The Food Mistakes I Made In Disney


I don’t want to confuse you – today is Tuesday, not Wednesday. I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow to discuss what we ate in Disney.

First, may I just say that the fruit-waters available at the hotel all day were super fun.

fruit water

Lemon/lime, orange and cucumber one day…pineapple, cantaloupe and watermelon the next…

fruit water

One of the main reasons we stay at the Hilton Bonnet Creek resort when in Disney World is for the breakfast buffet.

breakfast buffet

I know I don’t take full advantage because I have no use for omelets and rarely eat the muffins, croissants, French toast, waffles and pancakes but I do love unlimited fruit, steel-cut oatmeal and cup upon cup of coffee.

My son on the other hand takes full advantage of the buffet.

He enjoyed an omelette each day followed up with the sweet stuff where he had a ton of fun going up by himself to load his plate.


I was oatmeal and fruit all the way, just like the last time we stayed at this hotel.


But I really screwed up on this trip.

Let me explain.

The last time we went to Disney was only days before I became a vegetarian (exactly three years ago).

I came down with a stomach virus within 24 hours after arriving home from that trip (I blame the airplane) and I never looked at meat or poultry again.

What does this have to do with things? A lot.

I am not the same person that I was three years ago.

I currently run an average of 40+ miles a week. While I certainly exercised back then, my running was not anywhere near where it is today which means my appetite and needs are completely different.

And, being a vegetarian now changes things in terms of how I get my protein which is needed not just for the muscles but for satisfying the appetite and avoiding that blood sugar spike and crash.

While it was fine for me back on that trip at the end of 2011 to be all oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, possibly because I was loading up on protein at the rest of my meals and possibly because my fitness level and appetite didn’t require what it requires now, it did not work for me this time.

On this trip, I felt sick within two hours following breakfast.

I was so nauseous-hungry, slightly dizzy and the more I think about it, my stomach didn’t feel right. It was bloated, most likely because I was not eating balanced.

Of course I felt this way -> Where was my protein? Where was the fat?

I have nothing to say for myself other than …I just wasn’t thinking. I know better than this, of course I do.

I was on vacation.

Even though I brought my peanut butter and they had peanut butter available, I just didn’t even care (how weird is that?!) to add it to my breakfast.

It took me two mornings to realize I could have been adding greek yogurt to the oatmeal and fruit like I do every other day of the year.

breakfast buffet

Which by the way, was the best greek yogurt I ever ate. I will assume it was the full-fat variety which I may now seek out at the grocery store. Or at least start eating the 2% kind.

Saying this to you now, I see how crazy it all sounds but honestly, I just wasn’t thinking much.

I try to travel as easy as possible in that I don’t overthink what I need to eat and that I don’t need special attention made to my massive running/vegetarian appetite but the truth is, it does need attention.

I may not have been running on the regular for the few days that we were away but my body is used to eating a ton and still requires a ton and when I say a ton, I may a ton of the right nutrients.

Of course I brought my emergency snacks but the banana I ate when I woke up in the hotel room wasn’t going to help me beyond getting me  dressed and ready to go to breakfast.

And really, my little snacks and packets of peanut butter were not meant to be my meals — they were really just the extras.

When lunch rolled around,  I realized nothing was truly satisfying me either.


I ate a ton of salads which is lovely and all but I really needed more. More in the form of a protein source and just more food in general.

Some restaurants had a greek salad option such as Cosmic Rays in the Tomorrowland section of Magic Kingdom.

It’s a quick service-type place that has an awesome fixin’s bar with lots of toppings like mushrooms, tomatoes, pickles, onions, sauerkraut, lettuce etc.

I added a ton of toppings to the greek salad I ordered which made it super big and more my style but was that really enough? Nah.

At the ESPN Club, I had a terrific grilled vegetable salad but there was no protein.

At the hotel, I had ANOTHER grilled vegetable salad which had chick peas but I should have asked for more.

And the salad you see with shrimp and nuts on the side? It was terrific but, um, I do have a slight nut allergy which I decided after this trip I need to respect a bit more.

