Pushing Healthy Options at Disney ~ My Thoughts

Disney has really been pushing healthy options, whether you want them or not, when it comes to kids meals at the parks. Lets talk about it!

When we used to vacation at Walt Disney World, and even when we first moved here, my boys always were up for ordering from the kids menu at the walk up restaurants. Not only does it save money, but they were happy because they usually got a chocolate chip cookie with their lunch for dessert. That’s how we rolled with kids meals….. the entree with french fries and a cookie. Sometimes the cookies would go in my bag and saved for a snack later, which also worked. Saved me from having to buy extra snacks when they got hungry. My younger son hates veggies, and most fruit, but he’s so tiny, so I didn’t mind letting him have the higher calorie sides. My older one likes “some” veggies, but also chose the fries and cookie for sides. That’s fine with me, they don’t have it every day, so I didn’t see anything wrong with that. Well, apparently, Disney finds something wrong with that.

Since last year, I’ve noticed more and more, Disney was doing away with the chocolate chip cookie as a side option in kids meals. You’d have to choose usually from carrots, grapes or yogurt. Most places still had fries. Fast forward a bit, and I’m seeing fries disappearing as a choice as well. Now, it’s not like this at ALL Disney locations. For instance, the Contempo Cafe at the Contemporary still has fries and cookies. Pecos Bills, for example, no more cookies, and they now have tortilla chips instead of fries. Among other places. It’s hit or miss. Two weeks ago, we were at Animal Kingdom and stopped at Flame Tree BBQ to grab a quick bite to eat. They had a chicken sandwich on the kids meal that the boys hadn’t tried, so they asked for that. When we got up to the cast member, I asked what the side options were. He replied broccoli, grapes, or applesauce. So, usually, if there are fries on the menu, which there were, you could just substitute veggies for fries. Not anymore. The Cast Member told me that Disney was pushing for healthier options, and if I wanted fries, that would be an extra $2.99. Well, Disney food is already expensive, so I wasn’t going to pay more for the substitution. I really didn’t like that, to be honest, being told that it was either broccoli or applesauce or nothing. The kids were less than thrilled to say the least. Same goes with some of the places at Epcot.. carrot sticks or grapes. So, you’re allowed to have a burger or nuggets, which aren’t healthy, but no on the fries? Hmm, ok.

Now I fully understand that there is a movement out there for kids (and adults) to start eating healthier. I eat pretty healthy, mostly salads and chicken, but that’s not the point. I know adults, including myself, who sometimes opt for the kids dinners at walk ups, but the options are getting fewer and fewer. As adults, yes, we can just find something else to eat or opt for those not so tasty bags of carrots (maybe bring ranch dressing with us?). But what about the kids? What about kids who are particularly fussy when it comes to eating, or kids with special needs who maybe won’t eat these less popular choices? Or kids with health issues who maybe needed the extra food or calories (my son is one of them). Maybe I’m rambling, but I promise I have a point. I know in my own family, as locals, we rarely eat in the parks because it’s expensive for one, and second, my boys won’t eat those sides and they end up going to waste. For people vacationing, the feedback I’ve heard was that families are on the go all day, getting plenty of exercise, so what’s wrong with letting the kids have a cookie at lunch? Why insist on carrots or grapes? Maybe it’s a way to get guests to spend more, order more food, or pay extra for the things kids actually want? According to CM’s, this is something that’s going to eventually be implemented at more food locations across Disney property, so plan accordingly, and maybe bring extra snacks in your bag! I’d love to hear what you think about this one? Are you happy with the push for healthy meals, or would you rather be able to have the old choices back? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Michele Atwood is the Owner/Editor of The Main Street Mouse and it’s subsidiaries and author of the books “Moving to Main Street U.S.A.” “How Many Sleeps Till Disney?” and “How Many Sleeps Till Disneyland?” Michele also contributes Disney news to the Joe Kelley Morning Show on 107.3 WDBO in Orlando. She and her family made the move from Michigan to the Orlando area to pursue their Disney dreams. Michele is a life long Disney fan, and has two sons who have followed suit, each going on their first Disney trip before their first birthday’s. Part of the goal Michele has for The Main Street Mouse is not only to keep members informed, but to create somewhat of a Disney Family by relating to others through personal experiences and opinions. Also, Michele is making it a priority to share stories of inspiration and hope to other Disney Fans in an effort to share the Magic and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others. ~ I enjoy writing personal perspective blogs, doing TMSM Meet Ups for our readers, and keeping the constant interaction going with others, sharing the Disney Magic to people when they can’t be at their Happy Place.

Michele has 6669 posts and counting. See all posts by Michele


2 thoughts on “Pushing Healthy Options at Disney ~ My Thoughts

  • February 23, 2017 at 12:00 am

    My daughter tends to only eat the fries so if those go she will be one hungry child. We were there for 8 days at the beginning of the month and the grapes and carrots at every meal got old very fast. I wouldn’t mind seeing goldfish crackers become a side option. Currently i believe they come in the “power pack” snack box so why not offer them as an option. Plus, they don’t need refrigerated! I didn’t see the squeeze applesauce option at any of the places we ate but did have an option for apple slices that my son said tasted like chemicals. My husband and I agree that since the kids did get tired of the food we will most likely pack lunches in a cooler for any future trips. I do wish they would bring back the plastic cheese and fries at Pecos Bills!

  • February 22, 2017 at 8:51 am

    What I don’t understand is that burgers and nuggets are worse than fries and I have to agree that my twin grandsons would not be very happy if they couldn’t get fries for their kids meal. Being at Disney is a treat to children and therefore their meal should be reflected this way.
    At home their mums will give them the healthy option so why can’t they have a treat on their special day.

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