Disney World has a huge fan base among those with Celiac and gluten intolerance. It’s no wonder. With the massive amount of dining options available there, and the extensive food safety training the chefs receive, it’s possibly one of the easiest destinations in the world to visit, if not the easiest.
Disney has hundreds of restaurants, and most of them have a variety of gluten free options. According to Walt Disney World Catering, gluten free is Disney’s top special dietary request. In our opinion (my wife and myself), they’ve risen to the challenge and gone way beyond.
In the “real world”, dining strictly gluten free often means that it’s necessary to order tasteless, simple dishes to avoid possible gluten based additives. Some restaurants have gluten free menus, but most just have some of the items from the main menu, along with a note for each dish stating what you need to leave off to make it gluten free. Usually what ends up on your plate is an unappealing, bare dish. So for example you might end up with a salad with lemon on it, a plain baked potato, and a plain piece of broiled fish.
With Disney, it’s a different world. We find that almost all of the Disney-owned full-service restaurants have many gluten free options, and they often include gluten free substitute foods. For example there are a couple of restaurants where you can get breaded and deep fried fish and chips, made with a gluten free breading and fried in a dedicated fryer. We’ll talk more about the dedicated fryers below.
Gluten free Disney fans love the wide variety of options throughout the resort and parks! Here’s a comment from one of them:
“If I get glutened, I’m in misery and practically bed-bound for a week. I used to love eating out, and I enjoyed all kinds of foods, but I’m only able to eat safely at the same few restaurants in my area. Every time I visit Disney World, I gain around 10 pounds, but it’s 10 pounds of absolute pleasure! It’s awesome to be able to choose from so many restaurants. I can easily get a hot dog and French fries, eat Asian, Mexican, African, UK, and everything else! Even breakfast is a blast. I’ve had great experiences, and I’ve never gotten sick.”
Disney has even been stocking gluten free snacks in their stores, gift shops and snack locations.
Start planning for your Disney Dining here with step by step directions for managing at Disney with special dietary needs:
If you’re planning a visit and you have celiac or gluten intolerance, START HERE:
You’ll find step by step instructions to help make your reservations and to help you order when you’re in any Disney World restaurant. There are also answers to a wide variety of questions for managing at Disney with special dietary needs, including celiac and gluten intolerance.
Now get ready to have a wonderful time!
You can also check out a couple sites that have restaurant reviews for gluten free dining in Disney World and in the Orlando area:
Before we go, let’s talk about the dedicated fryers at Disney World.
Is it safe for those with celiac and gluten intolerance to eat food made in the allergy friendly/gluten free dedicated fryers in the parks and resorts? Within the Facebook Disney community there was some confusion about the purity of the oil. Here’s what we’ve been told from a trusted source:
What’s the deal on the purity of the oil in the Disney World dedicated fryers?
We’ve gotten some clarification through Sarah at Gluten Free Dairy Free WDW who was able to contact the head of Disney’s Special Diets Department, Gary Jones. Here’s what Sarah said regarding the feedback she received about the purity of the dedicated allergy/gluten free dedicated fryers at Disney World:
“There’s been a lot of rumors going around lately about the allergy-friendly fryers at Walt Disney World recycling oil every night and contaminating the allergy-friendly fryer oil. Disney’s Special Diets Department have also sent out some pretty unsettling emails that indicated that this might be true. I reached out to the head of Disney’s Special Diets Department Gary Jones for some clarification. It took a while why he investigated, but today he followed up with some updates. Here’s what he said about the allergy-friendly fryers and oil.Here’s what he had to say:
‘All locations at Walt Disney World Resort follow procedures to provide allergy-friendly meals for our Guests. Our fryers reserved for allergy-friendly meals are cleaned daily and refilled with fresh oil. Some locations have fryers with self-contained filtering mechanisms. In these cases, the allergy-friendly fryer is cleaned separately and refilled with fresh oil. Some locations with multiple fryers—one of which is reserved for allergy-friendly orders —may require a portable filtering machine. In these locations, filtered oil is only used to top off the non-allergy specific fryers. New oil is always used in the clean allergy-friendly specific fryer.’
I had also reached out to some chef friends at Disney and they confirmed that this was the case too, so this is really good news on the allergy-friendly fryer front!”
In addition, we received the same statement directly from Alison Lovell of the Special Diets Team at Disney.
When you’re dining at any of the restaurants in Disney World, it’s still a good idea to ask about the oil in the dedicated fryers. This is especially true if you’re very sensitive. So ask the manager or chef if the oil used in the dedicated fryer has gone through the common filtration system, or a dedicated allergy safe filtration system, or if it is filled with completely new, fresh oil. You may also want to ask if the fryer always has new oil or oil filtered in a dedicated gluten free filtration system.
As an alternative, some restaurants can bake the food separately. Ask your server or a chef about these things when you’re ordering to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination.
For more Disney World planning tips, check out this page here:
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