Walt Disney World vs. Disneyland – A food smackdown

As many of you know, Bill and I (along with a few other awesome Shredheads) ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida this past March.

And while I’ve been do Disney World many times, the two times I’ve been there as an adult, I’ve been really disappointed with the food offerings, particularly in the Magic Kingdom. And since it’s a real pain in the butt to hop over to Epcot Center just for dinner (hello long bus rides), I think it’s one of the drawbacks of the park.

Now just this past week, I was invited to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, California to cover their brand new World of Color water and light show. My daughter and I were treated to a lovely weekend of the park itself, some of which I’ll be writing about at Cool Mom Picks.

And based on our time there, I have to say that the food seemed much healthier at Disneyland than at Disney World.

Maybe it’s because it’s California or something, but here are a few things I noticed.

1. At my breakfast buffet at the hotel, the options included egg whites as well as regular scrambled eggs, plus a vegetable medley (broccoli, peppers, and onions) that were obviously sauteed but still very crunchy and not greasy at all. Very cool.

2. During the awesome Discover the Magic tour, our “icy treat” was a 100% frozen apple juice slushie. I was impressed.

3. The offerings at Downtown Disney included a couple of Italian restaurants, and bistro/bakery, and a few other not-so-fast-food type joints. It was super easy to find good healthy food at all of these places. Also, there were several “Farmer’s Market” type stands throughout both Disneyland and California Adventure that offered fresh fruits, nuts, fresh baked breads, various non-soda drinks, and smoothies.Yes, they were pricey, but I’d much rather spend $4 on a smoothie than $4 on a gigantic soda.

I realize this might not be worth the longer plane ride and time change for you East Coasters, but I have to say that I definitely noticed a difference. And I know my waistline (and let’s face it, intestines), were much happier for it.

How do you eat healthy on vacations?

[Disclaimer - Disneyland resorts covered our travel and hotel, as well as other small amenities during our time at the park]

11 comments for “Walt Disney World vs. Disneyland – A food smackdown

  1. June 15, 2010 at 9:25 am

    On our most recent vacation we stayed at a condo with a full kitchen rather than a hotel room. It allowed us to eat breakfast, lunch and most of our dinners in instead of at a restaurant and we tried to have healthier meals when we were cooking them ourselves (heck, not eating a big breakfast pastry every morning certainly helped me!). When we did eat out I worked really hard to keep my portions small – but also reminded myself that I was on vacation so I did have a little more leeway.

  2. June 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I always bring my own airport/airplane snacks. So much better than what you can find once you’re trapped behind security (and of course way cheaper). I bring empty water bottles, too, and fill them at water fountains. Once in awhile I’m lucky enough to find my favorite lower-calorie, lower-sugar tea (Honest Tea) at an airport shop. Then I do a happy dance.

  3. AJ
    June 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I’m about to put up a similar post on my site, but I can corroborate your findings. While Disney World does offer some healthier options, Disneyland seemed to be more focused on offering fresh, healthy grab-and-go items as much as possible. Health-consciousness seemed to be more at the forefront of the DL choices.

    Great post.

  4. June 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Haven’t been to either recently but I’ve heard the whole Disney chain is great about specific food requests – so if you have food allergies, etc – they’ll help you map out where the best options are…

  5. Katie
    June 16, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    They started to change Disneyland a few years ago in order to offer more healthy choices. I love it! We have annual passes and go very often, and the food (especially the fruit stands you mentioned) have made it a LOT easier to stick to my healthy diet.

  6. June 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I just got back today from a 4 day trip to WDW and was pleasantly surprised with the healthy choices. Most of the restaurants could use a bit more creativity, but they had fresh fruit and veggies all over the parks, and frozen juice bars regular and sugar free. Plus- Epcot does have the Seasons at the Land which has a ton of healthy choices plus Morocco.. it’s harder, but there are good choices!

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