Thursday, October 16, 2014

Eating Paleo at Disney World...Again!

We spent the second half of our recent vacation at Disney World. If you want to catch up on the first leg of our trip and how we packed and ate for our road trip to the beach, you can click here. This is actually our second trip to Disney World since transitioning to a Paleo diet and I wrote all about our first trip here.

We chose Dumbo as Avery's first ride!
Our trip to Disney was just two nights. We checked in on a Wednesday and spent that afternoon at Downtown Disney just walking around and then had dinner with my family. We spent Thursday (our fourth wedding anniversary!) at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Avery is still so young that we didn't want to do a big Disney trip just yet and, honestly, one day was perfect. He had fun on all of the rides and we had fun experiencing everything again through his eyes. I am already asking Kevin when we can go back!

Today, I have put together a few of my top tips for sticking to a Paleo way of eating at Disney World and I'll also give a few of my favorite on-property restaurant recommendations.

  • Stay on Property - This was my first time staying on property and I think it is the best way to go. This is mostly a convenience factor. We could easily get back to the room for lunch or a little break and didn't have to carry a lot of food around with us. We were able to travel by bus and get between the parks and the hotel in less than twenty minutes. I know Disney accommodations aren't known for being the most affordable, but by going in the off-season we were able to take advantage of a 30% discount special and only paid a little over $100 per night for a nice room at the Coronado Springs Resort. I am really glad we chose this over one of the value resorts. We had so much more space for the pack-n-play and every room has a refrigerator. Speaking of...
  • Get a Room with a Refrigerator/Kitchen - Whether you stay on property or not, look for a hotel with at least a refrigerator. A microwave or even a full kitchen would be even better if you can find it! When you are trying to follow a certain way of eating you will make your life so much easier when you have access to these items. We packed a lot of food and also disposable bowls and utensils. To see a full list, check my Paleo Road Trip post. We only had a refrigerator, but we stocked it full with the following items:

  • Pack Snacks - We brought a few snacks into the park to hold us over until we went back to the room for lunch. We also used them to keep Avery happy while waiting in line for different rides. When you give a kid one raisin at a time, you can keep them occupied for quite a while. :) In addition to raisins we brought in nuts, dried apricots, apples and a few Lara Bars (I like to have options). 

This impromptu nap gave us a chance to take turns riding Splash Mountain.

  • Stay Flexible - This is mostly a tip for traveling with little ones. My big plan was to do Magic Kingdom in the morning, go to the room for lunch and nap time and then spend the afternoon and evening at Epcot. Avery had other ideas. He was so wiped out from all the excitement that he fell asleep much earlier than usual, about 11:00 in the morning. He hadn't even had lunch. So instead of going back to the room for nap time we stayed at the park and let him sleep in the stroller. Kevin can't go to Disney without getting a turkey leg so he ate a turkey leg and I rode Splash Mountain and then we switched. It was nice to have the turkey leg waiting for Avery when he woke up so we could feed him lunch. We headed back to the room after that so we could eat a little more and freshen up for the afternoon.

You can't come between a man and his turkey leg.

  • Bring Your Own Food - I received a few comments on my last Disney post that it wasn't a true post on how to stay Paleo at Disney World because we packed so much of our own food and only ate one meal at the park, but that is just how we do. :) When I travel anywhere I pack as much of my own food as possible both to save money and so I know exactly what I am eating and where it came from. You can determine what you will bring with you based on the kitchen accommodations that you have available to you. This also saves you time in the morning if you can do a quick "no-cook" breakfast like fruit and almond butter or hard boiled eggs and avocado.

Avery and Daddy on the teacups.

  • Know Before You Go - I am an extensive researcher when it comes to travel. I spend a lot of time checking out restaurants and menus so we can check out fun new places with food that we enjoy eating. Disney makes this SO easy for you - pretty much all of their menus are available online.  This site includes all of the parks plus Downtown Disney and all of the on-property hotels. When you are at Disney World you can download the My Disney Experience app to see food vendors and restaurants around you. I am always impressed each time I go back to Disney and I see more and more healthy options. There are fruit stands (like Prince Eric's Village Market in the Magic Kingdom), turkey legs and even baked sweet potatoes! Most restaurants have salads or burgers or chicken sandwiches that could easily be ordered without the bun. Here are a few of my favorite options:
  • Tusker House Restaurant - This restaurant is in Animal Kingdom and they are open nice and early for breakfast. They serve standard breakfast fare (including those adorable Mickey pancakes), but they also serve potatoes, plantains, scrambled eggs, ham, and a potato and leek frittata.
  • Hotel Food Court - We mostly ate breakfast in our hotel room, but our last morning we did eat at the Pepper Market food court at Coronado Springs Resort (where we stayed). They had a ton of options like omelets and different scrambles. Kevin and I had the chorizo and potato scramble with poached egg and we got Avery the kids scramble with potatoes and sausage.

  • Turkey Legs - There are a few places throughout the resort where you can buy turkey legs and they are definitely big enough to share! You can find them at Toluca Legs Turkey Co. at Hollywood Studios and the Frontierland Turkey Leg Wagon.
  • Bongo's Cuban Cafe - We met up with family here for dinner on our recent trip, but they are open for lunch, as well and have a super yummy menu! They have a few awesome salads, fried plantains, ceviche, slow roasted meats, and more. I ordered the Picadillo with Eggs, which is described on the site as "Cuban Criolla Minced Beef with Onions, Peppers & Olives topped with Fried Eggs served with Fried Sweet Plantains & White Rice". It was AMAZING and I highly recommend it.

Meeting Mickey for the first time.
  • Restaurant Marrakesh - We spent our last evening at Disney at Epcot and we knew we would find something good at the World Showcase. We used the My Disney Experience app to browse the restaurant menus and settled on this little gem in Morocco. When we go out I do like to sometimes use it as a chance to order something I wouldn't normally have at home so I ordered a cous cous dish with lamb, egg and apricots (you could easily omit the cous cous). They also have a few kebab and tagine dishes.
Enjoying our final evening with some Moroccan goodies!

  • Backlot Express - This is an example of a restaurant where you can get a little creative. The prices here are at the lower end for Disney, which is nice. You can order a bacon burger without the bun with carrot sticks or french fries on the side. The toppings bar at most of the quick service restaurants is packed with veggies that you can add to your meal like tomatoes, onions and pickles. If you are gluten-free, they do have gluten-free buns for their burgers and many meals can be made gluten-free. They also have some good salad choices.
Well, that about sums up our trip! Have you been to Disney recently? What was your favorite meal?