Florida Foodie: Suzannah Otis finds the best plant-based food for guests at Walt Disney World

Vegan Disney Food helps veggie eating tourist find a meal in Central Florida

More Americans are eating less meat, according to a recent Gallup poll, and that has become Suzannah Otis’ bread and non-dairy butter substitute.

Otis runs VeganDisneyFood.com, which she recently took over from her friend. She is a vegan convert, committing to the lifestyle relatively recently after a few years of flirting with a fully plant-based diet.

“I finally decided to make that jump. For me personally, it was pretty easy to be a vegetarian, but it was like giving up that last dairy. That was really hard for me because I love ice cream so much,” Otis said.

Before taking over Vegan Disney Food, Otis previously ran a Disney-focused blog, Zannaland.com, so she already knew the ins and outs of the House of Mouse. She also knew that Disney was getting into the business of offering more vegan-friendly fair at its parks.

“{At} he end of 2019, Disney came out with their completely plant-based initiative where they said that every restaurant was going to have at least one plant-based entre option and one plant-based dessert at the table service restaurants. So since then, it’s been so much easier to really find something for us vegans in the parks because we know at least there’ll be one option,” Otis said.

Prior to 2019, it was slim pickings for vegan tourists at Walt Disney World.

“Some places you could get like a black bean veggie burger, you could get a salad. It was very difficult to kind of you kind of had to pick apart existing entrees or dishes to see which parts you could or couldn’t eat,” Otis said.

Though the options have improved, there could still be some sneaky ways an animal byproduct could slip into someone’s meal. That’s where Otis comes in.

“It’s what’s in the bun — is there dairy or egg in the hamburger bun is there, honey in the bun — you know, all of those kinds of things that you have to research,” Otis said. “And that’s what Vegan Disney Food does is we do all of that for you so you don’t have to stand in line and ask to speak to a chef and find out all these ins and outs. We take all of that work out of it for you.”

And that work extends beyond Mickey’s domain. Vegan Disney Food also puts the spotlight on businesses around the Orlando area offering vegan eats.

“They’re amazing with what they’re creating all of these small business owners so we spotlight a different one every week,” Otis said.

She also points out that vegans are not the only ones making use of her site, it has also become a valuable resource for people with food allergies and sensitivities, since she’s already broken down what’s in the dishes that are featured.

Otis talks with Florida Foodie about her favorite vegan bites inside Disney’s parks and some of her recommendations around Orlando. She also shares her thoughts on the biggest innovations in plant-based food and why women are driving the push to eat less meat.

Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s books, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”

Florida Foodie is a bi-weekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere.

Find new episodes on Apple podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.