I didn’t feel myself really after any of the lunches the more I think about it until the lunch I had in the airport of all places.


At that point, I was smart about the protein and had a big cup of yogurt from Au Bon Pain which I doctored up with peanut butter and one of my oatmeal packets.

I did have sushi though two times which was nice.


Dinner at Tokyo Dining in Epcot.

I didn’t make us reservations for lunch at Hollywood Studios because we didn’t decide to go there until the last-minute.

Not to mention, we like the 50’s Prime Time café and when I glanced at the menu this time, I noticed that it really wasn’t overly vegetarian friendly.


I ended up with this quick sushi at one of the lunch spots that my son picked even though I would have preferred to find a better (more filling) option.

Disney is really good at offering vegetarian, vegan and allergy-friendly meals — you just have to know where most of them are.

I mean, you can really make anything vegetarian but that doesn’t mean it will be filling. Nothing worse than eating just a side salad, especially if you have my appetite.

I knew there were pizza options, I knew of other food spots and restaurants in the park because I researched it a bit before we came but again, I didn’t want us to have to trek across the park or even further just so mom could have something else.

I made up for my mistakes with dessert…

A much-needed chocolate covered banana at Hollywood Studios.

chocolate banana

And you already know I had a chocolate-covered apple as soon as I walked into Magic Kingdom.

Minnie Mouse Chocolate Covered Apple

My favorite chocolate chip cookies stuffed with ice cream was really special too and just as I remembered it.

giant cookie sandwich

There was a slice of deep dish apple pie one night after dinner.

apple pie

And bags of candy happened a few times too.


My combo was always chocolate-covered raisins, nonpareils, tutti frutti jelly beans and sometimes m&m’s.

I had a bag of candy actually after the unsatisfying salad at ESPN Club. The dose of chocolate helped.

Did I show you my Ghirardelli cookie sundae, I can’t remember.

ghirardelli sundae

My son had some favorites too, one of which was a Mickey Mouse Rice Krispy Treat.

Mickey Mouse Rice Krispy Treat

I think we had fudge too. There was so much to choose from but you know what? I only had the one chocolate-covered apple.

I thought I would want more but when I went to order another one day, I realized I really didn’t want it. So I didn’t get it.

Disney Candy store

Looking back on this post as I write it, I really can’t believe I missed the important proteins in the morning.

I may be a predominately plant-based vegetarian but I need that drop of greek yogurt (or egg) in the morning.

I need the fat in the peanut butter. I need two breakfasts and I need to make sure I am getting the right amounts of nutrients throughout the day if I want to feel my best.

Dessert is certainly one of the most important meals in my world but breakfast really is the most important meal of all.

It sets you up for the day; if you get it wrong in the morning, if you skimp or fail to consume enough balance between protein, fat and carbohydrates, I am pretty sure the rest of your day will suffer or at least not allow you to feel and perform your best.

I think I am now hungry. Time for breakfast!


Favorite breakfast buffet foods?

Are you a big breakfast eater?

Do you have nut allergies? Which nuts?











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  1. says

    I can definitely relate to the struggles of eating while traveling.I’m sure its even harder as a vegetarian but all last week I struggled with getting a decent breakfast. Staying in hotels all week our options were limited and I tried not to be difficult so I was eating a cliff bar and a green juice each morning. It definitely wasn’t enough! Even at our NY hotel that had a breakfast the eggs just grossed me out (as they usually do at hotels). Im general I felt like I didn’t eat enough protein and veggies all week.
    You are making me want to go to Disney just to eat all those amazing desserts!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…A Look Back at 2014: Running and RacesMy Profile

  2. says

    As a veggiecentric eater I enjoy and need my greek yogurt. Some weeks once a day some weeks not. I also NEED the healthy fats! I’ve played with different amounts and my body was quick to tell me eat the good fats!

    You sound like me and the uselessness of a breakfast buffet, but my kids (and husband) love it so I make do.
    jill conyers recently posted…The Fit Dish Link UpMy Profile

    • says

      I so love the buffets and being able to have as much as I want, even if I am only taking the fruit and oatmeal (and yogurt when I remembered)..I too go through phases of major greek yogurt and then days where I want nothing to do with it.

