For better or worse, I'm trying the Atkins diet, which stipulates you must eat no carbohydrates and instead eat lots of protein and fat. Like so many Americans, I'm trying to lose a few pounds but anyone on any diet will tell you that the hardest time to diet is when you go out to eat and eating in Walt Disney World is no exception. All around you are temptations to break your diet and this past July 4th, I spent the day in Hollywood Studios and had to tackle the problem of feeding myself while sticking to my diet.
I ate breakfast at home and went off site for lunch, but dinner was going to require me to eat in Hollywood Studios. While walking around, I developed a theory as to where I must eat based on a theory. Basically, since I can't have any breads, fries, or anything else with carbs, I'm stuck eating basically meat or vegetables. A good fall back is always to get a hamburger with no bun. The problem is I didn't feel like just one burger would fill me up so I'd have to get two of them.
This lead me to the theory of what if I went to a buffet and ate as much meat as I needed? The only buffet in the Studios is Hollywood & Vine, and the price is $32 for an adult but I figured it was actually a good deal because if I got a burger at counter service, I'd need to order 2 to feel satisfied and ordering two entrees will make the price difference between that and Hollywood & Vince negligible. Therefore, I'm better off at Hollywood & Vine because it will be about the same price and I will get a wider selection of food.
My theory sounded perfect to me, except for one small problem. I didn't have a reservation and it was the fourth of July! When I got to the Studios at about 10am, I made a bee line for the dining reservations booth and asked for them to make me an ADR for a party of one between 5 or 6pm. They promptly reported they had nothing available. I was worried, but decided to go straight to the restaurant and ask them for a reservation, thinking perhaps they had a different system or would just squeeze me in. They told me the same thing, but the Cast Member didn't seem to think it would be much of an issue for me to show up at dinner and see if anything was available.
Fast forward a few hours and at about 5:30 I walked up to the Hollywood & Vine check in desk and the Cast Member told me it wouldn't be a problem to be seated. There are two reasons I chose this time to try a walk up. First, I figured dinner before 6pm is still sort of early and there wouldn't be as much demand as the six o'clock hour. Second, I wanted to eat early anyway because I needed to be done with dinner to properly cover the July 4th festivities at the Sorcerer's Hat.
I was seated and decided to ask my server to speak to the chef. If you have any dietary restrictions or special needs, it's always a good idea to ask to speak to the chef. Disney is great about this and they often go out of their way to try to accommodate you. I spoke with the chef, who clearly never heard of a low carb diet and probably thought I was a little weird, and he and I walked up and down the buffet line with some suggestions. I was surprised to find a lot of options that were available to me. To be honest, I was expecting perhaps 2 or 3 dishes that I could eat but I ended up finding a lot more.
First up, was the salad buffet. I found nice assortment of salad options and I basically could choose between the mixed greens or the Caesar salad and with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, I was quite happy. I found the salad to taste fresh (not chewy or "wet") and the dressing to be very tasty. There was also fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and after a quick Google search on my iPhone, I was able to determine that was okay to have on my diet and had some of that as well.
With salad out of the way, I decided it was time to move onto the main courses. I started out with the carving station, which had turkey and roast beef. I had both and while the roast beef was good, the turkey was outstanding. It was moist, full of flavor and just tasted great. It was something that I felt I could eat all day.
Next, I sampled the broccoli and baked chicken at the kids buffet (I have no shame) and both were good, but the turkey was calling to me. That's the problem when you have one dish that is amazing; the rest of the food can be good, but the entire time all you're thinking about is "I wish I had eaten more turkey".
There were two other options on the menu that I didn't try, but would have been appropriate to eat on a low carb diet, the salmon and pork loins. They looked good but again, not something I enjoy.
I think I made the right decision to eat at Hollywood & Vine. I think it's a good option for dinner to begin with as they feature a wide selection of options. But even when you're on a diet where you can't have a lot of common foods, I found the Hollywood & Vine restaurant a great choice for those on a low carb diet. Granted, there was nothing on the dessert buffet that I could eat, but then again, I can't think of any desserts other than fruit that you can really eat on a low carb diet. If you're on Atkins or a similar diet and looking for lots of protein, look no further than Hollywood & Vine.