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How to survive being on a diet at Walt Disney World

March 24, 2014

Being on a diet when you visit Disney is a drag, but it’s not that bad

Before we begin, let’s make one thing clear: If you’re dieting or just trying to eat healthy in general, just say no to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. It’s cruel and unusual punishment, and you will not be satisfied with your stowed-away bag of celery sticks when you see someone shoving a lobster roll into their face. Trust me. I’ve tried it, and failed miserably. Multiple times. Even the vegan booth will not save you. I tell you this as a friend.

The good news is that Disney isn’t really known as much for their food the rest of the year as they are their entertainment. That isn’t to say they don’t have some great food – there are plenty of splurges worth making, which I will discuss in great gluttonous detail at the end of this post – but for the most part, you can get by and still stay on track with just a few tips and tricks:

1.    Pack snacks.

When I’m trying to eat healthier, I bring a small backpack and toss in some snacks like pretzels, carrot sticks, grapes, almonds, etc. to keep me sane between meals. Warning: This does not fly at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. I tried to bring in snacks once and got berated because apparently my $60 ticket price was not enough to justify me forgoing their sub-par food (Dippin’ Dots are an exception to this rule, because those are the shiz). I argued and lost. Next time, I’ll just tell them I have diabetes.

2.    Stay hydrated.

I know this isn’t rocket science, but truly, drinking a ton of water will keep you full for longer and help prevent you from passing out from the crazy hot sun. Bonus: If tourists in line are pissing you off, you can always throw it on them and just blame Florida’s unpredictable weather.

3.    Remember: You’re walking. A lot. And sweating, if it’s anywhere from March through November.

Translation: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Have the treat you really want, because you’ll be walking miles and miles that day. Wear a pedometer and see what I mean.

4.    Pack a lunch.

This is actually one of my best tips because as far as I know, there’s nothing you can get for lunch that you can’t get for a snack or dinner, and it saves a ton of money. I usually eat breakfast before I go, pack a cooler with lunch and eat in the air-conditioned car before park hopping after we do the first park of the day. It works out nicely, and gives you more room to splurge on snacks and dinner.

5.    Do your research.

There are tons of websites that list Disney menus, including and even just the straight-up WDW website. Wherever you make your reservation(s), Google the menus and pick what you want ahead of time. This will save time when you’re at the restaurant, and keep you from getting too tempted by what everyone else is ordering, since you’ll already know what you’re up against.

6.    Take advantage of those fruit stands.

I give Disney Parks a lot of credit – they really are jumping on the health wagon, and I appreciate it. There are tons of stands that offer fresh fruit, water, etc. At most quick-service restaurants, too, I notice you can get fruit or veggies as a side instead of French fries or whatever. Very helpful.

Next page: Splurge on the things that are worth it!

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  • Kat

    Great article Jen! I appreciate your wit and information. I laughed out loud twice and another time although not enough to be classified as loud. You also made me ‘hmm’ two times as well. Thank you.

  • Jen

    Aw thanks Kat! Appreciate your readership!