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My Week

I’ve been so busy this past week! I’ve kept up with the 30 Day Vegan Challenge, and am currently on day eleven, so just over a third of the way through it. It’s actually been very easy for me to do, but I was “almost vegan” before starting the challenge, so I’m already used to most of it. As I get deeper into the challenge the topics of the day are becoming more useful, since the first few days really just explained the basics, (great for people who are taking the challenge as a newbie, or have very little knowledge of what veganism is, but not really necessary for me,) but now it’s getting into social situation topics, and if it follows the book, will start going over nutrition too.

I’ve also been busy finalizing my Disney trip. I finished paying it off last week, since packages are due to be paid in full 45 days in advance, so I only had until this week to pay for it. I didn’t want to wait until the absolute last day to pay it though, so I had that taken care of last week. This week I’m spending trying to get in touch with Disney special diets, since I wanted vegan noted on my reservation, as well as my sole food allergy to a certain vegetable. I have two e-mails for Disney special diets, and I’m not sure which one is the correct one, so I just e-mailed a copy of all my dining reservations with my requests to both addresses.

I’ve been bad about running this past week though. I did run two days, and almost a full three miles both times, so I know I can handle the 5K distance. And both times were outside, since there’s finally a bit of a break in the heat. But I really want to get back to running three or four days a week, two days is just not enough.

Answering Honest Questions About Myself – 30 Day Vegan Challenge

I received my first e-mail from the 30 Day Vegan Challenge today. It’s a welcome one, and not Day 1’s, but it had a link with questions to answer about myself. Since 30 Day Vegan Challenge is a paid subscription, I won’t post the actual questions here, but it did get me thinking about why this is so important to me.

Most importantly I feel better on a vegan diet then I do off. I really don’t like considering being vegan a “diet” since for me it is something I want to do for life, and not just for food, I want to only use animal-free products in my home and for personal care too, though that is slightly more difficult, since I can’t afford to just get rid of a ton of stuff I use on a daily basis that doesn’t go bad. Food was easy to change. I haven’t bought animal-based foods while grocery shopping for a long time, and even when I first went vegetarian, it was easy to clean out my fridge and pantry and give the food away. I feel better knowing no animals suffer from the choices I make, and I also, (and I know this is going to sound corny,) believe God wants me to be a vegan. I can’t explain it, but I decided that is what God wants for me, and I got that feeling after I had already decided to be vegan. I feel better health-wise too. I’m slimming down, and I’ve never had more energy then I do now.

The only thing I’m worried about, and it seems so trivial to me, is eating out. I don’t like being the center of attention, or want special attention, so I’ll have to make my restaurant choices to go along with my eating habits. Luckily I do live in a pretty “veg-friendly” town, and just doing a quick search on Happy Cow showed me many vegan options I didn’t know existed all within a mile of my apartment. Going past the 30 days, I’m a little worried about my trip to Disney next month, which is after the challenge is over, but I’d really like to stick with it, and not start eating animal-based foods again, just because I’m on vacation. The animals don’t get a vacation from their suffering, so I don’t feel like I deserve one for small challenges I face in society.

I’m looking forward to making this a change for life, and I’m praying I have the strength and willpower to allow me to do so.

2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Marketplace Booth Menus

Since they were released the other day, and this was intended to be a Disney food blog, (but now it’s a Disney food, veganism, and running blog,) I’ll post these here.

It seems there are a lot of repeats from past years, and the only two new booths, Florida and the Terra Vegan booth, (which I am beyond excited about,) aren’t even countries, (though one of the Terra booth’s dishes is a curry dish.) It doesn’t bother me, since as a vegetarian, (possibly still vegan when I go,) I wouldn’t eat most of the items anyway. I am still looking forward to a lot of drinking around World Showcase!

