Like go to Disneyland.
Yah, I totally got to go to Disneyland last week. To a competition with a dozen of my adorable cheerleaders.
Yay extracurricular teacher-sponsoring! (You won't hear me say that too often.)
I knew there was going to be some dairy cheating going on, but I was really looking forward to the challenge of keeping the trip as vegan-friendly for myself as possible.
It started out easily enough at the airport. Thursday 11.0 lunch ended up being chow main, tofu and veggies from a Chinese place in the airport food court, and I had my Pringles to keep me company on the plane. After checking in at our hotel we headed to Downtown Disney, where I had a trio of Mediterranean dips (hummus, baba ghanoush, and mouhammara) at Uva Bar.
I also got to watch the aftermath of a very, very intoxicated lady falling off her barstool and smacking her head on the concrete while her pre-teen son screamed for help. Nothing says good clean family fun like getting thoroughly tanked and falling off your barstool and smacking your head on the concrete and freaking out your poor son at Disneyland. Way to go Mom! And the best part was that she stayed down for the duration of my meal a few feet behind me while people tended to her. Needless to say, I was eager to finish my baba ghanoush and get out of there.
Our hotel provided a hot buffet breakfast every morning. There wasn't much for me to partake in other than potatoes and toast. I ended up bringing some Earth Balance butter and Rice Dream from home, so I was able to have cereal and butter my toast, but for the most part, breakfast was unremarkable.
This brings us to Friday 11.0, aka Disneyland Day! The itinerary...8am-12am...16 hours of Disneyland awesomeness. There would have to be a few meals thrown in here, so I made sure to google "vegan disneyland" to see what my options were. I was thrilled to find a vegan dish at the Blue Bayou, aka super cool restaurant right inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I had made resos a few days earlier for myself and my cheer coaches, and we scored a sweet waterside table.
Even though I doubt my starter salad dressing was vegan, my Portobello Mushroom and Couscous Maque Choux was thumbs up for sure.
Some cheerleaders even floated by us on the ride and said hi :)
How adorable are they? :)
Overall, lunch at the Blue Bayou was pretty pricey, but definitely worth it for the atmosphere and unique vegan dish. Love this place.
I can definitely see a shift in the snack foods that Disneyland serves. It was great to see pineapple, mango, and lots of fruit options, and I got to enjoy some apple chips and a giant pickle (yes, a giant pickle, because giant pickles are awesome) in addition to my non-vegan churro (I told you there'd be some cheating). There was more cheating at the candy store where I bought the dairy-laden chocolate peanut butter bar (but avoided the gelatin-laden chocolate marshmallow bar!), and I cheated even more with a Mickey shaped beignet.
Food that's shaped like Mickey Mouse shouldn't count as cheating. I mean, it's Mickey Mouse. At least I didn't partake in the Turkey leg like my carnivorous coaches...
I love them anyway.
A basket of fries while watching Fantasmic rounded out the evening, and we finished off the night with some team bonding on a couple of rides before heading back to our hotel.
If 16 hours of exhausting Disneyland awesomeness wasn't enough, I had Babycakes cupcakes waiting for me at the hotel.
I had ordered Babycakes earlier in the week from their LA bakery, to be delivered on Friday to our hotel room. After my three unfortunate attempts to make their icing, I had to try the real thing to see if it really was worth it.
Yah, it's really worth it.
**Side note...holy crap do I look haggard eating that cupcake. I mean, seriously, that is not the kind of picture one puts up on the internet, but it was my first official babycakes experience, so whatever, I'm keepin' it real. It's the end of a 16 hour Disney day. Let's see what Natalie looks like at the end of a 16 hour Disney day...
Life is officially unfair. Side note over ***
But back to the cupcake. The icing is thick, vanilla-y, and not too sweet. AND IT TASTES NOTHING LIKE SOY! WHY then did they have to screw with my mind and put a different recipe in the Babycakes cookbook?? WHY??? The icing from the bakery is really yummy, especially considering it's dairy and sugar-free! The cake itself is dense and crumbly, and very tasty. Though I can't help but remain pissed off that the official cookbook doesn't provide the official recipe for the official cupcake, this cupcake is definitely thumbs up, and my faith in Babycakes is restored.
Saturday 11.0 was a busy competition day for my cheerleaders, and despite the crazy long Friday we spent at Disneyland, hanging out at the hotel by the pool after the competition was not on their list of things to do. We proceeded to Downtown Disney that afternoon for shopping and lunch at Rainforest Cafe. I ordered lettuce wraps, and it was pretty easy to vegan-ize this meal by subbing in some mushrooms for the chicken.
Yay :) Messy to eat but light and yummy and (mostly?) vegan (you never can be sure about the noodles). And having good luck with vegan meals on this trip made it easier to justify non-vegan desserts. Like my apple-stuffed churro.
Oh yes, this was indeed a weekend of churro indulgence. I know that every time I ate one, an adorable baby chick somewhere in the world shed a tear. I had to mitigate this somehow, so I told my cheerleaders that every time they swore in Disneyland a fairy would die. I think saving the lives of a few fairies makes up for making baby chicks cry.
Sunday 11.0 was Day 2 of the competition, as well as the awards ceremonies. This meant waiting around at the Anaheim Convention Centre surrounded by more churros and Dippin' Dots (don't worry, I avoided the Dippin' Dots...and the churro here tasted dry and gross, so that one shouldn't count). Veggie burger with a crapload of tomatoes for lunch.
The award ceremonies for our division went until almost 2:30, and our shuttle to the airport was picking us up from our hotel at 2:45, so we really had to hurry back to the hotel. For me and my natural tendency towards fast-walking, this would not have been a problem, but going at the pace of a group of 15 other slow-walkers was just downright excruciating.
It was like this during the ENTIRE trip. We'd set out as a group to walk somewhere, I'd think I was just setting a normal pace at the front of the group, and then I'd hear whining behind me that I was walking too fast. I was the old lady of the group (over twice the age of some of my cheerleaders), and I CONSTANTLY had to wait for these guys to catch up. Sometimes a few of them would speed up beside me and ask why I was walking so fast. I'd tell them it was the absence of animal products in my system not weighing me down :)
Anyhoo, we made it to the airport with plenty of time to relax before the flight, and I was happy to find a seemingly vegan meal (not sure about the noodles themselves) at a seafood restaurant in the airport...pasta with veggies and a garlic sauce, no alterations needed.
Overall, the trip was goodtimes. Disneyland was crazy fun, the kids were genuinely a lot of fun to spend time with, and I got to bring home Babycakes (I even packed my Tupperware to bring the cupcakes home for Rob the Husband nice & safe...and he thoroughly enjoyed them too). There was some vegan cheating with desserts, but I stayed true to the Plant with my meals. It was a friggen exhausting four days keeping track of a dozen teenagers in California, but this
and their adorable smiley faces made it all worth it.
Now if only they would learn to walk faster.