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When you are a person with food allergies, dining anywhere other than your own home can sometimes be a minefield. Fortunately for all of us, eating gluten free at Disney World is very easy.
And the Disney chefs make much better food than I do
While this post is specifically geared towards those who need information on gluten free Disney dining, everything also applies to any food allergies at Disney.
Remember, while the Cast Members at Disney restaurants do a great job, they are human. Always trust your gut.
Eating Gluten Free at Disney World
As I mentioned above, Disney World is a wonderful place to eat gluten free or with any sort of food allergy. It is the only place I have been that goes out of its way to make sure that all guests are given the opportunity to enjoy delicious food.
It was the first place where my kids were able to feel like normal kids as they experienced foods that were not frequent options for them.
Disney takes food allergies and patron safety very seriously and we have had very successful results so far.
That’s not to say that mistakes aren’t made, because they are. Because of this, always trust your gut. If that bun just looks too good to be gluten free, ask about it.
Always double check. I was given a normal dessert crepe when I ate at Le Creperie de Paris at Epcot. When I noticed it, I brought it up to my waitress. She double checked for me and confirmed my gut was right.
My order was immediately redone and the proper food was brought out to me. This error aside, Le Creperie de Paris is actually a great place to eat at Disney World gluten free.
How often are you able to have gluten free crepes?
Disney World has gluten free menus for the vast majority of their restaurants at this point. There might be some here and there where the gluten free menu isn’t printed. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to order something gluten free.
But more on that below.
Disney World Special Diets Policy
There are three ways to notify Disney about any food allergies in your party. You can choose any, or all, of these options and still have the same great experience.
- Online while making your Disney Dining reservation
- Informing a Disney Cast Member if making your dining reservation on the phone
- (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463
- Let a server know upon arrival to the restaurant
In addition to all of this there is a specialized email address specifically to handle guests’ dietary needs. You can email Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.com at any point with questions.
The exact process for gluten free food at Disney World will vary slightly depending on which type of restaurant you dine at. However, there are some basic procedures shared across the board.
- Your receipt should be marked as having an allergy order
- Gluten free food is often served separate from unsafe food on the order
- You have the opportunity to consult with a chef or allergy specialist at that location
Check out Disney World’s special diets protocol to get more information.
Disney World Allergy Menus
Disney has allergy friendly menus for most of the restaurants. These allergy menus are based off of the eight most common food allergies that are experienced.
So right off of the bat, you can very easily see obvious options for you or your loved ones with allergies.
Here are the 8 common food allergens that Disney World allergy menus accommodate:
- Gluten or Wheat
- Milk or Lactose
- Peanuts and Tree Nuts
However, your options are not solely limited to what you see on the allergy menu.
The chefs are very willing and able to modify other menu items to make them safe for you. So, what should you expect when dining at Disney World gluten free?
Basics of Eating Gluten Free at Disney World: Quick Service
Originally, my preference at Disney went away from Quick Service restaurants. I assumed that there would not be a lot of variety with dietary restrictions.
Boy was I wrong. Now, some of my favorite meals at Disney have been at Quick Service restaurants.
In case you didn’t know, Quick Service restaurants are Disney World equivalent to fast food. This means you order at a counter and once you have your food you sit down at your table.
Any allergy friendly order takes longer to come out than everyone else’s, so be prepared. While this might be a little annoying, it is really the result of Disney’s diligence in keeping you safe.
All of your food will be prepared separately on designated equipment, and that takes some time.
When your food is given to you it’s often on a different color tray, has an allergy stick, or otherwise have some indicator that the order contains allergy friendly foods.
Disney World Gluten Free: Mobile Ordering
Since the return to business after the pandemic, Disney now strongly encourages guests to use Disney’s mobile ordering service for their quick service meals.
Because of this, Disney has expanded their mobile ordering capabilities dramatically over the course of the past two years. While the amount of Quick Service restaurants who offer the service has increased, so too have the allergy friendly capabilities.
Most of the restaurants have allergy friendly menus listed right in the mobile ordering app. This opens up options for people with food allergies which previously did not exist.
However, there are limitations to mobile ordering for those eating gluten free at Disney. There is no real ability to customize your order. You either choose directly from the allergy menu or you don’t.
If you want to customize your order, you need to meet with a Cast Member. This is still possible, don’t worry. Just go to the main entrance of the restaurant and tell the Cast Member that you have food allergies and want to order directly from a Cast Member.
They will let you in, or might contact a manager directly who will meet you there. If they don’t contact a manager, make sure to do that yourself.
The manager can bring out the allergy binder. This lists the ingredients of everything on the menu, allowing you to double check what will work for you and what won’t.
Take a look at my complete guide for using Disney Mobile Ordering to learn how it can make your Disney experience so much easier.
Eating Gluten Free at Disney World: Table Service
The Table Service restaurants at Disney World give someone with food allergies more freedom than they have experienced in a long time.
Just by their very nature, Table Service restaurants give you more options than Quick Service restaurants. The kitchens just have more ingredients at their disposal. This allows you to customize your order how you need it to be.
Steps for Gluten Free Table Service at Disney World
When you arrive and check-in, your printout should be stamped with a red “Allergy” on it. This notifies the waitstaff right off the bat that someone at the table has a food allergy.
