Disney: Magical gluten-free vegetarian land? Yep, here's how!

February 26 2018 |
Gluten-free and Vegetarian Disney: Magical gluten-free vegetarian land? Yep, here's how!
Epic hair and delicious noms make up our Sales Manager Tiff's Disney aesthetic
All photos by Tiff and her husband Tom

My husband, Tom, and I recently vacationed in Orlando, Florida and went to Disney World! Pause for magical reaction.

I am a gluten-free vegetarian (Tom is also a vegetarian, but can eat the wheat), so you KNOW it's tough to eat and travel. Luckily, we were with Tom's dad and stepmom who had a kitchen at their disposal, so we were set on meals (shout out to Publix for having all the best brands). But what about fun snacks? Everyone else gets to enjoy!

There was a lot of internet advice that mentioned dining as a gluten-free vegetarian in Disney is so easy, and Disney is so accommodating. I was dubious, but guess what — The internet can be right sometimes!

Below are just some of the yummies I got to enjoy on the trip…

The iconic Disney Mickey ears ice cream bars

Gluten-free and Vegetarian Disney: Magical gluten-free vegetarian land? Yep, here's how!
Show us how it's done, Tom!

Yep, these are gluten-free! (also, go team child-free at Disney!)

Falafel burger at Starlight Cafe, Magic Kingdom

Vegetarian and gluten-free Disney: Magical gluten-free vegetarian land? Yep, here's how!

The falafel burger at the Starlight Cafe in Disney World was not only a pretty tasty and filling meal, but they also had gluten-free buns. Usually if you can find a veg burger somewhere, you just omit the roll and deal with it, which is totally fine. It seems that every place, whether it's a quick spot or sit-down dining, has GF options. Disney rocks.

When I placed the order, the lovely Cast Member at the register mentioned that my order would come out on a green tray (which signifies an allergy), and asked if I needed my French fries in the designated gluten-free fryer as well. When our food came out, a smiling Cast Member brought my food out separately whilst wearing gloves.

Macaron at French Pavilion, Epcot

Gluten-free and Vegetarian Disney: Magical gluten-free vegetarian land? Yep, here's how!

There are so many amazing things to try in EPCOT (thanks, utopian city). There was even a special food festival happening, and I imagined I would only watch as everyone around me ate. There are lots of sweets, like ice cream and ices, and plenty of GF-friendly alcohol. We got treats at the French Pavilion (Tom got to practice speaking French and was told his accent was tres bien). Macarons are usually GF, and these were no exception.

Raspberry-creme macaron, yum. Also in the background is a cheese plate, which was also GF. My father-in-law has pain au chocolat in front of him, not gluten-free.

Beignets at Sassagoula Floatworks, Port Orleans resort

Vegetarian and gluten-free Disney: Magical gluten-free vegetarian land? Yep, here's how!
We had never been to this resort, but am always down with looking at a Disney spot since everything they do is art.

They served the beignets with an "allergy" flag, and I got them with a caramel dipping sauce and a strawberry dipping sauce. While these totally felt gluten-free, everyone tried them and enjoyed them. They were yummy and doughy and the sauces were heaven. I mean, it's a ball of fried dough, you really can't go wrong? I would totally go back and get them again and be psyched.

Tofu bowls at Satu'li Canteen, Animal Kingdom

Vegetarian and gluten-free Disney: Magical gluten-free vegetarian land? Yep, here's how!

Satu'li Canteen in Animal Kingdom has tofu bowls. TOFU BOWLS! We got the kids-sized bowls (it helps when you are riding with retirees who are down with the penny-pinching). We got the tofu bowl over rice and a tofu bowl over lettuce. Both were really good and satisfying, and there were sauce options (we got an amazing onion sauce). Upon checkout, the Cast Member (who showed me the whole binder which illustrates what is allergy-friendly), asked me if I was comfortable with her ringing us up, or would I prefer her to call her coordinator over due to the allergy.

Churros at Nomad Lounge, Animal Kingdom

Vegetarian and gluten-free Disney: Magical gluten-free vegetarian land? Yep, here's how!

