Disneyland: Vegan-ized!

The vacation that we had been dreaming about for months had finally arrived! A Disneyland trip to celebrate my oldest son’s 3rd birthday. For three days and two nights we’d all be together at the happiest place on Earth. We were ecstatic!

I knew that this wasn’t going to be like any other trip. Just like everything else in our life, this too would be a new experience. A far cry from what we were accustomed to in the past as far as food goes, that’s for sure!

We were all up for the challenge! I did a ton of research before we left. I was able to pinpoint places outside the park that served Vegan friendly food and also had a kid-friendly environment. I was also pleasantly surprised by all of the Vegan fare that was offered at both parks too. More on that later.

DAY ONE: Disney’s California Adventure

We woke up early on departure day and had our breakfast at home. Fresh fruit, sprouted grain toast and almond butter. I decided to save money and pack our lunch and snacks for the first day of our trip. I purchased a beautiful whole grain loaf to use as the canvas for our sandwiches.

I sliced this bad boy in half and scooped out all of the soft filling so I could broil it to prevent it from getting soggy. This also makes a nice vessel to hold all your toppings in place as well as saves you calories AND makes breadcrumbs for future use. Just take the bread you scooped out, put it in a Ziploc bag, throw it in the freezer until ready to use and viola! Toast in the oven on a cookie sheet and crumble into whole grain bread crumbs.

The night before our trip I whipped up a batch of my man-approved mock tuna salad to use as our sandwich filling. 
Then I loaded it up with all our favorite veggies, sliced and wrapped it!
Now THAT’S a Disney sized sandwich!

I also packed us bottled water, veggie sticks, hummus and fresh fruit for snacks in a cooler.
And off to our destination we went…

We were all so excited and I felt so empowered by my little cooler of smartness!

I don’t know how many of you have spent the day at a theme park with small children but there is A LOT of walking involved. I felt like I was hungry ALL DAY! Thankfully, there was plenty to choose from in the snack department. Riley desperately wanted a Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel and it sounded pretty darn good to us too! I inquired about the dough as well as asked if the pretzel was dipped in butter. I was ecstatic when both answers were no!

He bit off Mickey’s ears!

 Yay! For mustard with pretzels!!

Happy birthday boy!

They also had plenty of other fresh fruit and vegetable options available.
The pretzels got three of us through the rest of our day but we still had one Brown family member who needed some special care. This is were the Baby Center came into play.

Can I just say that this place is PRICELESS!! It’s a safe haven for those of us with small children. They offer private nursing stalls to feed or pump, high chairs, changing tables, small toddler potties, microwaves to heat your child’s food (regardless of age) and they sell anything and everything you may have forgotten for your kid! Diapers, wipes, diaper cream, baby food, formula, bottles, pacifiers…you name it, they have it! And its all reasonably priced! The women running that place deserve metals. They were all so nice and helpful. They even gave me free ice water as I nursed Ryder. How cool is that?!

With Ryder fed, changed and satisfied we were on our way to finish out the day.

We had decided to have our dinner outside the park but I did do some scoping out of the local fare had we decided to eat there. I was so happy with what I found! Cocina Cucamonga was a Mexican place where you could order roasted veggies in place of the meat in almost all their entrees! This included tacos, burritos, enchiladas and bowls! Across from there was a place called The Lucky Fortune Cookery. They offered tofu   instead of meat in all of their Asian style dishes which included veggies, rice or noodles. Next door to them was the Pacific Wharf Cafe who offered a Vegetarian chili served in sourdough bread bowls. Have them hold the cheese and it’s a Vegan dish! Across the water at the Paradise Garden Grill, they pride themselves on tofu and vegetable skewers with rice pilaf, cucumber salad and fresh pita bread. These were the main places that had flat out Vegan food. There were other places that also offered Vegetarian food but you would just have to tell them to hold the cheese if they could. I was very impressed and comforted by all of the options. However, we didn’t want to spend all our money in one day on food so we opted to maximize our money and head to the local Red Robin! YUMMMmm!! 

We went with an appetizer of sweet potato fries with Thai chili dipping sauce and Vegan Boca burgers with salad for our entree. We were quite pleased with the food AND the bill.

