How to Order at Disney World Restaurants with Allergies and Special Dietary Needs

Including Celiac, Gluten Intolerance, Vegan, Vegetarian, Low Carb, Low Salt, Diabetes etc.

If you haven’t yet, you may want to read How to Make Disney World Dining Reservations with Special Dietary Needs. 

This page has all the basic FAQs you’ll need to order in any Disney restaurant with special dietary needs.

Read this page first. Then once you’ve read this page, you can visit the following pages for details about ordering in the different kinds of Disney World restaurants with special dietary needs:

To order at Disney World Restaurants with Special Dietary needs, here are the basic facts:

♦ Allergy menus at Disney World

Some of the Disney World restaurants have allergy menus designed to support those with the most common allergens, gluten or wheat, shellfish, soy, lactose or dairy, peanuts and tree nuts, fish, eggs and corn. Visit here to read all about the allergy menus at Disney World, and to see samples.

♦ Substitute Foods and Alternative Products at Disney World 

Some but not all Disney World restaurants stock substitute foods for people with allergies or other special dietary needs. For example they might stock gluten free pasta, rolls or flour, or peanut free brownies. The substitute foods available in each Disney restaurant vary. For more information on the Alternative products at Disney World visit here. 

♦ Asking to speak with a manager or chef at the Disney World restaurants is often necessary. 

At Disney, guests consulting with a chef, manager or coordinator is an accepted and common practice. They are trained to help, and we’ve found them to be extremely supportive.

There are several situations where you may want to speak with a chef, manager or coordinator:

  1. You have an allergy or intolerance.
  2. Your special dietary need is something other than an allergy.
  3. Even if there’s an allergy menu and you have an allergy, you feel more comfortable speaking with a chef or manager.
  4. You’d like to know if there are other options not shown on the allergy menu or even the regular menu.

Who exactly should you ask for and who will you speak with? 

Table service restaurants – You can ask to speak with a chef at table service restaurants. Usually they’ll send out a chef to your table, but occasionally you’ll get a manager. Either way you should get to speak with someone who is well trained to help you and to see that your food is prepped safely and properly.

Quick service restaurants – You can ask to speak with a manager or chef. Though they may send a chef or manager, it’s usually someone with the title of coordinator. The’ll come and speak with you, and they’ll probably be the one to prepare your meal. Whoever they send, the person should be well trained and able to make sure that you get what you need.

♦ Does everyone with a special dietary need to speak with a chef, manager or coordinator?

It may not be necessary if your special dietary need allows you to order off of the regular menu or the allergy menu without additional changes. For example, if you’re a vegetarian, some of the regularly offered menu items may meet your dietary requirements. In fact pretty much every restaurant at Disney World will offer at least one vegetarian or vegan dish.

However if it would help you at all, even to just feel more comfortable, don’t hesitate to ask for a chef or manager.

♦ What can the chef, manager or coordinator do for you?

When you ask to speak with a manager or chef, they should be able to help you decide what your options are. The options will vary, depending upon the restaurant. The full service restaurants tend to have the most flexibility because they can cook from scratch. Counter service restaurants vary widely with how much flexibility they have. Some have a great deal of flexibility and others, especially some of the smaller locations, have very little or none.

Chefs in counter service and full service restaurants can sometimes do the following:
  • Make substitutions with items they have on hand, such as replacing French fries with fruit.
  • Substitute special items that omit the allergen you need to avoid, such as non-dairy milk or gluten free buns.
  • Leave something off of the meal. For example, vegetarians may be able to get a chicken salad without the chicken at some locations.
  • Use dedicated fryers or other allergy friendly tools. So for example, with French fries, some restaurants have allergen free dedicated fryers. They may also be able to bake them instead of frying.

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 and has not gone through the common 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, you can not rely on the fryer or the oil to be allergen or gluten free.

We hear that the filtration system is used on fryers (even dedicated fryers) throughout the Disney quick service restaurants. We still 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.

Naturally the available ingredients at counter-service locations are more limited than those at full-service restaurants. Keep in mind that most of them are unable to create a dish that doesn’t include ingredients already on the menu. If this is a problem for you, consider planning to eat at table service restaurants where they have more flexibility to cook from scratch.

♦ Does the idea of speaking with a chef or manager feel awkward and uncomfortable to you? 

Don’t worry! While speaking directly with a chef is not commonly done in restaurants outside of Disney World, it is commonly done at Disney. In our experience the chef’s and managers always seem happy to help. In fact, it’s the surest way of getting your needs met correctly. With that in mind don’t hesitate to request to speak with the chef or manager.

♦ Do you feel you DON’T need a chef or manager because you’ve eaten there before?

You’ll still want to talk with a chef every time if you have allergies, celiac or other less common special dietary needs. Even if your ordering something you’ve had in the past, remember that ingredients can change at any time, so it’s better to be on the safe side.

♦ Additional tips for ordering with special dietary needs

wherever you are, you can request to view product labels if you feel it’s necessary.

– At each restaurant you can discuss preparation techniques with the chef if necessary, to determine if cross-contamination is more or less of a concern in that kitchen and to minimize the possibility.

– To view Disney’s current recommendations for those with special dietary needs, visit their website page here:

– A Disney chef told us that if you’re very allergic or sensitive, you may wish to request that the chefs prepare your food in a well-cleaned pan, using only clean cooking appliances and utensils. This may seem obvious, but we’ve been told by a chef at Disney to always check on this. They often use the same pan and utensils multiple times when preparing meals. Although it seems logical that they would know to use a clean pan when preparing a meal for someone with a sensitivity, it’s possible for a chef without experience or under pressure to skip this step. Don’t be embarrassed to make this type of request. Your safety is important.

Consider carrying a device such as an iPad or iPhone so you can look up particular brands if you wish to confirm that they’re free of the allergen(s) you’re avoiding. If you’re checking during business hours, you can usually find the phone number of customer service for a company and call to confirm it’s free of the allergen(s).

♦ For specific suggestions for ordering with special dietary needs in different kinds of restaurants, check out the following links:

For more information on Disney World Dining visit here. 

For more information on Disney World dining with special dietary needs, visit here. 

For more Disney World planning tips, check out this page here:

Easy Steps for Planning Your Trip to Disney World



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