Learn how to navigate the 2021 EPCOT Food and Wine Festival with food allergies.
The seasonal festivals at EPCOT serve up some of the best food and entertainment that Walt Disney World has to offer its guests. But, for guests with food allergies, ordering food at the booths can seem overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve put together some helpful tips for navigating the 2021 EPCOT Food and Wine Festival with food allergies.
The festival is currently ongoing through November 20, 2021, meaning you’ve got plenty of time to try out these tips and even check out our top 3 picks for guests with food allergies.
How to Safely Do 2021 EPCOT Food and Wine Festival with Food Allergies
Having food allergies or even a serious illness like celiac can make dining during Food and Wine complicated. But by following these tips, the only thing on the menu will be a safe and tasty day at EPCOT.
We’ll be covering eating with dietary restrictions at WDW in greater detail in our November 2021 FOOD issue! Subscribe by Oct. 31 to get your hands on our best-selling print edition as we cover food at the parks from every angle.
Read the Passport
First, read through the festival passport carefully. WDW has made a tremendous effort to accommodate guests who need to know ingredients of the foods they consume.
Disney has added symbols next to each offering on the booth menus and in the passport. The key for each symbol can be found on page 6 of the festival passport (a little booklet available at the front entrance to the park and at each booth).
You’ll find symbols for plant-based foods and gluten-free items. Please also note that the festival passport may actually be wrong. Be prepared to look at each of the booth menus in person, too. See my number one pick below for a clear discrepancy on how allergens were listed in the passport vs. at the festival booth.
And what if you are allergic to dairy but do not follow a plant-based diet? What if you have an unlisted allergy? Read on.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask
Second, always ask about the items and whether modifications can be made. Each booth has a binder with the foods it offers, with all of the ingredients listed and what allergens are in each dish.
You can ask to see that binder on your own, and you can ask to speak to a chef directly. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting a sauce on the side, and then you can dig in.
But my recommendation: Ask again. I recently went to the 2021 Food and Wine Festival and was told that an item had dairy in it. I am allergic to both dairy and gluten.
I responded, “Can you just double check for me?” It turned out that the dairy item was a side, not the item itself.
For those wondering, it was the BBQ Wings listed as my third pick below. The wings and sauce were both fine, but it was normally served with ranch dressing, which obviously has dairy. Had I not followed up, I would’ve missed out on eating at that booth.
Remember the Wine, Always
Lastly, if you are hesitant to try food items at the festivals because of allergies, remember it’s the Food and Wine festival. Don’t forget that there are plenty of drinks to choose that are mostly allergen free.
Top 3 Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Food and Wine Festival Dishes
Feeling hungry? Here are my top three festival foods that are both dairy and gluten free:
1. Chimichurri-up Offense
This was a clear winner! So tasty. Please note that the Festival Passport does not have this item listed as gluten free, but the booth photo clearly has it marked as a gluten-free offering.
2. Tofu Pho
Although slightly spicier than what I am used to, this dish was hearty and a ton of food. This item is marked as both gluten free and plant based on the Festival Passport.
3. Barbecue Wings
You can never go wrong with wings. As I mentioned above, only the ranch actually contains dairy so, despite this not being as listed as a dairy-free option, you can safely order this. Just hold the ranch!
Honorable Mention: Madras Red Curry
The India booth is marked in the Festival Passport as both gluten free and plant based, but it was not open during my visit. Originally, Disney intended to open this and all other remaining booths on Oct. 11, but just last week, WDW announced that all the booths are opening early. I’ll have to head back soon and try this out.