Disney World Quick Food Restaurants with Allergies — Celiac — Gluten Intolerance — Low-Sodium — Metabolic disorders — PKU — No Sugar Added — Sugar-Free — Low-Fat — Low-Carb — Vegetarian — Vegan — etc…
Before we start, if you haven’t already, visit our starting page for this subject. You’ll find the basic info common to all Disney World restaurants that you’ll need. It’s called:
You can also check out the article called: How to Use Mobile Ordering, which includes information on ordering with allergies or special dietary needs.
Now we’ll discuss extra tips for counter service restaurants. Please note that the terms “counter service” and “quick service” are interchangeable.
There are some quick service restaurants in the parks that Disney has set up to be “special dietary needs friendly” locations.
These Disney World counter service restaurants offer more choices to those with allergies and special dietary needs than other counter service restaurants. They’re set up to handle all of the common food allergies and intolerance’s, and they carry many substitute food items. For example, they may have gluten-free, no sugar added, sugar-free, low-fat, low-carb and low-sodium options. They should always have allergy and special dietary needs trained staff on hand to talk with you.
These allergy and special dietary needs friendly quick service restaurants include:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
– Backlot Express
– ABC Commissary
– Liberty Inn
– Sunshine Seasons
– Electric Umbrella
Magic Kingdom Park:
– Be Our Guest (Breakfast and Lunch Only)
– Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
– Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café
– Columbia Harbour House
– The Pinocchio Village Haus
– Casey’s Corner
Many of these restaurants have allergy menus. All restaurants will have a book with all of the ingredients in their menu items. You can request to see either or both of these.
How to Order at Counter Service Restaurants with Special Dietary Needs
Whatever your special dietary need, ordering your meals at a Disney World Quick service restaurant is easy once you get the hang of it. Whether you’re vegan, low carb, or you have challenges like allergies, diabetes, celiac or gluten intolerance, Disney will usually be able to take great care of you.
When you walk into a quick service/counter service restaurant, depending on your needs, you’ll either want to:
- Request to speak with a manager or chef. General details on how to do this are in the article mentioned above – Ordering Your Meals at Disney World with Special Dietary Needs. We’ll give you some additional details specific to ordering in counter service restaurants below.
- Ask the cashier for an allergy menu if you have allergies. (Read about allergy menus and how they work here)
You can do both of the above if you’d like! Also if you’d like, you can ask any server or chef for an ingredients book, which will list all the ingredients in the posted food options. If you’ve asked a server and they’re not aware of the ingredients book, ask for a supervisor or chef to assist you.
My wife has food allergies. When we walk into a quick service restaurant we usually start by asking a cashier for an allergy menu. If there is one, my wife will take a moment to look it over. If it has something on it she’d like, we’ll get in line and order from the cashier. If she doesn’t see exactly what she’d like, or if she needs to change something, we’ll ask for a chef to come speak with us. The cashier will have a chef or manager come speak with us.
Allergies or gluten issues – ordering at a Disney World counter service / quick service restaurant
For those with allergies or gluten issues, ordering from the allergy menu can be great if you see what you want. The cashier will take your order and put a code into the register that lets the staff know that it’s an allergy order. In the back they’ll handle your order using cross-contamination avoidance techniques.
If you don’t see what you want on the allergy menu, feel free to ask to speak with a chef or manager. They may be able to offer you alternatives.
Even if a restaurant has an allergy menu with something you want on it, some people just feel more comfortable when they get to speak with a manager or chef. This is common for people with a severe allergy or intolerance. Don’t hesitate to request this. Personally we like having that extra confirmation from a manager or chef that our order is being handled carefully.
How do you request to speak with a chef or manager at Disney quick service restaurants?
When you enter the restaurant, you can ask any Cast Member that you see to get one for you.
Sometimes the chef or manager will come out immediately, but at times we’ve had to wait as long as 10-15 minutes. However it’s usually fairly quick and always worth it!
Tip: Disney’s Special Diets department suggests that when you’re dealing with servers or cashiers, tell them that you have an allergy rather than a different illness like Celiac, gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance. Most of these people are not trained to know about health concerns and special dietary needs. However if you mention the “allergy” word, they’ll be able to give you the allergy menu, or get a manager or chef who is liable to have had training.
What can the chef do for you in the Disney counter service restaurants?
They can sometimes make simple substitutions, such as replacing french fries with fruit, or a regular bun with a gluten free bun. They may also be able to leave something off of the meal. For example, vegetarians may be able to get a chicken salad without the chicken.
For the locations that are set up to handle special dietary needs more extensively that we mentioned above, they can usually do a lot more. For example, they may have a dedicated fryer to make gluten-free french fries, or if not, they may be able to bake them separately. They might even be able to create certain items from scratch.
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.
More tips for ordering in counter service restaurants with special dietary needs
To avoid cross contamination from filtered and reused oil, some restaurants will separately bake things for you that are normally fried, like French fries or chicken tenders. For example we’ve had this done in Cosmic Ray’s at Magic Kingdom. Ask the chef or manager about this.
If you have a special request and a front-line cast member says it can’t be done, you have the option of asking for a supervisor. Sometimes they’re willing and able to go further for you than one of the front-line cast members.
Throughout Disney World in the Disney-owned counter-service restaurants, there are certain foods that should be allergen-free and/or gluten-free provided they’re cooked with proper cross-contamination avoidance procedures. For example, hot dogs and hamburgers are fairly easy to find and should be gluten free. Of course it’s important to verify this wherever you go.
If you have special dietary needs that are not common, you can call to find out exactly which over-the-counter locations can meet your specific dietary needs best. Call the Special Dietary Requests line at (407) 824-5967.
If you’re visiting last minute and need information and help, you can also call the dining headquarters at each Disney park. Please be sure to only use these numbers if it’s a last minute need. They don’t have the manpower to field all of the individual advance trip calls. That’s what the Special Dietary Requests line is for. For last minute special dietary information call:
|Animal Kingdom||(407) 938-3288|
|Magic Kingdom||(407) 824-5967|
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
|Hollywood Studios||(407) 560-7830|
For more Disney World planning tips, check out this page here:
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