Walt Disney World Gluten Free Dining – Loving It!
Disney has long been part of my family vacation memories. My first trip was when I was not quite three years old and I’ve finally lost count as to how many times we’ve been back. That first trip, I have very distinct memories of my parents taking me for breakfast at Tony’s on Main Street U.S.A. While the wonderful cuisine at Walt Disney World isn’t one of our family’s top vacation priorities, we have always enjoyed a special meal or two during each visit to the resort.
About two years ago, I discovered that I’m gluten intolerant and ever since, I maintain a gluten free (GF) diet. After figuring this out, my mom and I, almost immediately, began searching the Disney website and food blogs for information on GF eating at the WDW resort. What we found was pretty great news.
Nice meals aside, a girl’s gotta eat the rest of the time, too. And let me tell you, boy did I eat well. I found I merely had to mention that I was gluten intolerant and, as if on cue like my own Fairy Godmother (or father), a manager or chef was there to take, make and deliver my order, paying close attention that it was prepared in a gluten free area.
In addition to the friendly service, the best part, in this thrifty girl’s opinion, is that there was NEVER an upcharge for GF bread or other substitute, which is generally the case when dining out anywhere else! My mom and I usually split entrees when we travel together. At the Whispering Canyon Cafe, they were even so accommodating as to make her half as described in the menu (chock full of gluten!) at no extra cost.
Here are some of my favorite GF dishes in the World (from my first GF Disney trip, January 2014):
Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Upon arriving, the hostess included a Allergy Aware slip for our table to alert the cast members of my gluten intolerance. Chef Philipe specially made me a Gluten Free version of Eggs Benedict. It consisted of scrambled eggs on gluten free toast, Canadian bacon and Barbecue-Hollandaise sauce served with Western Home Fries.
Be Our Guest Restaurant, New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom Park – Here I enjoyed the Carved Prime Chuck Roast Beef Sandwich on gluten free bread. This was served with Horseradish Sour Cream and Pomme Frites. For dessert, the Lemon-Raspberry Cream Puff was devine. It was gluten free, sugar fee and filled with Lemon Custard.
Assorted Snacks from around the World – As I travelled around the Walt Disney World Resort, I found myself tempted by the many snack options present around me. Luckily, many are gluten free! Some favorites were the Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Flatbread on a GF crust at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, the much loved Pineapple Dole Whip at Aloha Isle in the Magic Kingdom and the BabyCakes Brownie Bites from the now closed BabyCakes Bakery in Downtown Disney. And let’s not forget the Roasted Pork Shank at Gaston’s Tavern in the Magic Kingdom!
Not pictured, but most definitely worth noting is the half-chicken plate at Flame Tree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The meal generally includes the quickservice restaurant’s signature marinated, slow smoked chicken, with sides of baked beans and coleslaw. The baked beans, however, contain a flour thickener, so the manager was happy to substitute that side with french fries.
In planning a trip to Disney, I consulted a few different websites/blogs and the “Find Me GF” iPhone app. But to be completely honest, once I was at the resort, there was little reason to worry. Of course you always want to be mindful of your own dietary needs, but the level and quality of service Disney is known for certainly shines through in this area. I was able to relax and enjoy the delicious cuisine throughout our vacation. And for someone who generally has to worry if an establishment will have GF options, that is pretty magical.