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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 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.
You might also like to read:
- How to Make Disney Dining Reservations
- 10 Best Gluten Free Snacks at Disney World
- Guide to the Magic Kingdom Gluten Free
Table of Contents
Eating Gluten Free at Disney World aka Eating with ANY Food Allergy at Disney
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.
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?
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.
Steps to Gluten Free Quick Service at Disney World
When you get to the QS restaurant, ask a cast member for the allergy menu right away. If they don’t have one that is readily accessible, they will get a manager who is knowledgeable to come and help you. The process can be slightly different depending on the restaurant, but you will always be able to see the allergy-friendly options.
If a Quick Service restaurant doesn’t have an allergy friendly menu readily accessible, they do have a binder with all the ingredients. A manager will be more than happy to go through the binder with you to see all the ingredients of each menu item.
Any allergy friendly food will take 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 will take some time.
When your food is given to you it will often be on a different color tray, have an allergy stick, or otherwise have some indicator that the order contains allergy friendly foods.
When we had breakfast at Be Our Guest, the Cast Member came to our table to acknowledge their receipt of my gluten free order (I had pre-ordered off the allergy menu) and to assure me that my food would not come out on the same food trolley that everyone else’s food was on.
Disney World Gluten Free: Mobile Ordering
Disney has expanded their mobile ordering capabilities dramatically over the course of the past year. While the amount of Quick Service restaurants who offer the service has increased, so too have the allergy friendly capabilities.
Many 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. 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.
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 will 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.
My Family’s Food Allergy Story
Here is a brief background on the food allergies in my family which provided us with this learning experience. At the time of our first big trip to Disney World in 2016, both of our children had food allergies.
Nolan was starting to outgrow his multiple food allergies but was still allergic to eggs at that time. Avery was allergic to dairy and had a history of anaphylaxis as an infant. Epi-pens were our constant companions as you just never know what will happen when food allergies are at play.
Unbeknownst to us, 5 months after our trip the kids would both test negative at their annual allergist appointment and their food allergy restrictions were over! This was one of the happiest days for us. To be able to watch my kids safely eat the same foods as other kids is great.
A month after my kids were able to start eating everything, I decided to finally switch to a gluten free lifestyle. I have never been diagnosed with Celiac or a gluten sensitivity officially, but the bottom line is my body doesn’t like gluten. And boy does it let me know…
I’ve lived a gluten free lifestyle for over 2 years now. Every food I eat at Disney World is gluten free. Disney has become my favorite place to eat both for the variety I have and the safety.
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 as they really will go out of their way to make sure that you are able to have an enjoyable food experience.
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Do you have food allergies and enjoy eating at Disney? Have any negative experiences to share? Sound off below with stories or questions. Don’t forget to follow The Disney Journey on Facebook for up to date news.