Disney and SeaWorld serving more nutritious options

Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:45 AM | Contributed by Jeff

In addition to new licensing restrictions that will prevent characters from appearing on sugary snacks, Disney said its own theme park restaurants would change the default options for side orders from French fries to a more healthy choice, like carrots or applesauce. Veggie fajitas, seared tofu and sugar-free ice cream are all part of the healthy fare SeaWorld Orlando is serving up as part of a new nutritional dining program.

Read more from The New York Times via The Gadsden Times and WTSP/Tampa.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:58 AM
I had lunch at SWSA on Sunday, and it consisted of: a turkey and swiss wrap (no mayo or other fatty dressing), baked lays, and a 100 calorie pack of oreo crisps. $8, good and good for you.

I was really happy to find this option.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 11:08 AM
Jeff's avatar Thank God they're finally getting it. Actually, some of the Orlando parks already had some healthy options if you looked around. I hope the rest of the industry will take notice.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006 12:43 PM
janfrederick's avatar Let's just hope the tuna sandwiches are dolphin safe. ;)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006 7:46 PM
Many parks DO have some healthy-ish options if you look for them, but this is still a very welcome trend.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006 9:49 PM
Wouldn't it be cool if all parks served only McDonald's. I think we would all be really healthy. Don't ya think?
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 8:16 AM
Um....no. Did you not read the topic?
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 10:24 AM
Hey Jeff, when you do the redesign of the site, is it possible to include a sarcasm meter? ;)

Kudos to the Orlando parks. I've been on the South Beach Diet for about 8 weeks now, and I have seen the error in my ways. I'd love to have options for grapes or applesauce rather than french fries or potato chips. The food at SWSA sounds like a step in the right direction, but it's not enough. The potato chips are still bad for you, even if they are baked instead of fried. What about some fruits and veggies instead?
*** This post was edited by Jeff Young 10/18/2006 10:26:26 AM ***

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 2:22 PM
Jeff, the combo meal included the chips and crisps, but I bet they had an option to buy the wrap separately rather than as a combo. They also had fresh straberries in the case in the same counter service shop.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 5:45 PM
I agree they should have a healthy option. But I think theme parks are like football stadiums in that Americans go there without any expectation of eating healthy. I try to keep to a healthy diet normally in life, but themeparks are my break from that. When I'm at work, I'll take the veggie fajita or a salad. When I'm at Six Flags, I'll take my cheeseburger with a side of fried chicken and churros.
Thursday, October 19, 2006 7:11 AM
That's the point, though. Children are being conditioned to think that cheeseburgers are normal food, and many parents let it happen. Having the option to give your children better food at amusement parks is just the first step in changing the eating habits of American children.
Friday, October 20, 2006 12:37 AM
These parks are obviously responding to the market as people are becoming more aware of these problems, and thats a good thing. Hopefully the first step that you mentioned though is being taken at home and in school cafeterias instead of theme parks. I just think a hot dog at an amusement park in the middle of August seems innocent enough to me. As long as we are healthy conscious normally. So eat your vegetables kids!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006 11:05 PM
Sorry about being late to the party here - haven't been on the buzz in quite awhile. However, as a server at Disney, i wanted to chime in on the new menus. I definitely agree with their decision to promote healthier meals for kids. After seeing movies like "Super Size Me," I think lots of people including myself see the need for a change in the way foods are marketed towards kids. I'm happy my company is leading the way in this, but i will say that the whole thing isn't being implemented quite so well. Word on the street around here is that the guest complaints far outweigh the compliments, and I know for a fact that signature restaurants have gotten the go ahead to revert to their old menus, as long as they have healthier options on them (of which most did anyways). I guess the problem is that guests are complaining that every restaurant has the same menu for their children. Admittedly, for some, this has been a blessing, becase their children find one entree they like and can have it anywhere. But i think even Disney has underestimated the child's desire to associate a specific dish with a specific location (i.e. PB&J shakes at Prime Time, Mickey ear sundaes at chef Mickey's, or fried corn dog bites as Casey's). The other problem is that this idea of healthier eating, while supported by a lot of people, has yet to gain enough momentum for parents to really be inspired by it and encourage their kids to eat healthier. I would estimate that at least 75% of my guests ask if they can substitute french fries for the apples or salad and ice cream for the yogurt. Which they certainly are allowed to do, but it makes it more frustrating for the culinary team and adds extra time for the servers having to ring in all these extra substitutions. As for the remainder who just order the entree "as is," the children rarely eat the healthy alternative side dishes - generally just the main course (pizza or chicken). So while i respect and support Disney for attempting to be an industry leader in promoting healther fare for children, I tend to think that for one, it may make more sense from a PR standpoint than from a practical one. And for another, i think it's and idea that's just too far ahead of its time to be accepted by the mainstream.

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