As if my life didn’t revolve around food enough as it is, I am currently 181 days out from a Disney vacation. For those of you not quite as obsessed with all things Walt, that countdown means that beginning tomorrow, I can start making dining reservations for my trip in June. As crazy or OCD as it may sound, finding yourself without reservations during this busy time of year could mean waiting in a 30 minute line for a fast food hamburger in the parks. Other vacation planners are just as obsessed as I am, which equates to crashes on the Disney Website as we all try to make our reservations at the same time. Disney is a money-making machine, and I’m just the type of person that helps them oil the gears.

Like Alice with nothing to drink at a Tea Party

My plan is pretty simple, actually. I’m going to spend the next 12 hours or so with my eyes glued to the computer screen. Since my husband and I have committed to eating organic/nourishing foods, the stakes are higher and the challenge much bigger. More than likely we will be participating in Disney’s Deluxe Dining plan, so we’ll try to eat at numerous Signature restaurants. As mentioned in a previous post, eating organic at Disney is much easier when dining at the more exclusive restaurants, and even some of the regular table service restaurants are beginning to have items such as a Sustainable Fish of the Day on the menu.

As a reference, dining options that include organic choices are located throughout each park, but especially at the resorts. Check out Tusker House at Animal Kingdom for African dishes that include many fruit and complex grains such as Quinoa. Next door at Animal Kingdom lodge, Boma, Jiko, and Sanaa all have sustainable items on their menus. At Hollywood Studios, grab a healthy snack at Anaheim Produce, or go upscale at The Brown Derby, where they offer meats that are more likely to be “free range,” such as Duck and Lamb.

Although a Buffet, Boma does an excellent job offering traditional African dishes and catering to Special Diets.

Epcot offers the most options for Park dining, with Garden Grill being your best bet. They have a family-style menu that features all-natural Turkey, sustainable fish, and garden fresh vegetables. Other places worth checking out are Sunshine Seasons food court, Bistro De Paris, and surprisingly, Le Cellier. This popular steakhouse also features Duck and wild-caught fish. Just outside of Epcot, Boardwalk has two options that will easily accommodate. Kouzzina’s Mediterranean menu has one or two items, and Flying Fish may have the most extensive selection of organic, wild options at Disney World.

Magic Kingdom proved to be the most challenging. As I searched, I found that the closest you may come to organic while at this park is an Amy’s gluten-free pizza at Pinocchio’s Village Haus. ToonTown Farmer’s Market has fruit that could work, and I’ve heard great things about what the chefs at Crystal Palace can whip up for guests with special diets. Heading just outside this park though, you’ll find a plethora of organic finds! California Grill and The Wave, both at the Contemporary Resort, have a large selection, and Ohana, at Polynesian, has always been incredibly helpful with special diet requests. On the more upscale level, Citrico’s and Narcoossee’s, located at the Grand Floridian, also do a fantastic job simply with their regular menu. And don’t forget about Wilderness Lodge. Their Signature dining experience, Artist’s Pointe, offers organic and sustainable options, and their chefs tend to be very caring, as well.

Not only is Canada's Le Cellier romantic, it is a great option for those wanting to eat foods that are more "Whole" while at Disney World.

I’m not completely naive. I realize that going on vacation means that I will not be able to eat perfectly. But I’m not going to worry about my meals (apart from booking where I’ll be eating six months from now). When available, I will eat organic, local and nutrient-dense foods. Given the sheer number of dining options Disney World has at hand, that shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. My husband has also informed me that he will be having dessert every night, and who can blame him? The Deluxe Dining Plan includes dessert for each person, at both lunch and dinner! Surely not partaking would be a waste of well-earned funds?

This blog is a part of Real Food Wednesday 12/1/10. Check out all the other Nourishing posts that Kelly the Kitchen Kop is hosting! This blog is also a part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday 12/3/10.

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8 thoughts on “Nourished in Disney – Planning Meals 180 Days in Advance

  1. Yes! Disney World Real Foodies unite! πŸ˜€

    Luckily for us, we drive down (though we’d like to take the Auto Train next time), so we can bring a lot of food with us. We work evenings, so mornings are ALWAYS hard for us anyway, so for our next trip, I plan to bring a few containers of raw sauerkraut, raw cheddar, local grassfed yogurt, maybe some good jerky, and so on and have a breakfast of sorts in our room. I’m also planning to bring a small Rubbermaid container of grassfed butter and maybe even a little coconut oil with me into the parks.

