On Tuesday, I posted about how my husband and I were recently able to travel to Disney World and save money while doing it. We had a lot of fun going on our first vacation as a married couple. One of the great perks of going to Disney World for your vacation is the food. If you’ve never had food at Disney, you’re definitely missing out.
My husband and I both enjoy trying new and unique foods, but eating out can be a little stressful for me. Since I have celiac disease, I can’t eat gluten, and gluten is everywhere and in so many foods. And, as I expressed in a past post, navigating restaurant menus and convincing waitstaff to be my advocate in the kitchen is not always the easiest thing to do. I have had excellent experiences at restaurants and other experiences that left me horizontal.
Naturally, going on vacation and being hundreds of miles away from familiar, tried-and-true restaurants can make this stress even worse. The first time I went to Disney after finding out about my celiac disease, I was concerned. I had been to Disney before. I had enjoyed numerous gluten-filled meals there prior to knowing that I should definitely not be eating gluten. My dad was one step ahead of me and had asked about their allergy procedures. Lucky for me, and celiacs/allergy people everywhere, Disney has one of the best allergy policies I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
Thus, when my husband and I wanted to take a Disney vacation, I was excited to enjoy the Disney dining experience again. Their allergy menus are extensive, their kitchens safe, and their chefs up on how to handle any allergy or intolerance that comes their way. This post is a review of my experience and the many foods I got to try while at Disney in October.
We went on the Disney dining plan, so we had one quick service meal, one table service meal, and two snacks for every night we spent at the Disney resort we stayed at. I will review the foods based on each type of meal.
Quick Service Meals
Quick service meals are fairly self-explanatory. You got to a register, order your food, pick up your food at the counter behind the register, and find somewhere to sit and eat. You bus your own table, the service is quick, and it’s great for a midday meal. The portions are huge and satisfying, and kept us full for quite some time!
Magic Kingdom: The Starlight Café (Tomorrowland)
When we got to the Starlight Café, we were right at the beginning of the lunch rush. When we got to the register, I asked if they had a gluten free menu. The man at the register had several allergy menus, each with a designated section for different allergies. He handed me the menu, pointed out the gluten free section, and allowed me time to survey it and choose what I wanted.
With the dining plan, for a quick service meal you get an entrée (with whatever sides it may come with) and a drink. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with fries and a raspberry lemonade slush. Apparently the Mickey straw is also part of the plan! We wound up with three of these by the end of our vacation. The burger was delicious. I don’t know where they get their gluten free buns, but I would love the information for their supplier. I don’t think I have ever eaten a gluten free hamburger that has held up so well. It’s five stars from me. The fries were pretty standard. Delicious, but I had fries at a different Disney restaurant that I liked better. The raspberry lemonade slush was refreshing and the souvenir Mickey straw was just an added bonus!
Epcot: Liberty Tree Tavern (The American Adventure)
The setup at the Liberty Tree Tavern for ordering and food pickup was similar to that at the Starlight Café. I did notice that, even though we were once again ahead of the lunch rush, it took a little longer to for them make our food. I don’t mind waiting extra time for my food – it’s actually reassuring that they’re making sure it’s safe for me to eat.
Once again, the person at the register had several allergy menus and was able to provide me with one and point out the appropriate section. I got the chicken strips and fries, this time with just regular lemonade to drink. The chicken strips were wonderful, although a tad dry. I enjoyed them with both ketchup and honey mustard. The fries were also delicious! I very much enjoyed this meal. Once again, there were big portions and I could barely finish it.
Hollywood Studios: ABC Commissary
Now this was a meal! It was our last one before heading home and it definitely made our vacation go out with a bang. I had noticed the chicken and ribs on the regular menu and immediately hoped that it would be on the gluten free menu. Lo and behold, it was! I, of course, ordered it.
The ordering and pickup was the same as it was at any quick service restaurant. Unfortunately, we came in right in the middle of the lunch rush so it was pretty busy. A cast member was at the back of the line providing menus to people who wanted to get a head start on figuring out what they wanted. She even had some allergy menus on her!
The wait time for food was the longest out of anywhere we ate the whole weekend. Like I mentioned above, I don’t mind an extra wait for my food if it means it will be safe. However, this was quite the extra wait. Several groups behind us, including a family of five, received their orders before we did. Typically restaurants sent out the food for both of us at the same time. That did not happen here. There was a good gap between when my food came out and Reid’s did.
However, the food made up for the wait time. The ribs were incredible, the fries piping hot, and the chicken (although a little hard to navigate with the bones) was fresh and crispy. The raspberry lemonade slushy was also tasty and refreshing. A great way to end a Disney vacation!
Table Service Meals
Table service meals are your standard restaurant meal: you wait to be seated and a waiter or waitress takes your order, brings you your food, busses your table, etc. It’s important to make a reservation with any table service restaurant if you hope to get a table in any decent amount of time. It’s advised that you make dining reservations as far in advance as possible. We booked our vacation pretty last minute, but were still able to get reservations at great restaurants. Table service meals are perfect for a late dinner.
You make the reservations through the MyDisneyExperience app. On the app, you can choose who in your party is going, what time you want to go (out of the available times), and even make note of any allergies in the dining party. This means that the hostess and waiter both know you have an allergy ahead of time. It also means that you get handed an allergy menu right off the bat when you get to your table. I don’t know about you, but finding the right timing to ask for a gluten free menu without being awkward or interrupting the waiter or hostess can be an awkward experience.
