Photos courtesy of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
It’s tough to eat healthily at a theme park or even at a resort connected to a theme park. Time is at a premium and even if you head to the parks with the greatest intentions, carefully planned out healthy meals soon give way to grab-and-go snacks like Mickey ice cream bars (well, they do contain calcium, right?), Dole whip floats (hey, now you’ve got both calcium and fruit juice), and popcorn–who can resist that powerful aroma floating all over the park?
Guests staying at the Walt Disney World Swan have a surplus of healthy dining options available to them throughout the resort and next-door in the Walt Disney World Dolphin (also a Starwood property).
Before you even hit the parks, start your day with a healthy breakfast at the Walt Disney World Swan’s Garden Grove. I had the pleasure of dining there on my last visit to Walt Disney World, and I think my buffet meal there ranked among the top healthiest meals I’ve ever had in my life. One of the buffet stations featured a “Superfoods Collection,” consisting of dishes made from powerhouse ingredients rich in nutrients and antioxidants so diners could feel recharged. Ingredients included blueberries, oranges, apples, tomatoes, spinach, yogurt, oats, nuts, broccoli, dark chocolate, cinnamon and honey. There are also freshly-squeezed “shots” of juice smoothies on the buffet–blended for their detox and antioxidant properties. (All I know is that they tasted amazingly delicious.)
You can also get a bowl of assorted seasonal berries, a seasonal fruit salad and several different fruit juices à la carte. (Try the fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice–it tastes as if they just picked the orange off a tree that morning in the resort’s grounds.)
Speaking of fresh, you can’t get much fresher food than the sushi at Walt Disney World Swan’s Kimonos, voted the top sushi restaurant in the area by Orlando Sentinel readers. If you’re not awestruck by the freshness of the sushi, then you’ll swoon over the presentation. Each dish resembles a work of art.
The other 15 restaurants and lounges on property offer healthy options, as well. Even The Fountain at Walt Disney World Dolphin, which specializes in burgers and sandwiches, as well as sweet treats like homemade ice cream, malts and shakes, offers a healthy option as a side dish (a fresh fruit salad) in their Kids’ menu.
If you need extra exercise after hoofing around the parks all day, the Walt Disney World Swan is a fitness fanatic’s dream, with five pools (including two lap pools), two health clubs (containing LifeFitness strength equipment, free-weights, a stairclimber, treadmills, life cycles, and elliptical crosstrainers), four lighted tennis courts and jogging trails. You’ll find that travel needn’t be broadening, after all.
And if a hectic visit to the theme parks has left you feeling stressed out, relief is just across the way in the luxurious Mandara Spa at the Walt Disney World Dolphin. Swedish Massage, Balinese Body Polish, Reflexology, Hot Stone Therapy, Deep Tissue Massage and Exotic Frangipani Body Nourish Wrap are just some of the services the Spa offers. I’ve been pampered at the Spa on two different visits, and was very pleased with the caring quality each masseuse brought to my treatment.
Traveling to Walt Disney World Resort can be more fun than you can possibly imagine, but it can be an overwhelming experience, too. Take a break from the sensory stimulation overload at the restful Spa, fitness centers, pools, and restaurants (with their healthy eating options) at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, just steps away from the magic at Walt Disney World.
© Nancy Pistorius