Tips to Eating Gluten Free at Disney World

 

Disney Parks is full of gluten free options galore. Below are our tips for a successful gluten free visit to Disney.We were astounded with how easy it was to find gluten free food for my 4 year old son at Disney during our recent trip.

Based on our experience, eating gluten free at Disney truly was a cinch once we realized that all we had to do was ASK for Gluten Free options at any all restaurants from Quick Service to Sit Down Dining to Character Meals to even special events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. A plethora of gluten free options  exist that are NOT on the regular menus at Quick Serve restaurants. We had no clue of this our 1st 48 hours of the trip and I admit that Kyle was surviving on nuts, yogurt, sugar, and ice cream until we realized our errors.

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This was our 1st family vacation and trip to Disney since Kyle’s Celiac diagnosis and gluten free diet started earlier this year so the entire experience was new to us even though we have been to to Disney as a family more than 6 times.

Without a doubt, eating gluten free at Disney Parks is the most magical place a kid could probably ever DREAM to eat gluten free.

Can you say Gluten Free Mickey Waffles???  These were DELICIOUS and a total hit for Kyle. Served fresh and warm as they are made to order direct from the Chef too! 

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So here’s the scoop on eating gluten free at Disney for yourself or your children.

5 Tips to Eating Gluten Free at Disney World and Disneyland

1. ASK, ASK, and ASK again wherever you may dine for their gluten free or allergen free menu options. 

Once you ask for gluten free food, you’ll see that a Magic Binder full of gluten free menu items exists that will be specially made just for your oder. Basically, at any quick service dining location, once you alert them to your request, a manager will come with you and bring along their extra special binder full of delicious allergy free and gluten free options. And at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Kyle was able to eat a special package of cookies that were gluten free given to him by those serving the traditional hot chocolate and cookies. Gluten Free cookies are a very Merry Christmas present for a little boy!

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This binder even includes FULL ingredient lists for what they are serving so you will be able to reassure yourself that you will indeed be eating gluten free bread, macaroni and cheese or whatever else you might be ordering.

In our experience, Disney carried many Udi’s, Amy’s, and Ener-G gluten free options that were perfect for my son.

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2. Gluten Free Mickey Waffles are available at all the character dining or sit down breakfast dining restaurants at Disney.

 

However, you must ASK for this option. They are not listed on any of the menus we saw, so it wasn’t until we started asking for Gluten Free options that we realized how accomodating Disney was to our food allergy issue with Kyle’s Celiac disease. For the first 2 days, Kyle was eating Kind Bars I packed in my suitcase and yogurt until we went to a Character Meal and spoke with the chef and realized that all we needed to do was ASK.

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You can imagine Kyle’s delight and my thrill as a Mom when the chef appeared with a warm stack of gluten free waffles for my ravenous little boy! Clearly I hadn’t done my homework about eating gluten free at Disney since we missed out on these gluten free waffles the first few days of our trip.

3. Check online menus to familiarize yourself with what Gluten Free options might be available at various Quick Service, Snack Venues,  or Sit Down Dining Restaurants. Here are a few links we used to help us navigate our decision making at meal times. We always find it is best to prepare Kyle for what might be available…. gluten free chicken tenders, Amy’s gluten free Macaroni and Cheese, or a grilled chicken breast with veggies, a gluten free hot dog on a gluten free bun, and so on. Plus, this helped us shift our direction in the park based on what we all wanted to eat too.

Allergy Free Mouse – Eating Gluten Free at Disney World – itemizes menu items by park at Disney World

Disney Eats: Disneyland Options for parks and hotels 

4. Be prepared for extra special treatment when you identify yourself as having a food allergy. My 4 year old son LOVED the extra attention as it’s all a novelty for him since being diagnosed with Celiac.  Note that the gluten free options are general MADE TO ORDER so it might take a few more minutes for your order to arrive. You’ll generally be given a special receipt that marks your order as having an allergy that looks like this:

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Disney even would break our family orders into 2 special orders – a regular order for all of us and then 1 special order for Kyle who was gluten free. He received food on his own tray so nothing was contaminated and a Manager always was called to take our order, place it in the back, and delivered it too. At a sit down restaurant, a chef always came out to discuss options with us.  Impressive!

5. Be Flexible. Just like at home,  having a food allergy or sticking to a gluten free diet means you’ll need to be flexible and easy going about food options. We encourage Kyle to be excited about what he CAN eat instead of focusing on foods he can not eat. With a magic binder like this full of various gluten free choices, there is no reason to be disappointed. A positive attitude either at home or at Disney World is priceless!

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About Colleen Padilla

Colleen Padilla, the founder and editor of ClassyMommy.com lives in the Philly suburbs and is a full time mom for her 2 children, Mackenzie (7) and Kyle (5). Colleen and the Classy Mommy website have been featured on Fox News, Good Morning America, The New York Times, Parenting Magazine, The New York Post, local Philadelphia ABC, CBS, and NBC programs. Colleen has appeared in a TV special about Alpha Moms on South Korea’s NBC affiliate SBS. She also co-authored The Digital Mom Handbook (HarperCollins).

Comments

  1. Gina B says:

    Excellent article! NOBODY does gluten-free and allergen-free eating like Disney. There is one resort that comes VERY close, but Disney does ALL special needs above & beyond any other place. That’s why we continue to go there, every other year!

  2. This is SO fantastic, Colleen! I love that there are so many options available – especially the Mickey Waffles! I bet Kyle loved feeling included in all of the fantastic food too!

  3. Love this! Can Gluten-free mommies get the special pancakes too? ;-)

  4. sharyn says:

    How wonderful for Kyle to feel special instead of just different!!!

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  11. Great tips Colleen. I just pinned the article too. Disney Cruise Line has also become a much easier place to eat Gluten-Free. The restaurant menus now clearly notate the available Gluten-Free options.

  12. Haley says:

    Holy cow! Thank you SO MUCH for posting about this (I’m a little late to the game!). I’m not a diagnosed Celiac, but I have recently developed an intolerance to gluten, and with an upcoming Disney trip I was starting to get really worried! Resting assured that I will be taken care of while there! (And your note about the GF cookies at the Christmas party made me so giddy! We will be going to the Christmas party, so this is good news!!)
    Again – THANK YOU!
    xo Haley

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