Best and worst theme park food.

Saturday, July 4, 2009 2:24 PM
PRWagner's avatar

Parks have gotten totally healthy! $4.00 bottled waters are more healthy than the $1.00 bottled water I get at the vending machines around here.


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Saturday, July 4, 2009 3:41 PM
Jeff's avatar

Carrie M. said:
Choosing a healthier lifestyle doesn't mean never eating sweets and fried foods.

But in response to what Gonch was saying, for some people, that's exactly what it means. That, and since fried food isn't found in nature, I'm pretty sure we could get along without it. :)


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Saturday, July 4, 2009 4:05 PM

Best park food I've ever had is at Stricker's Grove. Cheap, and all grilled fresh.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009 4:33 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

What I meant was that I don't think it's unreasonable to understand that the amusement park isn't a place you can get food that's good for you, healthy and generally not crap.

When I think "decent meal" I don't think of the amusement park. Whether or not that should change is debatable, I suppose, but I personally liken it to fast food places - it's not somewhere you eat if you're concerned about such things.

And yes, especially in a park setting, it is a pleasure thing.


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Saturday, July 4, 2009 5:11 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Yeah, I just don't agree with that. I think it's fine that the parks sell crap food and I think it's fine that people eat it. But I think there should be healthier options available, too.

It makes sense that if you want to eat healthy you avoid fast food joints or other restaurants where that's all you can get. But the problem with the analogy of parks to fast food is that you don't go to or choose a park for the food. It's not the main attraction... usually. :)

People spend the better part of an entire day at the amusement park. I think having healthier options for them makes sense.

And again, eating healthy for some is something they have to do no matter what. Telling those people they need to go somewhere else doesn't make sense to me.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Saturday, July 4, 2009 5:29 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

And that's fine too. But I'd imagine the cost-to-interest ratio is one that doesn't make a whole lot of sense for parks.

I've never seen a line 10 people deep for salad along the midway. ;)

I still think it's a little weird to expect to find 'healthy' food in an amusement park though. But whatever, I have no problem with it being there.

Remember that thing Disney did where they made a conscious effort to offer healthier food - where they said they'd make the default a healthier option (like vegetables instead of fries) and you'd have to specifically ask for the less healthy option? (news item)

That was Oct of 2006 and by the time we visited in Feb 2009, we were getting fries by default. I wasn't made even aware you could ask for the healthier option (although I suspect you could). I think there's a reason it didn't stick. If it didn't make sense at WDW, what chance/incentive do the smaller, local parks have?


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Saturday, July 4, 2009 5:56 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

I don't have much information or input on that program. I also don't know how effective Wendy's has been with their initiative of offering healthier options instead of fries with combo meals and such.

I just think that having stands that offer healthier options is not unreasonable. I hate to keep coming back to Hershey, but they seem to be making it work for them. They offer salads, wraps, boneless chicken and the like. If there wasn't enough interest, I don't imagine they would be making that happen.

I mean, hey, anything to keep the overall cost of health care down in the US, right? ;)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Saturday, July 4, 2009 6:01 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Carrie M. said:
I just think that having stands that offer healthier options is not unreasonable.

Me too.


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Saturday, July 4, 2009 11:11 PM
Jeff's avatar

Having coached for many years, and trying to adopt some of the kids' habits, I can say with a high degree of certainty that people who eat healthy as a matter of protocol are not some fringe faction, despite the obesity statistics in the US.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Saturday, July 4, 2009 11:51 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
I can say with a high degree of certainty that people who eat healthy as a matter of protocol are not some fringe faction, despite the obesity statistics in the US.

I don't doubt that. But I suspect that the people who expect to or want to or try to eat healthy at an amusement park are to some degree.


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Sunday, July 5, 2009 12:20 AM
Jeff's avatar

Why shouldn't they have that expectation? That doesn't make any sense. And if they do expect it, that makes it OK for everyone to eat fatty crap? I don't even see what you're trying to argue.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Sunday, July 5, 2009 12:49 AM

When we took our trip to HWN, a member of our party had been placed on a gluten free diet by her doctor. We thought we would be going to the car for meals so she could bring whatever she could eat, but searching the menus on HW's website showed they had special diet foods for most alergens including gluten free food. We would have to order in advance and then go ride something and come back, but it was awesome that we were able to get food within her diet in the park. Sure, it is not the same as low fat healthy food, but I was impressed. Of course, halfway thru our trip she decided to kick her diet to the curb and eat like the rest of us. I was even more impressed.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009 1:08 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
I don't even see what you're trying to argue.

I think that:

1. Most people understand they're probably not going to find many (any?) truly healthy choices at the park.

2. Like you said, the eating for pleasure thing. Park food is pleasure food, I'd bet it's part of the experience for most people.

3. That there's not that high of an interest in healthy food at amusement parks...at least not enough for the parks to do any more than they are already.

Basically I don't think the level of interest in eating healthy (whatever that means to the individual) corresponds in any way with the expectations or offering of those foods at the park and I don't think parks have an obligation to offer those foods.

