What THIS vegan eats
This is a hard post to write because when I think back to my last trip to Disneyland Paris it makes me angry. My gut reaction when people ask about eating vegan at Disneyland is “Don’t go”. But if you must then read up before you do!
I went to Disneyland for a week in 2014 as a vegetarian and it was not great but had improved a lot since I went as a vegetarian in the 90’s. When I went as a vegan in 2015 the lack of food made me ill. Unlike my family I cannot eat just fruit without suffering badly from heartburn and as a result I felt ill after a few days and became bloated (I have but won’t share the while visiting and after photos but it is shocking). As a vegan I do not expect to pay thousands of pounds because I am told I will be able to eat only to be left bitterly disappointed. Frankly vegans also want to actually enjoy food while they are on holiday too.
First of all, I know there are people who say they have gone and have managed to find food but when you talk to them a bit more it turns out they just thought the food was vegan. You cannot blame them; Disneyland are not forthcoming with information on the subject. Second of all, it is a lot to do with luck. Thirdly, we came across some really nasty behaviour from the staff because we are vegan.
When we booked last year I was told there was not a lot of vegan options but was given places where we could eat. On the first day I made a reservation at the Agrabah Café where I was told there would be vegetable dishes and couscous. I had read up on the place before going but I decided to look again but worryingly this time came across someone saying it was cooked in meat stock so I asked. A very long story short is we waited for a few hours at the front desk, where staff ridiculed us for being vegan, before the head of catering for the park got on the phone. It was confirmed that boiled food at Disneyland is done in meat stock to ‘add flavour’. So even the boiled vegetables are not vegan at Disneyland. So if you are thinking vegetable dishes are vegan think again. Forget about things like fries too.
After getting told that no one in the UK should have told us vegans can eat there they did say there was always the salad and fruit. Also, as you may or may not know, the French bread recipe is protected by law and is safe for vegans. Putting aside the fact it is a LOT of money to pay for a salad sandwich there is also the problem that the salad sometimes has non suitable dressing on and frankly the fruit was always very bad quality.
There is an allergen menu with some things that are suitable for vegans. I tried the pasta dish and it was bad. Really bad. It was dry pasta…I do not mean it was dried pasta that was then cooked, I mean it is a microwave meal and the pasta had not cooked. I like vegetables but the stuff in this made me sick. But in theory if you can get past how awful it tastes the tiny allergen menu is an option. IF you can get it. You can ask for the menu in restaurants which should be fine but somethings are also supposed to be available in the hotels however our hotel refused on the basis that we did not have an allergy (they knew we was vegan, as I said we spent a lot of time at the front desk).
If you must go – my advice
There are a few things that seem vegan. For example, a number of places including the well priced New York sandwiches have dry pasta and hot chopped tomatoes BUT maybe the pasta is also cooked in meat stock? You can make your own sandwich combinations at New York sandwiches and Earl of Sandwich and some seem vegan BUT maybe the bread is classed as artisan and has milk or honey in? I was told by the head of catering what he says is vegan and as such I personally avoided those things that may or may not be.
As with everywhere things change so it is always worth asking again. However, I would not trust what most of the people working there say. Not only do the French not really get veganism (yes a sweeping generalisation but sadly true) but most of the staff did not seem very informed compared to the person we spoke to.
Would I go again?
I was dead set that this was a big fat no from me. The staff were often rude, the vegan food is non-existent, the fastpass options are bad meaning long lines for rides, add more standing for toilets and food and characters, it is overpriced for what it is, and well it is just a substitute for Disney World until we can afford it.
However, I have recently read about a collaboration between Disneyland and Centre Parcs called Nature Village that is supposedly opening in 2017. This place looks to have better quality accommodation that is self-catering and apparently will have vegan options at the restaurants too. It sounds exciting and I may give that a try. The problem is I am left angry from Disneyland but love Centre Parcs.