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Anyone Ever Been To Disneyworld?


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#1 wendyspi

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 04:56 PM

We took our son last year to Disneyworld before he had celiac...we want to take him again in Sept. How helpful are they?
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#2 flagbabyds

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 08:20 PM

I don't know about disneyworld but I do know that when I went to Disneyland they were very helpful. I don't know if this helps you at all.

MOlly
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#3 kejohe

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 09:24 PM

I just saw an article about dealing with special diets in disneyworld and they mentioned the efforts and programs in place for dealing with special needs, including celiac... I nned to find the article and I'll get back to you. But I remember it said some very, very good things about it.
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Kathleen
Son has been gluten-free since December 2001

#4 Aimee

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 08:35 AM

My mom works at Disneyworld in reservations. She has been doing research on the restaurants there for me becuase I'll be visitng her in May for the first time with Celiac. Disney is WONDERFUL about making accomodations for guests. They are used to having visitors from all over the world with various dietary issues. SInce most of their nice restaurants heavily suggest reservations, when you call to make those, the reservationist will ask if you have a special dietary need. They will accomodate anything from gluten, to vegan, to kosher. So far, she hasn't come across a restaurant there yet that doesn't offer a gluten free menu to guests. She has also been told that they offer gluten free rolls and such at the fast food places.

When always planning a trip, I would call ahead and find out more details, esp if you might be eating lots of fast food. They will be able to tell you which of those places can accomodate, if not all of them can't. Our impression has been that they all can and all are prepared and taught aout the gluten free diet. Theres a 1-800 number on their website concerning special dietary needs.

If you have any more questions, let me know and I'll see if my mom knows =)
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#5 AntiGluten

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 12:00 PM

I went to DisneyWorld with my family last year. We went to Magic Kingdom and MGM, they were a lot of fun. My mom and I both have celiac and found a cart at both parks that sell nothing but McDonalds french fries, which are supposed to be gluten free. They were very good. There are also various karts and stands there that sell sliced fruit in small plastic containers. So if you look, there are things in the actual parks that you can find to eat. I would probably avoid any of the fast food burger/pizza joint type places inside the park however because they probably wont be as accomadating and I would think cross contamination would be a big problem. Hope this helps.

Aimee - What restaurants there do you remember having gluten free rolls in? Are you talking about restaurants inside the actual parks? or just different restaurants around Orlando. We might be going again in late march or april and being able to eat rolls at a restaurant would be nice to experience again.
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Name's Lee, 24/m/tx
Diagnosed in 11/01
I prefer the Paleo Diet over all others.

#6 angel_jd1

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 01:57 PM

I belong to another celiac group online and we have a file about disney. Here is the info that we have. Hope it helps you out!!
-Jessica :rolleyes:


The following info. ALL comes from the file located at SillyYaks Yahoo group

Gluten Free Guests Experiences from Disney
(this info was found on the web)




Restaurants
At-a-Glance
All-You-Can-Eat Meals
Animal Kingdom
Disney-MGM Studios
Epcot
Magic Kingdom
Resort: Counter Service
Resort: Sit Down

Dinner Shows
Hoop-dee-Doo Musical Revue
Polynesian Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

Special Dietary Needs
Celiac Sprue
Food Allergies
Kosher
Low Carb
Other Special Diets
Vegetarian/Vegan
--Parks Counter Service
--Parks Table Service
--Strategies for WDW Vegetarian Dining
--Meet the Authors of Vegetarian WDW
--A Vegetarian at Mickey's Table - I
--A Vegetarian at Mickey's Table - II


Special Dining Events
Afternoon Tea
Easter
Food and Wine Festival
Lunch with a Disney Artist
Mickey's Backyard BBQ
Mother's Day
Thanksgiving

Dining Discounts
Disney Club Discount
Disney Dining Experience
WDW Discounts




September 2002

A Gluten Free Vacation at Disney World
By Janet Lowery, Nashville

I have no financial interest in Disney World. As in any restaurant situation, there are risks of gluten cross-contamination.

Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a very magical place, not only for their entertainment, but for their knowledge and ability to cater to many dietary restrictions.

All sit down restaurants can handle gluten free meals, you'll need to make reservations ahead of time with Priority Seating at 407-939-3463. Mention that you'll need a gluten free diet early in your reservation. They will give you the phone number for each restaurant so you can call and talk to the chef ahead of time to guarantee they will have the appropriate food in stock. You can also contact the Executive Chef of each park for help.

