We all gotta eat, but when you have food allergies or restrictions, things get alittle crazy!
I mean, It’s one thing to try to navigate gluten free options near your house, pack your safe food, quiz the staff… but traveling to a new location with new eats and more menus and restaurants than you can even memorize is a lot to take in!
Thankfully, many places are more aware of allergies, and many restaurants on Disney Property can do some really good look alike gluten free and allergy safe meals. (not all… but we’ll cover that in detail below! I’ve got you allergy fam! )
We’ve been eating with allergies at Disney for the last 4 years- but the biggest one is gluten free (you’ll also find a lot of our articles talk about top 8 free of the most common allergens. A lot of these posts will have the full allergen menu so you can make an informed decision!)
Why are we talking about gluten free? Because the husband has Celiac, the kiddos have FPIES (and you can read more about FPIES at Disney World) and I’ve got a gluten intolerance.
So we approach Disney World a little differently, mainly I want to share this with you so it can shave off some anxiety, help you really plan ( side note: I hate when people tell me to just check at the restaurant. This is Disney! I don’t have 3 hours to run around “checking” restaurants!) and have a very safe allergy-friendly vacation.
This post we’ll take a wild ride on all the in’s and out’s of doing a gluten free Disney World trip, but many of you will need tips for other allergies / intolerances / foods you avoid and we’ve got those here too!
***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.***
This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you, check out my affiliate disclosure for more information and all the legal mumbo jumbo.
Table Of Contents
What Resort should you stay at?
I’m going to be a little biased here when it comes to resorts and food allergies.
It’s sad but true, I’m an allergy snob that goes all over Disney World looking to see what options they have available. This makes me “critical” because I know what they can do, but if you’ve never had a resort accommodate you, this can be an absolute treat.
Let’s label this out by budget.
The Best Value Resort for Food Allergies would be: Either the Pop Century or Art of Animation (they share a bridge and you can walk between the food courts)
The Best Moderate Resort for Food Allergies would be: Port Orleans Riverside or Port Orleans French Quarter (again, they share a walkway and a bus). Get those gluten free beignets all day everyday!
The Best Deluxe Resort for Food Allergies would be: The Grand Floridian. Have a gluten free tea party, walk to Magic Kingdom or take the monorail to the other close by resorts that also have great options!
And if your staying DVC (Disney Vacation Club) then you likely already know what your resort offers. But with a full kitchen, I’d highly recommend getting some food ordered/delivered.
In this category, I’d recommend the Wilderness Lodge. I haven’t stayed in a room, however, I’ve eaten and perused all of the food options, and they are quite delightful.
*** Special Note. If you need a kitchen, want to stay on Disney World property to take in all the amenities, and want to have a budget option, you’d need to stay at the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
Stay where you want to stay- but be prepared to look for items and advocate for yourself and some of the resorts. They are NOT all equal when it comes to food allergies, but they ALL have a chef and a handful of snacks that *most* people can enjoy!
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 seperate (and likely with a little allergy skewer)
I’d love to tell you that no planning is required, but that’s simply not the case! There are some locations that are better for those who avoid gluten, and you’ll find that snacks and treats will need to be preplanned as well. There are some locations that are NOT owned by Disney World and don’t have the same allergy procedures in place that Disney World uses in their kitchens.
Like, your wondering, do all locations have shared or dedicated fryers? That anwser is no. However, if the place does have a dedicated fryer, I include it in my restaurant reviews (over 100 reviews now!) and that can help you make an informed decision.
And can I find safe gluten free (certified) food everywhere I go?
The answer to that is also no… but things are improving and getting better. I always recommend having a back up plan (like a meal replacement), your own safe snacks, and flexibility that you might be eating a lot of rice and protein depending on what locations you’ve picked!
Planning has gotten so much easier with the inclusion of the allergy menu and you’ve found this guide- so let’s jump in and learn more about the options (and some lack of options) at Disney World!
Should you get a Dining Plan
The next question is incredibly controversial, but not for the reasons you might think.
