Special Dining Needs at Disney: Gluten Free? No Problem!

Traveling with a food allergy or dietary issues can be nerve wracking.  Luckily there is one place out there that I always trust with my dietary issues, Disney.  Those of you that have followed my writing for a while know about my introduction into the food allergy world.  I thought I would take the time to share with my newer friends my introduction into the crazy, bigger on the inside, more in depth then I thought, world of food allergies.

I had been feeling sick for a while but try as I might, taking out dairy and lactose wasn’t cutting it.  I was sure that was it because I was feeling a little better.  However I was still getting sick.  It just so happened I was on a trip down to Walt Disney World with my best friend to celebrate her graduation.  The last thing you ever want to happen to you on vacation is getting sick, any kind of sick.

Unfortunately after a wonderful whirlwind day at Epcot that is exactly what happened to me.  I was up almost all night sick, in a way I can now recognize as a reaction to having gluten.  With a call to my favorite nurse, my mother, she suggested something I was holding in my back pocket as a last resort.  She said to try going gluten free, something I was familiar with since I have family members who have gone gluten free and saw first hand how in depth it was.  I had experience with dining lactose free at Disney and figured, what better place to attempt going gluten free.

We headed into Hollywood Studies the next day and by the time I was hungry we found our way to the Sci-Fi Dine In.  At the hostess stand I was sure to let them know that I had a gluten allergy.  Although I wasn’t sure that was it just yet, I wanted to make sure I got a gluten free meal and I didn’t know much about it.  Once seated our server took our drink order and let me know that a chef would be out to discuss my options.  I am not ashamed to admit I was sulking a bit looking at what I could be eating and dreading the gluten free options, knowing that at other places they are plain and bland.  (My wonderful, funny fiancé would like me to share that his gluten free cooking, he’s the chef in our house, is neither bland nor plain and boring.)

Imagine my surprise when the chef showed up at our car, it is the Sci-Fi Dine In after all, and asked what I would like to eat.  I was expecting to be told two or three plain boring options to choose from, like a salad.  This was not the case, the chef really wanted to know what I wanted to eat, he said he could make just about anything, including French fries.  Those of you that are not on a gluten free diet may not understand what a big deal that is, anything fried is usually off the menu because they share a fryer with other gluteny items.  Unsure how to answer, the chef started to list some items, when he said he could make a pita sandwich with turkey (which I don’t usually like), avocado, bacon, lettuce and tomato with French fries.  I was sold and nodded: that would be my first gluten free meal.  It was a good thing that it was too because it set the standard for gluten free food and I wasn’t as worried about switching to a gluten free diet anymore.

I was lucky in a way, to try out a gluten free diet for the first time in Disney.  They are so dedicated in everything that they do it only makes sense that they pay attention to food allergies as well.   That first experience with gluten free, and feeling fine after eating, made me feel like it would be ok to be on a strict diet even when I would need to go on vacation.  It also made it easy for me to decide where I would like to go on vacation, although that was never really any contest.  It’s a great feeling being able to go out to eat, but even better is the feeling of being able to go on vacation where you can eat and not get sick.

So if you are someone with a food allergy or a dietary restriction I hope you will put your trust in Disney like I have.  Disney cares about their guests, and they don’t want you sick on your vacation either.  Ask questions, make your allergy known and be proud of it, because in Disney your food dreams may just come true!  So until next time my fellow food sensitive friends have faith and trust in the Disney chefs and good news, pixie dust is allergy free!

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Jess was born and raised on Long Island, New York but once college began so did her adventures. She’s lived in Florida, Wisconsin, and now South Carolina. Her family is part of the Disney Vacation Club and has been visiting since she was a little girl, and continuously goes every year. Besides being a big Disney fan she has also been a Disney Cast Member working in Magic Kingdom, and she counts it as one of the most magical experiences. She worked with everyone’s favorite elephant Dumbo, Cinderella’s Carousel, and Mickey’s Philharmagic. Jess has also visited Disneyland, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and gone on two Disney Cruises. She has so many great memories from Disney besides running half marathons and 5ks, birthday parties, and family reunions. If asked where she would want to go it is almost always Disney, and when asked why, it is almost always because she can eat awesome gluten free food! And it doesn’t hurt that there is always faith, trust, and pixie dust with magic in the air!

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