The Happiest Gluten Free Place on Earth
Yes, that is a take-off of Disney’s motto, but Disney World and Disneyland may truly be the happiest places for those that are gluten free.
Have you been? We visited Disney World in Florida a few years ago with our gluten free daughter. We had read many things online about how great they are. But I, frankly, thought people were exaggerating. They weren’t. It was simply amazing.
Although we stayed off-park, we ate several of our meals at both Disney and Epcot, and all the restaurants were fabulously accommodating. The first one was an Italian restaurant (yikes!) and I was a bit nervous. I had made advanced reservations and indicated that we were gluten free while making the reservation. When we arrived at the restaurant we received a ticket that had allergy stamped on it in bright red letters (yes, I know that Celiac Disease is not an allergy, but go with it…). About five minutes after we sat down at the table, the head chef (!) arrived at our table to review the entire menu, suggest gluten free options, and share the procedures used to prevent cross contamination. He personally took our order and delivered it as well. (She had pizza and I had pasta – yummy!)
The next morning we had Breakfast with the Princesses at Norway’s Akershus Restaurant in Epcot Center. It was partly a buffet style breakfast, so yet again I was a bit nervous, and yet again it all was for nothing. The head chef came out upon our being seated and took me over to the buffet. He indicated that everything except the last station was gluten free and safe. Since the stations were separated there wasn’t a chance for cross contamination from the last station. He also went through the sit-down portion of the breakfast and offered my daughter gluten free waffles or pancakes. The “regular” hash browns has flour in them, so he made our table a special batch without the flour so we could enjoy (using separate and safe cooking utensils).
Our final lunch at an Epcot seafood restaurant was exactly the same. We dealt directly the head chef and had another fabulous gluten free lunch.
You don’t have to have only sit-down meals either. Many of the quick-service stations have some sort of gluten free option to accommodate your needs. And I was amazed at how knowledgeable their cast members (what they call the “staff”) were on special diets and what was safe and not safe.
And to add to the gluten free options, Downtown Disney just added a gluten free and vegan bakery, Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, for even more options and yummy treats!
It was truly a wonderful experience. If you have a gluten free child who is begging to visit Disney – start packing (and not any food). You will have memories to last a lifetime and wonderful and safe food to boot.