In a nut shell, (and you can read more about this here), Disney World, Travel Agents, and Disney FB groups/Forums will almost ALWAYS emphatically recommend the Dining Plan.
But what I will say here and now (that has literally gotten me banned from groups and blacklisted by bloggers) is that you do not need the dining plan, and I really don’t recommend you get it.
Why is it so controversial? Because Travel Agents (who also own the groups) make a percentage when you purchase the dining plan. Disney also makes out like a bandit because you rarely every come close to using up the amount that you’d spend.
And that’s without food allergies.
With food allergies the dining plan is of negative value. Many of the drinks included are not allergy friendly (no GF beer and forget asking them about safe tequila), desserts are harder to come by (yes there’s some, but not always. Your likely to get enjoy life cookies and raspberry sorbet 80% of the places) and ordering a la carte is a big no-no on the dining plan (which I am often forced to do if I want certain allergy friendly things).
Can you get the Dining Plan with Food Allergies? You can but it’s not the same as without food allergies. I do not recommend it (and remember, I don’t have a horse in this race and make zero money from this statement). It’s very stressful trying to use the right credits at the right places and coordinate your meals to the dining plan when you are free from gluten in some (not all) locations.
It’s also more expensive as you simply spend more money because you feel obligated to cash out all the credits. It’s a clever marketing technique!
Will the world end if you do/don’t get the Dining Plan? Nope- either way I know you’ll have a blast at Disney World! Consider what makes things simpler and easier for you (not what someone has told you to do) and then go from there! You can always add the plan on- but you cannot take the plan back once you’re there.
Quick Service and Mobile Ordering
Next up is 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.
Why? Because accidents happen- even with the chefs. The thing about mobile ordering is that the person that hands you the food is not the person that prepares it and there are huge concerns about misplaced food and cross contamination (Think grabbing a tray with spillage of allergens and then not changing gloves before handling your tray).
When you talk to a manager or a Chef then you can alert them to how serious your allergy is and they can limit the number of people touching your food.
The Best Quick serve options for gluten free foodies include
Y’all. Texas toast. Beef brisket. Sweet tea. I am in BBQ food allergy heaven! It TRULY is a salute to all cook offs but mostly Barbecue!
Everyone was so excited when they came out with all of these themed foods- I mean, Docking Bay 7 has some crazy cool eats!
We’ve eaten here a number of times, especially because my husband loves Chipotle so much and this is very similar. Everything is pretty laid back, and easy to customize
Table Service gluten free options
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.
First, when you reserve dining, make sure to list your allergies. (They don’t have options for all, so pick what you can!). This can be done on your my Disney App, online at Disney World, or over the phone (but you typically won’t call in unless you have more than 8 people in your party).
Once you get the restaurant, Then CLARIFY at check in that you have allergies and get an allergen menu (if they have one). I also like to grab a regular menu so that I can cross compare some options, and always check to see the differences between what they offer the kids (like gluten free mac and cheese) versus what they offer the adults.
*Please consider talking to a manager or chef, especially if you have more than one allergy and ESPECIALLY if you have a cashier that might seem like they don’t know what they are doing.
My favorite Gluten Free Table Service options would include:
Be prepared to enjoy lots of corny jokes and some hella good eats at this sister location to the infamous jungle cruise ride.Not only did we survive with our heads about us, but also our wits and a full belly after a delightful lunch.
It’s very laid back here- very southern style. AND they have sweet tea, something that is surprisingly hard to find at Disney World! So many incredible options, it’s a hidden gem in Disney!
If you’re ready for some yummy Polynesian-style food (that’s easy to access on the monorail loop) enjoy a meal at the Kona Cafe!
