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.
WARNING: Ask about the oil in the “dedicated fryers”. While many Disney restaurants have dedicated fryers for things such as gluten-free, allergy free French fries or chicken nuggets, always make sure that the oil used is 100% separate, fresh and new, and has not gone through the filtration system. In this system, oil from non-dedicated fryers can be mingled with oil from dedicated fryers. Then it’s all filtered and re-used. So unless the oil in the dedicated fryer never goes through the filtration system, and is brand new every time it’s changed, you can not rely on the fryer or the oil to be allergen or gluten free.
So ask the manager or chef if the oil used in the dedicated fryer has gone through the filtration system or if it is completely new. Also ask the chef if the dedicated fryer always has new and fresh oil, or if it sometimes has the filtered oil.
We hear that the filtration system is used on fryers (even dedicated fryers) throughout the Disney quick service restaurants, so avoid these. Of course things change at Disney frequently so it doesn’t hurt to ask. We also recommend checking at the full service restaurants as well, though you’re more likely to find some true dedicated fryers.
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.
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:
For more Disney World planning tips, check out this page here:
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