Category Archives: vegan stuff
vegan lifestyle, vegan food, vegan snacks, vegan, animal rights
Oh Hai, Hunters!
It’s me, Jamie! We don’t know each other, but I wanted to drop a line anyway. You see, as a non-hunter (a vegan, actually), I realize that we’re never going to get along, but I do have one question I want to throw your way:
I don’t understand the way you folks dress. I see that you’re wearing camouflage because you’re in the woods and you want to blend in, but you’re also wearing orange jackets so other hunters don’t shoot you, so… wait, let me start over.
The purpose of wearing camouflage is to blend in with the environment. Since you’re in the woods, you’re wearing that classic green, brown, black whatever print… but wait, who are you trying to avoid? Not the other hunters – because the orange vest is the official “Don’t shoot me, I’m a person” uniform of the woods, so why not just wear all orange? Because then Tommy Lee Jones would shoot you, I guess. But the vest breaks up your camo… this is like some kind of broken logic loop. I don’t get it.
But then, deer aren’t exactly the most elusive of creatures (I mean, come on, where’s the challenge in that? These guys can’t even figure out how to cross the street!), so I guess fashion sense is just the least of our misunderstandings.
We visited Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom this past weekend – this was my first time there and for the most part, my observations are based on a comparison with Six Flags Great Adventure. Let’s dive in: Read the rest of this entry
I have a problem with Animal Kingdom in concept (which I’m sure I’ll address when I do my Things to Improve Animal Kingdom piece) as essentially, it’s a zoo, and I don’t care for zoos. On the other hand, I do like Thrill Rides, and as anyone whose been on it knows, Expedition Everest is a lot of fun, so I can’t bypass the park all together, and a brotha’s gotta eat. Let’s take a look at what a vegan can have at the Kingdom! Read the rest of this entry
Oh Magic Kingdom, with your mountains and your spectacle and your castles… it doesn’t get much better than the Magic Kingdom, does it? And when it comes to being vegan, there are actually options! Nothing to get crazy over, but options!
Perhaps the fact that there are options at all is cause enough for celebration. Read the rest of this entry
I’ve been to Downtown Disney maybe three or four times in its existence and I’m not sure if I’ve ever given it a fair shake and spent more than a few hours there, but, to be frank, I’m not sure it deserves one.
My biggest problem with Downtown Disney is the design: it’s a long strip rather than a location with a heart, which creates a lot of unnecessary walking on a vacation that is already walk heavy. For me, the stores are small and don’t feature many items and there is a serious lack of bars. The bars we found were small or outdoors, and when it’s a million degrees out in Orlando, you’ll find yourself making a deal with the devil for an air conditioned bar. The restaurants are nothing special (mostly chain restaurants, if not entirely chains) and if you’re vegan, you’re pretty much screwed if you want an actual meal. We were lucky to stumble upon a felafel burger, which was available in the same building as Baby Cakes, the vegan bakery. (Like wanderers in the desert who’d come upon fresh water, we must have purchased a dozen or so assorted donuts, cakes and breads. It was glorious!) Even though there didn’t seem to be many people around, it always felt crowded – some of the walkways are very narrow.
AMC Dine-In Theatres at Downtown Disney
We saw The Great Gatsby in 3D at the AMC Theater, which was a satisfactory viewing experience. The image was bright, the screen was crisp and the seats were comfortable. There is a table in front of you, but it seems a bit too high to eat off of, but since there was nothing vegan on the menu, all we had was popcorn and booze, which was brought to us by a server. Last call was a bit earlier in the film than I’d expect, but maybe they were on to something as it was a race to the bathroom after the flick was over. The room wasn’t half full, so I can imagine that if it was sold out, all of the servers and activity could be distracting, but overall, we enjoyed the experience, despite the lack of food selection.
Important tip: there are two bus stops!
If you’re coming to Downtown Disney via a Disney bus, it’s important to remember that there are two bus stops. If you have a destination in mind, just ask your bus driver at which stop you should disembark. Otherwise, you’ll have to walk the full length of Downtown Disney, which isn’t that long, but again, Disney is a walk intensive vacation, and any walking you can avoid is a good thing. In any case, you’re going to end up trudging across the parking lot to get back to the bus stop, which is entirely too far from the strip.
Is Downtown Disney a must see during your Disney World vacation? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. But, if you need a down day away from the parks, it might be worth checking out.
Or, you could just hang at your hotel pool – that’s probably a better idea.
Our latest Walt Disney World vacation brought us to stay at the Contemporary Resort Hotel, which is my dream hotel from childhood – after all, a friggin monorail goes through the atrium! You can’t beat that, and, it turns out, this is my current favorite hotel on Walt Disney World’s property.
