Author: Canadian Diva
Disclaimer: Always consult your Allergist and Medical Specialists especially when you travel. The information about our experience can be completely different than what you may have. Situations, staff, as well as menus and ingredients at Walt Disney World are constantly changing. Here at the Tips from the Disney Diva, we do not assume any responsibility for any injury caused, as you must always be personally vigilante, always researching and always asking questions when dealing with your food allergies or those of your family members or anyone you are traveling with.
San Angel Inn Restaurante is a table service restaurant located in the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase. The restaurant is inside the Mexican-themed Pyramid which is the feature of this Pavilion. As you enter you, twilight is upon you, so it is romantically dark. As you stroll past the marketplace, you will see San Angel Inn, a beautiful open restaurant with a volcano in the background.
I have always been fascinated by this restaurant whenever I visited the Mexico Pavilion. And it has been on my bucket list to dine here but I have often read mixed reviews. Many people say it’s too dark, and the food can be hit or miss. And I heard, if someone has Food Allergies, this is not one of the best restaurants to go to at Walt Disney World. However, after finally visiting this San Angel Inn on a whim, I must say we had a truly fabulous lunch with fantastic service, especially for my son with severe food allergies (he is anaphylactic to dairy, wheat, egg, and sesame).
Here is the story of how we ended up at San Angel Inn Restaurante…
We went to Epcot during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. We knew that for our four year son with severe Food Allergies, he would not be able to eat anything at the festival. Earlier that day, we had breakfast at Sunshine Seasons and then we planned to tour the World Showcase. Our original plan was to head back to Sunshine Seasons for lunch after touring the World Showcase but my son was getting tired, hungry and cranky (and Sunshine Seasons is a bit of a far walk from the area we were at in the World Showcase). My husband asked me to quickly find a table service restaurant that we could possibly try.
I was hesitant to pick San Angels Inn because of the mixed reviews I have heard about but went in anyway to the front of the restaurant to see if they could accommodate my son.
Diva Tip: with Food Allergies, ALWAYS have a Plan B. If I didn’t feel comfortable, we would have headed back to Sunshine Season’s Quick Service Eatery where we know my son has always had safe meals here.
I walked up to the Host and asked if they had any reservations (Epcot wasn’t busy that day and it was later in the afternoon*), he said yes! I then ask if they could accommodate allergies, he said they could and then asked me, “What’s the allergy?” (My guess is if my son had corn and soy, it may be harder to accommodate him) I told him that my son is allergic to Dairy, Wheat, Egg, and Sesame and he said it shouldn’t be a problem and for us to talk to our server and the chef will come out. He instructed for us to wait for about 15 – 20 minutes for our table.
Diva Tip: while I was asking the host questions and waiting for our table, my family went to the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (located in the Pyramid. You can also walk around the marketplace while you are waiting for your table, they will provide you with a buzzer.
The table was ready for us! We were fortunate to have a corner table right near the front. I have heard that it can be very loud and tables in the middle of the restaurant feel very close to other patrons – making it feel a bit cramped and noisy. The place we were seated at was so perfect. It felt intimate and comfortable.
Diva Tip: You can ask to see if they have a corner table away from the busy sections if you want a more quieter meal. It is not guaranteed but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
We were introduced to the most wonderful Cast Member who said she will be our server. Her name is Eleyna. We informed her right away about our son’s allergies and she was genuinely concerned. She was so very caring, letting us know that she will help us. She brought out the chef, Chef Moises to talk to us.
Food Allergy Tip: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS speak to a Chef at any restaurant in Walt Disney World.
Chef Moises went over with us what my son could eat and he assured us that there will be no cross-contamination. Eleyna stood there the ENTIRE time listening to our conversation with the Chef, seeming to observe everything so she can know what she is serving my son.
First, she brought out the salsa and chips came out (the salsa was not for my son). We asked Eleyna about the chips and she went to double-check that they were fried in a dedicated fryer with no gluten. She confirmed they were safe for my son and brought a separate set from the kitchen for him, to make sure he did not come in contact with any other food.
The chips were probably some of the BEST chips I have tasted and my family loved the salsa (again, my son could not have the salsa).
Our meal came. My son had chicken tacos (the soft tortilla was made with corn) and a side of sautéed green beans. He enjoyed his meal, especially the beans. He devoured the beans. Eleyna noticed this and asked the chef to make more for my son which was so kind of her to go out of her way to do!
Throughout the whole meal, Eleyna kept checking if my son was okay. She seemed to really be aware of and care for my son’s situation.
After our meal, Eleyna quietly came up to me and said that she noticed it’s my birthday (I was wearing my Birthday Button). She explained that normally they would bring out a free cupcake for me and sing Happy Birthday but she was worried about my son. She was afraid he might get upset or jealous if they didn’t have a safe dessert for him. She wanted to check with us first. She mentioned that they may have a sorbet that could be safe for him, but she needed to check the ingredients. I thanked her so much for being incredibly thoughtful and told her we were all so full that it’s okay, we can all skip dessert.
Food Allergy Tip: we always carry a couple of Erin McKenna mini brownies or cupcakes we buy from Disney Springs (the Mini brownies are found in some Disney Resorts’ quick service) for situations like an emergency dessert or treat. So our family did have dessert and if a restaurant they didn’t have an option for my son, we had a backup!
I was very touched by the attention Eleyna gave us and especially towards my son’s food allergies. It meant a lot that we have a server who cared and made sure my son was always safe! She truly made our lunch so magical.
Would I recommend San Angel Inn Restaurante? From our experience yes!
However note the factors: we went during a non-busy season at Walt Disney World, we also went during an off-peak for meals so the restaurant was not as busy, we had a more quiet corner table and we were able to communicate about our Food Allergy concerns and we had the most magical Cast Member as our Server. Hopefully, when you visit this Mexican-themed dining, you will have the same magic we experienced.
*Advanced Dining Reservations is highly recommended for any Table Service Restaurant at Walt Disney World. We were fortunate to get a table last minute because it was not a busy time.
You can use the Disney Dining Plan, one table service credit at San Angel Inn. I personally think it’s a great use of a Table Service Credit. We all enjoyed our meals very much and it was very filling.
Note that San Angel Inn is not one of the Disney-owned restaurants. It is independently operated. Many say this could affect standards for people with Food Allergies. As you can see from our experience, they went above and beyond for us! However, whenever you travel with Food Allergies, you must always be on your guard, never be afraid to ask questions or walk away if you feel uncomfortable.
A similar review was posted originally in the Facebook Group: Food Allergy Adventurers Club: managing food allergies at Disney which is a great resource for visiting Walt Disney World with Food Allergies.
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