Wondering how – and what – you can eat at Walt Disney World if you’ve gone gluten-free? We’re breaking down all of the delicious options you can try.
If there’s one place on earth where people who have celiac or gluten allergies can dine free from worry, it’s at Walt Disney World. Eating gluten-free at Walt Disney World’s easier than being gluten-free anywhere else. Walt Disney World’s the only place on the planet I trust as much as I trust my own kitchen.
Hi! I’m Cathy, and I have celiac. Diagnosed as an adult, I struggled with removing all gluten from my diet. Throughout my journey, there’s been some tears and anger and a lot of “do you really call that bread?” bread. Having spent most of my adult life avoiding gluten-free food like the plague, having to all of a sudden ask for it — and insist that no, I can’t simply remove the croutons from the salad and not get sick — made me feel like a freak. Grocery shopping was stressful, but eating out was worse. But there’s one place where I don’t feel like a pariah when I go out to eat, and that’s every restaurant at Walt Disney World.
So, whether you have celiac, a gluten intolerance, or avoid gluten because of other reasons, rest easy. I’ve eaten at Walt Disney World too many times to count since my celiac diagnosis, and never have I ever been glutened.
What is a Gluten-Free Diet?
If you have to eat gluten-free, you likely know all about where you can find gluten. The easiest answer: A gluten-free diet involves removing wheat and wheat products from your diet. But it get significantly complicated after that, because gluten shows up in soy sauce, food starch, and other items that don’t look or taste like bread (et tu, Twizzlers?).
This means that, for people with gluten allergies or celiac, eating food prepared anywhere other than their own kitchen poses a huge risk. For people with celiac, eating gluten can result in osteoporosis, anemia, and, in some cases, calcium deposits on their brain. So eating gluten-free is no joke for them.
Fortunately, the Walt Disney World Resort takes celiac and gluten allergies (as well as a host of other food allergies) as seriously as you do. Dining gluten-free at Walt Disney World is relatively easy — but you do need to know a few things.
A Gluten-Free Guide to Walt Disney World Dining
Here’s what you need to know to have a magical gluten-free experience at Walt Disney World.
Gluten-Free Walt Disney World: Planning
- If you’re making ADRs, find the restaurant’s menu online, then click “View Menu.” Scroll wayyyyyyyy down to the bottom, below the drink selections, and you’ll find an allergy-friendly menu.
- But be careful — some things on this menu aren’t safe for gluten allergies or people with celiac. Only things marked (For Gluten/Wheat) are safe for people with celiac or gluten allergies. Yes, that can be confusing.
- When you make your ADR, note your gluten allergy. This option appears on the last screen before you enter your credit card information.
Now, let’s break down the differences between gluten-free dining at table-service and quick-service restaurants. Before we do, though, here’s what you should expect.
- With the exception of Disney Springs, every restaurant on property has gluten-free hamburger buns.
- Most restaurants with pasta can make gluten-free pasta.
- Disney has dedicated fryers, so you can safely eat french fries without worry.
- Your server (at Table-Service restaurants) or person taking your order (at Quick-Service restaurants) might ask if you want to speak with the chef, or the manager, respectively. If they don’t and you have questions, ask to do so.
Gluten-Free Walt Disney World Table-Service Restaurants
- Every restaurant at the theme parks, resort hotels, and on-property (with the exception of Disney Springs; more on that in a bit) has an up-to-date allergen menu on the Walt Disney World website. Scroll down to the bottom of the menu to see your gluten-free choice.
- Don’t see something gluten-free that you really want? In many cases, the restaurant can accommodate you. Sometimes they can’t — but always ask.
- When you arrive at the restaurant, the host or hostess will confirm you have a gluten allergy. If they do not, speak up! Your ticket should also have “allergy” stamped on it. If it does not, ask them if the reservation has a gluten allergy noted.
- In most cases, you will get an allergen menu. If you have any questions, ask! The servers at Walt Disney World Resort can help you find a gluten-free lunch, dinner, appetizer, or dessert. As soon as my server at Skipper Canteen approached our table, he told us, “Today we have Brazilian Cheese Bread on the secret menu — you’re going to love it!” He was 100% correct about these delicious gluten-free cheesy bites.
- If you still have questions, you can ask to see a chef. The chef will come to your table and help you find a delicious meal.
- Your food will come with a wooden toothpick stamped with the word “allergy.” The server will also confirm you’re getting a gluten-free dish. If this doesn’t happen, do not eat that food until you confirm it’s gluten free (I’ve never had this not happen).
Table-Service Bonus: You can get gluten-free bread — and your own butter — before the meal (if the restaurant offers bread before the meal).
Gluten-Free Walt Disney World Quick-Service Restaurants
- You can view the menu on your phone using your MDX map (follow the same process as you would to view the menu when making ADRs). Also, you can also ask for a hard copy allergen menu.
- Expect your order to take a few more moments than your dining companions. They’re making it fresh.
- Mobile ordering has an “allergy friendly” option, so you can mobile order your food.
- When you get your food, the Cast Member should confirm it’s a gluten-free meal.
Quick-Service Bonus: You can get gluten-free chicken tenders (yes, with the breading) at most places.
Gluten-Free Dining at Disney Springs
Unfortunately, not every restaurant at Disney Springs has the robust list of gluten-free offerings as the rest of Walt Disney World. Several Disney Springs restaurants have told me to check their website for menus rather than the official Disney menus.
Because these restaurants represent partnerships with some of the finest eateries in the country, each menu has diverse offerings — but sometimes without as many gluten-free choices. For example, you can’t get a gluten-free hamburger bun at House of Blues. And, when I ordered off the allergen menu at Jaleo a few years back, my “egg taco” wasn’t an egg taco at all.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t worry: You will find plenty of gluten-free food at Disney Springs — but after getting spoiled by the Disney chefs who create menus throughout the park, it’s a little too close to the real world for some.