Change on Disney's plate
Change on Disney's plate
Theme parks move toward healthful foods for kids and adults.
Sentinel Staff Writer
October 17, 2006
Carrots, apples and low-fat milk are replacing french fries and soda at Walt Disney World as the company adopts a new attitude toward theme-park food, especially for kids.
Soon, visitors to Disney World and other Disney theme parks might have to search for big portions of junk food because they'll be pushed to the bottoms of menus. Snacks will get smaller and less sugary. Burgers, french fries and pizza will be less fatty. Items such as fruit on a stick will show up more.
Walt Disney Co. President Robert Iger on Monday announced a two-year plan to improve nutrition not just in the theme parks but in any food the company sells, brands or promotes. That includes foods in restaurants that offer Disney toys and consumer products available in some stores, including Publix Super Markets.
Iger told The Associated Press the move was in response to comments from parents about the eating habits of their children.
The company was "well aware of the huge responsibility we have, given our reach and our ability to impact people's behavior and opinions," Iger said from Singapore, where he was on business.
Disney's changes begin with children's meals but will affect adult foods as well, Disney officials said. Calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar will be restricted in all children-focused foods, from chicken nuggets to ice-cream snacks. Trans fats will be cut from foods by the end of 2007 in the theme parks and the end of 2008 for Disney foods sold elsewhere.
Disney's not alone. SeaWorld Orlando and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks, on Monday also announced a commitment to healthful foods. SeaWorld is restricting calories, fats and sugars in some foods, has converted a whole restaurant, Mama's Kitchen, to nutritious foods and is offering fruit alternatives to fries.
Want fries with that?
Some changes are already in place at Disney World. Children's meals come with carrots, applesauce or grapes, low-fat milk, water or 100 percent fruit juice.
If children want fries or soda, they will have to make special requests. And some fried foods such as chicken nuggets are now free of added trans fats and cooked in oils free of trans fats, Disney said.
"It's a first good step. It's seen as a long-term project," said Dr. Keith Thomas Ayoob, a New York pediatric nutritionist and associate clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Ayoob was hired by Disney with Dr. James O. Hill of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado to help overhaul its food offerings. "Believe it or not, Disney wanted to make even more sweeping, drastic changes. Dr. Hill and I said, let's slow down . . . and make it a long-term commitment."
Menu options change
Some of the wholesome-food options have been in place for months at some of Disney's fast-service restaurants.
"It's a nice change of pace from the burger and fries," said Ann Jensen of Minneapolis, whose young daughters Allison and Molly were eating deli sandwiches and grapes at Disney-MGM Studios. "I like having the choice."
Still, those wishing for broad offerings may have to wait.
Christina Topaloglou, on vacation from New York City with her family at Disney-MGM on Monday, pointed to the applesauce and cup of fruit that her daughters, Ioli Baltas, 8, and Yves Baltas, 4, were eating with their chicken nuggets. "That's not a meal; it's a snack," she said.
Topaloglou said her family is conscious about eating healthful foods and never eats fried foods, except on this trip. She knows more healthful options may be available in full-service restaurants, but they're not practical, so they eat what they find on the run. Even without trans fats, the nuggets didn't impress her. "We feel that after three days here we're going to spend a week at home on food cleansing," she said.
Beware the finicky eaters
A Universal Orlando official said that company offers fruits and salads in some restaurants, but attempts to sell fruit everywhere in the parks were ended because they weren't popular.
That's one of the issues Disney and SeaWorld may face: You can lead kids to broccoli, but can you make them eat it?
Yes, said Linda Warren, a vice president at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. Many of the comfort foods people expect in theme parks will always be there -- they just won't be as bad, she said.
"We want to make sure what we do is still tasty. We want the look and texture and taste that is still pleasing to guests," Warren said. "We're going to look to offer the nutritional value. We'll look for a lower-fat cheese, a different crust for the pizza . . ."
In a written statement issued by Disney, Margo Wootan, nutrition-policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a public-nutrition-advocacy center, called Disney's announcement "welcome news."
For the next step, she called on Disney and its parent company, ABC, to re-examine the food advertising it accepts.
:lol: This is the third thread started on this subject today....as long as the don't mess with the Dole Whips! :wink:
Looks like this is a different article though....
Here's a link to the other thread http://disneyworldtrivia.com/forums/...ead.php?t=9213
They better not get rid of Dole Whips!!! I can live without carrots but not Dole Whips.
Arent you spossed to fill your face with junk food while on vaction?
Seeing as this is similar to an article in the WDW News forum I am closing this thread.