Eating Keto On A Disney Cruise
After being on Keto for over a year, losing 79 pounds and constantly eating at Disney World, for some odd reason I was totally freaking out at the thought of being on a cruise that is known for having incredible food and yummy temptations available 24/7. Was this cruise going to send me in a tailspin.
Before leaving on the Disney cruise I had made an intentional decision to be okay with going off of keto for the week, but with a few rules and caveats in place.
- My meals would stay keto friendly, as in I would stick with the same meats & veggies I typically eat. However, I would not freak out over sauces, dressings, etc.
- I would not eat desserts with my meals, not even sugar free or berries, etc.
- I knew the eggs on the buffet contained additives, but I would be okay with eating them, if needed for the sake of convenience.
- I would allow myself to eat Popcorn at the shows and desserts during non-meal time.
Part of the reason for establishing these rules on the front end was because I was freaking out about whether or not it was going to be possible to stay on keto while on the cruise. I wanted to give myself permission to “cheat” so I would not feel guilt for going off of keto should the keto options not exist. I didn’t want to go on a Disney cruise and feel guilty the entire time.
Another reason I allowed myself the freedom to go off of keto during the cruise was I had been coached to “shock my system” because my weight had hit a plateau. I had been stuck at 79 pounds for a while and was told I needed to shock my system. This seriously scared me!! So the confines of doing this during the cruise made sense to me.
As it turns out, the shock to my system worked AND my fear of not being able to eat keto on the cruise was without merit. To say the least, the staff on the Disney Cruise will do all possible to work with you in regards to your dietary needs. Eating keto on a Disney Cruise is absolutely possible!
Special Services On A Disney Cruise
After booking your Disney Cruise, call the Disney Cruise Lines “Special Services” team (407-566-3602) and discuss your dietary requirements.
By doing this, your head server (and team) are made aware of your special needs and you are given the information needed to help make this aspect of your trip successful. Seriously, Disney makes this aspect a breeze for you!
Once you’re onboard, you can attend a special dining session where you can meet and discuss your requirements with your serving team (if needed). Your servers rotate dining rooms with you for each of the evening meals and you’ll be blown away by how attentive they are to your special requests.
PLEASE NOTE – If you use Disney’s Special Services and tell them you have special needs, but then order an item that you tell them that you can not have, they will no longer honor your request. In other words, they take your dietary requirements and this service very seriously.
I did not use this service because I wanted to make my choices and continue to train myself to make good choices no matter the situation I’m in. While this service is available to me, it’s not a matter of allergy, life and death. For me personally, I feel it’s better for me to learn how to make good choices when there are so many options.
Plenty of Keto Options On The Disney Cruise
I’m not sure why I freaked out so much before the cruise, as there were plenty of keto friendly options available. My meals typically consist of meats and veggies while at home, and I don’t know why I thought this would not be available to me onboard.
Ribeye Steak, Prime Rib, Pork Shoulder, Pork Chops, Roasted Turkey, Brisket, Roasted Chicken, etc. Seriously, the menus were close to keto heaven!
For my vegetables, I pretty much stuck to asparagus, broccoli, and broccolini. I did forget to make a special request for one meal and they were happy to bring me additional veggies.
If an item was not on the menu at a certain restaurant, they would gladly go get that item from another restaurant. I didn’t need to use this awesome option, but it’s so cool to know it existed.
Though you can ask for sauces (and gravy) on the side, I wanted to experience the beautiful way Disney displayed and served the food. I was totally blown away by the food presentation and how everything was picture perfect!
Portion Control On A Disney Cruise
Cruises are notorious for buffets, all you can eat menus and room service 24/7.
My prime rib was so incredible I ordered another one. My filet was delicious but ordering the pork chops sounded harmless. After finishing my ribs at Castaway Cay, the grilled ribeye was still calling my name (and it may have been the best ribeye I’ve ever eaten).
While it was easy to eat keto friendly food, portion control took a nosedive for me. That said, I had decided before the cruise that I needed to shock my system and not to beat myself up for going off plan.
Disney will gladly help you with your nutrition needs, but portion control is totally up to you! It’s the same on the ship as it is off of the ship!
Keto Friendly Breakfast Buffet
Most of my breakfasts were eaten at Cabanas, the buffet on the Disney Dream. There is a full array of meats, cheeses, Mickey waffles, veggies, yogurts, cereals, fresh fruits, pastries…you name it, this buffet had it!
This simply means eating keto at the buffet is absolutely possible and totally up to you.
