Disney properties are way more than a set of theme parks; they provide experiences that carry out the enjoyment in everybody, at any age, making even a typical Tuesday appear magical. VegNews had the privilege of attending a vegan tasting on such a Tuesday as a part of one among many California Journey meals celebrations—the annual Meals and Wine Pageant.
For the primary time because the pageant’s inception, Disney devoted one restaurant to a very plant-based menu. From March 3 to April 25, the Paradise Backyard Grill eschewed all animal components and churned out a scrumptious array of vegan choices with flavors that spanned the globe.
Whereas this menu was restricted to the length of the pageant, it served as a springboard to extra plant-based innovation within the park. California Journey Park is setting itself up as not simply the house of the Marvel Campus and the unique Soarin’ trip, it’s asserting itself as a culinary vacation spot for each type of eater.
From roasted cauliflower buffalo mac and cheese to a blinding vegan Ghirardelli sundae, right here’s a style of California Journey’s promising vegan meals scene.
Disney for adults
Earlier than Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened in Disneyland and began pouring alcohol into its Blue and Inexperienced Milks, California Journey Park was the primary California-based Disney property to supply alcohol outdoors of Downtown Disney. From frozen margaritas at Rita’s Baja Blenders to thoughtfully chosen wines at Wine Nation Trattoria, park-goers over 21 might heighten that flying-high pixie mud feeling with their most well-liked libation.
California Journey additionally homes two fine-dining eating places—Carthay Circle and Wine Nation Trattoria—each catering extra towards grownup company quite than households with youngsters. The suburb service, beautiful ambiance, and chef-curated menus inform adults that Disney is not only about rides, parades, and characters—there’s a extra refined and complicated approach to do Disney. And sure, vegan choices can be found at each of those areas. See under for particulars.
The annual Meals & Wine Pageant additionally performs to a extra grownup viewers. From the complicated Unattainable Al Pastor Tacos to the collection of beer and wine throughout 12 completely different kiosks, it’s clear that California Journey is as a lot of an grownup playground as it’s for these nonetheless ready to be tall sufficient to trip the Incredicoaster.
Vegan tasting at Paradise Grill
Not is it acceptable to supply French fries and a fruit cup and declare to have vegan choices. The plant-based choices at Disney parks have been steadily on the rise, and this 12 months, the corporate took a leap by crafting an all-vegan menu at Paradise Backyard Grill for a restricted time. And once we say leap, we’re speaking a Herculean leap.
The five-item Meals & Wine menu at Paradise Backyard Grill featured world flavors and a tantalizing range of tastes, textures, and cooking strategies. Two parts unified the dishes: a heavy dose of carbs and a dominant Unattainable presence.
As our hosts chatted in regards to the different vegan choices on the park, our “one-bite” rule was instantly damaged as we devoured the dishes put in entrance of us. First, we tackled the Bulgogi Fried Rice with kimchi, home pickled cucumbers, inexperienced onions, and sesame seeds. This can be a dish we returned to because the others got here out, selecting out tender bites of vegan egg and scooping up the well-seasoned, completely cooked fried rice.
Subsequent, we marveled on the tower of Unattainable Gyro Fries. Crispy waffle fries served because the mattress for spiced Unattainable grounds, house-made cauliflower cheese sauce, diced tomato and cucumber salad, and a deliciously dill-forward vegan tzatziki. It took us some time to find that this all rested on a heat, fluffy pita.
A Roasted Cauliflower Buffalo Mac and Cheese adopted, made with in-house cauliflower cheese sauce and a fragile salad of shaved carrots and celery. The creamy dish reminded us of Stoffer’s frozen mac and cheese in one of the best ways doable.
To spherical out the savory choices, a thick Torta de Chilaquiles appeared, or what we later known as a chip sandwich. The colossal handhold included freshly made Telera bread full of inexperienced chilaquiles, chorizo beans, chipotle crema, pickled onions, and a beneficiant quantity of avocado. This wanted to be damaged down with a fork and knife.
Lastly, our chunk of the night time arrived: dessert within the type of a effervescent peach and blueberry cobbler. Mere crumbs remained.
Sadly, this stuff won’t be prolonged a spot on the Paradise Backyard Grill everlasting menu, however we have been advised the kitchen is at all times innovating and open to menu updates all year long.
“The Disney California Journey Meals & Wine Pageant is a superb alternative for our workforce to innovate and provide you with inventive new issues for our company to strive,” Chef Kamilah Robinson stated. “This 12 months, we have been entrusted to provide you with plant-based dishes and we created a whole menu that appeals to all company.”
Vegan choices at California Journey
Visitors can discover vegan choices at nearly each eating institution in California Journey, however some are extra intriguing than others. Beneath we’ve listed the must-trys and the dependable staples so that you’re ready for each type of park expertise, from a leisurely Magic Key Holder half day to a “Now we have to go on each trip” mad sprint. Take pleasure in.
