Table Service Restaurants with Allergies, Gluten Intolerance, Celiac, Low Carb, Low Sugar, Low Sodium, Diabetes, Low Fat, Dairy Free, Lactose Free, etc.
If you haven’t already, visit our starting page for this subject. You’ll find all the basic information common to all types of Disney World restaurants there. The article is called:
In this article we’ll cover:
- How to order with special dietary needs in a full service Disney restaurant
- When to talk with a chef or manager in a full service Disney restaurant
- The kind of meal options can you expect from Disney full service restaurants if you have special dietary needs
- Answers to common questions about dining at Disney full service restaurants with special dietary needs.
Steps for Ordering at Table Service/Full Service Restaurants with Special Dietary Needs
When you walk into a quick table service restaurant, you’ll want to do the following:
- Remind the Cast Member at check-in about your special dietary needs.
- Remind your server about your special dietary needs.
- Request an allergy menu if you need one (they may or may not have them. You can read about Disney allergy menus here).
- Request to speak with a manager or chef. This is optional.
There should always be someone on staff who is knowledgeable about handling special dietary needs
At the full-service restaurants, there will usually be at least one person on staff trained to know what foods are safe for various conditions. They should know about the procedures for handling special dietary needs, and about the products and ingredients they cook with.
To read about the training that the Disney chefs and non-Disney chefs on Disney property receive for allergy food preparation techniques and other special dietary needs, check out this article called Is Disney World Manageable for people with Special Dietary Needs?
Do you have to speak with a chef or manager in the full service restaurants?
Most table service restaurants will automatically have a chef or manager come to your table if you have special dietary nees, but if they don’t, you can request it. If you have an allergy, celiac or a more unusual special dietary need, we suggest that you do! While it’s not required to speak with a chef or manager, it allows you to:
- Express your needs.
- Ask any questions
- Hear about your options.
- Discuss preparation techniques to determine if cross-contamination is more or less of a concern in the specific kitchen.
If needed, some chefs will even allow you to look at the packages for ingredients (if they’re small enough to carry out to you). After speaking with the chef, he/she may opt to cook your meals from scratch using the ingredients on hand, or use some or all of the pre-prepared items if they meet your needs. They also may have some food substitutes on hand that they’ll offer to use. In the non-Disney owned restaurants it’s often the same process, however the lengths they’ll go to are usually less certain.
What if the waiter insists on handling my order rather than a chef or manager?
At times in full service restaurants we’ve had waiters who have insisted on handling our special dietary needs. This seems to happen more frequently at the non-Disney owned restaurants, however it has happened at Disney owned restaurants as well. Sometimes they really do know their stuff. However at times we’ve encountered people who despite their apparent confidence really weren’t well-informed.
At least a couple times upon speaking with the chef, we found that the wait person was incorrect when they advised us about what we could have on the menu. It’s always safest to consult with the chef or manager; especially if you have a severe allergy. You may want to strongly request to speak with a manager or chef.
There are some restaurants that have trained their wait staff to take allergy orders using the allergy menu. Though the waitperson can take you’re order, remember that you’re still welcome to request a chef if you’d feel more comfortable. My wife has allergies, and we’ve found that this works out fine if there’s something on the menu that she wants. If not, or if she needs changes to the dish, she’ll request a chef.
Will you always be able to have something made for you that meets your needs?
In general, Disney World table service restaurants have a lot of flexibility, especially compared to quick service restaurants. Those with more common special dietary needs will do great in Disney World counter service and full service restaurants. If your needs are more unusual, the Disney owned full-service restaurants will be your best bet. The full service restaurants can almost always handle a wide range of issues, and they can usually cook you meals from scratch. This means that they’ll have greater flexibility leaving out things that you don’t want, and using substitutes.
If you feel your special dietary needs are very unusual, be sure to contact the Special Diets department before your trip. Do this preferably at least 2 weeks before. You can find all their contact information and info on what the Special Diets department will do for you here.
How many options will you have at the Disney World full service restaurants?
This will depend upon:
- Your special dietary needs.
- The menu of the restaurant you’re in.
- The cooking facility and whether they have things like dedicated fryers, etc.
- Whether or not they carry replacement products like gluten free flour and bread, dairy free milk, etc.
Some of the tables service restaurants really cater to those with special dietary needs, and offer a ton of options! They may have special products, dedicated fryers, etc. For example 50’s Prime Time restaurant in Hollywood Studios has a dedicated fryer for chicken, and those with allergies or intolerance to gluten can have fresh fried chicken made for them with gluten free and allergen free flour.
Tip: Check on the dedicated fryer before ordering. Always make sure that the oil used in the dedicated fryers 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. It’s all filtered and then re-used.
Then there are some restaurants that don’t have any special products. They will still make you something from the menu, though it might be less exciting.
On this site we’ll be sharing the lengths the various restaurants will go to for people with special dietary needs. Keep in mind that almost all of the non-Disney owned restaurants will also be able to support most special dietary needs. Disney does have certain requirements for them. Read about the difference in training requirements for non-Disney restaurants in the article Is Disney World Manageable for people with Special Dietary Needs?
For more Disney World planning tips, check out this page here:
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