Argentina 

Culinary Offerings:
Beef Empanada
Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Purée

Beverage Selections:
Terrazas Reserva Chardonnay
Terrazas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
Terrazas Reserva Torrontes
Terrazas Reserva Malbec

Australia

Culinary Offerings:
Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze
Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies
Lamington

Beverage Selections:
Rosemount Estate Traminer Riesling
Rosemount Estate Chardonnay Semillon
Rosemount Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Shiraz
Rosemount Estate Shiraz Cabernet

Belgium 

Culinary Offerings:
Steamed Mussels in Hoegaarden Beer Broth and Baguette
Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream
Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashell Truffles

Beverage Selections:
Hoegaarden
Stella Artois
Leffe Blonde
Leffe Brune
Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Iced Coffee

Brewer’s Collection

Radeberger Pilsner
Altenmünster Oktoberfest
Altenmünster Dunkel
Hövels
Schöfferhofer Weizen
Schöfferhofer Grapefruit
Berliner Kindl Dark
Sion Kölsch

Canada

Culinary Offerings:
Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup
Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and “Minus 8″ Onion Jam
“Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce

Beverage Selections:
Neige Première Apple Ice Wine
Neige Bubble
Mission Hill Family Estate Syrah
Moosehead Beer

Caribbean 

Culinary Offerings:
Ropa Vieja with Cilantro Rice
Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Chutney

Beverage Selections:
Bacardi® Frozen Dragon Berry Colada
Bacardi® Torched Cherry Frozen Cherry Limeade

Cheese Booth

Culinary Offerings:
Cheese Fondue with Sourdough Bread
Trio of Artisan Cheeses: Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar, La Bonne Vie Goat Brie and Rogue River Creamery Echo Mountain Blue Cheese

Beverage Selections:
Sterling Vintner’s Collection Sauvignon Blanc
Sterling Vintner’s Collection Riesling
Sterling Vintner’s Collection Pinot Noir
Sterling Vintner’s Collection Meritage

China

Culinary Offerings:
Mongolian Beef with Chinese Steamed Bun
Pork Pot Stickers
Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Pickled Vegetables
Mango Tapioca Pudding

Beverage Selections:
Tsing Tao Beer
Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen Riesling
Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen Syrah
Happy Lychee with Vodka
Sunny Guava with Coconut Rum

Craft Beers

Beverage Selections:
Widmer Rotator IPA: Spiced IPA, Portland, OR
Red Hook Pilsner, Portsmouth, NH
Blue Moon Seasonal, Golden, CO
Leinenkugel Berry Weiss, Chippewa Falls, WI
Florida Beer Company’s Devil’s Triangle, Florida
Abita Purple Haze, Louisiana
Full Sail IPA, Oregon
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Nevada

Desserts & Champagne

Culinary Offerings:
Yogurt Panna Cotta with Orange Cake, Raspberries and Pomegranate
Lemon Custard Verrine with Blueberry Compote
Dark Chocolate Mousse with Chili and Salted Caramel

Beverage Selections:
Nesquick Frozen Chocolate Foam
Nesquick Frozen Strawberry Foam
Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial
Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial
Moët & Chandon Nectar Impérial
Moët & Chandon Impérial

Fife & Drum

Beverage Selections:
Red Stag Lemonade by Jim Beam®
Red Stag Honey Tea Lemonade by Jim Beam®

Florida 

Culinary Offerings:
White Corn Arepa with Mangalitsa Pork Rilette and Zellwood Sweet Corn Salad
Florida Shrimp Ceviche with Fire Roasted Vegetables, Fried Plantains and Cilantro

Beverage Selections:
Florida Beer Company Florida Lager
Florida Beer Company Key West Southernmost Wheat
Florida Orange Grove Key Limen
Florida Orange Grove Hurricane Class 5, Florida White Sangria

France

Culinary Offerings:
Escargots Persillade en Brioche
Coq au Vin sur Gratin de Macaroni
Créme Brûlée au Chocolat au Lait

Beverage Selections:
Chardonnay, Bouchard Aîné & Fils
Merlot, Château de Mercade Bordeaux
Sparkling Pomegranate Kir
Eiffel Sour Cosmo Slush

Germany

Culinary Offerings:
Pasta Gratin with Ham and Cheese
Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll
Apple Strudel with Karamel-Vanilla Sauce

Beverage Selections:
Selbach-Oster Estate Spätlese
JH Selbach Riesling Classic
JH Selbach Riesling QbA Red Label
Niersteiner Spiegelberg Dornfelder
Radeberger Pilsner
Altenmünster Dunke

Greece

Culinary Offerings:
Greek Salad with Pita Bread
Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey
Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Spanakopita
Dannon® Oikos® Greek Yogurt Cups

Beverage Selections:
Domaine Skouras Moscofilero
Domaine Skouras St. George
Sigalas Assytiko
Alpha Axia Syrah