If your printout doesn’t say “Allergy”, simply notify the Cast Members and they will add it.
At this point the waitstaff should have a conversation with you about your allergy and provide you with the allergy friendly menu. Sometimes the chef will come out to meet with you unprompted, other times the waitstaff acts as liaison.
However, the chef will always come out to talk with you if you specifically ask. This right here is part of what makes Disney so special.
I am serious when I say they will bend over backwards to make your dining experience memorable. DO NOT assume you are limited to the allergy menu. The chefs will modify ingredients or make simple tweaks that allow you many more options.
For example, when we ate at the Flying Fish on Disney’s Boardwalk, I had my heart set on the Kurobuta Pork Belly appetizer. The reviews on it were amazing, but it wasn’t on the allergy menu.
So I asked if there was a way to make it gluten free, and the answer was simple. They served the croquette on the side for Doug to eat. This allowed me to safely eat everything else.
If I had simply gone with what was on the allergy menu, I would have missed out on what was a truly delicious part of our meal.
Gluten Free at Disney World: Buffets
Buffets are a separate category of Table Service restaurants at Disney World. Usually, buffets are a no-go for anyone with food allergies. Not so at Disney World!
Just like the other restaurants, your reservation should be marked as needing special attention for allergies. Universally at buffets, the chef comes out to meet with us almost immediately.
The chef then takes the time to walk you through the menu options of the buffet. In my experience they usually have their trusty binder of ingredients just to make sure they give you the right information.
If you are concerned about cross contamination, no worries. Simply let the chef know what foods you want to have and they will make it fresh in the kitchen for you. This way you get to enjoy the same great food in a safe way.
Honestly, we’ve even had a chef go to another restaurant in the resort to get ingredients to make something else that wasn’t even on the menu. That is how far they go to accommodate food allergies at Disney.
Gluten Free at Disney World: Snacks
Gluten free snacks at Disney do take a little bit more forethought. Don’t get me wrong, options abound, but it’s not as easy as the restaurants.
Also, all parks are not created equal when it comes to finding gluten free snacks. Epcot has probably the widest variety of options, while Hollywood Studios lags behind the pack.
However, the good news is that there are options, and all of them aren’t just ice cream. Though there’s nothing wrong with ice cream…
If you haven’t already, check out my list of the top gluten free Disney World snacks.
In terms of the snack stands, the Mickey ice cream bars are gluten free, as is the popcorn. Keep those in your back pocket as options if you’re in a situation where you don’t know what else to get.
Other than that, target the actual “snack restaurants”. By that I mean places like Aloha Isles, Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie, and so on.
Those locations have more options and you can always ask the Cast Members to explain what is gluten friendly and what isn’t. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
With a little bit of effort, you can have some truly delicious snacks during your trip. Did I mention the gluten free churros at Disney?
Gluten Free Disney World: Epcot Festivals
Epcot provides a truly unique opportunity for those of us who eat gluten free. Not only does Epcot have the best gluten free snacks, just in general, but there are also the festivals.
In case you didn’t know, Epcot has 4 different festivals throughout the course of the year. The biggest draw for the festivals are the special food booths scattered throughout the park.
Each booth has its own unique menu. In recent years, Disney has gotten better at including more and more menu items that are naturally gluten friendly.
Any festival menu item that Disney knows for sure is created with gluten free ingredients are marked as such on the menu. This makes it easy to know what’s safe and what isn’t.
However, in addition to that, there are often a significant number of menu items that are also gluten free, or could be made gluten free by excluding an ingredient.
For example, the image above is of a deconstructed cheesecake. I was able to eat this by asking them to leave off the cookie crumble portion that was mean to represent the crust.
Without that, the rest of the dish was gluten free.
Sometimes, Disney doesn’t mark a dish that “should” be gluten free because they aren’t sure whether there was possible cross contamination.
For example, the Frushi that can always be found at Flower and Garden Festival is entirely gluten free. However, the toasted coconut sprinkled on top is made in a facility where there could have been cross contamination.
If your sensitivity level is high, ask them to make it without the toasted coconut. My sensitivity level isn’t high, so I know that cross-contamination is OK for me. So I get it with the toasted coconut.
When in doubt, as the Cast Members about any items you suspect might be gluten free. They might have the ingredient binder on site, allowing you to see how to make things safely gluten free.
If they don’t have a binder, they will call the chef and ask any questions that you need answered. I’ve done this before and it’s super easy, it just means placing your order might take a little longer.
Keep in mind, there’s always the risk of cross contamination in these outdoor kitchens. Make sure you tell the Cast Member that you have a food allergy and they will take extra precautions.
Final Thoughts on Eating at Disney World Gluten Free
As you can see, gluten free Disney dining is so easy! I am now completely spoiled when it comes to eating out and it’s all Disney’s fault!
Nothing even comes close to comparing. It is just one of the many reasons I love Disney World so much.
As with anything related to your own personal food allergies, you know what your body can tolerate and what it cannot. Make your choices based on what you know and always listen to your instincts when it comes to food.
However, allow yourself to enjoy the process of eating the food at Disney. They really will go out of their way to make sure that you are able to have an enjoyable food experience.
Every single picture in this post is of
Do you have food allergies and enjoy eating at Disney? Have any negative experiences to share? Sound off below with stories or questions.
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