Once upon a time, when I was younger (and a vegetarian), I had trouble finding meat-free fare at Disneyland besides snacks, which are certainly delicious but didn’t make the best meal. Back then, my “go-to” was a cheeseburger without the burger – AKA a very expensive cheese sandwich – but thankfully, Disney has stepped up its plant-based culinary game in recent years, so there are plenty of vegetarian entrees at Disneyland (and even omnivores are ordering them).
“We’re proud of how much our plant-based offerings have evolved,” said Disney California Adventure Park Chef De Cuisine Johnny Sequro. “When we ideate dishes, we think of how we can develop great flavors that resonate well with all our guests and create a memorable experience. We think, ‘how do we create a dish that non-plant based guests will enjoy, too?’”
Although I’m now a meat eater, I still lean vegetarian at theme parks, so here are some of my top recs for vegetarian entrees at Disneyland (some are also vegan):
Impossible Victory Falafel at Shawarma Palace in California Adventure
Although I know plant-based Impossible products are extremely popular with many vegetarians and vegans – and Disneyland offers many items using it – it’s not usually my thing. The exception, however, is the Impossible Victory Falafel (which I admit is a little confusing since falafel is always plant-based).
That culinary puzzle notwithstanding, the flavorful wrap in Avengers Campus is filled with plant-based falafel, cauliflower, garlic spread, hummus, coconut yogurt-tahini sauce, and pickled vegetables.
Caesar Salad at Pym’s Test Kitchen in California Adventure
Thanks to Pym technology, the super-sized salad in Avengers Campus is big enough to share (but don’t worry, you don’t have to).
The half head of Romaine lettuce is topped with creamy Caesar dressing, Kalamata olives, pickled onions, a massive crouton, and parmesan crisps.
Tacos Dorados de Papa at Cocino Cucamonga in California Adventure Park
The pair of crispy meat-free tacos are made with fried potato slices in corn tortillas topped with fresh cabbage and cilantro slaw, dairy-free crema, and tomatillo salsa.
“Potato tacos are something that a lot of us grew up eating,” Chef Sequro says. “And we pack a lot of flavor into it.”
Cauliflower Tacos at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante in Disneyland
Because I’ve never met a taco I didn’t like, it’s not surprising that two plant-based tacos make my list – and unlike the Tacos Dorados de Papa, these spicy cauliflower tacos topped with cabbage slaw and (also spicy) tomatillo salsa come with my beloved Mexican rice and refried beans (did I mention these are spicy?)
I’m also a fan of Rancho del Zocalo’s Red Chile Enchilada Platter – three cheese enchiladas served with rice and beans – and the Tostada Salad without chicken, which is a tortilla shell filled with Mexican rice, refried beans, lettuce, cheese, cilantro-lime vinaigrette, sour cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo (extra rice and beans, please).
Jolly Holiday Combo at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café in Disneyland
I know it still feels like summer, but eventually, it will hopefully be “soup weather,” and one of my favorite things to do at Disneyland is watching Halloween or holiday fireworks spectaculars from a table on the Jolly Holiday Café patio with their nostalgic combo of tomato basil soup and a toasted cheese sandwich.
P.S. Another great “soup weather” option is the hearty plant-based vegetable gumbo at Harbour Galley in Disneyland, made with onions, celery, bell peppers, and butternut squash – served in a bread bowl, of course.
Click here for information about all the dining options at the Disneyland Resort.