Hawaii

Culinary Offerings:
Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise
Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Lotus Root Chips

Beverage Selections:
Seven Tiki® Mai Tai
Heitz Cellar Chardonnay
Kona Brewing Company Big Wave Golden Ale
Kona Brewing Company Pipeline Porter

Hops & Barley 

Culinary Offerings:
Linda Bean’s® Lobster Claw Cuddler® Chilled with Herb Mayonnaise
Linda Bean’s® Perfect Maine Lobster Roll®
Linda Bean’s® Maine Home Style Clam Chowder
Pumpkin Mousse with Craisins and Orange Sauce

Beverage Selections:
Samuel Adams Boston Lager®
Samuel Adams® Seasonal
Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat®
17th Anniversary Festival Beer– Samuel Adams® Chocolate Bock
Samuel Adams Light®
Samuel Adams® Cream Stout
Samuel Adams® Latitude 48 IPA
Angry Orchard Cider

Ireland

Culinary Offerings:
Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie
Kerrygold® Cheese Selection: Aged-Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Cashel Blue with Apple Chutney and Brown Bread
Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bailey’s Ganache

Beverage Selections:
Guinness
Bunratty Mead Honey Wine
Bunratty Potcheene Chilled Irish Coffee

Italy 

Culinary Offerings:
Ravioli di Formaggio All’emiliana (Baked Cheese Ravioli, Creamy Beef Bolognese, Parmesan, Mozzarella)
Salsiccia e “Papacelli” Napoletani (Sweet Sausage, Red Pepper, Ciaibatta Bread)
Cannoli al Cioccolato (Chocolate-Covered Cannoli filled with Ricotta, Chocolate, Candied Fruit)

Beverage Selections:
Moretti Beer
Prosecco Zardetto
Pinot Grigio Mezzacorona
Chianti Castello di Quercetto
Italian Margarita

Japan

Culinary Offerings:
Spicy Hand Roll (Tuna & Salmon with Chili Pepper, Soy Sauce & Sesame Oil Topped with Kazan Volcano Sauce)
Karaage Hand Roll (Crispy Chicken Breast with Sushi Rice and Spicy Mayonnaise)
California Roll (Avocado, Cucumber, Crab, Mayonnaise, Smelt Roe Rolled in Sushi Rice and Seaweed)
Sukiyaki Beef Pan (Marinated Thinly Sliced Rib Eye with Sauteed Onions and Teriyaki Sauce Served in a Bun)

Beverage Selections:
Kirin Ichiban Draft Beer
Sake-Kikusui Super Dry, Junmai
Sake-Bishounen Junmai Ginjo
Sake Strawberry Mist

Mexico

Culinary Offerings:
Crispy Shrimp Taco with Chipotle Lime Mayo and Cabbage Served on a Flour Tortilla
Taco de Filete with Cascabel Pepper Sauce and Scallions Served on a Flour Tortilla
Natilla de Cajeta (Caramel Custard Served with Sauce)

Beverage Selections:
Dos Equis Beer
L.A. Cetto Chardonnay
L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah
Lime Strawberry Margarita On the Rocks
Tequila Flight: Tequila Blanco, Reposado and Anejo

Morocco 

Culinary Offerings:
Kefta Pocket (Ground Seasoned Beef in a Pita Pocket)
Merguez Sausage (Beef and Lamb Sausage with Grilled Peppers and Onions)
Baklava

Beverage Selections:
Casa Beer
Amazigh Red
Sangria
Mimosa Royale

New Zealand 

Culinary Offerings:
Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad
Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney

Beverage Selections:
Kim Crawford Pinot Grigio
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Kim Crawford Un-Oaked Chardonnay
Kim Crawford Pinot Noir

Poland

Culinary Offerings:
Kielbasa & Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream
Zapiekanki-Toasted Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Cheese Bread with House Made Ketchup

Beverage Selections:
Chandon Carneros Chardonnay
Tyskie
Belvedere® Frozen Lemon Apple “Tea”

Scandinavia 

Culinary Offerings:
Taste of Scandinavia: Cured Salmon, Herring and Shrimp Salad
Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberries
Rice Pudding with Driscoll’s® Only The Finest Berries™

