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Let Them Eat Gummy Bears

On a recent trip to Orlando to visit my friend and illustrator Ron, we took a day off and visited the Magic Kingdom. I didn’t realize until the day before that the New Fantasyland had just opened. Prior to my visit I did some research online and found that there were a few restaurants that had garden burgers in the Magic Kingdom. Being a vegan, I find it necessary to make sure I can find something to eat when visiting new places.

be-our-guest-veganWhile in the new Fantasyland, Ron and I decided to give the new “Be Our Guest” restaurant a try for lunch. The line was long, but it’s Disney … what line isn’t long there? I looked at the menu and saw one item that I could eat. It was a Quinoa salad with green beans, potatoes, olives, roasted bell peppers,
and, tomatoes. It’s sad that there was only one item, after all, the concept of a menu is to choose an item. When there is only one item, do you really have a choice?

The meal was good, not the best I’ve had, but I’d compare it to a typical sit down chain restaurant. What’s funny is all the servers say “Bon Jour.” and “Merci” but I think those are the only two words they know. If you do decide to eat there, remember this. It’s noisy. Real noisy. You also have to tolerate people walking around all three dining areas taking pictures.

Lunch was over.

For dinner, Ron and I were over at Epcot Center. I figured my best shot would be The Land pavilion. I mean, it’s the “land” right? After walking around a bit I came up to the Asian food area and asked the attendant if they had anything vegan. DITH (Deer In The Headlights) The attendant had to go get a chef. By now Ron was getting a decent taste of what it’s like to be vegan in public restaurants. It was becoming humorous. But Ron and I could find humor in anything. The chef came by and said “Yes, the vegetable lo-mein is vegan, and so is the tofu.”  “Tofu?” Why didn’t said attendant know that tofu is vegan? Did he even know it was there? I sure didn’t.

I ordered my meal and walked over to the dessert area. I thought I’d try my luck there. Ron and I looked over the display, then asked the attendant if they have anything that is vegan. DITH. The attendant went off to find a chef. When the chef came by they asked what they could do for me. I asked again, “Is anything here vegan?” Her response was, “Let me go check.”

Two more chef’s emerged from the mysterious back kitchen. Each adorned with their white kitchen coats and hats. One was carrying a binder. The magical binder was opened for all chefs to see. Apparently they were looking at the recipes. After a few moments one chef came over and said that they didn’t have anything that was vegan, but there is an allergy kiosk in the corner for people that have allergies to things like nuts and (wait for it….)  “I think the gummy bears are vegan.”

I bursted out laughing. Gummy Bears? Really? That’s the vegan dessert?

In my fit of laughter, I thanked him and told him that chances are they aren’t vegan because they are probably made with gelatin. (Gelatin is made from the collagen of animals. Remember that next time you make room for jello.) I know it wasn’t his fault they had no vegan desserts, but I did suggest they consider  that Oreo cookies are vegan. Dip them in dark chocolate, and Voila!

If you plan on visiting Walt Disney World, and you are a vegan or vegetarian. Take a look at this chart from Vegetarian / Vegan Counter Service Meals in the Parks