Tink eats her fruits and veggies so well that I really can’t complain that she’s otherwise picky and almost entirely vegetarian (by her own choice.) At home or visiting family, it’s not a big deal since I can cook for her easily. I checked the menus before our October/November Walt Disney World trip, but I admit to not being aware of how hard it was going to be to feed her. With a little more preparation, it would have been far easier and far less frustrating, so I hope you can learn from my mistakes.
The Disney Parks are becoming more accommodating for vegetarians, according to Minnie Mom, Janine. While I ate a couple of yummy grilled vegetable sandwiches myself, it’s much harder to find meals for a vegetarian child at WDW. Tink was 18 months old on our last WDW trip and simply isn’t interested in meat. I can occasionally get her to eat a couple of fish sticks and very recently a few morsels of chicken, but that’s about it. She also rarely eats pizza or peanut butter & jelly, so those are out. Tink’s only interest in french fries is as a device to play in a cup of ketchup.
COUNTER SERVICE SIDES: The Disney counter service kids meals do come with grapes and carrot sticks by default now, which is much better than cookies and fries at every meal, but I’d still love to see more variety. Tink was too young to safely eat raw carrots, so we would get her grapes and applesauce. Well, she wasn’t interested in the applesauce most of the time and while Tink loves grapes, I was afraid we were going to live a scene from Willy Wonka since she had eaten so many of them. I’d love to be able to get a side of vegetables without having to go to a table service restaurant. The adults would try to order items that would include additional vegetables/apple slices, etc., but even then, the pickings were slim. Sunshine Seasons was a good option as they have more dishes which include vegetables. Liberty Inn had a good mixed fruit cup which Tink really enjoyed. The prepacked fruit cup is found at a variety of places around property.
COUNTER SERVICE ENTREES: This was a long trip so we were trying to eat more meals at quick service restaurants to save a little money. Buffets had worked well for us in April, but these get pricey, so off to counter service we went. There are only a handful of entree options for kids. Cheese pizza, macaroni & cheese, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, and the like. Of these options, the only one my child would eat was macaroni & cheese. They only offer it at certain locations, and we also found that not every location had a non-meat option for kids. I used the Undercover Tourist app to check menus to see who had mac & cheese. Just in case you are wondering, I did ask about mac & cheese and if it’s not on the menu, they don’t have it. I’m sure a quick service restaurant would try to work with you, but it’s much faster just to go somewhere else. One day, Audrey did eat a veggie burger patty at Liberty Inn, but this is not available in a child’s meal. So, to feed her here on each of two occasions cost $6.79 for the burger, $3.39 for the fruit cup, and $1.99 for a large bottle of milk. (They will only sell you a small milk as a part of the kid’s meal. Ugh!) I’m sure she’ll eat more as she gets older but the lack of options got a little tiresome.
TABLE SERVICE ENTREES: The kid’s meals at table service restaurants were about $8 each and included enough food for an adult. At Olivia’s, I ordered Tink the fish kid’s meal with rice, green beans/carrots and yogurt and a caprese salad for myself with the intention of the two of us sharing. She loved the carrots and even ate some from DisneyDad’s plate. I think Tink also ate some rice and a couple of bites of yogurt. We took the leftovers back to Saratoga Springs and she had some of the green beans another day. These kid’s meals are so large that after that first night, I’d order her just some veggies or fruit, depending on what was offered. The table service restaurants were more accommodating of special requests. At Portobello, my mom shared some pasta with Tink and the little one liked the risotto mozzarella balls and the grilled veggies. BTW, the risotto balls are wonderful!
SO WHAT DOES THE KID EAT? Tink loves breakfast. She eats more like we’re all supposed to – breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner like a pauper. Well, for her, it’s more like breakfast for a king, and lunch and dinner like a pauper. We’d get her a good breakfast in the morning and even though she didn’t eat much at any one time, she was just fine. Tink also LOVES ice cream and got to eat a Mickey ice cream bar. I also carried cheerios, applesauce packs, and other snacks.
LESSONS LEARNED: My husband couldn’t join us on this trip and since I was carrying most of Tink’s gear, I was trying to travel as light as possible. Yes, my parents would have been happy to carry something for me, but it’s a hassle to carry multiple bags, and my stroller has very little storage space. In retrospect, I wish I had a small insulated lunch box to carry cheese sticks, milk, and maybe some other food. I still wouldn’t want to carry much but it would have been handy to have a place to keep things cool. I also think I probably should have skipped out on a couple of table service dinners with the group and just taken Tink and I somewhere simpler. By that time of day, we were both tired. Thankfully, my mom enjoys feeding Tink since she doesn’t get to see her often.
Even with the challenge of feeding my picky little girl, we had a wonderful time and hated to leave.
Contributed by: Amy Eastman (NDM#242) Amy is the DDL Babies and Toddlers Blogger. She is also the creator of Growing Up Disney.