A nice, detailed report (from a helpful commenter) on one family’s gluten free Disney experience: http://kobolila.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/the-disney-gluten-free-dining-experience/
Guide to Gluten Free Orlando and Walt Disney World Dining
A great report on a gluten-free trip to Walt Disney World, complete with tips and restaurant recommendations:
Dining at the Disney parks is one of the most stress-free experiences we have ever had. Anywhere you go for a meal, whether it be at a sit down restaurant, a burger joint, or a cafeteria setting, rest assured your dietary needs will be addressed.
Read it all on the Jennifer Harris gluten-free blog.
A kind reader left a comment about a gluten free food resource in Orlando: Chamberlin’s Natural Foods. They sell a wide variety of gluten-free products (food, vitamins, beauty products, & books), dairy-free food, general allergy free products, organic food, etc. They offer free seminars on a number of subjects including living with food allergies.
Here’s a map to the Chamberlin’s Natural Foods locations in the Walt Disney World & Orlando area. The closest location to WDW is at 7600 Dr Phillips Dr in Orlando. They also have locations in Winter Park, Oviedo, Altamonte Springs, Lakeland and Kissimmee.
CNN/Travel has a helpful article about dining at WDW with kids. The article is worth a read if you’re planning a Walt Disney World vacation with kids. It briefly mentions dealing with food allergies and special diets:
When I booked reservations, I was asked if anybody had allergies so that the information could be noted. Don’t be shy about dietary requests either. Walt Disney World gets more than 7,000 such requests a month — just call a few days in advance if you need meals free of gluten, eggs, dairy or peanuts, for example. Another tip: Whether you are at Disney World or a favorite city this summer, make reservations. With young kids, earlier is better. You can always change them.
Some more advice from the article:
Another tip: If you are planning to spend your entire time at Walt Disney World (or Disneyland in California) consider the well-priced meal plans that you can add on to your room/tickets package that even include a daily “snack.” Disney officials say you can save as much as 40 percent at more than 100 restaurants and quick-food places throughout the resort.
There’s one drawback: If you have any junior foodies under 10 in the group, they’ll be limited to the kids’ menus. The other drawback: It seems so many people are opting for the dining plan that reservations are needed. Remember, you are really booking a “priority seating” time, which means you may need to wait when you arrive, as we did several times.
Even though The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World Resort isn’t about special diets at the Disney parks, I believe that it can be an excellent resource for those seeking gluten-free dining at WDW. It does an excellent job of describing and reviewing the restaurants available at WDW (Epcot, etc), with an emphasis on the higher-end restaurants, rather then grab-a-quick-bite-to-eat ones. If you’re planning to make your gluten-free dining a large part of your WDW park experience, this book will allow you to get the most out of your experience by helping you to decide which restaurants most appeal to you. It’s well worth it.
The book also does an excellent job reviewing the higher-end Disney hotel properties. That’s not really my thing [because we don't spend much time inside the room], but if that’s your style, you won’t find a better resource than this. The author’s website has Walt Disney World and Orlando restaurant menus, articles about WDW and Orlando dining, and a lot of other useful information.
I’ve added more information to the Gluten Free Walt Disney World section. Check it out - I hope that you find it useful!
The latest (April/May 2008) issue of Living Without magazine contains an interview with manager of special diets at Walt Disney World. It’s quite an interesting read and covers many different special diets in addition to gluten free dining.
Here are a few excerpts:
What food allergies do you see most?
We see a lot of people with celiac disease, a gluten intolerance. We get many visitors with a single food allergy, like peanut or tree nut allergy. We see a lot of allergy clusters, especially in children; the most common is kids with milk, egg, peanut and tree nut allergies. We’re also seeing a lot of casein and gluten intolerance. There’s been an increase in families coming with autistic children and they’re requesting that specific diet.
If someone on a special diet wants to visit Disney, what’s the first step?
Contact us ahead of time. Pre-communication is vital. We want to get information into visitors’ hands before they arrive so they can educate themselves about what we do. This is especially important if someone is traveling for the first time or if they’re new to Disney. Repeat guests pretty much know what to do. Even so, we like them to contact us ahead of time.
The most important point mentioned is to contact Walt Disney World ahead of time (at least 72 hours) and let them know you will be coming. Call the Disney Reservation Center at 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463). Your special diet needs will be documented, and you will be assigned a food and beverage representative who can assist further.
An excerpt of the article is available.
There is also an older excerpt about gluten free dining at Disneyland (in California).
The goal of this site is to provide information on gluten free dining in Orlando so that you can concentrate on having fun on your vacation instead of spending time and energy locating gluten free food. In particular, a Walt Disney World vacation offers many wonderful gluten free dining options which this site will highlight. Hopefully local Orlando celiacs can also find some useful tips.
Though it’s not my main focus, my hope is that the site might as be useful to others with non-gluten-related special dietary requirements planning a Walt Disney World Orlando vacation (milk, egg, peanut and tree nut allergies, casein-free, dairy-free, autism diet, kosher diet, etc). Stay tuned!
- A family’s gluten-free Disney experience
- “Doing Disney in gluten-free style”: a report
- Gluten-Free Orlando store: Chamberlin’s Natural Foods
- Taking the Kids: Smart Dining at Disney World
- Explore Walt Disney World in 3D with Google Earth!
- Review: Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World Resort
- Updated: Gluten Free Walt Disney World
- Walt Disney World: Special Diets Interview
- Welcome to Orlando Gluten Free!