Author: Canadian Diva
To many people, the very word causes major eye rolls, conjuring up countless jokes and memes about this “dietary” way of life. However, to the Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Resort, gluten-free is nothing to laugh about. In my personal opinion, the Disney Company is probably one of the first major vacation destination that offered a variety of Gluten-free products. Why? Because they care about inclusion and people with special dietary needs. They have a whole department specifically for Special Diets which you can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Gluten-Free can be a healthy lifestyle choice for many or some people just feel better eating Gluten-Free as non-gluten free products can make some people feel a bit sick. BUT Gluten-Free products are absolutely ESSENTIAL for a lot of people like my 4 year old son. My son has multiple severe food allergies and one of his allergens is Wheat. He is anaphylactic to wheat and can only eat products that are Gluten-Free. If he eats any products that are not gluten-free it can be fatal, we have been to the hospital and the doctors have given epinephrine when we did not know he was allergic to wheat and he consumed products with wheat in it.
People who have Celiac Disease MUST be on a Gluten-Free diet as well. Stephanie Lowe of the TURN IT TEAL Organization has a child with Celiac Disease and here is what she says,
“Strict avoidance of all gluten is vital for managing Celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease. This includes being aware of cross contamination between gluten and gluten free ingredients, utensils and cooking surfaces.”
Stephanie Lowe is also a Food Allergy and Celiac Disease Awareness advocate. You can read more about her work and organization below.
Did you know that the month of MAY is officially Food Allergy Awareness Month AND Celiac Awareness Month?
To honour both Food Advocacies and Awareness Month, I would like to share our FAVOURITE GLUTEN-FREE treats at Walt Disney World!
Note: Always ask for the Chef at any eatery, Quick Service or Table Service (including Buffets) when ordering for severe Food Allergies or if you have Celiac Disease. For more tips on eating at Walt Disney World with Food Allergies, join this great group, the Disney Food Allergy Group.
Disclaimer: Always consult your Allergist and any Medical Specialists and your family doctor before traveling. The information about the following tips can change at anytime. The author as well as the whole team of the Tips from the Disney Diva, do not assume any responsibility for any injury caused, as you must always be personally vigilante, always researching and always asking when dealing with your own food allergies or those of your family members or anyone you are traveling with.
Please note that in addition to allergy to wheat, my son is also anaphylactic to dairy and egg. Therefore, I may not have included more of the variety of Gluten-Free products that Walt Disney World has to offer. Here are just a sample of our faves…..
You can get Gluten-Free Mickey Waffles at many of the Quick Service as well as Table Service restaurants for Breakfast. These adorable waffles are definite a treat. Before ordering, ALWAYS ask the Chef about the ingredients in the waffles as Walt Disney World has been known to change suppliers.
The waffles below are also vegan, they are dairy-free and egg-free so my son was able to eat this with no Food Allergy Issues.
PANCAKES & BACON
Going along with the Breakfast Theme, you can also get Gluten-Free Pancakes as well as Gluten-Free Bacon too, at various Quick Service and Table Service Eateries.
These pancakes are also vegan (dairy-free and egg-free) but the bacon is, of course, not vegan. As noted above, the pancake mixes that each restaurant uses can change anytime so always speak to the chef before ordering.
Diva Tip: at many Quick Service & Table Service restaurants in Walt Disney World, they offer Gluten-Free sausages as well. Please always ask for Chef to inquire.
Our favorite Gluten-Free (and vegan) Cupcakes are from Erin McKenna’s Bakery in Disney Springs. My son absolutely loves these cupcakes that come in a variety of delicious flavours.
Diva Tip: The cupcakes do not qualify as a “snack” credit on the Disney Dining Plan but some of the other Baked Goods at Erin McKenna’s do. Always ask a Cast Member upon ordering.
Special Mention: Sprinkles in Disney Springs also has a Gluten-Free Cupcake. We have not ordered their cupcakes because they are not dairy-free or egg-free, however if you are only having Gluten-free, this is also another option for you. Read about Sprinkles’ Gluten-Free Cupcakes here on the Gluten Free and Dairy Free, WDW blog.
Also at Erin McKenna’s in Disney Springs are her famous Donuts. All Gluten-Free and vegan. There are a variety of flavours like the classic chocolate and vanilla, they have a maple glazed donut and a “Samoa” donut as well. YUM.
Note: if you have a nut allergy, please read Erin McKenna’s Policy here.
BAGELS & TEA CAKES
When we visit Walt Disney World, we try to first head over to Erin McKenna’s and stock up on Bagels and Tea Cakes. We would order a box of these treats and save them in our Resort Fridge for a quick snack or breakfast during the week.
Diva Tip: We also were able to have Erin McKenna’s Tea Cakes at Be Our Guest Restaurant for Breakfast.
Note: Erin McKenna’s treats are also available pre-packaged at some of the Resort Quick Service Eateries. I’ve heard that guests have seen them at Beach Club as well as Art of Animation and POP Century, yet availability is always subject to change.
I am always grateful to Alexis Salerno of the blog, Alexis’s Gluten Free Adventures. She is such a great resource for traveling Gluten-Free and often posts about being Gluten-Free at Disney World, Disneyland and on Disney Cruises.
I found out from her, that the FAMOUS Beignets at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort’s eatery, Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, can be made Gluten-Free. These Beignets are so delicious that people would go out of their way (like our family did) to order these treats even if they are not staying at this Moderate Resort. The “regular” Beignets are Mickey Shaped, however the Gluten-Free and Allergy-friendly version is rectangular shaped as seen below. Again, always ask for the Chef to special order these Beignets for you. Alexis also mentions that you can order special Gluten-Free sauces to make the Beignets taste extra good! Yum!
