I recently got a response from emailing Disney about eating Vegan at Disney World.  They sent me the following:

Thank you for contacting the Walt Disney World Resort.

We appreciate your interest in learning what accommodations are available in our theme park and resort restaurants for our vegetarian guests.  Please know that vegetarian plates are available at many counter service locations and at all full-service restaurants, even if they are not actually featured on the menus.  Also, our chefs and restaurant managers are always happy to provide information regarding not only the ingredients of menu selections, but also how items are prepared.  In many instances, food may be specially-prepared to accommodate particular dietary restrictions.  To make reservations for full-service dining (up to 90 days in advance), please call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

First, please know that the chefs and managers in our full-service restaurants are always happy to provide information regarding not only the ingredients of menu selections, but also how items are prepared. In many instances, food may be specially prepared to accommodate particular dietary restrictions.

It is also sometimes possible for our restaurants to prepare food items using special ingredients (gluten-free flour, for example). For this reason, we encourage you to make your particular restriction known when booking advanced reservations arrangements for our full-service restaurants, so that the appropriate notation may be made.

We now have special dietary information on the disneyworld.com website at the following links.

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/common/helpFAQ?id=HelpFAQDiningPage

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/common/guestServicesDetail?id= GuestServicesSpecialDietaryDetailPage

If you have specific inquiries regarding the food served at the park restaurants, guests may contact our special dietary assistants at the following email address:  specialdiets@disneyworld.com

We would also like to mention that as an exception to our standard policy, guests who have specific food allergies are welcome to bring a cooler smaller than 24″ length x 15″ width x 18″ height (which mirrors
the large locker size) into the park with snacks that require no cooking or reheating. Coolers will be inspected for glass and alcoholic beverages which are not permitted. Picnic baskets, ice chests, and
larger coolers are not permitted.

If you have questions or need further assistance, feel free to contact us.

Please include your full name, E-Mail address, and reservation number if applicable on all correspondence.

Hope this helps some of you with your planning!  This info is current as of March 2009.  Please leave a comment about your experience with anything listed above!

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Jiko, according to Walt Disney World’s Website:

“Jiko – The Cooking Place fuses the bold flavors of traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Twin wood-burning ovens roar and the soothing, warm colors of an African sunset bring energy to this remarkable restaurant. The menu includes vegan, vegetarian and meat-based dishes that change seasonally”

Inside Jiko

Inside Jiko

Aside from the African flavor, what makes Jiko unique  is the Vegan Menu.  Tell your server you are vegan and out comes your very own menu to keep.  Granted, the  menu is limited, but it is all vegan, complete with dessert.  As of 2009, Jiko is one of the only WDW restaurant  that actually advertises it’s vegan options on the WDW website.

Jiko is pricey at $36 – $60 per person (standard menu pricing), which makes it most affordable while on the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), although this is Signature dineing, and costs two table credits.  Regardless of how you will pay, reservations are recommended well in advance.

MAKE YOUR VEGAN DINING RESERVATION AT JIKO

  1. Call  (407) WDW-DINE to make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR’s) up to 90 days prior to your visit.
  2. Inform the  Cast Member (CM) of your “dairy, egg & shellfish allergies”.  As of Fall 2008, The CM’s were not able to note that you are vegan, only which foods you “have an allergy” to.  *** UPDATED***  as of May 2009, this seems to have changed.  Now it is possible to get both “vegan” and “vegetarian” on your ADR.  You can still add the allergy info is you want to be extra safe, but recent reports are now saying that you can request “vegan” to your ADR.
  3. Request the Jiko Food & Beverage phone number.  You need to request this number before the CM is done with the reservation, because after it is complete, they cannot access it in their system.
  4. Call the Food & Beverage representative (usually the chef) to discuss your vegan dining options 24 – 72 hours prior to your ADR.

Vegan Reviews of Jiko – The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Chef TJ - 2006 MouseMail Image

Indonesia Native and Disney Cast Member Tjetjep Sudiswa (aka Chef TJ) has been a chef at the Walt Disney World Resort for about 14 years.  Many of those years were spent at the Animal Kingdom Lodge working in Boma – Flavors of Africa.  In 2008, Chef TJ moved locations and has been spreading his culinary pixie dust at Disney’s Polynesian Resort working at both  ‘Ohana & Captain Cook’s.  He is the perfect Disney Cast Member, making dreams come true every day and doing it with a contagious smile.