Beverage Selections:
Iron Horse Fairytale Cuvee
Xanté
Xanté Sunshine

Singapore

Culinary Offerings:
Beef Rendang with Jasmine Rice
Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice and “Singa” Sauce

Beverage Selections:
Tiger Beer
Marqués de Cáceres Satinela
Singapore Sling

South Africa 

Culinary Offerings:
Seared Filet of Beef with Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Braai Sauce
Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pocket

Beverage Selections:
Fairview Sauvignon Blanc
Fairview Pinotage

South Korea

Culinary Offerings:
Lettuce Wrap with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw
Mung Bean Pancake with Shrimp and Kimchi Sauce

Beverage Selections:
Bohae Black Raspberry Wine-Bokbunjajoo
Chung Ha Soju Fruit Slushy
Chung Ha Soju

Terra 

Culinary Offerings:
Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice featuring Gardein Chick’n Breast
Chili Colorado with House Made Chips & Cashew Cheese, featuring Gardein Beefless Tips
Chocolate Cake with Passion Fruit Sorbet and Coconut Foam

Beverage Selections:
Paul Dolan Sauvignon Blanc
Paul Dolan Pinot Nior
Silk® Berry Smoothie

30 Day Vegan Challenge

Today one of my favorite vegan author, podcaster, and animal rights activist, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, launched a new website; http://www.30dayveganchallenge.com I immediately signed up first thing this morning. I think she’s a wonderful person, and she has a completely non-judgmental attitude, and gives a much needed voice to the animals.

I’ve tried being vegan on and off for the last year and a half or so, but hopefully with this challenge I can just be vegan once and for all. I have other hopes as well, I’m also reading Kathy Freston’s “The Lean,” which follows a vegan diet for 30 days as well, introducing one new thing to do each day, but instead of it just being about veganism, it also focuses on the health aspect. (Not that Colleen doesn’t encourage healthy eating, and she repeatedly talks about the health benefits of a varied diet filled with whole plant-based colorful foods.) But Kathy’s book really takes the health thing to a whole new level. Though for personal reasons, I wish to be vegan for animal right reasons then health, (though the health benefits are amazing,) so I’m focusing more on the vegan aspect of the challenge, instead of just getting healthier. The concept of introducing one new thing each day, makes it easy to follow. For instance, today is day one, and it’s just to drink more water.

There’s also a blog, http://www.vegcookbookclub.com, that features cooking from one specific cookbook each month. Though I only found the site recently, since I happen to own August’s cookbook – Let Them Eat Vegan, by Dreena Burton, I’ve decided to try cooking from it as much as possible this month.

So there’s my plans for August, be vegan, more specifically be a healthy vegan, and try to cook from one of the many cookbooks I own as much as possible. I’m praying I have the strength and willpower to get through the month without being tempted by things I should not eat. Hopefully this is it for me though, and I can just be vegan from now on.

Advanced Dining Reservations

Advanced dining reservations, more commonly known as ADRs, can be made for most Disney table service restaurants and dinner shows up to 180 days in advance. That means that I was booking most of mine in early April for my fall trip, and have basically been changing them weekly since. I’m very indecisive about where I want to eat.

This trip was trickier then most though. On my 180th day out, not only was I still eating seafood, and planning on eating plenty in Disney, I was also on the deluxe dining plan, and my reservations were made to coincide with those decisions. Then for financial reasons, I decided to save a few hundred, and downgrade to the regular dining plan, so the signature restaurants I had booked, thinking I’d have the deluxe plan, were the first to change. That was followed by my decision to go completely vegetarian, and now I’m leaning heavily into full fledged veganism, so my restaurant choices drastically changed again.

This trip I’ll mainly be sticking to old favorites, where I know I’ll have a decent amount of options whether dining vegan or vegetarian, though I think I’ll be vegan by the time my trip rolls around. The only new table service restaurant I’m trying is Teppan Edo, which is one of Epcot’s Japanese restaurants. I can highly recommend it’s sister restaurant, Tokyo Dining to anyone, but I really wanted to give the other a try this time.

My other dining plans, (assuming I don’t change them again,) include, Boma, Tusker House, Jiko, Mama Melrose’s, Crystal Palace, Kouzzina, Grand Floridian Cafe, the Wave, Kona Cafe, and La Hacienda. I think that gives me a good variety, and I’ve had good meals at all those locations in the past.

Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do!

