For those with allergies and special diets, eating out can be a stressful aspect of visiting a theme park. 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.
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. 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. 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:
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 Shiriki Noodle Salad are both a great way to start your meal. Another family favorite is the Crispy Fried Chicken with Citrus and Ginger-scented Rice. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet and absolutely delicious! 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 - Lunch/Dinner
One of the latest dining additions to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Tiffins offers an upscale taste of international cuisines. The Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup is a must try gluten-free appetizer! We love the spicy flavors and textures of the Roasted Market Vegetable Curry, as well as the Wagyu Striploin and Braised Short Rib with roasted root vegetables. There are multiple gluten-free desserts here, including Passion Fruit Tapioca Crème and tropical Sorbet.
3. Coral Reef at Epcot - Lunch/Dinner
Featuring a unique view of the Seas aquarium, this restaurant has great options for gluten-free seafood lovers! The Creamy Lobster Soup and Crispy Rhode Island Calamari 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 - Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
An excellent Disney table-service restaurant for any meal, Garden Grill, a character dining experience, includes options of allergy-friendly muffins and waffles alongside other family-style breakfast items. For lunch and dinner, allergy-friendly rolls are available to enjoy along with the main courses of beef filet, turkey breast, sausage with peppers and onions, jasmine rice, steamed broccoli and sweet potato fries. 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.
5. Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano at Disney’s Hollywood Studios - Lunch/Dinner
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 Shrimp Pasta, classic Spaghetti Bolognese and Saltimbocca Pork Tenderloin. Finish the meal with a rich Flourless Chocolate Cake or sweet, creamy 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 - Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
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 meat and potatoes dishes and salmon with veggies for a lighter option. A Power Salad is available with or without chicken, and several gluten-free snacks and desserts such as Creme Brûlée can also be found here. Skip the Wok and Sandwich stations, though.
2. Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom - Lunch/Dinner
Arguably the best quick-service location on Disney property, Flame Tree Barbecue serves up some delicious grub, from smoky and savory ribs, chicken and pork to refreshing Watermelon Salad that is the perfect way to cool down on a hot Florida day. 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 - Lunch/Dinner
Just behind Cinderella Castle in the heart of Fantasyland, Pinocchio’s Village Haus is a great place for variety or picky eaters. Sausage and Pepperoni, Caprese, Pepperoni or Cheese Pizza with a rice crust and allergy-friendly Chicken Tenders can all be found here, along with salad, fries and gluten-free desserts.
4. PizzeRizzo at Disney’s Hollywood Studios - Lunch/Dinner
Most of the menu at PizzeRizzo is available in a gluten-free version. Allergy-friendly rice crust Cheese, Pepperoni or Vegetable Pizzas are available served with Potato Chips or salad. An antipasto salad is also an option, as well as allergy-friendly cookies and brownies.
5. ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios - Lunch/Dinner
The commissary is a great option for everyone because of the diverse offerings on the menu. Gluten-free buns are available for the burgers and sandwiches, along with gluten-free chicken tenders, Mediterranean Salad and a BBQ Ribs platter. A variety of allergy-friendly kids’ meals and desserts are also available.
Gluten-Free Disney Snacks
When a snack is all you need, Disney World offer 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, Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Harambe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Refreshment Port just inside World Showcase near the Canada pavilion at Epcot.
2. Turkey Legs
Another classic Disney treat can be found in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom and the America pavilion at Epcot.
You have to hunt a bit for the gluten-free version of this favorite Disney treat, 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 the 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 11 items such as 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 restaurants? Do you have any tips for eating gluten-free at Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!