We didn’t have a lot of time to check out the hotel’s food, but the Contempo Café did have a flat bread offering with hummus, chickpeas and cherries that was very tasty. They also have some fruit available, so you can certainly make due here – and I am fairly certain I saw soy milk in their fridge and they also had some dry cereal lying around, so there are certainly solid vegan options here that don’t require any fuss. My understanding is that some of the other eateries at the hotel do offer vegan options or they will modify the food for you, but I haven’t experienced them first hand…
The Contemporary really shines when it comes to getting to the other parks. It’s only a five minute walk to the Magic Kingdom (or you could take the monorail all the way around the lake, but that’s a bit time consuming, yet fun) and you can take the monorail to the ticket and transportation center to get a different monorail to EPCOT. That might sound like a hassle, but believe me, by staying at the Contemporary, you can avoid taking the bus to two parks, and that is a fantastic thing. And, that brings us to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, both of which you have to take the bus to, and your bus will stop at both the Polynesian and Grand Floridian Hotels before making their way to the parks, which is lame, but there it is. It’s better than taking a bus to all four parks! There’s also boat service, but I understand it’s very slow and doesn’t go to many destinations… maybe after it stops at other hotels, you can transfer to another boat that goes to EPCOT or DHS, but I imagine that’s an hour trip at least.
Besides two souvenir styled stores, there’s a general store that has drinks, snacks, booze and stuff like that. The shopping, escalator to the monorail platform and most (all?) of the dining is on the fourth floor.
The main pool is very kid friendly and I believe only four feet deep. There’s also a toddler… wet area? I don’t know what you call that, but I wouldn’t describe it as a pool, but just a fun place for the real little kids to beat the heat. There’s also a quiet pool that tops out at 5 feet deep, and that was a great place for us to relax, away from the pool games and general activity of the pool area. There is some beach area as well, but I couldn’t really tell if swimming in the Lagoon was practical or not, but there is certainly beach area to lie out on. While I’m mentioning the lagoon, I should briefly state that the light up water pageant swings by on most evenings (all evenings?) a little after 10 PM (10:10 PM?) – it’s essentially a small version of the Main Street Electrical Parade and it’s worth seeing once, but not something you really need to schedule your evening around.
One of my favorite things about the hotel setup is that unlike the other Disney World Resorts I’ve stayed at, it’s not a sprawling complex. When we stayed at the All Star Music Hotel (motel?), we were all the way in the back and had to walk for what seemed like hours to make it to the bus stop to get to the parks. It was brutal. We didn’t have to walk nearly as far when we stayed at two different spots in Port Orleans, but it wasn’t nearly as convenient as The Contemporary.
On the other hand, I felt like we spent a lot of time waiting for the elevator and their didn’t seem to be any stairs besides the exit only acess stairs on the Magic Kingdom end of the hotel.
Staying at the Contemporary just made our stay easier and just more enjoyable overall because it was so easy and everything is centrally walking. Disney is heavy walking vacation and staying at the Contemporary cuts down on some walking, which is very welcomed. I highly recommend it.
We recently visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios (aka The Artist Formerly Known as MGM) and perused the vegan dining options. Here’s what we found:
The Brown Derby
Though pricey, TheBrown Derby had an excellent vegan option in a noodle bowl that was topped with a piece of coconut incrusted tofu. I could have used a bigger piece of tofu (the tofu was really excellent, and I wouldn’t call myself a guy who loves tofu), but the noodles and the sauce that accompanied them were great, so I had no trouble eating that. Our waiter was knowledgeable and understood what we meant by ‘vegan’ to the point that he even brought us oil and balsamic vinegar rather than butter when the bread showed up. Again, two entrees and two beers cost us a small fortune, but the food was great.
Miscellaneous Veggie Burger
Although we did not try it, several locations apparently offer a veggie burger (although it looked like the ABC Commissary did not, but the outdoor spots by The Tower of Terror do as does one of the other sit down restaurants… the one with the cars, I think… Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant?), and the veggie burger comes with cheese, so you’ll have to ask them to leave that off. Again, we’ve never tried this, so we don’t know all the ins and outs – for example, if you get a veggie burger at the magic kingdom, you have to ask for a vegan bun or forgo the bun all together.
Outside of Popcorn and Pretzels…
That’s about it. You can get also get a pickle as well as fresh fruit in several spots, and there are some all fruit frozen options (or so the sign says), but that’s about it. Ultimately, you don’t go to MGM to eat, but instead, for the few attractions they offer that are worth checking out: Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, Star Tours (new version) and maybe The Muppets 3D, but they’ve been running that same movie since the park opened, and I’ve seen it a zillion times, so we skipped it on our last trip. The rest of the park is a dud – just get there in the morning, get a Fast Pass for Toy Story, hit the other aforementioned attractions, maybe have lunch in between if you have to (or just want to spend the crazy fortune that the Brown Derby costs), but don’t waste your time on anything else. And if you’re really hungry for vegan food, have a meal at one of the other parks!
My mom contributed to our Easter feast via the above vegan coconut-lemon bunny shaped cake, and it was das bomb… And rather reminds me of… Jesus… I guess.
I’ve tried a few different Vegan Buffalo Chicken brands, and if you ask me, they’re all about the same. This one is ok, but none of them come with sauce, and they report should. They’re not dry, and they are spicy, but they’re missing something, and I’m pretty sure it’s sauce.