How to Be a Vegetarian at Tokyo Disney

by Lisa on Tuesday: Jan 26, 2016

In fall of 2014, D and I went on the biggest trip of our lives (thus far) and visited Tokyo, Japan. It was my second time visiting the country, but the first time for D. This was also the trip where we got engaged – a story I will be writing up in the next few weeks (stay tuned!). While we were there, we knew we wanted to make a stop at Tokyo Disney.

If you’re unfamiliar, Tokyo Disney is made up of two parks: Tokyo DisneyLand and Tokyo DisneySea. We decided to do one day at each park in the middle of our two week stay in the country. Since D and I have been together, we’ve gone to Disney World in Orlando many times, and it is a very important part of our relationship’s history, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to see what things were like in the Tokyo version of the parks!

Tokyo Disneyland Castle

Before we left on our trip, I did extensive research on everything we would be doing while we were away, and Tokyo Disney was no exception. As a vegetarian, I knew it would be challenging to find meals anywhere in Tokyo and thought it would be a good idea to have some restaurants inside the parks picked out ahead of time.

Thankfully, I had found several blogs during that time to help me with that process, most notably: The Honorable Rat. I think I read almost every post on his blog before we left!

I could (and probably will) do a whole post on what the parks themselves were like, but for now – let’s talk about food!

Thanks to the Honorable Rat’s post on the topic, I knew the situation going in ahead of time: There was one restaurant in each park that served one vegetarian dish. So, it is an extremely limited selection, and if you didn’t know this information going in, you’d definitely be frustrated running from place to place only to find out everything contained meat or fish!

Tokyo Disneyland

The one restaurant in Tokyo Disneyland that contains a vegetarian option is Eastside Cafe. We foolishly wandered around a little bit beforehand instead of going straight there because we were on the other side of the park. We happened to spot a pizza place called “Planet M”.

Tokyo Disneyland Planet M

I was sure I would at least find a slice of cheese pizza there, but much to my dismay (and confused agitation), I found that they only had meat pizzas, and yes, fish pizzas. Welcome to Japan, where fish pizza is more common than cheese.

It was at this point that I realized how serious the “one restaurant with one dish” recommendation would be, and we high-tailed it over to Eastside Cafe before we got too hungry.

Tokyo Disneyland Eastside Cafe Menu

Here they actually had a 3 course vegetarian option displayed in a separate menu, as pictured above. This was quite a pleasant surprise, and I thoroughly enjoyed my Italian-style lunch. I was very full afterward, and would definitely go back again. We didn’t stay long enough at the park to warrant a second meal, though if we had, I’m not sure what we would have done.

Tokyo DisneySea

DisneySea Entrance

DisneySea was our second stop, and after learning our lesson at DisneyLand, we did not bother looking at other restaurants and went straight to Ristorante di Canaletto.

DisneySea - Ristorante di Canaletto

There was a short wait here for lunch, but knowing it was our only option, we happily waited. The views outside of the restaurant were spectacular. DisneySea is breathtaking and is nothing like any of the other Disney parks when it comes to atmosphere and theming. If you’re going to go to one park over the other in Tokyo, pick this one.

DisneySea Gondolas

Ristorante di Canaletto did not have a separate vegetarian menu like Eastside Cafe, but true to word, there was exactly one dish that was meat and fish free.

Ristorante di Canaletto menu

This pasta dish was flavorful and contained a ton of fresh veggies. Side note: in Japan, there is not really a concept of “vegetarianism”, which is why it can be so challenging to find food there if you don’t eat meat or fish. At the same time, in places like Disney where there are actual vegetarian dishes, they are almost always vegan as well.

It can be challenging to find vegetarian cuisine while at the Tokyo Disney parks, but if you know exactly what you’re looking for ahead of time, you will be fine. There are also snacks around the park such as popcorn and sweets that will also be okay to eat.

In the next few weeks, I’m planning to do a similar post about what it was like as a vegetarian on our trip to Tokyo as a whole. Stay tuned for that!

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What is your favorite travel destination?

Have you ever traveled to an international Disney park?

Ever tried fish pizza??

Vacation Recap: Hawaiian BBQ for a Vegetarian??

by Lisa on Thursday: Oct 25, 2012

In case you’re just tuning in, I’ve been recapping some of the amazing meals and adventures from our recent trip to Disney World.