This is more for my own personal motivation then anything else, but I’ve told a bunch of people that I’ll be running a 5K in September, and a lot of people have said “good luck,” in a way that implies they don’t think I’ll actually be able to do it. Actually both of my parents have flat out told me I won’t be able to finish. Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t mention the half and full marathons I’m training for in the next couple of years, (next couple of years until the marathons, training started the day I decided I wanted to run them.) The 5K almost seems too easy for me, I’ve always been a pretty avid walker, and I can easily spend an entire afternoon walking around town without getting tired.

So my plan for training the Princess half-marathon right now is to just not mention it to people who will put me down, and just plan my 30th birthday trip in 2014, like I’ve been planning on going for anyway, and just magically have a medal from that when I come home. I did tell a few of my real life friends I’m going to run the Princess Half in 2014, and they’re all confident in my success for that.

This is nothing new to me though. Anytime I make a change in my life, or decide I want to do something, I’m told I either can’t do it, or that I won’t stick with it.

Going back to when I was 20 years old, I ordered one of those Disney vacation planning DVDs, though then it was actually still a VHS. I was living with my parents at the time, and my mom told me it was a waste to order it, since we wouldn’t be going on any more family vacations there. So I decided to go by myself, then it was “you’ll never save up the money for it.” Needless to say, she was wrong. I’ve gone at least once every year since I turned 21, less then a year after that initial conversation. She was also wrong about not taking anymore family trips, since both her and my father said they had zero interest in ever going back to Disney again in their lives after three previous trips there. My mom went with me in 2007, and my father in 2010.

In 2010 when I decided to go pescetarian, I had a lot of meat in my freezer that I knew I would never eat. I didn’t want to just throw it away, but it was just wasting space, so I gave it all to my parents. My mom refused to take most of it since I would “want it back,” in a few weeks when I started eating meat again. She was pretty sure that me being a pescetarian would only last a short while, even though this was after I had already been pescetarian for at least a month by then. Well, I guess she was technically right, since I am no longer a pescetarian. Over two years later and I am fully vegetarian,  almost-vegan.

To be fair, that wasn’t just my mom, since when I started eating tofu dishes for lunch at work, everyone noticed. I was told by coworkers who barely knew me that I wouldn’t stick with it. Or I’d be told they used to be a vegetarian, but it doesn’t last. And on another note, it’s amazing how many people were suddenly concerned about my health when I decided to stop eating meat, and give up most dairy. I was overweight, technically obese, though I’ve always carried my weight well, and I don’t think I ever looked that bad, but looking back at pictures now, it’s more noticeable, or lifting those 20 pound boxes of cat liter, and thinking I used to have two of those on me as extra weight, it’s truly amazing. But I used to work in a grocery store, so when I shopped after work, all my coworkers would know what I was buying. I used to buy a lot of meat, processed foods, crackers, chips, candy, cookies, the S.A.D. – standard American diet. I did buy some fruits and veggies, but looking back now, it wasn’t nearly enough. I would eat a healthy lunch, but breakfast was always diet Coke, and dinner wasn’t an actual meal, it was snacking all day on whatever I could find. But as soon as the meat was replaced with tofu, and everything else for healthier variations, every one of my coworkers seemed to suddenly become a nutritionist and tell me I should be careful, because I probably wouldn’t get enough protein, calcium, or whatever else came out of their mouths. It actually becomes very hard for me to keep my mouth shut sometimes, since people are so grossly misinformed.

Yes, as humans, we need protein and calcium, but most Americans eat too much protein, and there’s more calcium in a cup of greens then a cup of milk. Also, ever check the nutrition labels between cow’s milk and non-dairy milk alternatives? Comparing a one cup serving of whole cow’s milk to a one cup serving of almond milk, (using Blue Diamond unsweetened original,) there are only 40 calories in a cup of almond milk, 150 in cow’s milk, fat is much higher in cow’s milk too, 8 grams, with 5 of those grams being saturated fat, while only 3.5 grams of fat in almond milk, none of which is saturated fat. There is no cholesterol in almond milk, but 35 mg in cow’s milk. Sodium is slightly higher in almond milk, but a couple of extra milagrams are not a huge deal considering how low it is in everything else. Cow’s milk has more carbs too, 12 grams, compared to almond milk’s one, all 12 of which are from sugar. There is only 1 gram of carb in almond milk, and it’s from fiber, not sugar. And as far as “not getting enough calcium” goes, there’s actually more calcium in the almond milk then the cow’s milk, 45% of the daily recommend value instead of the 30% in cow’s milk.

