultimately encompass every major quick and table service restaurant across both resorts.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Eating & Drinking at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
What to Expect
“You’re going to find a wide variety of executions,” says Dolven who reveals that along with a number of plant-based options that “eat and taste like meat … we’re also going to celebrate veggies in a new way and use things that have been around a long time, like tofu, jackfruit, mushrooms, [and] seitan.”
Items will span the globe and cover the familiar, like Sicilian-style pizza and cauliflower tacos to more whimsical fare (this is Disney, after all) such as fruit nachos and a plant-based take on Korean beef bulgogi. Dolven notes that the new offerings will run the gamut from “light and healthy” to “really indulgent” and cover a full menu range of snacks, apps, mains, and, of course, plenty of desserts.
Though Dolven admits she was initially concerned about dealing with the sweeter side of things without dessert staples such as eggs, milk, and butter, she’s thrilled with the end results. “Our pastry chefs have just knocked it out of the park,” she says. “They could just put sorbet on the menu. But they have not taken the easy route out.”
Below is just a taste of some of the plant-based items that will be making their Disney debut:
- Eggless Florentine (The Crystal Palace at The Magic Kingdom)
- Mushroom Lobster-Style Sandwich (Coral Reef at Epcot)
- Kushari (Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
- Carrot Gnocchi (The Turf Club Bar and Grill at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa)
- Passion Fruit Tapioca Crème (Tiffins Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
- Johnny Appleseed’s Warm Apple Cake (Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom)
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Don’t Forget the Classics
Along with the hundreds of new items that will be introduced in October, next month’s rollout is also sure to draw attention to current Disney dining mainstays that already carry the plant-based flag such as the Mickey pretzel and Dole Whip.
Some of the other (many) plant-based options currently available on both coasts include:
- Enchanted Cauli-Flower (Red Rose Taverne at Disneyland Park)
- Potato Flautas (Lamplight Lounge at California Adventure)
- Felucian Garden Spread (Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge)
- Vegetable Korma with Plant-based Chicken and Cashews (Sunshine Seasons at Epcot)
- Coconut Mango Custard Tart, Boma (Flavors of Africa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge)
According to Dolven, this is just the latest step when it comes to Disney’s foray into plant-based fare. “We’re constantly evolving our menus to the guests,” she says. “We’ll be continuing to look out for where we can take that next step.”
Related Reading: 12 Easy Ways to Eat a More Plant-Based Diet
Header image courtesy of Disney World Resort.