Gluten free in Disney
We just got back from a whirlwind trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. These adorable Mickey Mouse waffles were definitely one of the highlights! Many people had told me that Disney World is heaven on earth for people with celiac. Of course, I did my own research. Here are some links so that you can do yours too:
Walt Disney World: Special Dietary Requests
The Disney Food Blog: Disney World Treats for Guests with Special Diets
The Disney Food Blog: Dining With a Special Diet in Disney World and Disneyland
Allergy Free Mouse: Your Allergy-Free Guide to Disney World
The Huffington Post: Disney Dining
AllEars.Net: Menus from Around the World (you can check out menus from Disney restaurants)
When it comes to doing your research, don’t procrastinate! Figure out where you want to eat and then make your reservations for table dining well in advance of your trip. We were a little late to the game and so we weren’t able to get dinner reservations at some of the restaurants we wanted to try, like Kouzzina by Cat Cora (on Disney’s BoardWalk), California Grill (in the Contemporary Hotel) and Teppan Edo (in the Japan pavilion in Epcot). When making your reservation, be sure to tell them about your food restriction. Upon arriving at all of the restaurants we had booked in advance, the host was aware of Lily’s “gluten allergy” (people seemed to get it more when we said she had a gluten allergy as opposed to celiac disease) and the chef came to our table to go over the gluten-free options. I can’t tell you how much we appreciated the attention and concern from the chefs and waitstaff about Lily’s gluten allergy.
We stayed at the Beach Club Resort, which is walking distance to Epcot and the BoardWalk and a short boat ride to Hollywood Studios. The staff were very accommodating when it came to Lily’s gluten-free diet. We had two meals at the Captain’s Grille (in the Yacht Club Resort, which is attached to the Beach Club). While the food wasn’t anything to write home about, the chef was super friendly and went out of his way to make a gluten-free pizza for Lily when the crust wasn’t readily available. We had breakfast at Cape May Cafe—with Minnie, Goofy and Donald—where Lily enjoyed her Mickey Mouse waffles.
Our other dining experiences worth mentioning: Shula’s Steak House in the Swan and Dolphin Hotel. Lily had a steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli. And, my favourite restaurant that I most highly recommend: La Hacienda de San Angel at the Mexican pavilion in Epcot. The gluten-free offerings here were so plentiful that our waitress knew the drill (no need for the chef to make an appearance). I suspect this is a popular place for the gluten-free crowd. All of the house-made tortillas are made from corn and the salsas and guacamole (always a hit!) are naturally gluten free. Lily had the chicken tacos and scarfed them up! Ice cream was the go-to dessert at most places.
(I apologize that I don’t have photos of these GF meals, but they didn’t come out! My camera takes crappy photos when the flash is required.)
When it came to eating on the go (otherwise known as counter service, generally for lunch), every place we went to could easily accommodate Lily’s gluten-free needs. Whereas the chef would come to our table at the restaurants where we ate dinner, at the counter service places, we dealt with the manager. Rice mac & cheese (Amy’s brand) and pizza were the main offerings, often accompanied by little packages of baby carrots and grapes, which was a nice healthy touch! Note that it takes a bit longer for the gluten-free meal to come out, so Lily was usually the last to eat. Snacks: We brought our own but were happy when we stumbled upon the odd gluten-free goodie. See below…