Your Ultimate Guide to Eating Vegetarian At Disneyland



Within the past year, I've been to Disneyland...well, let's just say well over a few hundred times. With that in mind, you can say I've ate just about everything the park has to offer for vegans and vegetarians.

And let me be upfront with you: some of their most delicious veggie options aren't heavily advertised and can be hidden in the park. Disneyland isn't as accommodating as we'd like. Obviously us veggies would all love if they offered vegan chicken and vegan ice cream, but for now, they offer enough for you to get through the day! The best part is the cast members and chefs are Disneyland will go the extra mile to make your meal dairy free / gluten free / whatever else you'd like.

For example, I hate mushrooms. Absolutely DESPISE them. Almost as much as meat. Unfortunately, a lot of Disney's veggie meals feature them, so I usually get a substitute at no extra cost. Awesome, right?

Disney will do anything to make sure you can eat something, no matter how limiting your diet is. Gluten-free, paleo, vegan, dairy-free, allergies, organic? Ask a chef. Even if they don't offer something on the menu, they will whip something up for you.

If you're a vegetarian going to Disneyland, it's good to plan ahead. No one wants to waste their time wandering around the park looking for something they can eat, right? There are so many option throughout the park, and it changes every season. I'm sure I don't even know all of them!

Here are my favorite vegetarian options throughout Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. (note: pictures that don't have a source under it are mine!)

Vegetarian Gumbo in New Orleans (Disneyland)
When I'm looking for something affordable, fast, and delicious, I go to New Orleans to get me some vegetarian gumbo. It comes served in a bread bowl with another side of bread. YES CARBS! It has plenty of nutritional value and will fill you up, which is absolutely necessary if you're walking around the park all day. A lot of people stray from getting this when it's hot, but I never care what season it is. Vegetarian gumbo ALL DAY EVERYDAY. I always stock up on the butter and tabasco sauce for the extra bread. 

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Pineapple Dole Whip in Adventureland (Disneyland)
Dole whip is a Disneyland cult classic. Apparently the only other place you can get it is Hawaii. It's vegan, too! You can get the custard or the float, but they are equally refreshing. People are crazy about the Dole Whip. It amazes me: no matter what time of year it is, the line is always ridiculously long. While I'm not too in love with it, you have to try it at least once. 

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Veggie Burger at Smokejumpers (DCA)
All vegetarians like to be basic every now and then and get a veggie burger and fries. Located in the heart of California Adventure and served super fast, this is perfect if you're looking for a quick grab and go meal. Or if the crew you're with is a whole buncha carnivores. 

Vegetarian Chili Con Queso (DCA)
This is probably the most hidden vegan / vegetarian option. It's vegan chili in a bread cone topped with corn chips and cheese. You can make it completely vegan by cutting out the cheese. It's around 7 dollars and fills you up! If you want more than just a pretzel or a veggie burger, this is a more flavorful and diverse choice. Who knew chili in a cone of bread could be so DELICIOUS? 

Breakfast at Plaza Inn (Disneyland)
I HIGHLY recommend making reservations at the Plaza Inn if you're spending the day at Disneyland. Sure, it's 'on the pricy side,' but it's an endless breakfast buffet filled with vegetarian options. If you're going with just one other person or if your group is relativity small, this isn't a bad idea. Endless eggs, waffles, coffee, orange juice, hash browns, omelets, fruit, pastries, and so on. And if anyone in your group isn't vegetarian, they also have sausage, bacon, etc. What also makes dining at the Plaza Inn so fun is the fact that it's character dining. We spend so much time at Disneyland waiting in line to meet and get pictures with characters but at the Plaza Inn, they actually come to you. 

Iced Coffee and Iced Tea at Starbucks (DCA and Disneyland)
Whether you like Starbucks or not, I think it's awesome they offer it in the parks. I'm pretty sure the prices are almost identical to actual Starbucks, if not, it may be like 25 cents more per drink. They offer everything regular Starbucks offer besides cold brew and fizzio drinks. I actually used to work at the Starbucks in DCA! Here's a quick tip: sometimes, the line may look long but it goes by a lot faster than you think. They always have four registers open and a full staff making drinks. You can get iced tea, lattes with soy milk, or whatever else you want to give yourself that midday boost. I always loved how they serve seasonal drinks, so you can enjoy your peppermint mocha during the season! I should probably also mention the cups are SO ADORABLE, as you can see above. 

