In February my 13-year-old daughter and I were fortunate enough to join the Traveling Dad crew for their first-ever face-to-face conference. That would have been cool enough, but this event took place in and around Walt Disney World, so is it really necessary to tell you that our decision to jump on the first direct flight from LA was easy?
Living in the LA area conveys several stereotypes…some earned, some not so much.
Healthy eating has been a way of life in our household since my daughter was born and when it comes time to eat out, we try to embrace healthier options. We’re fans of salad bars, for instance, though we try to avoid the high-calorie dressings and desserts.
And once we got to Orlando, we set out to find the healthier (and, at times, not so much) food in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, The Beach Club, and the Disney Springs area.
Pictured above may be the healthiest thing we ordered…and it was just the start of our adventure. After checking into the Yacht Club, we strolled out by the pool and found this Vegetarian Falafel Flatbread layered with hummus, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and a soy-based Tzatziki sauce priced at $10.29. Normally I would not suggest hitting the flatbread portion too hard, as the refined flour carbs ain’t great, but based on the amount of walking we expected to do over the next three days, it almost seemed wise to take on the fuel.
We then headed over to Disney Springs for an afternoon of shopping and strolling. Enchantment can take many forms, but few as enticing as what can be found wafting from a bakery’s open door. So we did what all good Disney guests do and balanced off our healthy lunch with an Oreo-covered donut from Erin McKenna’s New York Bakery. Gratuitous pleasure can also be all yours for only $3.95.
An afternoon in Epcot’s World Showcase is not only a great conversation starter for you and your kids, but also fraught with peril when it comes to eating “reasonably” right.
If you are able to escape the spicy and cheesy goodness on offer at “La Hacienda de San Angel” in the Mexico Pavilion, or the even more dangerous “La Cava de Tequilia,” next up is Norway and the buttery almond pretzels from “Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe.”
Finally, my daughter and I couldn’t fight another set of temptations, so we surrendered to the fantastic “Biergarten” in the German Pavilion. They put on an amazing buffet of flavors and adventure and we wholeheartedly recommend fueling up here.
A few rules…spend more time on the “Salad” side of the offer, as opposed to “Sweets”, and as always, honor that Disney balance by washing down all the magic with a large Oktoberfest lager just in time for the Oompa Band. It helps get the folk dancing started…which also burns a few extra calories!
We wrapped up our Disney culinary adventure with an evening in The Magic Kingdom. Always a treat, especially if you find yourself near the Merry Go Round in time for the fireworks display. Ever wonder what it must feel like to be on the front lines of a battle? Now we know!
After the show, we hit Frontierland and found ourselves hankering for the last grub of the day. So we moseyed into “Pecos Bill’s Tale Tale Inn and Café” where the salsa, guacamole and fixin’s bar is more than worth the price of admission and a great way to load up on flavors without high calories or fat grams. We went for the chicken and beef burritos with plenty of salsa and guac and left happy and fueled for the amazing “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train” ride.
But beware, as unhealthy choices seem to lurking around every corner…so DON’T “Wrangle up some Churros!”
Thanks to Disney for sponsoring this visit and putting us up at the very comfy Yacht Club during our stay.
— James Bell
James Bell, a media and public relations expert, is former head of consumer affairs at General Motors.