To the average person, having a plate of Fries may not be a big deal, because there are Fries everywhere.. But to someone with Food Allergies or Celiac Disease, it’s a really big deal. Although Fries are made of potato and are naturally Gluten-Free, it’s the additives and cross contamination especially in the fryer that is of concern for those who cannot have Fries at most restaurants. My son was thrilled to have FRIES at Walt Disney World. Again, please ask for the Chef especially if you have other Food Allergies. Disney owned Quick Service and Table Service restaurants usually have dedicated fryers for Food Allergies which includes Gluten-Free foods.
ENJOY LIFE TREATS
I’ve mentioned this in previous articles (link) how we first discovered Enjoy Life Foods at Walt Disney World. After having Enjoy Life Food bars at Disney World, we were able to find these incredible treats back home. It’s really wonderful that Enjoy Life Foods products are available many of the Shops as “Snacks with Characters” but ALWAYS read the ingredients as not all “Snacks with Characters” are from Enjoy Life. Enjoy Life Food treats are also at many Quick Service Restaurants as “dessert” treats for Kid’s Meals and available at Table Service Restaurants including buffets.
SWEET Diva Story: a couple years ago, we were eating a Quick Service Meal at The Mara, Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Quick Service Restaurant. Chef Rickey was preparing my son’s Allergy-Friendly Meal and when we asked for dessert for my son, he did not have any prepackaged treats available.. So he went upstairs to BOMA (Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Buffet) and got Enjoy Life Cookies so my son could have Dessert. It was such a beautiful and kind thing Chef Rickey did for my son! This is why we love Disney Chefs.
Trick or TREAT
Speaking of Enjoy Life Foods, they also provide Allergy-Friendly Snacks for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This is a special ticketed event to celebrate Halloween at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Guests with Food Allergies or Celiac Disease can Trick or Treat safely with treats available. Read about the process in my throwback article here. Other Food Allergy brands also provide treats for this event too.
Fresh Fruit is available throughout Disney World including Fruit Cups (which many are snack credits). We even have gotten fruit at Starbucks when we wanted to snack on Fresh Fruit.
These refreshing frozen treats (available in Traditional Lemon flavour and Strawberry Lemonade) are prepackaged and sold throughout Walt Disney World. My son especially loved having these on hot summer days in Florida. Since they are prepackaged, we didn’t have to worry about Cross Contamination.
Special thanks again to Lindsey Bengivenga Klimuc for recommending this refreshing treat to us. Lindsey is the admin to this wonderful support group of Parents of Children with Multiple Food Allergies on Facebook, request to join here.
This is a bit of a controversial treat for our family. Although the Dole Whip itself (as well as the Peter Pan Float and all the new ”cool” flavours they just came out with at Walt Disney World) is Gluten-Free and Vegan, our family is worried about Cross Contamination with the “swirls” and toppings which are not allergy-friendly. You can order the Dole Whip in a cup so that it will be Gluten-Free, if you are worried about Cross Contamination, always talk to the Cast Member upon ordering or if there is a manager. Also, beware of any toppings.
For more information on the Dole Whip including ingredients list, Sarah Norris of the Gluten-Free and Dairy Free WDW has a whole Dole Whip Archive. Check out all her posts on all things gluten free as well as dairy free at Walt Disney World.
Our family has not tried the FAMOUS cotton candy at Disney World, yet!
According to Larry Welnowski, the photo below is of his son, Jared Welnoski with famous Food Allergy Chef, Chef TJ at Trail’s End Restaurant. Chef TJ always makes really great allergy-friendly means with the most spectacular dessert, below you can see with cotton candy. Cotton Candy is also available throughout the Walt Disney World Theme parks yet ALWAYS check ingredients first and as a Cast Member if you have any questions. To read more informative article about dining Disney World, check out their blog, Disney Food Allergy Group (which is the same admins who run the Facebook Group mentioned above).
Special Mention, DISNEYLAND
Disneyland also has a variety of Gluten-Free options. Our very own Allergy Mom Diva shared this photo on her Instagram, it’s the “Incredicookie” that is a gluten-free shortbread cookie filled with a Blackberry filling. Check out great articles by Allergy Mom Diva on Allergy-Friendly eats at Disneyland here on Tips from the Disney Diva.
Note: this cookie is Gluten-Free but contains rice flour, dairy and egg, she believes it’s clear of nuts, peanuts and soy however always ask when purchasing.
AROUND THE “WORLD”
When you go into the Shops in the Theme Parks and Resorts or to the Quick Service Restaurants at your Walt Disney World Resort, usually there is a great section and selection of Gluten-Free products. Always read the labels to make sure it is safe for you.
There is so much more Gluten-Free Treats at Walt Disney World, this is just a small list of our favourites. Keep in mind as well, that my family in particular, also needs to get treats that are dairy-free and egg-free so this limits are choices as compared to someone who only requires Gluten-Free foods.
Let us know your favourite Gluten-Free Treats are at Walt Disney World!
As mentioned above, Food Allergy Advocate, Stephanie Lowe is the founder of TurnitTeal.org. Teal is the official colour for Food Allergy Awareness (Light Green is the Official Colour of Celiac Disease Awareness).
Her mission statement is…
“Turn it Teal’s mission is to light as many sites possible during Food Allergy Awareness Month in order to raise awareness of life threatening food allergies. We want more people to become educated about food allergies, their daily impact on people, and how they can help those with allergies, perhaps some day helping to find a cure.”
Are you ready to start planning your magical vacation, but you aren’t sure where to start? Contact our recommended travel agent, Patricia at All Dreams for Travel, and she can do all the work for you. Best of all, all of her services are FREE, all you have to do is click here to request a quote!
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