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Popcorn and Pretzels (throughout both parks)
Not to be captain obvious, but hey, they deserve a spot on the list. The popcorn is always good, and I definitely recommend eating it during Paint the Night. Cars Land in DCA offers flavored popcorn that changes daily, but my favorite is Dill Pickle. Ugh, I'm basically craving it 24/7. Mickey Pretzels are vegan, but if you're a vegetarian who loves cheese, the dipping sauce is a good addition. Is it just me, or does everything taste better when it's shaped like Mickey Mouse? 

Chili Lime Corn (throughout both parks)
You have the choice between regular buttered corn, but you can get that basically anywhere. The chili lime corn is SO DELICIOUS and is about 4 dollars. It's a fast, healthy snack for vegetarians and is one of the few meals in the park without super bland seasoning. You can find them throughout both parks at various carts. 

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BBQ Tofu Salad at River Belle Terrace (Disneyland)
This is a newer choice and is a bit on the pricier side, but OH MAAAAH GAWD the tofu is so good. If you want to sit down at an actual restaurant and tip and all that jazz, River Belle Terrace is beyond accommodating for vegetarians and vegans. 

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Wicket's Wicked Veggie Sandwich from Galactic Grill (Disneyland)
This is also a newer choice, introduced to us all this past December 2015. If you find yourself in Tomorrowland, which you probably will if you love Star Wars, Galactic Grill has fast and easy choices for the entire family. It's actually one of the few places in the park you can get french fries! An added plus: they have star wars themed lemonade that actually LIGHTS UP. It's so epic. 

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Various Seasonal Options as Napa Rose (DCA)
Eating a Napa Rose is a time-sucker, but if you're in the park for a few days or if you're an annual pass holder, Napa Rose is the perfect place to get your veggie on. You might just feel like you're in Italy. They serve wine and all sorts of fancy dishes, but it all depends on when you go. Ask ahead of time or just read the menu they have outside to see what they're serving. 

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Pizza / Pasta (Paradise Pier in DCA or Pizza Port at Disneyland)
Everyone loves italian food, and sometimes, all you need is a slice of pizza. I usually try to avoid the pizza and pasta because it's so ridiculously expensive, but hey, when the craving comes...sometime's you gotta do what you gotta do. The pizza at Disneyland is pretty good and I would recommend it in terms of taste, but 7 dollars for a slice is a bit too much for my liking. They also offer salads here too if you're looking to eat a tad healthier. 

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Customizable Mexican Food at Rancho Del Zocalo (in Disneyland or Pacific Wharf in DCA)
I'm saying 'customizable Mexican food' because that's what it is. Mexican food is all about customization. They offer vegetarian tacos, burritos and enchiladas, but there are several menu hacks. See something you like but don't want the meat? No problem. Here's my thing though: it's a bit pricy for what you get and it lacks flavor. I'm not a HUGE fan of the Mexican food Disney serves, but it gets the job done. 

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Portobello Mushroom Philly at Award Wieners (DCA)
In Hollywood in California Adventure, they have a place dedicated to hot dogs. While we are all patiently awaiting for them to actually serve a vegetarian hot dog, they have a portobello mushroom Philly for now.

Vegetable Skewer from Bengall Barbecue (Disneyland)
Featuring potato, peppers, onion, zucchini and mushroom - what better way to get your vegetables than on a stick? The seasoning is pretty bland for the spice-lover, but they offer awesome dipping sauces for your pleasure. Get the skewer while you wait in line for Indiana Jones. 


N'awlins Vegetable Ragout / Pomme Frites from Cafe Orleans (Disneyland)
As I'm writing this, I'm starting to realize the New Orleans area of Disneyland has the most vegetarian options. The pomme frites are always a popular choice. You can literally find it on every Disneyland instagram. They are crispy french fries with garlic seasoning and parmesan cheese served with a chipotle dipping sauce. The serving is bigger and more filling than I expected, so don't overestimate what you think you can eat. Cafe Orleans also offers a Vegetable Ragout and a fried green tomato sandwich. 

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Teriyaki / Orange Tofu from Lucky Fortune Cookery (DCA)
I remember the first time I went to Disneyland I got this and I was literally so disappointed. It was an uncooked block of tofu. When I say block, I mean block. It wasn't cut or fried or anything. We didn't even take a bite of it. I mean, come on, why give tofu a bad name? The veggies, rice and seasoning below tasted delicious but I just wish they would cook their tofu a different way. 

