Animal Kingdom is Disney World’s newest park and it’s full of fun and adventure for the whole family. If you haven’t been to Disney World in a while, it’s possible that you’ve skipped Animal Kingdom. But with the land of Pandora, the incredible shows, and the only place to get a picture with Minnie AND Mickey, Animal Kingdom is the place to visit!
***As Always, please speak to a qualified restaurant employee when ordering food. In order to see the most accurate ingredients and risk assessment, you will need to confirm allergy safety in real-time. This is my personal experience, I am not employed or endorsed by companies or brands mentioned.***
What Do I need to know before heading to Animal Kingdom
Before we talk about stuff in the parks, let’s talk about what you should know before you get into the park, especially when we talk about free from eating.
First things first, you can (and should ) bring in some snacks or even meals to Animal Kingdom.
I ALWAYS recommend snacks for everyone that deals with an allergy or intollereance because, out of the 300 times I’ve eaten at Disney World in the last year, almost 1 in 50 meals was totally wrong and had to be remade, or I had to leave and find better food elsewhere.
Luckily you’ve got the inside scoop (see below!) with the best eats BUT you’ve got to bring some snacks just in case you get the hungry grumbles and need some allergy safe food.
Second thing is that you need to know that the menus and offerings can (and will) change especially when talking about allergy friendly food. Sometimes its that the suppliers dont have it on hand, sometimes it’s that they aren’t selling the food (though most of the allergen friendly food at Animal kingdom is prefrozen and then cooked for you!)
I’m a big fan of grabbing breakfast at a resort because the options (for everyone, not just food allergies) can be slim at breakfast time! Rainforest Cafe can barely accommodate allergens (if you are gluten free, they have eggs. If you are dairy free, they have bacon and oats. that’s it)
If you head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge you can grab breakfast at two incredible places. This quick serve has a lot of great allergy friendly options and gluten free zebra domes.
Or you can head to this top rated Breakfast Buffet that is great for food allergies! (and yes, I was seriously impressed! )
What to expect when ordering food
There’s a lot of planing involved when you have foods that you avoid,an upset stomach, an serious avoidance or someone that is anaphylactic and has to obsessively watch for allergens because it could be a life or death situation… trust me when I say that all of these people have gathered and enjoyed Disney World.
It is going to look different for those of you that have an intolerance/ethical preference vs those of you with a non negotiable allergy.
For most people, you’ll be able to eat foods listed on the allergen menu (where available). This means that for some people, speaking with a chef won’t even be necessary because ordering from the allergy menu that most locations have will be enough to avoid gluten based products.
If you have a NON NEGOTIABLE allergy, things will be *slightly more complicated* because you’ll need to speak with a Chef/Manager and be diligent in confirming that your food is actually gluten free. Always double and triple check with everyone you talk with that you have a life-threatening allergy and confirm that food comes out separate (and likely with a little allergy skewer)
One more thing- more about quick service food allergies versus table service with food allergies at Animal Kingdom
Seriously, the last thing you need to know about the food before we get to the actual food!
There’s food shops, there’s shops with food, there’s little cart stands with popcorn that is so delicious and friendly for top 8 (minus the coconut oil!).
Then there’s quick service, table service and character dining!
Quick serve, or the fast food equivalent for Disney World. While they used to have McDonald’s fries in Magic Kingdom years ago, quick serve isn’t actually fast food. You’ll find some hearty options here in addition to sandwiches and burgers. Most of the quick service options are decent (or really good ) for quick serve. The ones at the resorts tend to have more options than those in the parks.
Then when it comes to strictly quick serve, Mobile ordering is another option that Disney World has pushed in 2020- and good news! It’s pretty easy to use with a non-life-threatening Allergy.
For those of you with severe allergies, Mobile Ordering is NOT the best option, and you need to walk up to the quick serve and talk to them about placing and order with a cashier and manager.
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Quick service in animal kingdom certainly got an allergy friendly upgrade with Satu’li canteen! While the other quick serve restaurants have options, Satu’li is another of those unicorn 1-1 options where those with food allergies have very similar options to those without! You can see the allergy menu in stories but this is top 8 free (avoid the boba on top if you can’t do soy lethicin!) personally I HATE the slaw they add and always get mine without it- thankfully my husband lets me post his beautiful meals on Instagram 🤪 favorite dinner spot in animal kingdom? Im making a food bucket list and need some inspo!
Table service is a sit down option, pretty comparable to other casual sit downs like Olive Garden or Outback Steakhouse. You can expect to find bread at most of these locations (and yes, they have some incredible gluten free bread!) and you can also order appetizers, mixed drinks and dessert.
Character meals are very much like table service meals, except they have characters! And they also cost more- you certainly aren’t paying for the food and more for the experience.