Eating Gluten Free at Disneyland

by brenda on May 17, 2012

We have been on GAPS for 2+ years now and our family has begun to come off of the GAPS Diet. We went on a trip to Disneyland in April & we decided that we would try just eating gluten free for a few days, to see how we did. (Note: I will write a second post about Eating GAPS at Disneyland!).

First, here is Disney’s Dining FAQ. You can request (via e-mail) a list of the gluten free food within the parks (Disneyland and California Adventure), and they will send it to you. You can also get this list (in a nicer format and already printed for you) at City Hall on Main Street. There is a phone number available (on Disney’s Dining site) for one of the head Disney chefs, and if you leave him a voicemail, he will call you and explain to you where you can eat in the park. Many of the restaurants offer at least some type of gluten free option.

My daughter and I also need to eat nut free–so we were eating gluten free and nut free at Disneyland–and we survived! :)

The first morning, we had breakfast at the Minnie & Friends Character Breakfast. The character meals are expensive, but if you have little kids, I think that going to one is worth it! This particular breakfast was at the Plaza Inn, and it was buffet style. On the buffet, there was bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, an omelet bar, fruit, and lots of gluten-filled goodies (muffins, bagels, cereal, waffles). Gluten free waffles are made on request and brought to your table. They look like this:

I was never a huge waffle or pancake fan, and I’ve been totally grain free for 2 years–so keep that in mind when I state my opinion here. :) I did not like these waffles. I did not finish even 1. They were way too thick and pasty. The syrup is fake (corn syrup based), so if you’re picky about these kinds of things (like me), you’ll be eating dry, thick waffles. My kids thought they were OK but nobody ate more than 1 or maybe 2, and a couple of the kids walked away from breakfast with slight tummy aches. I applaud Disney for catering to the gluten free crowd! If you’re gluten free and you LIKE waffles and you don’t mind corn syrup on your breakfast, you might like these. ;)

Our favorite gluten free food at Disney was this:

Again, you have to request a gluten free pizza from the chef, but isn’t this great? They have gluten free pizza! After 2 years of being grain free, PIZZA is what I missed the most! We found this at Red Rockett’s Pizza Port and also at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta in California Adventure (the pizza was a little more expensive there, but I think it was exactly the same. Their gluten-filled pizza looks more gourmet than what is offered at Disneyland, so I think their prices are higher because of that).

Also at Red Rocket’s Pizza Port, you can get a salad that is gluten free. They have this Italian salad or a Caesar salad & you can request no croutons.

Now, GAPsters, close your eyes and scroll past the next photo. I don’t want to tempt you! ;)

The Mickey Mouse ice cream bars throughout the park are gluten free and nut free, amazingly. Yes, that is my son, eating one of these (which does contain other junk like soy and sugar). Lest you think I’ve gone off my rocker and I am no longer a real food blogger, let me promise you that I’ll never post a recipe with white flour or white sugar on this site (nor will I ever again cook with those ingredients in my home!). I also won’t be buying these kinds of foods to keep in my home. This was a treat and we don’t intend to make a habbit of it!

They also make gluten free brownies, chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins that you can get at various places throughout both parks. I spoke to the chef who makes these treats and he verified that they do not come in contact with any nuts. He teased that there are “nuts” in the kitchen (the cooks, ha, ha!), but that these foods are not processed with any nuts.

If you’re a chocolate freak but you have allergies, check out Marceline’s Confectionery in Downtown Disney. They use sugar and corn syrup and all of that kind of stuff that I don’t usually ever eat, but there are some gluten free treats, and they are careful to keep nuts separate from the foods without nuts. It’s a good thing I don’t live anywhere near Downtown Disney! (“May contain traces of nuts” is a super good label for me, because it keeps me from eating so many of the things I should not eat. Nut free chocolate, for my health, should be hard to find!!).

Other options for gluten free food throughout the parks include:

  • gluten free (rice) pasta at various locations
  • turkey legs (outdoor vending carts)
  • popcorn
  • hamburgers with gluten free buns(they use American cheese, though. We were not going to eat the ketchup or the cheese, and a dry burger on a GF bun did not sound appetizing to us).
  • fresh fruit (available at various stands throughout the park and also a potential side dish)
  • baked potato with butter & sour cream
  • hot dog without bun
  • chicken breast sandwich on gluten free bun
  • various main dish salads
  • tacos on corn tortillas
  • enchiladas
  • various yummy sounding sandwiches (especially at the Jolly Holiday Bakery) on gluten free roll or bun
  • chili
  • beef, chicken or veggie skewers (California Adventure)
  • french fries
There are a couple of fancy (more expensive) restaurants within the Disney parks. The Blue Bayou is one of them, and they offer steak, salmon, chicken, etc. that are all gluten free (and their titles sound much more appetizing than how I’ve listed them!).
My family ate at Ariel’s Grotto on our last night, which was spendy, but yummy. We also got priority seating at the World of Color, just for having eaten there (nice!). The chef came out to our table and made food specifically to our taste & restrictions. My hubby ate the Cioppino without the garlic crouton. Some of our kids had chicken with vegetables, some had gluten free pasta. I had gluten free pasta with a red sauce, meat & lots of veggies (It was not something that was on the menu, but the chef was willing to make my request. Yay!). They brought gluten free rolls out to our table (which were very good). For dessert (which comes with the meal), the chef cut up some gluten free brownies, blueberry muffins and cookies and also brought out a bowl of fruit sorbet for each person. It was WAY too much dessert for our family, so we brought the gf goodies to go! :)
The Disney chef that you can call will tell you that everyone at Disneyland and California Adventure will be happy to work with you and accommodate your dietary restrictions. That was very true with the chef at Ariel’s Grotto, but it was  not our experience throughout the parks. Most of the people seemed a little annoyed. One woman at the California Adventure Pizza place even seemed angry that she was going to have to go make some gluten free pizzas. I’m not sure if the attitudes we saw were only because of the inconvenience of having to cook something different. We’ve been to Disney other times, and this particular time, the Disney staff, in general, seemed less “happy.” :(
My family did pretty well on gluten free food, after being on GAPS for so long. I was AMAZED that I did not get sick! YAHOO! Praise God, GAPS has healed me! :) One particular kid had some embarrassing gas episodes after eating Mexican food in Disneyland (which included rice, beans, chicken and corn tortillas). Sorry to those of you who were going through the shops on Main Street with us the night of April 22nd! ;) One other kid definitely still has problems with corn. Whenever he has it, he gets constipated. When he is constipated, he is also grumpy. I think we’ll stay away from corn for his sake and ours, too! ;)
Overall, I’m impressed that Disney has worked so hard at creating gluten free options for their guests. We were thankful to eat throughout the park without having to put much thought into it, pack our own lunch, or risk getting sick. Yay!!
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  • Kellybriggs80

    Man. I am SO BUMMED I didn’t see this post BEFORE we went to Disneyland! I totally would have gotten the pizza. Feeling dumb for not going and checking. I was in HEAVEN at Tomorrowland Terrace and ate there twice for their yummy hamburgers! And to not cook for a week was heaven since at home I’m in the kitchen cooking, prepping, ect 24/7! Thanks for the great post anyway. I guess we’ll have to get back in the car and go again ;) Yeah. I wish.

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