Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Expands Well-Balanced Meals for Kids

Filed in: Disney California Adventure, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort Hotels

BURBANK, CA, October 17, 2006 – As part of The Walt Disney Company&rsquos new food guidelines to promote healthier kids’ diets, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts today announced that well-balanced meals for children will now become the standard offering at Disney-operated restaurants and kiosks at its U.S. parks.  In addition, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced a plan to eliminate all added trans fats* and improve the nutritional value and enhance the taste of most of its food offerings for kids and adults by the end of 2007.

The Walt Disney Company’s new food guidelines, which were announced on October 16, are aimed at giving parents and children healthier eating options. The guidelines will govern Disney’s business partnerships and activities in the U.S. on a going-forward basis and will be adapted internationally over the next several years.   In addition to the efforts at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney Consumer Products has already begun to offer many licensed products that comply with the guidelines.

Well-Balanced Kids Meals

Designed to encourage better eating habits with more nutritious side dishes and beverages, the revised kids meals have been available since the beginning of October. They include a beverage choice of low fat milk, 100 percent fruit juice or water and a side dish such as unsweetened applesauce, baby carrots or fresh fruit.

“This is a terrific initiative because it makes it easier for parents, even while on vacation, to provide their children with a well-balanced meal with kid appeal,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.  “An overwhelming majority of parents tell us they prefer the more nutritious meals for their children over other options.”

Millions of children’s meals were served last year at Disney’s 180 restaurants and more than 200 food carts and kiosks.  More nutritious side dishes and beverages, which have been available within the parks and resorts for the last three years, are now being offered prominently on menus and in signage as the standard children’s meal, rather than as a secondary choice.

Guest research conducted last summer at pilot locations in Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort, where 20,000 revised kids’ meals were served, showed that 77 to 90 percent of the parents, respectively, stayed with fruit or vegetable side options when they were offered first.  Recognizing that visits to Disney parks are vacations, parents will still be able to request more indulgent meals and snacks from a wide variety of food offerings.

Out With the Added Trans Fat

As part of a pilot program, The ESPN Zone restaurant, located at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California, and the ABC Commissary at Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World Resort, removed added trans fat from chicken tenders, French fries and frying oils &ndash and the reviews have been good.  Guest research conducted at the Downtown Disney ESPN Zone showed that 71 percent of Guests rated the taste of the fries as “excellent” or “very good.”

“The food & beverage teams at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts want to use our creativity and innovation to partner with parents in making well-balanced meals appealing, accessible, great tasting and fun,” said Mary Niven, vice president, Disneyland Resort Food and Beverage.

Other New Items on the Menu

In addition to removing all added trans fats from foods served in the parks and resorts over the next 12 months, Disney will be constantly looking for ways to improve the nutritional profiles and taste of its most popular entrees, including low fat and vegetarian options.

Other changes include

• Introducing a new Guest-tested hamburger formulation with fat content not to exceed 20 percent and hamburger buns with 10 percent whole wheat

• Testing new pizza offerings with lower bread and lower-fat cheese content

• Working with manufacturers in reformulating recipes for candy, packaged foods and bakery items sold at the parks or identifying replacement products and

• Ensuring compelling packaging for the more nutritious food offerings as well as portion-controlled snacks and treats.

*According to the Food and Drug Administration, trans fat is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil, a process called hydrogenation. Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. This process increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods that contain these fats. Like saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, trans fat raises the risk of heart disease.

# # #

Media Contacts:
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts: Lisa Haines  (818) 560-4107
Walt Disney World: Jacquee Polak  (407) 828-3818
Disneyland Resort:  Robert Doughty  (714) 781-1565