For those with allergies and special diets, eating out can be a stressful aspect of visiting a theme park. But have no fear! Disney goes above and beyond to make sure guests have the best experience in its parks, extending all the way to the menus at table-service, quick bites and snack locations. Especially in recent years, Disney has made a visible effort to provide options for guests with special diets and allergies. In this post, we'll highlight the best restaurants for eating gluten-free at Disney World parks.
Eating Gluten-Free at Disney World
Our Frog Family has seen the Walt Disney World Resort go to great lengths to adapt to the needs of those with food allergies. In 2015, Disney launched allergy-friendly menus throughout the Disney World Resort that cover the top eight most common allergens: gluten/wheat, milk/dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish. Its edible offerings go far beyond the average house salad as the only allergy-friendly option. Don't froget to ask a cast member about ingredients before ordering, as things do change. The Disney World chefs are always hoppy to talk to guests about allergies and intolerances.
Gluten-Free at Disney Table-Service Restaurants
Disney's sit-down (or table-service) restaurants are probably the easiest places to make sure your special diet needs and requests can be accommodated. When making your advance dining 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. The chef may even come out to speak with you about your specific needs and preferences in order to make sure your meal is delicious. Although there are options for every type of diet at almost every Disney restaurant, we definitely have our allergy-friendly favorites. Here are our top five gluten-free Disney World restaurants.
1. Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom Park
This Adventureland restaurant has extensive gluten-free options, many of which are straight from the regular menu and require no substitutions. The crispy Falls Family Falafel or Perkins Thai Noodles are both a great way to start your meal. Another family favorite is the Crispy Fried Chicken with jasmine rice, chili glaze and vegetables. There are plenty of options for the tadpoles here too! The only request you can't make here is having your skipper lay off the punny jokes.
2. Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Tiffins offers an upscale taste of international cuisines. The Spiced Chickpea Falafel or Fattoush Salad are must-try, gluten-free appetizers. We love the spicy flavors and textures of the North African-Spiced Tofu, as well as the Butter Chicken and Tamarind-Braised Short Rib. For dessert, don't skip the Passion Fruit Tapioca Crème.
3. Coral Reef Restaurant at EPCOT
Featuring a unique view of the Seas aquarium, this restaurant has great options for gluten-free seafood lovers! The Shrimp Cocktail and Smoked Wild Mushroom Cioppino are excellent starters, followed by Pan-seared Mahi Mahi served with jasmine rice. For non-seafood lovers, chicken and steak entrees are also available sans gluten. For dessert, the crowd favorite is always the Chocolate Wave, a decadent chocolate creation served with raspberry gelato. #justkeepeating
4. Garden Grill at EPCOT
An excellent Disney table-service restaurant, Garden Grill offers gluten-free options along with a character dining experience. For lunch and dinner, allergy-friendly rolls are available to enjoy along with the main courses of grilled beef with chimichurri, turkey breast, rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables. Dessert — house-made berry shortcake — is also available gluten-free! Be sure to give advance notice when making your reservation to ensure the most gluten-free dishes are available to you. Garden Grill is also open for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner.
5. Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This long-time favorite, tucked in the back of the park, serves a number of delicious dishes that can also be made gluten-free! Start with a classic Italian combination: Fresh Mozzarella and Vine-ripened Tomatoes. Some of our favorite entrees are the classic Spaghetti Bolognese and Polenta with mushroom, spinach and red pepper. Finish the meal with a rich flourless chocolate cake, lemon sorbet, or vanilla or chocolate gelato.
Gluten-Free at Disney Quick-Service Restaurants
With so much to do in the parks, sometimes a quick meal is the only way to go. Allergy-friendly menus are available at most Disney quick-service locations highlighting available substitutes for the top eight most common allergens. Here are our top five favorite Disney World quick-service restaurants with gluten-free options. Even if you can't make it to one of these locations, you can inquire about gluten-free options when placing your order.
1. Sunshine Seasons at EPCOT
This quick-service cafeteria located in the Land pavilion is a haven for anyone with food allergies or on a special diet. For those looking for gluten-free items, the Grill is your go-to station, featuring hearty cheeseburger and rotisserie chicken dishes, and salmon with cheese grits for a lighter option. A Power Salad is available with or without chicken, and several gluten-free snacks and desserts can also be found here. Skip the sandwich station, though. We highly recommend the Stir-fried Chicken!
2. Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Arguably the best quick-service location on Disney property, Flame Tree Barbecue serves up some delicious grub, including smoky and savory ribs, chicken and a pulled pork sandwich (with an allergy-friendly bun). Nearly everything on the menu is available gluten-free. Classic allergy-friendly desserts such as chocolate chip cookies and brownies are also available at this location.
3. Pinocchio’s Village Haus at Magic Kingdom Park
Just behind Cinderella Castle in the heart of Fantasyland, Pinocchio’s Village Haus is a great place for picky eaters. All-Meat, Margherita, Pepperoni or Cheese Pizza with a rice crust and allergy-friendly chicken nuggets can all be found here, along with salad, fries and gluten-free desserts. Though keep in mind that preparation time may increase if you order the All-Meat or Margherita pizzas due to the care taken to avoid cross-contamination.
4. Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Want gluten-free flavors from out of this world? Docking Bay 7 has allergy-friendly versions of popular entrees such as Fried Endorian Chicken Tip Yip, Pirjanad Hot Chicken Tip Yip, Roasted Endorian Chicken Salad, Peka Tuna Poke and Batuuan Beef and Crispy Topato Stir-fry.
5. Satu'li Canteen at Disney's Animal Kingdom
We love Satuli Canteen for its filling bowls, and you don't have to miss out if you have gluten intolerance! There are gluten-free versions of the Grilled Beef & Chicken Bowl, Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef Bowl, Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl, Chili-Garlic Shrimp Bowl and Chili-Spiced Crispy Fried Tofu Bowl.
Gluten-Free Disney Snacks
When a snack is all you need, Disney World offers a variety of tasty options. Here are our favorite places for gluten-free Disney snacks!
1. Dole Whip. DOLE WHIP, YOU GUYS!
This classic Disney treat is currently available at Aloha Isle in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom, Pineapple Lanai at Disney's Polynesian Resort, Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Harambe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Swirls on the Water at Disney Springs and Typhoon Lagoon. (Note that while Dole Whips are gluten-free, they do contain modified food starch, which may affect people sensitive to that ingredient.)
2. Turkey Legs
Another classic Disney treat can be found in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom, the American Adventure pavilion at EPCOT and Yak & Yeti Quality Beverages at Animal Kingdom. (Note: While some turkey legs are gluten-free, some are not, so be sure to ask before jumping in!)
You have to hunt a bit for gluten-free churros at Disney World, as it’s only available at Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom. But it’s sooo worth it!
4. Whole Fruit and Vegetable Snacks
Fruit and vegetables to snack on can be found at several locations throughout Disney World. Not only are they healthy, but also allergy-friendly. Bananas, grapes, apples, oranges, pineapple spears, carrots and celery with dip and more can be found at various kiosks and locations, including Liberty Square Market at Magic Kingdom, Anaheim Produce at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Harambe Fruit Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Sunshine Seasons at EPCOT.
5. Snacks with Character
Some merchandise locations carry the Disney-branded allergy-friendly line of snacks, including cookies, chocolate bars, granola bars and more.
No matter what your dietary needs are, you're sure to find something tasty at Disney World!
What are your favorite gluten-free Disney World restaurants? Do you have any tips for eating gluten-free at Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!