Various seasonal items from Jolly Holiday (Disneyland)
Jolly Holiday is SO Disneyland. Okay, that didn't really make sense, but you'll get it once you go there. It's located in the heart of Disneyland and has a real classic, old-fashioned Walt feel to it. They offer the cutest, instagram-worthy Mickey macarons. (I recommend the salted caramel) In addition to desserts, they have grilled cheese, tomato soup, a caprese sandwich, and other seasonal items suitable for veggies. Yes please. 

Funny Girl



there is one adjective that'll ruin your life.
funny.

once someone calls you funny,
you're cursed.

no one will take you seriously anymore,
for you are their personified joke.
they'll mock your words,
 find loopholes in your art,
and use you for their personal gain.

you'll never take a compliment again because you fear they'll take it back
and you'll slowly feel worthless because people see you as their zoloft.

once you are funny,
you cannot be anything else.
you are a joker, 
an amateur comedian, 
trying to break the curse someone with good intentions gave you decades ago. 

so there i was, funny.
i wouldn't call myself hilarious or witty, even.
i was a funny girl.

people ripped away anything feminine or fragile about me.
they forgot i needed love and companionship.
they pointed their fingers at me when i was on the dance floor
and i would hibernate in embarrassment for days.

when i got a new dress 
or did my hair
they all competed to see who could humiliate me the most,
forgetting to realize the effort i put in.

i knew i was a funny girl,
but i also knew i was so much more than that.

i let others words define me more than they should.
i let people i barely knew put me in a shell. 

but when i went home i would write poetry
and sing sad songs about pretty girls and boys
and i felt so unpretty, so worthless
because i was so laughable.

i never thought anyone would love me because i didn't see myself as a soulful, breathing girl.
i saw myself as an adjective.

one day i got up on stage and told them i was the greatest star.
they didn't believe me, but they still chuckled at my jokes backstage.

but i didn't care much, no, of course not.
i woke up one day and i made my bangs blunt,
because i was ready to be trenchant.
 i put on a black chiffon shirt
and some red lipstick,
because i was ready to destroy the shell everyone built for me.

i remember starring in the horizontal mirror,
apprehensive and afraid to unveil my mask.

"i am all things, i am not your words.
i am defined by me.
i am me
and you cannot define me."

i lost all of my friends
and i was no longer funny.

they still tell the tale about the funny girl they used to know,
and how she betrayed them for a better life.

how dare she.

The Ultimate Guide To: Feeling Better On Your Period


You know how in the wizarding world, witches and wizards are afraid to say 'Voldemort' so instead, they say 'he-who-must-not-be-named' really, really quietly? That's how I feel muggles are with the word 'period.'

They're afraid to talk about it, and if they do, they use a bunch of creepy codewords that make the conversation even more uncomfortable. The majority of men almost refuse to understand it, and even some women like to shame other women for an act of nature.

But here's the thing: periods are inevitable and we shouldn't be afraid to talk about it. The conversation on female health should be loud, open, and empathetic. 

Why are women being shamed for having tampons or pads in their purse or lying around the house? As if taking care of an inevitable health problem that exists for reproduction purposes is SUCH A CRIME?

I've always been pretty open about my period. In fact, I just spoke to Self Magazine a few weeks ago about Menstrual leave.

When I say 'I'm open about my period,' I don't mean I talk about it constantly and I make sure everyone knows when I'm on it. I mean I'm not ashamed of tampons and pads. I don't care if someone knows I'm on my period. If the subject of menstrual cycles comes up, I will not sugarcoat it or pretend it doesn't exist. And I don't care if men or in the room, because if they act awkward when a women talks about her period, they should go back to middle school.

Periods happen and every women deals with it differently, however, sometimes the pain can seem like a bit too much. Throughout my experience with my menstrual cycle, I've learned a lot about my body and my health. Here are some tips to make your period a bit more tolerable. 


1. Drink TONS of water. Way more water than you usually do.


No matter the pain or problem, water is ALWAYS a solution. 

Some women avoid drinking water because they think it will cause more bloating, however, that is nothing but a myth. Drinking more water actually makes cramps less painful and your flow less...well, bloody. Some women have stated drinking water actually helps their periods end earlier. And who wouldn't want that?