One of the most interesting and out-of-the-ordinary meals we enjoyed while we were there took place at ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. We had never been there before and really hadn’t even heard of the place until our travel agent recommended it to us. I was skeptical at first because the menu is Hawaiian bbq food, which is pretty much ALL meat. So I talked it over with our travel agent and she let me know that they would be very accommodating and have a very nice vegetarian meal that isn’t listed on the menu.

Polynesian Resort 3

When we first arrived at the Polynesian, we decided to walk around the hotel a little bit and do some exploring since it was completely new to us. It’s one of the deluxe hotels which means it is extremely expensive, thus likely a place we’ll never end up staying, and so we were expecting pretty big things. The lobby and shops inside were very nice and the Polynesian theme was very well done.

Polynesian Resort 2

As soon as stepped off the monorail and into the hotel, the skies opened up and it started pouring. This was also the very last night of our trip so this dinner had the potential to be slightly somber as we knew we didn’t have much time left on our vacation. However, there is SO much going on at this restaurant that it was able to distract us from this fact.

Polynesian Resort

We had a prior reservation, so we didn’t have very long to wait until we were seated. When they called our names, we were escorted by one of the hosts to our table and on the way he gave us a mini tour of the restaurant. He showed us the bar, the barbecue (which was out in the open), pointed out the drink selections (all of which were served in glowing glasses) and tonight’s dessert. Right before we arrived at our table, he pointed to the food selections and said, “We have pork, shrimp, chicken and steak. You don’t pick one, you get them all.”

As soon as the waitress arrived at our table I asked about the vegetarian option (I guess I was still a little skeptical), and right away she told me about the entree (which would also be all you can eat) and some special appetizers they make for veggies like me.

Well, the dinner didn’t disappoint. My first appetizer was an Asian-style noodle dish with green beans and broccoli, and then the SECOND (again, I didn’t explicitly pick these things – they just give you everything!) was pita chips with three different kinds of hummus. My favorite was the sun-dried tomato, but all three were extremely delicious, so much so that when I got back home to my regular hummus I found it kind of boring.

My entree came out and was quite large and filled with lots of good things: tons of vegetables, and a generous helping of roasted potatoes. They also presented us with three different dipping sauces, which did spice up the dish a lot. I could have gotten the dish refilled at any time, but it didn’t take too long until I was so full I couldn’t take another bite.

And then….

Dessert came out! It ended up being a bread pudding style of dish with caramel sauce and bananas and topped with ice cream. It should come as no surprise to you at this point that this dish could ALSO have been refilled as many times as we wanted.

From a meat-eater’s perspective, D really enjoyed his meal as well and was equally full when we were done eating. He didn’t particularly care for the steak, but the chicken and shrimp were his favorites and the appetizers for him were equally pleasing.

This meal was included in our dining plan so we didn’t have to pay anything but the tip, but when we took a look at the bill, it was actually quite affordable. It was around $35 per person, which when you consider the endless amount of food we got, is really quite a good deal, especially at a fancy resort in Disney!

Have you ever tried Hawaiian bbq?

Wordless Wednesday: From Our Disney Trip

by Lisa on Tuesday: Oct 16, 2012

Disney - Nemo shirt

Vacation Recap: The Many Meals of Epcot

by Lisa on Saturday: Oct 06, 2012

Epcot was without a doubt our most visited park this year during our Disney trip. Why? Because of the food!

Epcot

The fact that there are so many different types of food at World Showcase is what kept us coming back. Before leaving on our trip, we made reservations for three different dinners here: one in Mexico, one in Japan and the third in China. Out of those, our first stop was China on our second night of the trip.

We dined at the Nine Dragons Restaurant which is located right inside the China Pavilion.

Before we went in, we took in the Reflections of China show, which is shown in a room where you stand and the screen surrounds you in 360 degrees, and we also took a look around the small Chinese museum in the same area.

China - Tomb Warriors China - Tomb Warriors

When we finally arrived at Nine Dragons, we were seated right away, thanks to our reservation, and our waiter was a man who had spent most of his life living in China, but who had been working in this particular location since the 80’s. He was very attentive and extraordinarily polite as a waiter. I have no complaints about the service here.

Chinese wisdom

I ended up getting the veggie stir fry, which was a little on the small side. When it arrived, I thought to myself “I’m still going to be hungry after this”, but despite that fact, it was very tasty and I cleaned my plate. It came with big chunks of eggplant, which is something I really haven’t seen before in a Chinese stir fry. I also got myself an iced chai tea, something I never order (I usually stick to water, diet coke or something alcoholic when I’m out at restaurants), but since our plan came with a free drink, I decided to try it out.

