Disney World has lots of different dining options, and while they sometimes have unique names (like quick service dining), ‘Buffet’ is universally understood as lots of food available for everyone to enjoy.
For most folks without allergies or a mild intolerance, a buffet is a non-issue.
When you have dietary restrictions, like Food Allergies or Gluten Free, Buffets have their own set of issues. Here’s how to dine out at Disney World Buffets, as they have an unique way of handling Buffets for Dietary Restrictions.
Click here for a full Food Allergy Guide
Click here for a full Gluten Free Guide
***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.***
Disney’s Allergen Disclaimer
Buffets may be susceptible to cross contact due to their self-service approach. Guests may consult with a chef or special diets trained Cast Member before placing an order. We Use Reasonable efforts in our sourcing, preparation and handling procedures to avoid the introduction of the named allergens into these menu choices. While we take steps to prevent cross-contact, we do not have separate allergy-friendly kitchen and are unable to guarantee that a menu-item is completely free of allergens. Allergy-friendly offerings are reliant on supplier ingredient labels. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the contents of each food item. Allergy advisory statements (e.g. May Contain) are not regulated and therefore not taken into consideration when developing allergy-friendly meals. It is Ultimately our Guests’ discretion to make an informed choice based on their individual dietary needs.Disney World Allergen Disclaimer
Can you eat at Buffet Restaurants with Food Restrictions
Depending on your comfort level, you can eat straight from the buffet or get your own custom plate from the back.
The Server and Chef will typically just refer to the Allergy Guide that they give you when you are seated. They have not been offering to get items from the back, but this is something you can request.
Here’s an Example of the Allergen Guide (you’ll need to refer to your Buffet in Real Time to confirm the ingredients as they do change based on Suppliers)
If you are comfortable with the cross contact risk, you can eat at the buffet. Only you know your comfort level. If you’d prefer to have the items from the back where there is less risk of cross contact (like someone using the tongs on multiple items and spreading allergens etc), then you can ask for the Chef and talk to them about items from the back.
My personal comfort level is to talk to a Chef and ask for them to get items from the back- which is what I do every time I review or eat at a Buffet. I do not feel comfortable with the risk that someone has touched my food without knowing and spread allergens.
Two Reasons you should talk to a Chef
✔️ One, To confirm that no items have been changed based on supply. They could have changed that day, and your server is not aware. Double Checking with a Chef is helpful.
✔️ Two, Chefs often have items that are not listed on the menu, or special allergy order only. A big example of this is allergy and gluten free rolls, and desserts.
Script for getting items not on the Buffet Line
Server: Are you comfortable with the Allergen Guide?
You: Can I talk to someone about the options? I’m not comfortable with cross contact
Server: Sure I’ll get the Chef for you!
(in this time, I use the guide to decide what I’d like to eat, as it shows the top 8 allergens. I’ll also think about what questions I need to ask for my allergens that are not in the top 8)
Chef: I hear we have an allergy?
You: Yes! Allergy to (insert here). Can you help me with items that are in the back? I don’t feel comfortable with items that other may have touched.
Chef: Sure, we can grab those items. Do you know what you’d like to eat?
You: I do! I also have questions about these allergies outside the top 8, I’d like to know if (insert foods) are good for this allergy.
(and I’d also ask about dessert here too, as the chefs sometimes only come out once and can be hard to get for dessert) .
All of Disney World’s Buffet Restaurants
This list if changing frequently, as buffets are coming back after the 2020 closure (all buffet restaurants reopened as family style) Refer to Disney World’s Dining section to confirm if a location is a buffet.
Magic Kingdom Park and Resorts
Hollywood and Vine
Cape May Cafe
Ale and Compass
Animal Kingdom and Resorts
Tusker House (November 2022)