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 their parks, extending all the way to their many dining choices of 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 8 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 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:
1. Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at the Magic Kingdom. Lunch/Dinner. 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 House-Made Arepas are a great way to start your meal. Allergy-friendly rolls are also available for bread service. Nile Nellie’s Noodle Bowl is one of our all-time favorite dishes, served in a fragrant broth with duck or chicken (we always go for the duck!). 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 newest 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 Calamansi Mousse, 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. 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 spicy Seafood Cioppino, classic Pasta alla Vodka, 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 8 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 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 can also be found here. Skip the Wok and Sandwich stations though.
2. Flame Tree Barbeque at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Arguably the best quick-service location on Disney property, Flame Tree Barbeque 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. Allergy-friendly desserts are also available at this location.
3. Pinocchio’s Village Haus at Magic Kingdom. Just behind Cinderella’s Castle in the heart of Fantasyland, Pinocchio’s Village Haus is a great place for variety or picky eaters. Amy’s Rice Macaroni & Cheese, Udi’s Crust Pizza, 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. 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. 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, Asian Salad, Strip Steak with vegetables and fries, and Salmon with vegetables and fries. 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.
3. Flavored Rice Chips at Terra Treats at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Located across from Creature Comforts on the way to Harambe, Terra Treats serves these tasty, crunchy chips as well as hummus and vegetables that make for a filling snack.
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!