Our second visit to Epcot brought us to Japan. D especially loves Japanese food and Japanese culture, so there was no way we were going to miss Japan on our trip.

Epcot - Japan Epcot - Japan 2

We ate at Teppan Edo, which was kind of like a hibachi-style dining experience. We were seated at a big table with two other parties and were treated to a show of the chef cooking our meals on the grill. I was not even the only vegetarian at our table that day! Nice surprise.

Luckily they did have one veggie option, and our waitress was also kind enough to ask both us vegetarians at the table if we minded if our meals were cooked on the same grill as the meat. Very considerate! We both said we didn’t mind, but I do wonder what would have happened if one of us had said yes. Would they have cooked our food at a different table, then brought it to us?

I got a little nervous at first when the chef started cooking, because everyone got a small helping of veggies as a side dish with their meal and that was put on all our plates first. I wondered if that would be all I was getting? I found out in about 10 – 15 minutes that it wasn’t. Phew! The veggie dish came with udon noodles and lots of veggies. But the real star of this meal was the dessert: chocolate ginger cake. The middle was a ginger cream and the top was a chocolate frosting/glaze. Delicious.

Our final Epcot meal took place at La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico – the one I had been most excited about as Mexican food is my absolute favorite.

Epcot Mexico

Epcot Mexico2

We had eaten a quick serve meal in Mexico during our last trip that we also revisited for lunch a few days prior to this particular meal that had the best salsa (sooo hot and spicy), and it turned out they used the same salsa at this restaurant. I was excited.

This restaurant did not have any vegetarian options whatsoever on the menu – however, I wasn’t worried because I had picked up a valuable tip from our travel agent before we arrived: if you’re a vegetarian or have any special dietary need, they will accommodate you at Disney no matter where you go. So, when the waiter came over, I asked if there was anything vegetarian I could have and he offered me two different things that were not listed: veggie tacos and veggie enchiladas. I went with the tacos:

Epcot Mexico - Veggie Tacos

They were SO DELICIOUS, especially with some of that spice salsa on top. And the serving was so big I couldn’t even think about finishing them (very rare for me!). I was so incredibly full afterward.

As you can see, we got to sample a whole lot of really interesting cuisine while we were in Epcot this year, and should we go back for another trip someday, we’ll probably try out another several countries.

Vacation Recap: Magic Kingdom and Food

by Lisa on Tuesday: Oct 02, 2012

We were in Disney for 7 days and decided to do the park hopping thing where if you pay a little extra for your tickets, you can go to multiple parks in a day. Therefore, we ended up in Magic Kingdom quite a bit.

Magic Kingdom

How could we not? It has the most things to do and for sure has the most magical atmosphere. Not to mention, my favorite thing about Disney World in general is Tomorrowland, which can also be found there.

Tomorrowland

I must have been out of my mind when I was booking our plane tickets, because our first day of travel began with a 3:30 AM wakeup call so that we could get to the airport on time for our 6:30AM flight. I don’t know how much sleep I got that night, but it certainly couldn’t have been more than 4 hours. But somehow, both D and I were able to find enough energy to stay at the park until around 8:30 that night, including a nice dinner that we had at Tony’s Italian Bistro.

Tony's

This was our first formal meal of the trip and the restaurant was one I had wanted to try the previous year, but was unable to due to a lack of reservations (Do you know how far in advance you need to book dinner reservations for Disney?? OMG). I was excited to see what they had to offer.

There was really only one veggie-friendly meal on the menu, but it was one I’ve enjoyed at many other dining establishments over the years, so I went for it. The mushroom ravioli:

Mushroom Ravioli

(Can you see the ravioli under all that cream and cheese?)

It was quite delicious and I enjoyed the long crunchy pieces of what tasted like dried onion that were on top and the flavor of the pesto mixed in.

Our meal plan also allowed us a free dessert, and I was totally excited to see one of my favorite all time desserts on the menu: creme brulee! It was a pistachio creme brulee to be exact and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The custard tasted just like pudding.

Pistachio Creme Brulee

The meal was great, but in just a few hours, my stomach wasn’t too happy because of all the incredibly rich ingredients and in both my entree and dessert. But it was worth it!