    It’s like pulling teeth to get hubs to eat at even one table service while we’re down there (waste of money and time- to him), so I truly envy your willing partner!

    Do you spend much time on AllEars’ menus? I usually print out our favorites and bring them with us to the parks so that we can actually pick WHAT we want to eat and go there instead of picking where to eat and then choosing what ever’s there. I’d love to see the results of your planning when you get back. It’s about killing me knowing that I won’t have raw milk for the full 8 days of our trip, and likely more!

    1. I’ve never heard of the Auto Train…is that in Florida only? Sounds like you have everything worked out!! We usually go about once a year (more if I can manage it!), but this will be the first where we’ll be attempting to eat as close to organic as we can. Our last trip I ate a vegan diet, which I think was actually easier than what we’ll be doing this time around!

      I think I’ll make some protein-type bars before we go, and bring lots of nuts to tide me over. But I’m assuming that with all the food I’ll be consuming that isn’t quite good for me, I may not want to eat any more than necessary.

      I check out the menus obsessively, and am already planning our parks based on WHERE we’ll want to eat that day!! We both love food so much (me much more than him, I’m sure!), that the food has historically been one of the most fun aspects of the trip! I’ll be posting lots of reviews once we get back, but hope to keep everyone informed until then, as well!

      1. The Auto Train runs from Lorton, VA (just outside of Richmond) to Sanford, FL (just outside of Orlando). Since we live in PA, we’d still have to drive the Beltway to and from the train, but then no more driving (we don’t fly). It’s expensive as heck, though, and would likely cost more than our hotel bill down at Disney.

        I know exactly what you mean! The food is awesome, even if it’s not optimal. I have one major rule: only cheat when it’s worth it. πŸ˜€ So, I’m not as worried about eating perfectly while I’m there, but I also want to feel healthy so that I can enjoy the trip. As far as I can tell, that means lots of probiotic food (what I’ve listed) while at the hotel, and then just enjoy myself for the rest of the meals, avoiding the very worst as much as possible, and bringing healthy fats along.

        We’re usually once a year trippers too (usually end of Jan/early Feb), but decided to skip this year in hopes of pushing us through the last bit of debt that we have hanging on. I’ll admit, though, that the new Winnie the Pooh interactive queue is making it hard to stick to our plan! πŸ˜€

        I’ll be compulsively following your trip reports to mine for information for my own. πŸ˜€

  2. We leave Saturday for Disney! We honeymooned there exactly 26 years ago and our first chance to take the kiddos was just 4 years ago. Since we are committed to not going into debt to go to Disney we watched a lot of friends go a LOT of times while we saved our pennies πŸ™‚
    We are blessed to be able to borrow a friend’s time share off the Disney property so we have a full kitchen and I make good use of it. I cooked practically every meal while we were there in 2006 (we toted our lunches and snacks around in a stroller) and have looked back time and again at how energetic and good we felt that week – despite being totally exhausted. And, all of that was before I ever heard of Nourishing Traditions or “real foodies” — we just wanted to eat as economically as possible. With that in mind we are more committed now than ever before to eating in a way that will nourish us and give us the fuel we need, for as we all know … Disney is the vacation that bites back!!
    I have been in the kitchen all week long prepping and stocking the freezer with crock pot meals that will be waiting for us at our hotel and making healthy snacks and lunches. We are so excited! But, I do long for the day when we can go and enjoy all the wonderful food Disney has to offer and not have to work so hard beforehand to get all of our food together. I am definitely bookmarking this post as a reference! Thanks!

    1. First of all, let me just say how AMAZING those timeshares are! Every time we go to Disney, we rent points from a vacation club member, and wind up saving literally thousands of dollars. Even though we’re going to be down there during free dining, we still came out much better off by purchasing the dining plan ourselves when booking a villa through an individual!

      I think it’s fantastic that you guys are going to be taking your kids again. If you went on your honeymoon, you’re true Disney people! (We went to Disneyland Paris for 1 day of our Honeymoon…I couldn’t go to Europe without stopping by!) Every penny counts, and you’re so smart to resist the urge until you can afford to splurge!

      I would really love to hear how your experience of cooking at the resort goes. While we probably won’t be doing that for just the two of us, I think that is such a smart idea when bringing a family along, especially with young kids that may be picky about what they will eat, anyway!

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