  3. says

    I know exactly how you feel about the protein thing- I know that feeling you get when you don’t have enough. It is hard to remember to get it on the road. I have been one to resort to a protein shake or bar (quest bar or califia farms protein drink usually) on the road even though I’d prefer to get my protein elsewhere in my day to day…sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do! My breakfast is always my largest meal. Partly because it’s what feels good, partly because I love breakfast… It’s always some kind of oat creation, haha! My favorite breakfast bar food is always the fruit and the yogurt- good hotels always have an awesome selection! I am allergic to lactose- which is unfortunate….. I can handle Greek yogurt…. But milk/ ice cream really makes me sick…. Not gonna lie, sometimes I suck it up and have some anyway haha!

    • says

      I love breakfast too! My favorite meal of the day! I should have brought Quest bars with me. I thought about it but decided not to bother because I had none in the house but next time I will bring them anyway…And yes, I sometimes eat things that bother me (as in nuts) because I want to but I do have an allergy and really need to respect it.

  4. says

    I can relate to this so much. Vacations throw me completely out of whack when it comes to eating, especially because I have to be careful with my peanut allergies. I’ve gotten better with it over time, but I still slip up on occasion, which is extra annoying because it’s harder to enjoy vacations when you’re not properly fed and feeling your best. And the worst part is that a lot of people just don’t get it and think you’re crazy for needing to eat at a certain hour or having to consistently snack…
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. top 10 recipes of 2014… according to YOU .My Profile

    • says

      I am totally going to pay more attention to my nut allergies. They are no where near as severe as yours but I don’t like the feeling I get when I decide it’s okay to sometimes include the walnuts and pecans (as was in my salad this time) in my meals. And as we know, I cannot tolerate almond milk and I intend to honor that from now on!

  5. says

    Protein and fat are so key, yet I find it tough to get good quality (enough) sources of each while traveling. I can imagine as a vegetarian it’s that much harder! My mom has hypoglycemia so was/is always traveling with lots of protein and fat along with her because it’s absolutely necessary, and now I try to as well. My husband is like you and will eat all oatmeal and fruit, and dessert when we travel 🙂
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…Best of the Blog 2014My Profile

    • says

      dessert is the best! lol…I don’t know why I wasn’t paying more attention to what I was eating at breakfast. I am really good at making sure I get what I need, I just think I remembered what I loved on our last trip there so I went for that again. But it wasn’t enough.

  6. Becky says

    It looks from this post like you’re not strictly vegetarian, since you were eating shrimp and sushi. If you’re pescetarian, couldn’t you have eaten more fish for protein? I’m a strict vegetarian, so I definitely empathize with the protein issue – but I feel like it would be less of a problem if fish were an option.

    • says

      I do eat some fish, but very very limited. I never liked it and have some fish allergies. I do eat sushi- just the spicy tuna and occasional shrimp. It makes things easier at dinner but breakfast was my biggest mishap – totally my fault, I just really wasn’t thinking about it at all for the first day or so.

  7. says

    You are really good about knowing what foods make you feel good slash which foods make you feel bad….I need to pay more attention to this. While I am in Chicago I have my routine and most foods make me feel good. But when I come home I often feel sluggish or not myself and I think it is because of new foods. A few months ago I was getting really bad stomach aches everyday and didn’t know what it was – I tried to pinpoint a food but I couldn’t. At first, I thought it was dairy but I eat so much of it and sometimes have no problems. Still don’t know what the cause of it was.

