Thursday, April 28, 2011

Do Disney World foods reflect what North American palates want?

If so, we're all doomed.

I just came back from a week in Disney World, and while I'd been warned about the food, I don't think anything could have prepared me for just how bad it was.

And while yes, I do mean bad in the sense of how awful everything tasted, I mainly mean bad in the sense of how there was barely a healthy option to be found.

One morning we had a character breakfast with the princesses in the Norwegian pavilion at Epcot. They served breakfast "family" style, which meant for our family of 7 (my 5, which includes a baby, along with my parent in-laws), they brought out two heaping mounds of food (a photo of the remains of one such mound up above). In total they served us 26 strips of bacon (yes, I counted), a bunch of sausages, two piles of the saltiest scrambled eggs I've ever tasted, and this cloyingly rich potato dish with cheese and cream. Oh, and we were also meant to eat from the all you can eat buffet of pastries, cereals, cheeses, meats etc. When we asked the server about the salty eggs, his answer was, "yeah, they make them with a lot of salt", and when I looked around the room, most of the plates were empty.

Now I realize people don't go to Disney World for the food, but my thinking is that Disney of all companies, has a pretty darn good idea of what people want. They've been in this business for a long time, and Disney World alone hosts 17 million visitors a year. If this is what the North American palate wants, insane portions, mounds of salt, creamy everything, and no healthy choices, we're in big trouble.

[So why go to Disney? Well yes they serve awful food, and yes they contribute to the culture of consumerism, and also to the objectification of women. Of course they also contribute to very happy little kids (the 3 in this video are mine), and it's difficult not to love them for providing experiences like this: (email subscribers will need to hit the blog to see the video)]

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  1. Yoni,

    You don't have to go to Disney to observe how we eat ... I just go to Main Street USA -

    Kindest regards,

    Ken Leebow

  2. LOL. I'm just imagining your kids when they are teens, rolling their eyes as you count the bacon. And at the same time, taking in what you are saying and making their own observations based on what you've taught them. That's how it works here!

  3. We were just at Disney over Easter and the food choices were terrible in the parks, but found that we could make healthier choices at some of the dining areas in the resorts (which are open to anyone and less crowded than the parks). Plus we packed healthy snacks and water...but did share in some carmel popcorn for a treat one afternoon. Besides, we racked up 17,000 - 20,000 steps per day.

    My 9 year old was morbidly fascinated by the amount of very obese people getting around the park on scooters and by what people were eating. It was eye opening for me as I did not think she would notice that, but I was really pleased that she made healthy choices when given the opportunity and by her disgust at some of the children's menus which only had junk food on them.

  4. Well, it's not all unhealthy. Salt for most people is not a problem as I said before, except with those with kidney damage.

    Eating a lot of salt doesn't raise blood pressure more than a few points if at all.

    Eating a lot of refined carbs and sugars on the other hands is a sure fire way to raise blood pressure significantly.

    Secondly what's wrong with bacon and eggs. I eat that every day, and a long with limiting my carbs, eating real food, and plenty of vegetables, I have lost 30 pounds. Bacon and eggs do not make me fat. As well, my wife has lost 30 pounds of pregnancy weight eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, limiting carbs, still eating a fair measure of fruit and nuts though, and limiting her carbs too.

    I would agree that the pastries are very unhealthy. But bacon and eggs? Bring it on!

    You should be able to salt to taste. Unless your kidneys are damaged salt is harmless. Besides if you eat real food and limit refined carbs and grain, you will eat much less salt.

  5. In the past few years, my consultancy job has taken me on a Caribbean cruise, to a resort in the Dominican Republic, to Florida and most recently to a fancy resort in Hawaii. And yes, I was paid to go to these places. These were work assignments. Life could be a lot worse.

    Although the weather was fabulous on these trips, I was struck by how poor the food was--either over-salted or taste-free. The only food that was at all palatable were the desserts. It was all I could do to stay away from them, though I did manage.

    I can only imagine that these hotels/resorts were catering to the lowest common denominator of the American palate. And it really is abysmally low.

  6. Micahel,
    You really don't read this blog much do you...? You better hope Yoni doesn't read your post on limiting your carbs to lose wait.

  7. Donna5:47 pm

    My kids and I would have been hungry, for really food the whole time! Even the eggs had salt in them? Who adds salt to their eggs while cooking? I enjoy salt and pepper on my eggs, but that's added at the table.. Very sad, a buffet with no fruit? No cut up veggies? Couldn't imagine.. Thanks for sharing with us, note to self.. before going to Disney, find out where the closest grocery store is.

  8. Who wants that food? I do! That plate looks delicious! I can already feel all my little endorphins lining up in preparation of fat and salt. Yes the logical brain knows that is "not healthy" yes I usually regret eating a lot of bad food all at once but I guess I'm conditioned because I still have to argue with myself. I experience a high just looking at that food, so no wonder "America" wants to eat that.

  9. rlink4:54 pm


    Did you know that colon & rectum cancer is the 3rd most common type of cancer for both men and women in North America? It has also been proven that eating a diet high in red meat and processed meats (like bacon and sausage) can increase you risk for developing these types of cancer?

    So even if you're not concerned about the long term consequences of eating a high fat, hight salt, low carb diet here's another reason to consider cutting back on the bacon.

  10. You'll probably shoot mefor saying this, but I think that potato dish sounds divine