Dinners at Walt Disney World was a great experience as well. I usually can figure out what is gluten free friendly and what isn’t for dinner in most restaurants. For example: Farro-no, risotto-yes, pasta-no, and quinoa-yes. For our first meal at Disney, we tried Citricos at The Grand Floridian. The amazing experience we had at this meal lead us to want try so many other restaurants at Disney. I think it’s important to go through the process we had at the restaurant as it lets other know what to expect when dining at a Disney restaurant. There were very few restaurants where our experience varied. It’s also important because Disney is so know for it’s consistency in handling food allergies so it really stood out when we did not have the service and assistance that we came to expect.
At Citrico’s, we checked in with the hostess stand where my food allergy was noted on our ticket. After being seated we were greeted by our server who acknowledged my gluten allergy. He mentioned that he would have the chef come out to our table to review the menu with us. Our server then said he would warm up some gluten free bread. I’ve read comments online about the Ener-G tapioca rolls so I was a bit concerned about their taste-I thought they were decent. It’s not a roll I want at every meal (some resorts at Disney have them as the only gluten free bread option). I thought it tasted like a honey wheat roll that was fine with butter at dinner. The chef quickly came out to our table and reviewed every item on the menu. He noted what could be changed to become gluten free and also what was already prepared gluten free. At Citricos (and some other high end restaurants) both Meyer and I ordered from our server. The chef did not personally take my order. I was at first a little wary of this but it did work out. Meyer and I shared the charcuterie plate (no bread served!) which was a delicious assortment of cured meats, cheeses, nuts, fruit, and pickles. I then ordered a filet with peppadew peppers, balsamic onions, over baby bliss mashed potatoes. It was delicious. Meyer and I also enjoyed Citrico’s by the glass wine list. They even had very high end list where you could order wines by the ounce! I wish I could tell you that I had room to enjoy dessert we were stuffed. I really appreciated the attentive staff and the care of the chef. My night was made so much better knowing that my food was prepared with skill and knowledge to keep me healthy.
Other Disney restaurants dined at included: Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios, and Bongos Cuban Café in Downtown Disney. Bongos was the only restaurant where the chef did not come out to our table. I would also mention that there are not too many gluten free options. On the plus side the plantains (sweet and green) and french fries are fried separately from the rest of the food so they are gluten free. Out of all of our experiences, one restaurant stood out to us-Citricos. We enjoyed it so much that we went for dinner another night.
I must mention my only dessert on the trip! We stopped for ice cream at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street in Disney World on our last night. I was very impressed by the binder containing each item they serve and that it notes each ingredient in them and if they have any of the top 8 food allergies listed yellow. It was explained to me that I had to have a manager make my sundae for me. No, problem. She noted that I couldn’t eat the chips on the top of the sundae as they had wheat in them-this is something I probably would have overlooked on my own!
I’m so grateful for all the care and knowledge Walt Disney World takes in making food for those with food allergies. I know how hard it is for myself, a grownup, to battle a world full of gluten. I can only imagine how hard it would be to deal with a child and their desires. Disney’s attention to my gluten free needs let me (and Meyer) relax and enjoy our trip. I can’t wait to plan our next visit!