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Kona Cafe Post Covid ✨ Allergy friendly eats! YALL I love the Disney food allergy experience so much 😭😍 This meal was mostly #top8free ,and #dairyfree, #glutenfree, #soyfree but also safe for my kiddos if they were with me 😍🥰👏 For starters I had the Bloomfield farms top 8 allergy friendly rolls with soy free enjoy life butter 🙌 hot and fresh and delectable. (Hot damnnnnn I missed these) Then allergy friendly wings in the dedicated fryer. This is a canola blend and not recommended for those that can’t do the refined soy oil and comes with no sauce or dressings (need wings in olive oil? DM me and I’ll tell you my fav place!) For the main meal and again, top 8 friendly, I had the modified rice noodle bowl ✨ the chef modified some options like sauce and made this fresh for me 😍😍😍 LAST BUT NOT LEAST. Heaven in a bottle. Tapioca boba pearl coconut dessert. Naturally vegan and friendly for most allergens😭😭😍😍 so good y’all. And I asked for it without pineapple so he whipped one up for me. Previously I’ve had sandwiches, poke bowls and fresh made sushi here (all soy, gluten and dairy free) Soy is obviously hard here (like most places) but especially here with the authentic flavors. They do have gluten free soy sauce that my husband loves. Needless to say, Kona Cafe at the Poly and The Wave (at the contemporary) are consistently time -after-time great for lunch or dinner if you need to hop the monorail for a bite to eat 🙌✨ now if we can just get the breakfast situation ironed out (don’t get me started about the dismal post covid options/availability🥴🥴)
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.
Oh and my new favorite, Topolinos. Highly recommend if you get the opportunity to go!
There are more character meals than this… and we’ve reviewed them for you in this master list!
What about Gluten Free at the Water Parks?
Disney has two water parks- both of them are open during the summer, and then one of them is open all year (weather permitting) while the other one is closed for refurbishment and then they switch back and forth.
The first is Blizzard Beach. This is located over by the value resorts. It’s Winter themed, and definitely the favorite for our family!
The Next is Typhoon Lagoon. This is located across from Disney Springs. It’s fun and enjoyable, just not our favorite park for our family as we prefer the kid area at Blizzard Beach more, but really it IS a fun park.
Disney World is really great when it comes to managing allergies- but we find that the level of service changes from quick serve to the parks to the resorts, and we found this to be true at Disney Water Parks as well.
There are SO MANY places to eat- but only ONE is truly trained in allergies.
If you find that the menus are lacking (like not being able to do Udi’s pizza because of dairy allergy/intolerance) ask the resorts if they could make you a sandwich to go the night before and then pack it with you on your way to the waterpark (resorts typically wont make lunch/dinner when breakfast is in session)
Eating at Disney Springs while Gluten Free
While Disney Springs is known for it’s shopping, it’s also known for its food! But what about for those that have allergies or food limitations? Is there only one place to eat?
The anwser is complicated because not all places are owned by Disney and have the same standards, but many have some really good allergy friendly standards too.
I have another very large article that cover in depth eating gluten free at Disney Springs, but you should know that, depending on your comfort level, there is quite a lot to choose from.
There’s gluten free onion rings (though rumor has it that they’ve changed the batter since reopening in 2020) and there’s also an entirely gluten free (yes 100%) bakery at Disney Springs called Erin Mckennas.
However it’s important to note that Erin Mckenna’s uses Bob’s Red Mill (and for those of you that aren’t familiar, please check out this post explaining that ).
Not quite the same level as the gluten free rice krispie debacle, but still something I would point out for you to make an informed decision.
Finding Free From Gluten Snacks
There are a number of snacks on property for gluten free, but the safest option is always bringing your own snacks!
To see the top gluten free snacks you’ll need to check out this list, otherwise just know that the resorts have more snacks than the parks do (especially Hollywood Studios which is sadly lacking in snacks) and that you can (and should ) bring in a few snacks with you everytime you head to the parks!
What about yummy gluten free desserts?
There’s actually quite a lot of desserts… so many they I created a list of options and included way more than the 5 I said I was going to list!
Gluten Free Epcot Festivals
Festivals are all the rage at Epcot and for good reason! They are so much fun! They are fun for everyone, from dedicated things for the kiddos, to events and live music for the adults.
And when it comes to allergy friendly food, Epcot Festivals are in a category of their own.
