We have always been impressed with the way all of Disney’s restaurants accommodate a variety of diners’ preferences, particularly our own. If you have been following our dining adventures, then you are aware that we are pescatarians, so the only living animals that we eat are those which fall under the category of seafood.
Being that Disney is El-Cheapo, they only allow us to enter certain parks on December 25, Animal Kingdom being one of them. Last year, we happily lunched on salmon at the Tusker House, but a year of change brought an end to our Tusker House counter service, replacing it with a character buffet. We chose not to spend our time lunching with 200 cranky toddlers on Christmas day, so instead elected to make reservations at the new Animal Kingdom table service restaurant: Yak & Yeti.
Our first mistake here was not to read the menu in advance, since it was, frankly, uninspiring (or uninspired?). We were caught up in the excitement of a NEW restaurant in a park that, even before the downfall of Tusker House, has always sorely lacked dining options.
We entered the restaurant just before 12:00 noon, the time of our reservations. It was much less crowded than we’d expected it to be on Christmas day: only about 20% occupied. Despite this fact, it took our server a full 10 minutes to greet us. In our 10 minutes of wait time, we had ample opportunity to peruse the dining menu, and I thought there must be an error somewhere, since nowhere on the menu was a single vegetarian entree listed. There were two fish entrees, but neither one sounded appealing, so we hoped that this restaurant might do what San Angel Inn does and have a vegetarian menu available on request. When the server arrived, I asked her about vegetarian options. And here the hilarity began.
She first said, “Well, I can tell them to leave the chicken and shrimp off the lo mein noodles.”
I replied, “That might be okay.”
She responded, “But the noodles are made with beef broth.”
“Then that’s not really a vegetarian option, is it?” I pointed out to her. “Since they’re made with beef.”
“That’s why I mentioned it,” our server responded.
Um… Why suggest it as a vegetarian option at all, if it’s made with beef? Yak & Yeti is a Landry-owned restaurant; surely we can’t be the first non-meat-eaters they’ve encountered.
Her next suggestion was equally unacceptable. “Well, I could have them serve you the side dishes of plain rice, with some steamed vegetables.” Yum. No, really, yum. Plain rice and some steamed vegetables. That’s EXACTLY why we chose to go out for Christmas lunch. We stared at each other in astonishment, realizing that these were the Yak & Yeti options for vegetarians: beef noodles or plain rice and steamed vegetables. It was at this point that we told our server thanks, but no thanks, and left Yak & Yeti in disgust. And, seeing that it was Christmas day, and we were in the Animal Kingdom park, our only other options were soggy Pizzafari pizza or Rainforest Cafe, which ended up being what we chose.
Before we left the park, we went to guest services to register a complaint at the lack of vegetarian options at Yak & Yeti. We realize this isn’t a Disney-owned restaurant, but come on! It’s on Disney property, which has historically proven to be wonderfully accommodating to those with diverse dietary needs. I don’t think we’ve ever just walked out of a restaurant before, but there’s always a first time for everything. Yak & Yeti goes into our Hall of Shame, and from now on, we will read the menu before making a reservation somewhere!