The last item I actively sought out were the churros. Oh my, the churros. I had read a ton about the churros at Nomad Lounge near the Pandora ride. I may have been more excited for the churros than the thrilling ride everyone else was talking about. The churros did not disappoint. The Nomad Lounge was also a nice, quiet, dark spot to chill out of the sun for a bit. I ordered "gluten-free churros" and my husband and mother-in-law ordered "gluten churros" (ha!) and when we were served, we noticed all the churros looked the same (gluten-free stuff is always a leeeetle bit different from its' wheat comrades). The Cast Member told us that all the churros are naturally gluten-free (they use potato flour), but when someone orders GF churros, they do put them in a special fryer so there is no cross-contamination.

Wow.

I am still dreaming of the churros.

Tldr!

I know this all sounds super high maintenance, but I got all of these amazing responses from the Cast Members when I only asked "is this gluten-free?" Just the simple ask, and they were ready, willing, and able to take care of you. Typical Disney, though.

I am always pre-planning meals for trips. We always book spots with a kitchen so we can prep and eat meals before heading out, and I always pack a ton of high-protein snacks, but this was so nice to just be in the moment and enjoy some treats while strolling about. It felt really special and cool, and the magic at Disney never ends. They are always so kind and accommodating. They really don't call it the most magical place on earth for nuthin'!

Gluten-free and Vegetarian Disney: Magical gluten-free vegetarian land? Yep, here's how!

Tiff has even more Disney tips coming soon! Watch this space.

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    • Not all of the stuff listed here is dairy-free, probably, but there will be alternatives that are. As I said below, I've been to Disney World with a lactose-intolerant family member. She always had something to eat – I seem to remember a reliance on fruits for the dairy-free desserts, but it's been a few years and I wasn't focusing on it too much at the time. (I definitely remember a lot of stuff that was clearly intended to be safe for as many allergens as possible. She got a lot of gluten-free bread, even though she has no issues with gluten, presumably because it's easier to make bread that's soy/gluten/eggs/dairy/nuts/corn/etc.-free and give that to everyone with relevant issues than to make a dozen different kinds for all the many combinations of allergies/intolerances/sensitivities out there.)

      1 agrees
      • I just read both of your comments. I'll keep all of what you said in mind the next time I go to any Disney theme park. Good to know that your lactose intolerant friend had a positive eating experience. Thank you.

    • I haven't been to Disney in a LOOONG time. But I did get a chance to pop into Disney Springs about a year or two ago, and I just would ask "is there anything vegan?" and the staff would drop everything to help you figure out what to get. I found a few things just in Disney Springs, blogged about it. I would suggest typing "disney" and "vegan" to find dairy free options. There is even a vegan and gluten-free bakery located in Disney Springs, but they sell their goods at various spots throughout the park. I know you are not SAYING vegan, but I think the results might be better than "dairy-free" as most hidden dairy I feel are in the baked goods, sweets, etc.

  1. I don't have allergies, but I have traveled to Disney with a family member who's lactose-intolerant, and I can correlate this. We were at Disney World, so we could just flag her in all our dining reservations as "has food allergy/intolerance/other issue"; I don't know if that's an option at Disneyland. The cast members always saw it when we got there and knew how to deal with it – sometimes that was "here's our menu, foods that are dairy-free are marked", sometimes that was "the chef will be out to talk to you momentarily". There was always something for her to eat, and Disney never made a big deal out of it.

    1 agrees
  2. I was like, oh, of course Disney has good gf options, because I've been to Disneyland a few times in the past few years. But I did not know Disney World has always gluten-free churros! That's amazing! Though it always kind of alarms me when gf food looks the same as gluten food.

  3. I have always appreciated the times when I've been at Disney and identified a food allergy and the chef has come out to talk to me so that I could navigate the menu with confidence. It is one of my favorite places to vacation because of the many GF options. I hope you go to visit the GF bakery in Disney Springs. It had been years so I last had a donut! It was delicious.

  4. Wow – and the option and care taken look like it's not just an after thought, but proper segregation too.
    Well done Disney.

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