Carry a water bottle with you throughout your period and make sure to have one next to you while in bed. It can be easy to forget to stay hydrated, but it's especially important during your time of the month.

2. Make your monthly surprise a monthly gift and treat yourself.

At least you'll have something to look forward to! There are plenty of period subscription boxes that cater to your menstrual cycle and deliver you a box filled with goodies so you can survive! My personal favorite monthly subscription box right now is Monthly Gift. Every month, they send you tampons, pads, liners - or whatever mixture of the three you'd like. They also give you emergency chocolate, because, DUH.

Monthly Gift is aligned with Days for Girls, which offers financial support and resources for girls who can't afford the materials they need for their periods.

3. Think of yourself as a warrior.


You know those moments where you're at work or school and suddenly...it happens. That stabbing pain. You're almost certain you just got shot in the back. Or maybe you're going into labor. Either way, it sure feels that way. You could scream and fall to the ground, asking for help. But you don't, because you're in public and you have to move on with your life. 

That's what the time of the month is like ALL THE TIME. Filled with pain constantly, emotional and physical. But we really don't have much of a choice, do we? As much as I hate my period, it makes me feel like a strong warrior goddess. The pain sucks, but you can own it. 

4. Know your triggers and avoid them.


This is different for absolutely everyone, but there are always certain foods, drinks and activities that can trigger period pain and make it worse. The most common triggers are coffee, alcohol, and sugar, which is something most women can't get enough of on the periods. Over the course of your next few cycles, really pay attention to yourself. Do you notice any patterns? Do you notice your pain get worse with some foods, and better with others? Take those mental notes!

5. Get yourself a period-tracking app.


If you don't already have a period-tracking app, you're SERIOUSLY missing out. It accurately tracks your period so you'll never wake up with a surprise again. It also tracks your ovulation, average cycle length, fertility, average symptoms, etc. 

If you think you're pretty in touch with yourself, wait until you get this app. 

6. Tea, tea, and more tea.


Tea has beens everyone's favorite cute for everything for centuries now, right? My favorite tea for dealing with menstrual problems is Yogi's Moon Cycle tea. It's caffeine free, so you won't have to worry about it triggering you. Quite frankly, it's literally carefully built to support a healthy cycle. Lemon Chamomile is a crowd-pleaser, too! Any herbal tea will do wonders for you.

10 Lipsticks You Need For Spring


If you're anything like me, you are absolutely OBSESSED with winter / fall lipstick. I even wrote about my fav autumn lipsticks here. 
I mean, come on. Dark shades of plum, black cherry, deep reds, and chic browns. But every now and then, we gotta give the lighter shades some love. I shouldn't be talking considering I rarely use my pink lipsticks, but hey, they deserve the same love! I think the reason I love winter / autumn lipsticks so much because they make your outfit complete. When it gets a bit colder, I get lazy with my fashion. I bring out the oversized sweaters and leggings. But when I top my look off with a cute bun and some dark lipstick, I know I'm ready for the day. 
The weather is getting warmer. The flowers are finally blossoming and, well, so are we. You can keep your look minimalistic with sweet shades of lilac and subtle shades of pink, or make your look pop with shades of watermelon and coral. 
When it comes to springtime shades of lipstick, I like to keep it neutral, with shades that are very close to my normal lip color but make my lips look a tad richer. But when browsing the web for my fav spring shades, I came across some pretty diverse pinks, watermelons, corals and lilacs.
I've compiled a versatile list of lipsticks that caught my eye. They range from drugstore to designer, so there's something for everyone! Enjoy.







The One Who Could've Got Away But Chose to Stay



i would watch titanic at 11 years old and cry liters of tears because even then, i think i knew.
i knew if fate stepped in and had us go our separate ways, 
i would still be thinking of you at 101 years old -
married to some nice old man who couldn't keep my heart the way you did.

i would go on with my life and so would you.
yet you would own my mind more than my 9 to 5 job, my small town home or my two kids,
i know my life would be painfully normal without you.

i would keep you in my soul, my deep ocean of secrets,
and put you in my words.
only paper and pen would know what you did for me.

i would think about the 'remember whens' every month of every year,
for the 12 young months we spent together had enough fire to energize me for a lifetime.

but instead, we stand here now, together, intertwined for all eternity.
my heart still goes on for you, but this time, burning a flame bright enough for the two of us.

you read my writing and call me sweet names.
you freak out every time you see me.
you look at me like i'm a work of art.
you buy me my favorite snacks
and you love me and you take me as i am.

we used to swim in swimming pools and swing on swing sets,
pretending to be jack and rose.
"never let gooooo!," we'd say, jokingly and high-pitched.
even then, i think we knew.
even if the cool tide tried to pull us apart, 
we were never going to let go.