    Oh and your dessert pictures are on point – glad that meal wasn’t messed up on your trip 🙂
    Sara @ Lake Shore Runner recently posted…Tried it Tuesday #7: 2014 Link-Up RecapMy Profile

  8. says

    I absolutely LOVE the food options when it comes to Disney (not the prices- but the availability to cater to food allergies, preferences, etc). We went to Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii right after it opened, and they were absolutely AMAZING with my daughter’s food allergies- even in the kid’s club there. It was great. I feel ya on the protein and needs when it comes to heavy exercise and being a vegetarian as well. Definitely getting in enough healthy fats, etc is so important or I feel REALLY crappy!
    AJ @ NutriFitMama recently posted…Biggest Loser, the beach, and the FLUMy Profile

    • says

      I think I will buy the 2% then when my container of the nonfat runs out this week – thanks! I swear, the greek yogurt in the hotel was like nothing I ever tasted before. I really can’t get over the difference. It’s like a totally different food.

  9. Nikki Fahey says

    Hi I love Disney! wish I could have gone. I want to go when its hot! its below 0 now:( in MN. do you need a nanny next time! ah <3 your blog
    what disney blogs/ sites did you use to navigate your trip?

    • says

      I really didn’t follow any Disney blogs because we have been there a bunch of times in recent years. If you are looking to plan a trip, feel free to ask me any questions or check out a site called Mousesavers (I think that’s what it is called, if you google it, it should bring you to the page).I also saw a great Disney book in the bookstore but I forget what it was called. It offered a breakdown of EVERYTHING including all of the hotels, attractions, tips and pricing.

  10. says

    I love the look of the fruit-infused water at breakfast! Eating healthy while traveling is difficult, but feeling like I am eating “enough” is even more difficult. I run a lot (and eat even more), so I often feel un-satiated while on vacation. I agree that protein and fat are key! Looks like you and your son made some great memories. 🙂
    -Kristen recently posted…Figgy Pudding in 2015My Profile

  11. Melissa says

    This really is a good cautionary tale for traveling while eating healthfully. I strive for a low-inflammatory diet (I have Lupus and found it does wonders), but this generally translates to gluten-free while traveling which generally translates to: here’s a side salad and some highly processed crap. Couldn’t get my nutrients anywhere and felt so yuck! Sure I hit my calories with chocolate but definitely running on “E.” I feel you girl. Please keep taking good care of you and know where you need more. Take care, and I enjoy your blog!

  12. Tracy says

    This is perfect timing! We go to Disney with my parents every year for Super Bowl weekend. I am in charge of planning & the one difficulty I always have is where to go for lunch in the MK! My mom is a pescatarian & aside from my boys, we are super healthy eaters. Luckily the hotel has food & drinks out all day & night (perk of going with my parents!) so there are always healthy snacks there to grab. Was the Greek Salad at the Launching Pad or Cosmic Ray’s? I couldn’t find it on the Launching Pad’s menu. Also where was the shrimp salad? My mom would love! Thanks so much! Looks like you guys had a great time! Happy New Year ( :

    • says

      You know, it’s possible it was the Cosmic Ray’s place (I really thought it was launching pad but they are so close together), so if that’s where you found the greek salad and fixins bar on menu, then I was wrong and need to correct the post! It’s not a big salad though…There are tons of options in Magic Kingdom if you seek them out in advance to know where to find them and to make reservations. That salad with the shrimp was from our hotel. I don’t eat much fish at all which is why I called myself a vegetarian over pescatarian since I could can months without fish (I don’t like anything but shrimp or tuna in sushi) but sometimes when I am out and about I get desperate. It was really good though! For Magic Kingdom, try making some reservations in advance at the restaurants – the Italian place when you first walk in and what’s the place in the castle? They supposedly have a great buffet!

  13. says

    As a vegetarian and runner I can totally relate! Sometimes traveling makes everything more difficult no matter what food you decide to take with you on the trip. I will be traveling to Disney for the Princess Half Marathon and will most certainly be looking into vegan/vegetarian options. Sometimes breakfast is the easiest way to sneak additional nutrition in!
    Alaina @ The Simple Peach recently posted…RUNNING CHRONICLES: DECEMBER #3/JANUARY #1My Profile

    • says

      I always wanted to run Disney! it’s so frustrating because they don’t offer anything in terms of maybe watching the kids/kids club program and if I go, I couldn’t go without my son and if I bring him, then other people need to tag along with us so they can watch him. have the best time and best of luck!