Previously Ariel’s Grotto, this revamped area bought a brand new look, a brand new identify, and a brand new menu with loads of plant-based choices. Our Disney hosts couldn’t advocate this place extra. Whereas most high-quality eating eating places supply just one vegan possibility, this prime waterfront spot options 4: a Pastrami-spiced Unattainable Burger, a Brussels Caesar, Vegan Nachos, and Vegan Potato Skins (the latter two are off-menu objects; ask and also you shall obtain).
Fortunate Fortune Cookery
Unattainable has appeared to exchange tofu on this San Fran-themed eatery. Our hosts talked about it might nonetheless be out there off-menu, however these in search of a extra composed dish can order the vegan Unattainable Banh Mi. It’s additionally out there in children’ sizes for many who simply want a savory snack … or for households with precise children.
These in search of a fast but substantial chunk between rides can depend on this Marvel Campus kiosk. The stand affords two savory vegan choices: a hearty Unattainable Breakfast Sha-warm-up wrap and an Unattainable Victory Falafel. Each are nice to seize and go and devour as you wait upwards of 90 minutes to trip Radiator Springs Racers.
Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill
Not within the temper for Unattainable earlier than taking over Guardians of the Galaxy? Check out the potato-based Tacos Dorados de Papa. They’re crispy, flavorful, and never fairly as heavy as a number of the vegan meat-based choices within the park.
If it’s your very merry unbirthday or in case you’re celebrating one other big day, make reservations at Carthay Circle (means, means upfront). Don’t be concerned while you don’t see a bit inexperienced leaf subsequent to any menu choices; the kitchen makes customized off-menu dishes by request. Final we dined right here, we have been served a stunning Tower of Greens that, whereas it might appear unsubstantial, actually wowed us in taste and left us absolutely happy.
Wine Nation Trattoria
On a heat SoCal night, there’s no place we’d quite be than eating al fresco on this restaurant’s Tuscan-themed patio with a vegan-friendly glass of wine and a beneficiant plate of pasta. Open for lunch and dinner, the plant-based menu features a mild Spaghetti Aglio Olio with seasonal greens, a layered Tomato Salad with housemade vegan ricotta, and a delightfully candy however balanced Torta della Nonna for dessert made with vegan pastry cream, non-dairy whip, almonds, and fruit compote. We’d make reservations only for the torta; you don’t discover a vegan-composed dessert like this on daily basis.
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Store
We’re really not right here for the chocolate—even Ghirardelli’s darkish candies typically comprise dairy (the 72% Twilight Delight is vegan, although). We’re right here for the ice cream. For a candy finish to cap off a magical night time (or settle down throughout a scorching summer time afternoon), order the Non-Dairy Sizzling Fudge Sundae. This frosty deal with is the whole lot a sundae needs to be. Two beneficiant scoops of creamy vanilla coconut are layered with chocolate chips, vegan scorching fudge, thick non-dairy whipped cream, a darkish chocolate sq., and a shiny pink maraschino cherry.
Fiddler, Fifer & Sensible Cafe
Solely these underneath a magic spell wouldn’t acknowledge this as a Starbucks. No, it’s not progressive or distinctive to Disney parks (aside from the lovable printed cups you received’t discover at your native Starbucks), however it’s a very dependable staple while you want one thing to energy by means of a 12-hour day of Disney magic (and sure as many miles in case you’ve bought a Park Hopper). Look forward to finding your traditional vegan Starbucks beverage right here, simply at a barely larger worth level.
Snacks and concessions
Popcorn, frozen treats, and iconic Mickey pretzels are all vegan and will be discovered at a number of kiosks all through California Adventures. The recent popcorn in any respect kiosks is made with coconut or canola oil (it varies) and is vegan-friendly. For a sweeter deal with, the caramel popcorn particularly on the Buena Vista Road popcorn cart can also be free from dairy.
The ice cream stands carry three fruity vegan choices: the Olaf Frozen Lemon Strawberry Bar, Outshine Fruit Bar, and a nutty Chocolate Coated Banana.
Have to publish a photograph with a salty, gentle Mickey Pretzel? Discover them at Bayside Brews and Pacific Wharf Distribution Middle.
Fruits and veggies
California Journey’s vegan choices go means past greasy theme park meals—however they will nonetheless be fairly heavy (talking from expertise, the Incredicoaster shouldn’t be the primary trip you take pleasure in after sitting right down to a five-item meal at Paradise Backyard Grill). For an entire meals palate cleanser, take a look at Mortimer’s Market, Fairfax Market, or Fillmore’s Style-in. Every of those open-air stands sells a wide range of recent fruit and big pickles. We’re glad these aren’t the one vegan choices on the park, however we’re additionally grateful for the selection between carb-on-carb Unattainable creations and pure, recent meals.