It might make good business sense to offer those foods, but I have to think that if it did, we'd be seeing a lot more of it.

I understand certain kinds of people wanting those choices but it seems akin to expecting room service at a $39 dollar a night hotel or thinking you'll find designer clothes at Wal-Mart - it's just not what they do. There's no real precedent for thinking they would. If anything, the general thought is you go to the amusement park and pig out on ice cream and funnel cakes and cheezy fries and burgers and cotton candy.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Sunday, July 5, 2009 2:28 AM
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Sunday, July 5, 2009 1:22 AM

Hey, society has come a long way with crappy food joints.

You can get your poultry grilled at KFC now. :)

Remember the Atkins diet? Burger King was offering a burger wrapped in lettuce. Now you have to request it as it isnt on the menu anymore.


I think it's hard for parks to pinpoint what they should offer as healthy alternatives because different people have different diets.
1. Low sugar
2. Low fat
3. Low sodium

4. Low carbs
5. No cholesterol
6. No trans - fat
7. Vegetarian
8. Vegan

It starts to become cumbersome.

Last edited by Chitown, Sunday, July 5, 2009 1:27 AM

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Sunday, July 5, 2009 10:48 AM
Jeff's avatar

I think you're totally wrong, Gonch. Why anyone has to "understand" anything isn't the point. If healthy options are not available, it's the parks that don't understand their customers. People making the argument that they shouldn't expect good food is conceding that your wants and needs don't matter.

And again, just because you aren't interested in better food doesn't mean others aren't. I'm not exactly a health nut, but there isn't very much in the average park I'll eat anymore.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Sunday, July 5, 2009 5:25 PM
matt.'s avatar

Siding with Jeff here, completely, when it comes to healthier choices thing, but that's not anywhere near to my #1 sticking point when it comes to park food.

Healthy, not healthy, whatever, most of it still tastes awful. I'm all for eating a balanced diet, and I'm all for eating food that's nutritionally garbage when the time calls for it, but 99% of it is all really bad. I'm all for funnel cakes, corn dogs, and all matters of artery clogging culinary Americana but I can't remember the last time I got anything that tasted truly remarkable out of the 3 or 4 best food parks and we all know where those are.

That's actually another reason why I like to see options like the fresh cut up fruit at Disneyland and other similar offerings. A good burger or whatever else is always going to appeal to me more than some watermelon at a park but I've never had a good burger at a park. I'd rather take the item they can't fark up, which will also likely be cheaper.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009 5:50 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

I don't really think Gonch is totally wrong. He's just taking the position to the extreme a little by suggesting no one should expect healthy food at amusement parks.

But I see his point in that if a park were to eliminate all of its crappy food options and provide all healthier fare, the number of people who complain would far outweigh the number who complain now because there aren't enough healthy items among the crap. I think that's true enough.

There is a cultural shift occurring, though, regarding healthier lifestyles...however, sloooowwwly it seems to be catching on. And I would venture to say that it's in a park's best interest to have at least a few healthier options on their menus... or at least to be considering it at this point.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Sunday, July 5, 2009 8:16 PM
Jeff's avatar

Who said anything about eliminating the crap food? I don't understand why these kinds of discussions always lead to some either/or decision.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Sunday, July 5, 2009 8:47 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Nobody said they should eliminate all the junk food, Jeff. I was using that as an example to illustrate the point that more people than not prefer the junk food to healthy food.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Sunday, July 5, 2009 9:21 PM
The Mole's avatar

The past year I've lost 30 lbs. The past year I've worked in a medium activity co-op job, done college classes, and been going to lots of amusement parks.

How did I do it? Lots of exercise, watching what I eat, and cutting out some things.

Here are my three rules of my diet I use...

1.) 1200 calories per day of net gain. If I take in more than that, I work it off through running, elliptical, weights, etc.

2.) Treat yourself. Have a Blizzard, have some Sonic. I have. Just remember to watch it for the rest of the meals and work it off at the gym.

3.) Core work out, chest, back, and arms work out to tone up and make the fat less noticeable.

It's not hard at all. Instead of chicken fingers and fries, I've made the jump to chicken finger salads with a little light ranch dressing. I've cut down my portions, making sure I have a piece or two of pizza or buying cans instead of bottles of pop. Heck, I've nearly removed all pop from my diet, but when I treat myself I buy small portions.

Now I'm moving from weight loss to more toning up and muscle gain.

At amusement parks, I find that you are in the atmosphere to throw your caution to the wind. Eat that burger and fries. Just make sure your body can handle it. Also, share portions, eat the most during lunch, and eat snacks such as fruits and have water rather than turkey legs and a large coke!

*edit*

Just to add, I was never overally fat, I had quite a bit of extra baggage. I used to be around 170 and 5'9", now I'm under 140, though I expect to end up at 150 once I add more muscle.

Last edited by The Mole, Monday, July 6, 2009 2:21 PM
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