The Curse of Feeling Trapped Everywhere You Go

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If it's not obvious already, escapism is my favorite thing in the whole wide world.

I feel trapped so easily. Within cities and towns, within people and relationships, within places and things and concepts. So I leave. I run away.

For real though, I've lived in three different cities within the past year and a half. I've been through so many jobs and gigs within the past year that I literally cannot keep track. I haven't had a good friend or connection in a very, very long time.

It's so weird browsing online and seeing pictures of a bunch of people I used to know, together, doing the same thing they were doing a year ago. I think to myself, "I should be in this picture. I used to mean something to these people. Why the fuck did I leave? Do they still remember me? Do they ever talk about me? But then again, maybe it's a good thing I'm not doing the same exact thing I was doing a year ago?" 

And when I'm looking back at my childhood, I went through friends like seasons while other people generally stayed in the same social group their entire school experience. I would walk the halls talking to my best friend of that semester, seeing the old ones walk past me pretending I didn't exist. And I would pretend they didn't exist, too. When just a year or two ago we were in their car laughing the night away, pouring our souls out to each other. Why would I leave them? I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened.

I spread myself too thin. I don't give myself the time to make meaningful impact or connections. I'm in and I'm out. I seriously doubt my old employers, friends, colleagues, or whatever else remember me. I'm quiet like a mouse, I'm a lazy acquaintance.

Sometimes I feel very guilty about all of it. I know people who can walk into their old schools, jobs, houses, parks, or whatever else, and everyone will welcome them warmly. But if I walk into a place I used to know, my face is unrecognizable and my energy is flat. No one knows my name anymore. My situation is perfectly explained in Paramore's song Franklin. "So we stand here now, and no one knows us at all. I won't get used to this, I won't get used to being gone."

I'm impulsive and I don't always think about how my actions will affect my life or others. I burn bridges on a daily basis. And while that can be quite freeing, it's scary. It's like I have no choice, though. I couldn't force my mind to think before I act if I tried, because my mental health gets to that breaking point and I have to burn the bridge and run away before I do something insane.

So I'll escape. It can be something small like in a book or an album. Or a video game or a film. That's usually how I start my escapism process. Yet sometimes, it's a lot more intense. I'll leave town or I'll leave some pretty important opportunities behind. I'll walk out of a job and never call back. I'll stop texting someone and delete their name out of my phone. Going, going, gone.

The worst thing is? I just escaped to Los Angeles less than a year ago, and felt like a freebird at first. Now, I'm already feeling like a prisoner trapped in another cage I built for myself. I literally spent the past week looking at apartments and airfare in Europe because this time, I want my change of scenery to be a bit more intense.

But no. This time, I'm not gonna do it. Deep down, I know I'll always be this way. I'll always want to run away from everything and I don't think that's always a bad thing.

Yet I know I have to deal with it this time. It doesn't hurt to try, right? I am going to stick around a bit even though it kills me.

I'm going to play video games until I can't see the screen. I'm gonna go to the same old coffee shops and the same old beaches and I'm gonna enjoy it. Not everything has to be brand new for me to enjoy it, right?

I'm going to escape in books and try to forget about all the toxic things in my life right now, because change will come with time.

I'm going to listen to new music and meet new people and try to actually make connections and go out with them instead of being a hermit and running away from them.

I may feel trapped and all, but I can't afford the stress of escaping again. I'll have to make my world my own again.

XO,
Maria Elena

SPRING FASHION, MY WAY {15 spring inspired items}


I feel so many feels during Spring. I start religiously start listening to Noah and the Whale, and if you've listened to any of their music, you know how intensely emotional it can be. But the best thing about Spring is fashion. You're finally able to shed your layers of skin to start anew.  I'll miss my winter fashion: oversized sweaters and overused leggings. This spring I'm obsessed with chiffon, floral cat ears, peter pan collars, gingham, and fit-and-flare dresses. Here's some pieces, accessories, and outfits that have grabbed my attention over the years and will be inspiring some of my outfits this spring.

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