There are a lot of people that will tell you there’s only a few options (or that you shouldn’t eat there) and I encourage you to check out the guides below because there is a lot more than meets the eye.
There’s 4 festivals currently, (2020 is obviously looking different) and they are keeping the booths up year round with more dedicated spaces just for festivals (like eating spaces and sidewalks off the main path)
- International Festival of the Arts run Jan-Feb
- The Flower and Garden Festival runs March- June
- The Food and Wine Festival runs Sept- November
- The International Festival of the Holidays Nov-Dec
There are some festivals that are better for food allergies, and some that you should have very low expectations for.
This Epcot festival is my favorite for food allergies , and this one comes in a close second for food allergy eats . I typically haven’t found much at the international festival of the holidays (it’s also shorter and has less options)and the food and wine festival can be a lot of fun if you just plan to go for drinks!
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Gluten free and allergy friendly 😍 food and wine festival. I’ll be cover lots of the good eats. This one is located at Active Eats- spice crusted verlaso salmon. It’s soy gluten diary and egg free naturally. The impossible cottage pie is also a good gluten free, soy free option and it’s right next door. Plus, it’s so delicious that anyone can enjoy it! . . Tips for eating with allergies at the #foodandwinefestival 🤞be aware of cross contamination. If you have severe allergies and aren’t comfortable with shared spaces, you need to be careful! It looks like the Australia booth is totally gluten free. I’m waiting to speak with a chef to confirm. 🥣 lines can be long- always double check with a chef. The allergy books don’t have all the ingredients. Only a chef has that info. 🤩 plan ahead. Don’t stop at all the booths and wait in line just to be disappointed. Check out the passports at the park, look online, and follow those Disney people (like me!) that are sharing first hand what could be safe for you at the festival. ✅ eating #glutenfreedisney and #travelingwithallergies is hard 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘴. Try to remember that there are other things to do at the festival (like scavenger hunts, checking out the sites, and enjoying each other’s companies.
Is there Gluten Free Food at Disney World?
As you can see from this guide, there’s a number of options for gluten free eating at Disney World. You could technically go anywhere on property and create a Gluten Free Meal, but you best bet is to do a few minutes of research and pick out some exciting restaurants that will make you a meal you’ve never had before!
Where can you eat Gluten Free at Disney World?
Most places can accommodate you will something, but I have some favorite places I love to recommend! Kona Cafe, Satuli Canteen, Regal Eagle, Coral Reef, Erin Mckennas, and Topolinos Terrace are the top options!
Are Mickey Waffles Gluten Free?
This is an important question because they use different mixes across property! Namaste, Bob’s red mill, and Golden Malted Gluten Free are the most common options. Gluten Free Mickey Waffles are also made with Cup4Cup and a homemade Rice Flour. Ask your server before you order to make sure you are comfortable with the brand.
To learn more about Mickey Waffles, head over to our love letter (And details) all about those famous Allergy Friendly Mickey Waffles!
Are the Turkey Legs at Disney World Gluten Free?
Sometimes! Depending on the supplier, you will find the most Turkey Legs at Disney are gluten free, but occasionally, Turkey Legs contain Gluten. Please always check the allergy binder before purchasing something to confirm it does not contain your allergens!
Are the Caramel Apples Gluten Free?
The Disney Caramel Apples only list Milk, Soy and Peanuts on their ingredients. However, there is a warning at the bottom that the caramel apples are made on shared equipment with wheat and other allergens. This would made the caramel apples not gluten free.
Does Universal Studios have Gluten Free Food?
Universal Studios Orlando does have a lot of Gluten Free options! My favorite are at Islands of Adventure, like the Three Broomsticks for Breakfast and Confisco Grille for Lunch! In CityWalk, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville has some great gluten free options!
There you have it food allergy Disney Friends! I hope this guide helps make things easier and less stressful- I know traveling with food allergies can be scary and frustrating and fun (I mean, we just want to be normal!) so I genuinely hope you get to have the trip of a lifetime with lots of awesome safe foods and adventures!