Monday, August 29, 2011

Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 1 of 4

The Healthy Hoff would like to give a BIG, warm welcome to Amy Shoff, who has been so kind to be a guest writer and share her Vegan experiences at the greatest place on earth...Walt Disney World!!!

Having recently returned from this magical place, Amy came with goodies in hand - Vegan, Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Disney's Vegan Bakery - BabyCakes NYC!  That's right, Disney World has a Vegan Bakery - holla!!!  I pressed Amy to learn more and I was blown away by her Vegan experiences and behind the scenes knowledge, so I asked her to share with all of you so you too can add Disney to your list of Vegan friendly vacation spots.

This post is the first of a four part series - can you believe Disney has that much to offer a Vegan Sista (or brother)?!?!

Amy take it away...

Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 1 of 4

Asking me how many times I’ve been to Walt Disney World (WDW) is like asking someone how many times they been to the movies. I just couldn’t possibly count. Between all the childhood trips with my family, working there during my college years, and visiting almost every weekend when I lived in Florida, I consider it more of a home than any apartment I’ve lived in since I left my parent’s house.

What I’m saying is, I kinda like the place. Which is why I was excited when The Healthy Hoff asked me to write a piece about all the delicious vegan food I ate on my most recent trip. What’s that you say? VEGAN food at a theme park?!?! No, we’re not talkin’ cotton candy and food on a stick (although there’s plenty of that to be had, if that’s what you’re looking for). Walt Disney World boasts some of the finest dining in the country, including a AAA 5 Diamond awarded restaurant, as well as venues from celebrity chefs like Todd English, Cat Cora, and Wolfgang Puck.

Between four theme parks, two water parks, 2 shopping/nighttime districts, and 20+ hotels on property, you could stay at Walt Disney World for a month and still not eat at all of their restaurants.  WDW is 47 square miles (twice the size of Manhattan island!), so it’s not an exaggeration to say that it is its own city. Walt Disney World has a Head Chef for the entire resort, as well as Executive Chefs at each theme park. They even have their own greenhouses at the Land pavilion at Epcot (talk about eating local—you can order a salad featuring the cucumbers you just floated past on the boat ride!).

If I tried to list every vegetarian/vegan option available on property, I’d fill a novel, so I’m just going to recap the awesome meals that I had on my latest trip. I also feel compelled, given the nature of this blog, to give the disclaimer that I would not describe myself as, uh, healthy, per se. I mean, an unintentional side effect of being vegan is that I eat better than 95% of middle America, but I’m not one to count calories or limit myself in any way beyond the whole i-don’t-wanna-eat-dead-animals thing. So you’ll notice in the photos that my nutritious salads are accompanied with alcohol and copious amounts of dairy-free cupcakes, haha. It’s a vacation, after all, right?

Speaking of cupcakes, let’s start off with a recent addition to WDW, the vegan bakery from BabyCakes NYC.  They currently have only three locations in the country, and Downtown Disney is one of them! Everything they make is vegan, and most items are also gluten free and organic. The cupcakes are sweetened with agave nectar, which is a low glycemic sweetener that is kinder to your blood sugar levels than refined sugar or that dreaded high fructose corn syrup that is commonly found in sweets. Agave is also the magic ingredient behind my friend, tequila.

BabyCakes at Downtown Disney has a walk-up stand where you can purchase goodies from the case, but you can also call ahead and order birthday cakes and other treats, which they will ship to any restaurant on Disney property. So, for example, if your birthday boy or girl suffers from gluten allergies, they can still go to Chef Mickey’s buffet and see the characters, but they can also enjoy an allergy-friendly birthday cake made just for them!

I went a little crazy and ordered several “cupcake tops,” which are like Seinfeld’s muffin tops, but with icing. The icing is made with coconut oil, which according to their website does all kinds of awesome things for you, including boosting your metabolism. It would probably be completely incorrect and irresponsible of me to promote cupcakes as a weight-loss plan, but I decided to eat as many as I could to test that theory.

I wanted to take some home, but the very friendly and knowledgeable baker behind the counter informed me that they probably wouldn’t last much past my walk out to the parking lot in the 95 degree, so-humid-you’re-almost-breathing-water, Central Florida weather. I did successfully transport a bag of cookies back to Cleveland with little to no melting, as well as some Pumpkin Bread (the featured flavors of the day change, so my first day I had carrot cake, and my last day I had pumpkin…perfect excuse to visit on every day of your trip!)

No comments:

Post a Comment