Day one food consumption was complete and we were ready for bed! Day number two would be right around the corner.
Goodnight, world!
DAY TWO: Disneyland Resort

We all woke up with a fierce appetite on day number two and a continental breakfast was not going to cut it.  I called around to a local Mexican restaurant called Alberto’s, to find out what they offered in the way of meat and dairy free options. We could get large lard-free bean and potato burritos with fresh green salsa! So that’s exactly what we did! SO GOOOOOoood!
  And then back to the park we went for another day of fun!
We arrived to the park to find that they were filming one of our favorite shows. Modern Family! We were lucky enough to snap this photo. We were totally star struck…
Once we pulled ourselves together we were off to check things out. After a few rides we were already ravenous for lunch. We’d just stepped off the Finding Nemo ride and there was a place to eat called Tomorrowland Terrace. To my mouth’s delight they offered a roasted vegetable sandwich with zucchini, mushrooms, red peppers, arugula, onions and tomatoes! It came with a side of fries and a basil dipping sauce. We had them hold the cheese to make it Vegan, put the sauce (that we didn’t eat) on the side and it was to die for! The price? Not so much. $12 for this meal and a small drink (for one of us) was less then desirable but that’s how it is when you go on vacation to Disneyland sometimes. You have to pay more for good food!
Riley was BEYOND ready for a nap at this point so we headed back to the room for a nap before coming back for evening fun. 
It was on the way back to Disneyland that I think I lost my mind for a moment…or two. As we were walking back to the park there stood a stand that sold funnel cakes. I know you probably won’t believe me when I say this but I had never had a funnel cake before. 
I know. The humanity!! 
So, I decided today would be the day that I would try one. ASSUMING it was just deep fried dough and NOT asking if there was egg OR milk in it, I went for it. My husband so sweetly tells me that he even had them hold the whipped cream and add dark chocolate instead. 
Amazing, right? 
Yeah, it tasted JUST as good as it looked.
That’s the look of shear satisfaction right there. Silly…silly girl! It wasn’t until much, much later that I realized all I had done.
When we got back we met up with some of our favorite friends who were also enjoying their day at Disneyland! 

My Riley and his Aubrey. 
I love this little girl and I’ve decided she’s the only one Riley can marry.

Me and my sweet Lori and my Ryder-kins. This woman is like a sister to me!

Friends are even more fun to hang out with at Disneyland!! Ahh… And then we were off to enjoy more rides…

The evening was coming to a close and we wanted to finish things off with the parade. We lined up on the street, a good 30 minutes before it was going to start and it was FREEZING!!
Pretty sure Ryder was eyeballing Riley’s popcorn here.
My amazing husband had the idea of getting us all hot cocoa to enjoy as we waited and watched the parade. I agreed that THIS was a GREAT idea! The parade started and we snuggled together with our cocoa and had a happiest place on Earth moment of pure joy! 

 It was these sweet looks of amazement on Riley’s face that made it all worth it.

As the parade came to a close, it hit me. Like the way Snow White must have felt after sinking her teeth into the poisonous apple! 
Shock. Horror. Idiot.
Realization: The hot cocoa was most certainly made with WHOLE MILK!!! The funnel cake COULD and probably DID have dairy in it!! AND eggs!
All Veganism aside, I’m lactose intolerant, people! 

I instantly tell my husband what I’d discovered and he said, “Well, maybe you didn’t have enough to make you sick.” But it was too late, I knew what I’d done and I could feel the works of what was to come turning in my stomach. 
Our second day at Disney was done and we headed back to our hotel to get ready for bed. Our original plan was to try out the Vegan pizzas at California Pizza Kitchen but it was too late, we were too tired and I was in serious pain. Rance went to a local 24 hour Subway instead and got us some avocado-veggie delight sandwiches with no cheese and no mayo. All in efforts to maybe sop up the cocoa.
No success. I ended up being up the whole night with an upset stomach. Cursing my self for being so blind! 
But in all fairness, this IS a new lifestyle for us. Something that we’re not going to be perfect at. There will be bread that I consume that will have egg in it and there will be dishes that were made with milk that sneak past me. It happens. Am I gonna throw in the towel and take this as a failure? No. It was a learning experience. And for those few moments when I didn’t know what I’d done, I was happy. I enjoyed it. I only feel guilty about the aftermath. The truth is, I won’t deny myself or my children something that they really want and can only get on the once a year (if that) vacation we take. It’s just not realistic. I will however do my best to NOT consume dairy because it physically makes me sick, regardless of the lifestyle we’re trying to lead. 
It’s what we do most of the time that matters and that will make the biggest difference. This little setback will not define me. The 90% plant-based lifestyle I lead at home everyday most certainly will. 
Overall, our trip to Disneyland was wonderful. We had an amazing time, ate well for the most part and made some unbelievable memories. I learned so much and I feel even more equip to handle our Vegan life as we travel and grow. 

One Comment Add yours

  1. I totally agree with you, we can't penalize ourselves for trying to do our best. Stuff happens, but our intentions are still good. We are making a HUGE difference in our health and the environment by making the choices we do. An occasional slip-up, whether intentional or unintentional, doesn't negate our overall mission. I, too, was impressed with Disney's vegan optionds. My daughter and I shared the vegan gumbo in a huge vegan sourdough bread bowl — we were stuffed, and @ only $5 each! Since you are lactose intol., the vegan Dole Whip would be a great snack!!! (If you like pineapple!) Best of luck on your journey!


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