How to Eat Healthy at Disney’s Epcot
Of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Epcot (formerly known as EPCOT Center) is the most unusual. More than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, it’s dedicated to celebrating international culture, human achievement, and technological innovation. The third most-visited theme park in North America and the sixth most-visited in the world, it hosts more than 11 million guests annually, all of whom are most likely looking for something to eat during their visit.
It’s easy to eat unhealthily when on vacation, here or anywhere else, but we’ve tracked down the healthiest dining options in the park.
Epcot was intended to be a utopian city of the future, imagined by Walt Disney as home to 20,000 residents and a “showcase to the world of the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise." It was planned as a giant circle with residential neighborhoods around the perimeter, schools and community buildings in the middle, and businesses in the center. The name (which is an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”) still reflects that philosophy.
After Disney died in 1966, however, the company decided that it was better off not trying to run a city (at least not here; the nearby unincorporated town of Celebration was founded by Disney), and shifted its focus toward developing the park you see today. It’s divided into two main themed areas: Future World (which is home to Spaceship Earth, the giant geodesic sphere that’s come to represent the park); and the World Showcase, which contains 11 “pavilions,” each themed to represent a specific country: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Each of these pavilions contains architecture, streetscapes, attractions, shops, and restaurants intended to represent the country’s culture. Needless to say, food is a big part of the World Showcase, and Epcot certainly recognizes this, even hosting the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival every year to highlight food and drink from each of the pavilions. Read on for a glimpse into the dining options at 27 restaurants from every pavilion, as well as the healthiest options at each.
The intimate, underground Le Cellier Steakhouse at the Canadian Pavilion is one of Epcot’s most popular restaurants (and the only restaurant in this country’s area of the park). Their Canadian cheddar cheese soup is one of the single best dishes served at Epcot, but if you’re looking for something healthier, choose the pan-seared snapper with yucca and romesco sauce or the seared scallops with celeriac and butternut-apple chutney.
The Nine Dragons Restaurant is the China pavilion’s traditional Chinese-American sit-down restaurant, and the Lotus Blossom Café is a counter-service spot. There’s not often a wait at the Nine Dragons (interpret that as you will), but it’s a good option if you don’t feel like putting your name down on a list. The healthiest options there are the fragrant five-spiced fish (white fish in a five-spice sauce) and spit-roasted Beijing chicken with mashed taro. The options are more limited at the Lotus Blossom Café, but healthy choices include beef noodle soup and Hong Kong-style vegetable curry over rice.