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Walt Disney’s Favorite Foods

In his latest “Wonderful World of Walt” column, animation historian Jeff Kurtti explores Walt Disney’s favorite foods. Suffice it to say, Walt was not a foodie:

“[Walt] had eaten in hash houses and lunch wagons for so many years (in order to save money) that he’d developed a hash house/lunch wagon appetite. He liked fried potatoes, hamburgers, western sandwiches, hotcakes, canned peas, hash, stew, roast beef sandwiches. He wasn’t keen for steak — or any expensive cuts of meat. He didn’t go for vegetables, but he loved chicken livers or macaroni and cheese. He liked to eat at Biff’s [a little coffee house on a nearby corner]. He felt they did their potatoes “right” by pan-frying them.” – Diane Disney Miller

  • So this picture was just for show!

  • Koopagirl

    Wow didn’t realize Disney ate so much junk food. EWW

  • Wow, Walt’s my type of guy

    (Chuck eats cheeseburger as he types this)

  • … so I guess he ate little due to time? He’d be some kind of pig if he ate that as a daily basis.

    • Nic

      Actually if he kept really physically active and had a healthy metabolism he’d have been just fine. For instance, the Amish aren’t well known for perfectly stellar diets, but because they’re constantly active and moving, it isn’t all that destructive.

    • wever

      That and he smoked. Didn’t live the particularly healthy lifestyle.

    • He liked Polo, which was all the hype back then in Hollywood.

      Quite the contradiction, ain’t it? ;)

  • Germany, India, Pakistan and China (just to name a few) have thousands of innovative versions of what we might call “stew.” Some involving chicken livers.

    You can be semi-Walt and still be a foodie. I hope we never lose sight of one thing… this was all started by a lunch!

  • loonINmiami

    He sure loved to serve cheese and corn though!

  • Tasty

  • bluenowait

    Fast-foward to today and Disney is strongly discouraging kids from eating many of Uncle Walt’s favorites.

    • Kristjan Birnir

      Not sure what Walt’s diet have to do with cartoons? Unless it was the inspire for the Goofy cartoon “Twomorrow we Diet”. Although I highly doubt that to be truth. Thats more of fiction i drew up in my head.

  • Gobo

    I love all sorts of oddball, interesting, exotic foods, and love going out for a “foodie” meal… but I also love me some hash, chicken livers, and roast beef.

  • Chris

    He ate ALL that junk food and yet he did gain a single pound???

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I’m sure we did more walking around back then.

    • wever

      High metabolism. I’m somewhat the same.

    • Gobo

      Vegetables, roast beef, eggs, and potatoes are considered “junk food” now?

  • Marvin

    Walt was also very fond of canned chili, which he often ate right in his office for lunch. He liked to mix two certain brands which he thought made for a better result.

    • Funkybat

      I remember reading somewhere that when Walt was traveling in Europe for business, he found that it was impossible to get anything approaching decent chili anywhere. He started to ship canned chili over with him, so that he could keep to his preferred eating habits while overseas. As a picky eater myself, I can say that I very much understood Walt’s decision.

  • christy karacas

    what do you mean he wasn’t a foodie??? that stuff sounds great!
    my mom talks about her grandma frying up chicken liver and onions and having it over mashed potatoes and peas…we made it once omg it was so good!!!!!!!


    Who made this image?,,,,it´s mighty funny

  • He exactly looks like famous Austrian chef Johann Lafer, it’s a scream: http://www.firsturl.net/JzkYrHa

  • Steve Gattuso

    I remember Biff’s. Nice place, classic Googie architecture. One of those things you never miss until after it’s long gone. As for Walt’s culinary preferences, he’d probably love the food truck revolution that’s been going on this decade.

  • Andreas Wessel-Therhorn

    perhaps good to remember that Walt was of a very different generation when that kind of food was normal, before protein intake and hydration became synonyms for eating and drinking. and doctors still insisted that smoking was good for you. So times change.Thanks to Jeff Kurtti for the little bits of Walt!

  • Maybe it was all for show, but Man that kitchen looks SAWEET!

    Interior designer: the kind of weird bird that gets excited with kitchen counters :3

  • If you go to the bar lounge at the Carthey Circle restaurant at the California Adventure park, you can actually order Walts favorite scotch, the black and white scotch. A cast member was telling me when they went through Walts apartment on Main Street in Disneyland, there was a manifest of all of his favorite foods and alcoholic drinks, some of which they decided to serve in the parks. Thought it was kinda interesting.

  • Inkan1969

    Reminds me of the many John K articles that point out that animators are big carnivores.

    I assume that by “hash” house, he did not mean that figuratively…;-)

  • Bill

    Is that really a photo of Walt, or is it shopped? If real, it’s pretty neat!

    • Paul Penna

      The photo itself appears real; I first saw it in b/w in a post on Michael Barrier’s blog dated October 1, 2009. This is the first time I’ve seen it in color; if it’s colorized, it looks exceptionally convincing. I think it’s authentic.

  • Jorge Garrido

    That’s my kind of food! Yum!

  • James

    Mmmm, Walt had good taste. It’s been too long since my last serving of chicken livers.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Years ago at Disneyland one of the menus had an item the said “Walt’s Favorite.”

  • Samjoe

    I enjoyed this article very much. No finger pointing
    or voicing that his diet killed him.It is what it was.
    Actually this was the way food was prepared in the 50’sand the early 60’s.Not all the food stuff, we take for granted, wasn’t even availible back then.
    Bread, a meat dish with one vegetable, maybe a desert, cake or a cookie. On sunday there would be pie. And that
    was it. Also kids got milk, and grownups drank coffee or tea. Portions where smaller. And remember the only one that cooked at home was your mother. She was the one in charge of the household. Just think of all the changes we’ve had since then. Thanks, Good Article.

  • A Writer

    I want to meet Walt

    when is Disney Inc. going to unfreeze the guy?

  • Marvin

    Walt’s favorite restaurant in the Hyperion studio days was said to be The Tam O’ Shanter in Glendale, still in business today. Hearty would describe the menu, and it’s proximity to the Hyperion studio is one reason Walt preferred the place. It was probably the closest decent place around.

  • Brent

    Walt Disney’s diet appears to be all wrong but there are a lot of things that work with that diet. If you look at the list of his preferred foods at home, the salads were amongst his favourites – Waldorf, Carrot and Raisin, Tomato and Cucumber, and Chef’s Salad – so the photo in this piece isn’t far wrong. Most of the food he was eating wouldn’t be heavy on preservatives, even the canned foods of the period. A good cook would most likely by fresh produce. Fats would be a concern, but his choices in deserts aren’t too bad. His smoking was probably a much bigger issue than his diet.

    The big thing to remember is that form most of his life Walt was quite active physically. He was one of the regular players at Will Rogers’s ranch until Rogers’s death where he played with Rogers, David Niven, Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable, and I’ve also read that he enjoyed sailing. I suspect his caloric intake was closed to balanced by the energy he used.

    • Is riding a horse or a ship a very athletic activity? I mean—it gets you outdoors, but how many calories can you burn sitting down?

      • I am guessing that your tongue is in your cheek or that you have no concept of horse riding or sailing. On the one hand I applaud you, on the other… tsk tsk

  • Jorgen Klubien

    He looks a little scary here, no?!