With so many parks, resort hotels and restaurants in its entertainment area, Disney World is home to a huge variety of restaurant styles and cuisines. Whether you are staying at a Disney World resort hotel, just hopping by or dropping into Disney Springs, you'll find there are plenty of tasty options—including those that are gluten free or meet other special dietary needs. Today, we're going to showcase great restaurants for eating gluten free at Disney Springs and the Disney World Resort Hotels. (Hop here for the lowdown on eating gluten free at Disney World parks.)
Eating Gluten Free at Disney Springs & Disney World Resort Hotels
The table-service restaurants at Disney are often the easiest to accommodate allergies and special diets. When making your reservation, be sure to add a note of any allergies or specific needs. The restaurant staff will prepare all of the information you’ll need to dine. When you get to the restaurant (with or without reservations), speak with the server about your requirements. Often, the chef will come out to speak with you about your specific needs and preferences in order to make sure your meal is delicious.
Gluten Free Restaurants at Disney Springs
Beyond the parks and resorts is the newly reimagined Disney Springs. Formerly known as Downtown Disney, this entertainment, dining and shopping area is home to many amazing restaurants and snack spots. There are plenty of tastes to explore in this ever-growing area of Disney World. Here are our favorite gluten-free restaurants at Disney Springs:
1. Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming. Southern Chef and Food Network regular Art Smith brings classic Southern comfort food to Disney Springs. Nostalgic dishes such as Church Lady Deviled Eggs and vinegary Cucumber Salad will make you frog friends feel like you’re at a Southern summer picnic. Shrimp & Grits or Fresh Florida catch grilled and served with iron skillet sweet potatoes are the perfect taste of the South.
2. Splitsville. This bowling alley, restaurant and lounge features an eclectic menu from Asian-inspired to Southwestern flavors. Chicken wings or sushi make great starters, followed by Splitsville’s Gluten-Free Pizza, Rice Bowls, or Entrée Salads. Enjoy some live music at the bar while you eat!
3. The Polite Pig. The newest addition to Disney Springs, right next to the Lime Garage in the heart of Town Center, the Polite Pig brings bold barbecue flavor in every dish. Most of the menu can be made gluten-free if you ask for no bread. Smoked chicken, brisket, pork shoulder, salmon and pork ribs are accompanied by impressive sides such as the refreshing Tomato and Watermelon Salad or Smoked Potato Salad with Mustard-Smoked Kale. Pair your meal with a cold Florida craft beer or hand-crafted cocktail!
4. Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza. Blaze is a quick-service customizable pizza chain with a patio overlooking the “springs” in the Town Center area of Disney Springs. Blaze has a gluten-free dough option and almost all of the toppings are gluten-free as well! (the meatballs contain breadcrumbs). Salads and antipasto are also on the menu.
5. Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC. A must visit for anyone—especially for those with gluten, milk or egg allergies, and vegans—everything at Erin Mckenna’s is vegan and gluten-free! The bakery serves all kinds of sweet treats from cookies and cakes to ice cream and doughnuts. There are even some savory snacks on the menu such as bagels and biscuits. We love the Cinnamon Sugar doughnut and all of the cupcakes! For a real sweet tooth fix, try a frosting shot!
Gluten Free Restaurants at the Disney World Resort Hotels
The Pacific Northwest. New Orleans. The South Pacific. Staying at one of the uniquely themed Disney World Resort hotels are mini-vacations while on your vacation! Creative rooms and themed pools help you escape into your surrounding. This mindset continues into the dining room, as the hotels offer deliciously themed food. Finding gluten-free foods at a Disney World Resort hotel isn't a problem ... choosing one is! Let us offer some help with our favorite gluten-free restaurants at the Disney World resort hotels.
1. Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Lunch/Dinner. Sanaa is one of our absolute favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World. Every dish is packed with flavor and we love watching the animals roam outside of the giant windows. A crowd favorite at Sanaa is the legendary bread service, which can be made gluten free! Choose allergy-friendly naan with either three or nine accompaniments to dip, spread or scoop. Sanaa offers a good variety of both gluten free appetizers and entrees. Our favorite is the Potjie-inspired Braised Beef, Butter Chicken, Chickpea Wat, Paneer Tikka or Spicy Durban Shrimp served with Basmati rice. There are also plenty of options for the tadpoles as well, including African-inspired dishes such as butter chicken or familiar favorites such as hamburgers or grilled chicken. Desserts are light and refreshing with options of Mango or Raspberry Sorbet or Seasonal Fruit Kabobs with local honey. Both are delicious!
2. The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. A hidden gem tucked away on the lobby floor of the Contemporary Resort. The Wave celebrates fresh American flavors at every meal. For breakfast, choose from healthy Egg White Frittatas or indulgent Belgian Waffles, or go for the classic two-egg American breakfast plate. Enjoy a taste of America at lunch with a Bison Burger Patty Melt with Roasted Green Chilies or an elegant Grilled Chicken Sandwich topped with Chevre Cheese, Tomato Jamsa and Arugula. Grilled Fish with Kale and Apple Salad and Candied Pumpkin Seeds or a classic Chicken Caesar Salad with allergy-friendly croutons are also delicious options. For dinner, start with a local Harvest Salad featuring seasonal accouterments and the Bacon and Eggs – Maple-lacquered Pork Belly with a perfect egg and smoked cheddar grits. It's a must-try in this frog's opinion! Fish, chicken and pork dishes served with fresh produce make every option a great meal!
3. Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Dinner. The rustic, earthy décor echoes the fresh and natural flavors served at Artist Point. This elegant restaurant serves artisanal salads and local produce. The “Lands” green salad is a favorite appetizer, followed by a beautiful Grilled Filet Mignon or Chinook Plank Salmon. There is even a dish that is both gluten-free and vegan for our non-meat eating friends! The Vegan Lo Mein combines Tofu with Thai Noodles, Snap Peas, Pickled Shiitakes, and crispy Lotus Root. Choose seasonal berry Cobbler or Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée for dessert!
4. Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Kona Café is best known for its hearty breakfast, and there are plenty of excellent gluten-free options to start your day. We recommend The Samoan – Poached Eggs with Hollandaise served over Pulled Pork Hash. Yum! For those who want a lighter start, try the Egg White Omelet with Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese or the Fruit Plate served in a Fresh Pineapple! For lunch, try some savory Satay or Sushi and for those wanting true island flavor, sample the Loco Moco. When dinner rolls around, Sustainable Fish, Steak, Duck, and Chicken are all on the menu as well as a perky Grilled Kona Coffee-Rubbed Pork Chop, and Tofu Pan-Asian Noodles in a Ginger-Garlic sauce for a vegetarian option.
5. ESPN Club at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Lunch/Dinner. When you think sports-bar food, gluten free definitely isn’t the first thing to come to mind, but ESPN Club has an unexpected variety of options for those with gluten/wheat allergies. From Pub Nachos or ESPN Wings to chili cheese fries and over the top burgers, there are plenty of ways to get your bar food fix and beyond at ESPN Club. Da Da Da. Da Da Da.
Gluten Free Counter Service Restaurants at the Disney Hotels
The resorts offer plenty of great counter service options for special dietary needs as well. Allergy menus should be readily available at the food courts throughout the resorts, as well as small convenience shops that offer snacks, ready to eat meals like cereal, and toiletries. Here are our top counter service food courts for gluten-free dining at Disney:
1. Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks. This is currently the newest addition to the family of Disney resorts and has one of the best varieties we’ve seen. There is also a separate allergy menu for gluten/wheat allergies. Breakfast options include everything from full breakfast platters to Create-Your-Own Parfait or Fruit Bowl to Build-Your-Own Omelets. For lunch or dinner, choose from burgers (classic or veggie) or sandwiches to pizza or a full chicken dinner (and much more!). Art of Animation is within a short walking distance of Disney’s Pop Century Resort as well.
2. The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks. Bountiful breakfast platters, flavorful flatbreads, and classic dishes make The Mara one of our favorite stops for gluten-free dining. A balance of African and American options makes this a wonderful, family friendly option. Make sure to stop and look out over the grazing areas to see how many animals you can spot! Lily loves to play "I Spy."
3. Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory and Riverside Mill at Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside Resorts. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks. OK, we snuck in a double here. The menus at the two Port Orleans resorts both include great options for gluten-free dining. Breakfast bowls, platters, and even gluten-free Beignets are available at Sassagoula, while you can create your own omelet, parfait, or oatmeal at Riverside Mill. At lunch or dinner, enjoy a variety of sandwiches, pizza, and classic kid favorites at either location.
4. Everything Pop! at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks. Like Landscape of Flavors, this food court has many options for gluten-free diners at every meal. For breakfast, grab and go with a Hot Ham and American Cheese sandwich or sit and enjoy French Toast or your own omelet creation with all the fixings. For lunch and dinner, Create-Your-Own-Salad, pick up a hearty sandwich or other family-friendly favorites like chicken tenders or pizza.
5. Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks. Although the menu is smaller at this location than some of the others we’ve mentioned, there is still a good variety at Roaring Fork. For breakfast, choose platters or pastries, or even a Garden Breakfast Flatbread. Lunch and dinner offerings include sandwiches, burgers, chicken tenders, flatbreads, and salads in both adult and kids portions.
Most Disney resort hotels have a small convenience store where guests can pick up snacks and sundries in addition to more substantial bites. Disney's line of snacks called “Snacks with Character” are allergy-friendly! You can usually pick up fresh fruit or vegetables and dip at these locations as well as a selection of convenience meals with ingredient labels. Stock at these locations does tend to change, so stop by at check in to get an idea of what is offered at your resort or ask the concierge or store attendant for more information.
Whether you’re relaxing at the resort or enjoying an evening out at Disney Springs, there are tons of delicious allergy-friendly bites throughout Walt Disney World! What are your favorite ways to eat gluten free at Disney Springs and the Disney hotels? Let us know in the comments!