And I really didn’t mean to turn this into a huge vegetarian thing, but when I’m on it, cow’s don’t need to be milked. I get told all the time by people that we are basically doing cows some huge favor by drinking their milk, since they need to be milked. (Or what, they’d die?) Let me set the record straight, because before I went vegetarian I never really thought about it, since I was basically raised on Got Milk? ads since it’s “nature’s perfect food,” and I should drink three glasses a day. Cows are like any other mammal and only produce milk when they have babies. Cow’s milk is a “perfect food,” but only for baby cows, not for humans. Humans are the only species on the planet that drink the milk of a different species and drink milk as adults.

So basically, when I get passionate about something I get into it all the way. Two years ago I ate as much meat as the next person, and probably more dairy then most. Now I refuse to eat any meat at all, and my dairy consumption is way down. I’ll still eat dairy and eggs on occasion, but only when I eat out or travel, and even then I still don’t feel great about it.

I think it goes without saying that unless I have some great financial problem or physical injury – knock on wood – that keeps me from getting to Florida in 2014, I will be running, and finishing the Disney Princess half marathon!

Tipping

On a message board I frequent the topic of tipping in restaurants comes up every once in awhile. It usually turns into some huge debate and goes completely out of control. Here’s my thoughts on tipping.

I always tip in at least the 18 – 20% range. If the service was poor enough for me to tip less then that, I would be looking for a manager to complain to. I’m not a complainer. I’m pretty easy to please in restaurants. There have only be two times in my dozen or so trips to Disney that I have had what I consider bad service; once was at Cape May Cafe, and I had issues before and after being seated, though the before part I can’t blame on my server, but she was non-existent after her initial greeting, and the other was at 1900 Park Fare, when I had a server who was not only extremely incompetent, but also had a smart mouth and great attitude to go along with his speed. Service in Disney is generally good, those are the two rare instances where it wasn’t at least adequate. I’ve also had many memorable servers, with Jiko, Yachtsman Steakhouse, California Grill, Tusker House, Citricos, and even Hollywood and Vine, coming to mind.

Like I said, I always tip at least 18 – 20%, it doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it doesn’t matter if it’s signature or not, or a traditional table service meal or buffet. I think buffet servers do just as much work as those at regular table service restaurants, and though the servers at the signature restaurants may do slightly more work then those at the non-signature restaurants, the prices are always higher there, so the tip automatically goes up as well.

I will also always tip at least $5, regardless of the bill. If I’m having a nice breakfast at someplace like Kona Cafe at the Polynesian or Kouzzina at the Boardwalk, my bill is usually around $15, equating about a $3 for a 20% tip. I don’t know why I do, but I always leave at least $5. The one exception to that is when I’m just getting a drink from one of the walk up bars, I still tip there, but only the 20%, not my personal $5 minimum.

There was an uproar a few years ago when a dining discount program, Tables in Wonderland, (formerly Disney Dining Experience,) was changed to automatically add an 18% tip. It was a moo point to me, (and yes I know the expression is moot point, not moo, but it’s like a cow’s opinion, it doesn’t matter, fellow fans of Friends will know where that comes from,) since I always tipped at least that much anyway, and it was actually made things a bit easier for me since I wouldn’t have to do math at the end of the meal anymore. (I think this was before Disney did the math for you.) But people were pissed about it. I have two theories, some people just wanted something to complain about, or, and I think the more likely, the people who were upset about the automatic gratuity, never tipped that much before, and now knew they’d be stuck paying it.

There’s also excuses made by foreign travelers, who say it’s not custom to tip the same amount, or tip at all in their country, and so don’t do so in Disney. I’ve got news for you. You’re not at home, you’re in Disney, and it leaves a bad impression not only of you, but from whatever country you’re from as well.

I also don’t like people who use they can’t “afford” the tip excuse. If you can’t afford the tip, then you can’t afford the meal. It’s as simple as that.

I don’t mean to offend anyone with my views, but that’s just how I feel. I’ve worked in many restaurants, and I don’t think people who haven’t realize how much work servers do.

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