As many restaurants do, the scrambled eggs on the buffet contains additives and fillers. I’m sure the bacon and sausage also include more sugar than what I get from home. However, you can ask for fresh and real eggs.
There’s also an omelet bar where they will give prepare your omelet with real eggs and fresh veggies.
I loved grabbing a plate and going out on the deck for breakfast. Mentally, I made the breakfast experience much more about the atmosphere and surroundings more than I did about the food. The food was GREAT, but the view from the deck was AMAZING!!
The room service menu for breakfast was similar to a continental breakfast menu – pastries and the such. I did not attempt to see if special request could be made for breakfast because the buffet and restaurants were so convenient. …I was always ready to get up and get out of my room, so room service for breakfast was not appealing to me.
Dining Experience On Disney Cruise
Each night on a Disney Cruise you rotate to a different dining experience, with restaurants themed in true Disney fashion. You’re assigned the same table number and your servers travel with you each night. The service you experience will blow your mind!
The menu for each of the locations vary from night to night, but if you do have a certain item you’d like from another restaurant, you’ll find your servers very accommodating.
There are also two signature restaurants on The Disney Dream which are available for an additional fee. I did not try either of the signature restaurants because I had never been on a Disney Cruise before so all of the restaurants were new to me.
I love eating “fancy meals” so I’m sure on my next cruise (and there WILL be another Disney Cruise in my future!) I’ll try one of the signature dining experiences.
Eating Keto On Castaway Cay (Disney’s Private Island)
As soon as I smelled the smoke from the grills, I knew I was going to be okay eating keto on Castaway Cay.
At Castaway Cay you are treated to a true southern style cookout with meats prepared right in front of you over open fire grills. There are three food venues spread throughout the island, so these picnic areas are convenient and designed to quickly serve the masses.
There is a huge assortment of burgers, ribs, hot dogs and sausages. The smell, after doing the Castaway Cay 5k, almost had me running to get in line.
I had a cheeseburger patty (bunless, of course) and some of the best ribs imaginable!
At Serenity Bay (the adults only section of Castaway Cay) they even had ribeye steaks. The server literally took the ribeye off of the grill and put on my plate. This may have been the best ribeye I’ve ever eaten.
Yes, I had lunch twice. …for research purposes for the blog, of course :))
It’s my understanding you can order a special meal the day before, but I did not put in for a special order. Eating keto from the standard menu was totally possible.
The watermelon, pineapple and other fresh fruits looked completely incredible, so I did have fresh fruit as dessert. It was super sweet!
The meals at Castaway Cay were some of my favorites. I LOVE food prepared on a grill and it was so beautiful at Castaway Cay. It felt good to just be at a place I had literally dreamed of being for so long.
Eating keto at Castaway Cay was totally doable and easy!
About Splurging On A Disney Cruise
I decided before the Disney Cruise that I would keep my meals keto friendly, but would enjoy come popcorn, desserts and ice cream. I did not want to beat myself up if I chose to alter from my nutrition plan. Plus, I knew it was time to shock my system a bit after being on a weight plateau for a while.
Interestingly enough, after the second day I noticed I didn’t feel as well as I typically do. I was a bit sluggish and felt some pain returning. In all honesty, I would rather feel good than cheat or taste some foods I thought I had missed.
The desserts did not have the same appeal to me that they did before I had started keto. They didn’t taste as good as they had before and they no didn’t comfort me the way they once had. This was a WIN!!
So on the 3rd day, I went back to eating keto friendly foods, though I did go heavy on the portions.
I still had popcorn on the 3rd and 4th days because….well….because dang it smelled amazing. I opted for fresh fruits instead of desserts and feel good about it.
I allowed myself the splurge while sticking pretty close to keto friendly on my Disney cruise.
The morning after returning home I weighed myself and I had gained 4 pounds on the cruise. It was much less than what I felt I had gained, but because of the pain and still feeling a bit sluggish, I immediately went back into strict keto mode.
1 1/2 weeks later I hit a new weight low and have now lost 82 pounds on keto!
There’s no need to freak out over the keto food options on the Disney Cruise. Whether you want to stay strict keto, keto friendly or just go low carb for the week, it’s all totally doable.
It’s much more of a mental challenge than a nutritional challenge.
Eating keto on the Disney Cruise was totally possible. However, knowing that I can be put into that situation and still make wise decisions is an even bigger win!
Here’s to magical sailing to you! Bon Voyage!