How would you like to go somewhere that offers worry-free gluten-free dining at dozens of excellent restaurants? Where no one stares at you like you are mentally ill when you say “gluten”? Where no one is going to argue with you that (normal) bread doesn’t have wheat in it [yes, that has happened to me several times]? Where chefs bend over backward to give you a safe and pleasant dining experience and will talk to you personally before your meal? Well, I’ve found the place for you…
Walt Disney World: Celiac Paradise!
My vacations at Walt Disney World have been the only time that I have had worry-free restaurant dining since being diagnosed with celiac disease. At every meal, a chef has spoken with me prior to my meal about my limitations and my options. This may not be WDW policy, but that has been my experience. At every buffet I’ve been to a chef has come out and personally walked me through every item in the buffet and explained to me what was safe for me and what was not. They’ve always done their best to give me the most pleasurable dining experience that they could. It is a wonderfully refreshing change from a celiac’s typical restaurant dining experience.
The best advice that I can given you for special diets dining at WDW is: plan ahead! It’s important to contact WDW well before your arrival (at least 72 hours) and let them know your dietary needs. Make reservations for your meals at least 24 hours in advance. Yes, this can remove some of the spontaneity from the vacation, but it is well worth it to ensure that the chefs will have all of the ingredients you will require (for example, gluten-free pasta and gluten-free bread). The reservations will also keep you from having to wait forever to be seated. Planning ahead can be cumbersome, but it is well worth to be able to take advantage of the unparalled accomodating dining at Walt Disney World Park during your vacation.
If you are planning on dining frequently at WDW during your Orlando vacation, I would recommend getting an on-park hotel room. If you stay off the WDW park grounds, you’ll spend too much time travelling back-and-forth, parking, etc and lose valuable dining and park time.
I should note also that WDW is excellent not only for gluten free diets, but for any sort of special diet (dairy-free, casein-free, soy-free, milk, egg, peanut and tree nut allergies, autism diet, kosher diet) requirements (or any combination of special dietary requirements).
See below for WDW special diets contact information.
Gluten Free Guest Experiences
AllEars.net – detailed WDW food & restaurant reviews from several celiacs
Disney World Dining Dec 2007: Gluten Free and Dairy Free – reviews (with pictures!) of many WDW restaurants
Gluten Free Dairy Free Walt Disney World – a day-by-day WDW lunch pictorial
Defensive Dining: WDW – another family’s WDW celiac dining experience
Other Disney World Celiac Dining Information
Walt Disney World Special Diets Contacts
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Magic Kingdom Park
Disneyland (California) Special Diets Contact