Hollywood Studios: Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
Oh man. This was an amazing meal. This was our first food stop of our Disney trip and a great start to our vacation. This was a fun restaurant. You dine in cars and there is a loop of sci-fi clips playing for you to enjoy while you eat your food. Great food, great atmosphere, and definitely a fun experience!
With the Disney Dining Plan, for table service meals you get an entrée, drink, and dessert. I order the turkey club wrap with fries for my entrée and a brownie with ice cream for dessert. The wrap was absolutely incredible and the fries were crispy and hot. I loved the brownie and ice cream – one of the best I’ve ever had! My husband also ordered a gluten free brownie with ice cream for his dessert as well and he couldn’t even tell it was gluten free.
Magic Kingdom: Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen (Adventureland)
The name of the restaurant is a bit of a mouthful, but the meal was delicious! I had the steak with mashed papaya, and toasted brazil nut pesto with farofa. For dessert I had what was called “quick sand.” It was rice pudding with all sorts of delicious toppings including a mango sauce. This dessert is usually also made with pineapple, but they were easily able to accommodate my pineapple allergy by excluding it.
This was seriously the best, most tender steak I have ever had. It sliced easily and paired well with the pesto and mashed papaya. The plating was gorgeous and the whole experience was surprisingly fancy. Also, I have to make mention of the pomegranate lemonade. This was at both the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and the Skipper Canteen and was amazing. It was tart and delicious, just how I like my lemonade.
Epcot: Tokyo Dining (Japan)
The World Showcase is one of the coolest aspects of Disney’s Epcot park. We didn’t get as much time there as I would have liked, but there’s always next time! Tokyo Dining was one of my husband’s top choices of places to eat, so of course we booked reservations there! It’s important to note that this restaurant does not have a separate gluten free menu. However, they do just as well with allergies as any other Disney restaurant.
The manager was sent to speak with me and go through the menu with me. She answered my questions and helped me pick out something that could be made gluten free. I have tried sushi occasionally and loved it, but am always cautious when it comes to ordering it from a new place. Sushi is pretty easy to make gluten free, but because a lot of sushi is fried, I have a big concern with cross-contamination. But, since we were at a Disney restaurant and they were tried-and-true for me, my husband encouraged me to really try actual sushi. So I did! The manager was very helpful in showing me which rolls I could order.
I got the California Roll and the Volcano Roll and they were both delicious. The presentation was beautiful and I had no issues at all. For dessert, I got green tea vanilla swirl ice cream. It was delightful. Additionally, our waitress was adorable and sweet. We had a lot of fun!
We got two snack credits each day, but almost didn’t use them all! Part of this was because we got a couple things that didn’t fall under the dining plan. Also, one day, the Magic Band reader at the snack kiosk we went to was malfunctioning, and the cast member let us have our snacks for free.
However, something people don’t always realize is that you can use your snack credits to buy certain foods in the Disney souvenir stores. We used our last several snack credits at one of the stores and were able to bring some Disney treats home with us!
I won’t write an extensive review on each snack. I’ll just share photos and a few thoughts on each one!
These reusable mugs were part of our Disney Dining Plan deal. We got them from our resort and could fill them up as much as we wanted anywhere at the resort. They weren’t useable in the parks, but that’s okay. They were perfect for snagging my morning coffee each day.
We used our snack credits for breakfast each morning so that we could save our quick service credits for lunches. The first morning, we did this by getting yogurt parfaits. I skipped the granola as I’m wary of oats unless they’re labeled gluten free. Oats are a complex issue for celiacs. Maybe I’ll write a post some time. 😉
At Magic Kingdom, we found this ice cream store that had amazing sundaes! Mine had chocolate and vanilla ice cream and was topped with hot fudge, peanut butter, whipped cream, peanut butter and chocolate chips, and a cherry that I ate before remembering to take a picture. It was delicious!
Obviously, no Disney trip is complete without a Mickey bar or two. These chocolate covered ice cream bars are seriously the best I’ve ever had. And then there’s the snacks we got at one of the Disney stores. We used our snack credits to get assorted bags of delicious candy that we proceeded to ration out like normal human beings. Maybe. 😉
We grabbed a snack at one of the many Joffrey’s coffee stands scattered throughout the Disney parks. They don’t have any gluten free pastries, but I did get to try a harvest latte, which was caramel apple and coffee deliciousness! I’ll admit, I was a little wary of caramel apple combined with espresso, but I gave it shot and liked it! Because we were staying at a Disney resort, we got a discount on our treats as well.
Last, but certainly not least, is the popcorn. It was standard, Pop-Secret popcorn. Good for a quick snack, but not something I’d use snack credits on again (I eat popcorn all the time at home).
Overall, eating at Disney with food allergies is a fantastic experience. I’ve never had any trouble eating there. The cast members are well-educated, helpful, and the menus do not corner you into only having one option. I always felt like I had a good variety to choose from.
If you’re looking for places to vacation and have someone in your group that has an allergy, I highly recommend a Disney vacation. Not only will you eat great food, you’ll have a blast exploring the parks, riding the rides, and experiencing Disney at its finest.