Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 3 of 4

Continuation of: Even Vegans Eat Like Royalty in the Magic Kingdom Part 2 of 4
By Amy Shoff (Guest Writer)

The next day of my trip was spent in “real” Orlando, but that evening we went to a movie at the new dine-in part of AMC Theaters at Downtown Disney. I’ve been to theaters that serve food before (shout-out to the Enzian in Orlando, a really amazing independent theater that also serves food), but the set-up at AMC is very different because it features rows of chairs with long tables between them. This has the added bonus of putting about five feet between you and the nearest audience member both in front of and behind you, and given all the horrible movie moviegoers who like to talk, text, and kick the back of your chair when you’re trying to enjoy your $12, 3D flick, I’d be willing to pay the extra money just for the swanky seats, let alone the bonus of having food service. I enjoyed everything about this experience. Our waiter took our order before the lights went down, but we had a call button (like on airplanes), which we could use to summon him during the show if we needed anything. The seats are grouped in fours so that the waiters can come along side you and not disturb the other rows of people watching the show. My sister ordered a chicken salad, and I got the veggie plate, which came with celery, carrots, jicama (seriously!) and pita bread strips with a little bowl of hummus. It was delightfully fresh and flavorful.

The waiter also talked me into the 24 oz Stella, instead of the smaller size, so that I wouldn’t have to interrupt my movie by calling him for a refill. That idea made sense when I ordered it, but after downing it with my cup of coffee and ice water, I manifested my own disruption - a hurried run to the restroom (sorry, Captain America, my bladder isn’t strong enough to outlast enemy forces).

Day four was a day of quick-service (Disney speak for “fast food”), but you’d be amazed at how much veggie/vegan stuff you can find even in the non-fancy restaurants. The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor at the Magic Kingdom actually features Tofutti, which can be substituted into any of their sundaes, and even the ice cream carts you find around the parks sell no sugar added Frozen Strawberry bars and Itzakadoozie Ice Pops. Some locations also sell soy milk for the lactose intolerant, gluten-free prepackaged snacks, and sugar-free candy for diabetic guests.

Disney has joined the recent healthier foods trend and taken steps to offer more fresh fruit and salads at its walk-up locations. They also changed their Kids Meals to automatically come with grapes and carrots and a choice of milk, water, or apple juice, instead of French fries and soda (you can special request those instead, if you want to sound like a terrible parent in front of the other people standing in line…no pressure or anything). Many of the quick service stands serve a veggie burger, which is vegan and primarily made up of brown rice, carrots, and peppers.  I ordered mine with apple slices as the side, so that I could cancel out that healthiness with a side order of onion rings, haha.

Some stands have items that are unique to their locale, most especially at Epcot, where the countries of the World Showcase feature ethnically appropriate food items (vegetable lo mein in China, hummus and falafel in Morocco, Jager shots in Germany…what?!? Jagermeister is totally vegan…). 

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