Did you know each turkey leg has over 1400 calories? Start at the beginning of the series for some general Disney World nutrition information.
With a staggering 16.64 million guests a year, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is consistently the most-visited theme park in the world. With that kind of volume, I would expect Disney to concentrate on cheap, consistent foods that appeal to the general masses and are quick to devour (like the 1400-calorie turkey legs), which pretty much cuts out most healthy meal choices. However, even with this volume, Disney manages to make some healthier choices available at Magic Kingdom – the trick is knowing where to find them.
Below, I’ll list vendors and restaurants offering healthier snacks and meals. We’re compiling most of the information below from great Disney sites like MousePlanet.com and AllEars.net. If you’re not like the folks at the WDW Today Podcast who can visualize every nook and cranny, you might want to review a park map like the one found at http://www.wdisneyw.co.uk/. Also, keep in mind I am in no way proposing the suggestions below are healthy, particularly since I have no nutrition information – rather, the suggestions appear healthier in comparison to the standard fare. Finally, we’ll be skipping the character meals, because let’s be honest – if you’re paying for a character meal, you’re paying for the experience, not the food. With that in mind, let’s get started!
Adventureland, located just past the entrance from Main Street.
Aloha Aisle is home of the absolutely scrumptious Dole Whip pineapple soft serve ice cream. Unfortunately, it’s ice cream, so we’ll have to overlook it in favor of the fresh pineapple spears – a great snack and a good alternative to the common apples and carrots found elsewhere. If you’re thirsty and in the mood for juice, Aloha Isle offers apple, orange and – of course – pineapple.
Liberty Square Market
Liberty Square, located across from the Liberty Square Riverboat and next to the Hall of Presidents
If you’re craving fruit, Liberty Square Market has the biggest selection. It’s a little pricey, but then, so are the hamburgers. At the Market, you’ll find grapes, apple sauce, oranges, apples, bananas, watermelon and mixed fruit bowls. They also offer pickles, corn on the cob, carrot sticks and celery sticks. Trust me – get your snacks here and bank your calories for a Dole Whip dessert at Aloha Isle. You won’t regret it.
Main Street Bakery
Main Street, located halfway down Main Street on right
Apple turnovers, Mickey head frosted cookies, banana bread pudding – Disney lists Main Street Bakery as an official location for purchasing fresh fruit. Beware, however – it will take some serious willpower to resist all those sweet treats in favor of fruit. Fruit selection, which according to Allears.net includes strawberries and cantaloupe, likely changes with the season. What doesn’t change is the danger of hiding a cheesecake slice under those fresh strawberries.
photo credit: BMS-LOU – all rights reserved
Toontown Farmers Market
Toontown, located between The Barnstormer and Donald’s Boat.
Like the Main Street Bakery, Toontown Farmers Market is an official location for purchasing fresh fruit. The Market is conveniently located across the street from the character meet & greet site at the Judge’s Tent, allowing one parent to wade through multiple queues obtaining pictures and autographs from various princesses and woodland creatures while another forages through the cotton candy and popcorn to find apples, fruit cups, oranges, grapes, bananas, yogurt cups and frozen lemonade.
Columbia Harbour House
Liberty Square, located across from Haunted Mansion’s entrance.
Fried fish, fried chicken, french fries – this restaurant gives all appearances of being a standard fried seafood joint. However, amidst all the batter there are a couple of healthier alternative meals to be had, starting with their Lighthouse Sandwich (hummus with tomato & broccoli slaw). If you’re still hungry, add a bowl of vegetarian chili. Finally, if you’re more in the mood for a salad, they’ve got you covered with their Garden Galley Salad (mixed greens with chicken, pecans, pineapple and feta cheese), and I’m sure you can request they hold the cheese.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
Tomorrowland, located across from the Tomorrowland Speedway loading area.
Home of the purple ketchup, Cosmic Ray’s offers three counter-service “bays”, each with its own selection of food: Unhealthy, Unhealthier and Passable…. I mean Chicken, Burgers and Sandwiches. Skip Burgers, don’t collect your 200 extra calories and head directly to the Sandwich bay, where you’ll find humongous Chicken Wraps with a side of Strawberry Yogurt, apples or grapes. Beats a burger any day.
Main Street, located at the end of Main Street on the right, next to Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.
Decorated as a turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor restaurant, Plaza Restaurant hosts a variety of sandwiches and salads. For healthier alternatives, skip the famous Reuben and head straight for a Chicken Strawberry Salad (fresh garden greens, grilled chicken breast, fresh strawberries, gorgonzola cheese, tossed in a white zinfandel vinaigrette dressing) or Vegetarian Sandwich (fresh mozzarella, hummus, basil pesto, cucumber, roasted red pepper, vine-ripened tomato, and lettuce on a freshly baked foccaccia bread served with sweet potato chips). Other offerings that appear to be on the lighter side include the Tuna Salad Sandwich, Turkey Sandwich and Plaza Club. As with any sandwiches, hold the mayo to keep the extra calories down.
photo credit: sansaarai – all rights reserved
Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station
Tomorrowland, located at the entrance of Tomorrowland from Main Street past Plaza Restaurant.
Open seasonally, the Noodle Station offers a pleasant alternative to the ubiquitous hamburgers and chicken strips. Best described as “Asian inspired,” the Noodle Station serves noodle bowls such as Chicken Noodle Bowl and Vegetable Noodle Bowl with Tofu. Also available are Teriyaki Chicken or Tofu and Beef and Broccoli, both served with steamed white rice. Also, an added perk – the terrace provides a nice view of the castle during the fireworks show.
photo credit: cafeplushenko – all rights reserved
Tony’s Town Square
Main Street, located on the right side of Town Square as you enter the park.
If you like seafood, Italian cuisine or Lady and the Tramp, Tony’s has you covered. Amidst the cheese and bread you’ll find dishes like their Grilled Salmon (over Mixed Greens with beets, feta, and candied walnuts, tossed in an orange-shallot vinaigrette), Catch of the Day (served with Orzo pasta tossed with pancetta, roasted garlic and seasonal vegetables topped with balsamic maple glaze) and Seafood Diavoli (linguini pasta with clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, and salmon in a spicy tomato sauce). You can even splurge on a healthy(ier) dessert with a Seasonal No-Sugar Added Sorbet with fruit.
From fruit to fish and Asian to Italian, Magic Kingdom makes available many more food options than hamburgers and fries. Did I miss your favorite haunt for healthy(ier) meal and snack alternatives? I’d love to hear about it – leave me a comment below.
Next up – Epcot!