Chef TJ is known around the gluten & allergy free community as the “go-to” chef at Walt Disney World.  One encounter with him, and you will know why.  Whatever you dietary needs (vegan, raw vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, diary free, egg free, etc), Chef TJ will delight and surprise you. Most special dietary requests need 24 hours – 72 hrs notice, but for more unique requests, such as raw vegan meals, about 3 weeks notice is needed.

Chef TJ - 2006 MouseMail Image

My vegan family of four had the pleasure of meeting Chef TJ  in January 2009.  We met when I was in Captain Cook’s Snack Company for a counter service meal.  I asked for a couple items on the menu to be made vegan, and they told me I needed to speak with the chef.  Chef TJ walked me around Captain Cook’s and showed me what was available on the menu and to just “grab and go”.  There were many “grab and go” options including Divvies Chocolate Chip Cookies, Lay’s Potato Chips, Silk Soy Milk (Chocolate and Plain), as well as individual frozen desserts.  He also informed me that the Poly Chips were not vegan because they did not have their own dedicated fryer and that Dole Whip is not vegan.

Chef TJ recommended I make a reservation for ‘Ohana so he could make a vegan feast for my family.  We did just that, and had the meal of a lifetime.  I have never had anyone cater to my dietary needs in this manner.  There were at least 7 courses that I remember:  salad, a trio of hummus, bread & dip for the kids, sweet noodle dish for the kids, sushi-type rolls/wraps with dipping sauce, truffle potato puffs, papaya soup,  a trio of stir fry with tofu, and dessert made of cake, ice cream & chocolate sauce topped with cherries.  It was fantastic!

HOW TO GET YOUR VEGAN FEAST  BY CHEF TJ AT ‘OHANA

  1. Call  (407) WDW-DINE to make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR’s) up to 90 days prior to your visit.
  2. Inform the  Cast Member (CM) of your “dairy, egg & shellfish allergies”.  As of Fall 2008, The CM’s were not able to note that you are vegan, only which foods you “have an allergy” to.  *** UPDATED***  as of May 2009, this seems to have changed.  Now it is possible to get both “vegan” and “vegetarian” on your ADR.  You can still add the allergy info is you want to be extra safe, but recent reports are now saying that you can request “vegan” to your ADR.
  3. Request the ‘Ohana Food & Beverage phone number.  You need to request this number before the CM is done with the reservation, because after it is complete, they cannot access it in their system.
  4. Call the Food & Beverage representative (usually the chef) to discuss your vegan dining options at least 24 – 72 hours prior to your ADR.  For more unique requests, such as raw vegan meals, call at least 3 weeks prior to your ADR.

Check out: Chef TJ’s Profile from the bookVegetarian Walt Disney World and Greater Orlando: The Essential Guide for the Health-Conscious Traveler By Susan Shumaker, Than Saffel (2003)

There are many, many false reports that Dole Whip at WDW is vegan.  It is not. I spoke with Chef TJ at ‘Ohana Restaurant and Captain Cook’s Snack Company (Captain Cook’s has a self-serve Dole Whip machine) at Disney’s Polynesian Resort in January of 2009, and he informed me that there is indeed dairy in all Dole Whip.

Sorry All!  Dole Whip is not vegan, no matter the flavor.

Hello and Welcome!  This blog has been created due to a lack of easily accessible current information on what vegan foods can be found in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.  There is quite a bit of info out there out there, but it is scattered around the internet and it needs an update and a central location.  I hope this blog will serve that purpose.

My vegan family of four came back from our first trip to WDW in January of 2009.  We researched and found some great info before our trip, but found we needed more info to make our trip successful.  We are getting ready to plan our next Disney vacation and will be researching more options for dining & snacks with and without preparation.  Please stayed tuned to more vegan related info!

If you have had any vegan meals at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, please leave a comment & tell us all about it!

Thanks,

Walt Disney Worlders