I always carried a small soft side cooler for quick snacks as back up just in case (Frigo cheese sticks, Hillshire Farms lunch meat, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, Glutino pretzels, and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies). It also came in handy when my son, John, was served such large portions in the sit down restaurants, we were able to take the leftovers with us for a quick meal later on. Take lots of extra baggies just for this reason. And be sure to request a refrigerator for your hotel room as well.

Downtown Disney
We arrived Wednesday evening and went to Downtown Disney for dinner and shopping. We chose McDonalds for a quick meal. They have a dedicated french fryer and the manager put on clean gloves to place John's meat, cheese and pickles in a box. They also have salads and the yogurt parfait (the granola is not gluten-free) as another option. Ask for the manager's assistance. There is also a Rainforest Cafe and Planet Hollywood as well many other restaurants. Priority Seating does not make reservations for Downtown Disney's restaurants, so you'll need to call the Disney Switchboard at 407-824-2222 to get each phone number.

Magic Kingdom
We went to the Magic Kingdom on Thursday. I highly recommend visiting this park on the weekday as it was so much busier on Saturday. We had a wonderful character breakfast at Tony's Town Square. Chef Dennis was incredible and made gluten-free pancakes shaped like Mickey's head. John also ate bacon and mixed berries. We had leftovers! Chef Dennis also made up gluten-free meatballs for our return dinner on Saturday evening. We had a different chef Saturday, but he was just as knowledgeable and brought my son rice spaghetti with a huge gluten-free meatball and fresh steamed broccoli/asparagus. He also brought out warmed gluten-free bread (Cibros brand I believe) with butter. What an wonderful feeling to watch my son eat in a restaurant!

For lunch we had a Turkey leg from a walk-up wagon and McDonald Fries in Frontierland. We had reservations for the Liberty Tavern, which I've heard wonderful reviews about, but opted for a quick meal instead of a sit down meal. All parks have a Turkey leg wagon as well as a McDonald's French Fry wagon.

Epcot
The Magic Kingdom closed at 6 p.m. so we took the monorail to Epcot for the evening parade and fireworks, which are absolutely wonderful. Just don't stand down wind from fireworks! We went to the Liberty Inn in the American Adventure for gluten free pizza (no reservations required). Ask for the manager first thing and call ahead to let them know you are coming. They have Nature's Highlight frozen pizza. Unfortunately, they overcooked the first one, then the next 3 kept falling apart on them. After an hour, we finally pulled food out of the soft side cooler for John's dinner. They get an "A" for effort though.

MGM Studios
On Friday we went to MGM for our second character breakfast at Hollywood and Vine. It was a buffet, but the chef made gluten-free Mickey Waffles (which my son didn't like, they were also free of dairy and eggs too). John ate leftover pancakes from Thursday. The chef also brought out bacon and fruit before it hit the buffet.

For lunch we went to a walk up restaurant, the Backlot Express. They have a dedicated fryer for french fries, but the staff uses the same tongs to pick up the fries as they do the bun. The manager had to remake the french fries and handle my son's food personally. So best advice is to ask for the manager first thing in walk up restaurants. We didn't have reservations for dinner, so we went back to Hollywood and Vine for the dinner buffet. The chef brought some turkey and green beans from the kitchen. Plus more gluten-free bread. There were plenty of entree and veggie options. And the chef brought out a gluten-free brownie for dessert! Our favorite show of all four parks is the Fantasmic! laser and light show in the evening. Don't miss this one!

Animal Kingdom
On Saturday, we had yet another character breakfast at Restaurantasaurus in the Animal Kingdom. This is a buffet, but the chef made gluten-free pancakes and bacon for John. The chef mentioned there were two other gluten-free reservations for the same morning. We found whole fruit on the buffet. For lunch John ate leftovers from the night before, plus McDonald french fries. My husband and I ate at the Tusker restaurant Barbeque, but the food just looked too spicy for a 5 year old.

It was a wonderful experience! I highly recommend it to anyone planning a family vacation, or even an adult getaway. If you do your homework and make reservations ahead of time, you won't have much to worry about, just enjoy yourself! www.disneyworld.com has downloadable maps to help you plan your day.

And one last note, we weren't charged any additional cost for the gluten-free food.

Important Disney Numbers
DISNEY WORLD PRIORITY SEATING Restaurant Reservations
407-939-3463
DISNEY SWITCHBOARD
407-824-2222
MAGIC KINGDOM
Executive Chef 407-824-5967
EPCOT
Executive Chef, Sharon Schifano, Epcot F&B, 407-560-7483
MGM STUDIOS
Executive Chef Michael LaDuke 407-560-1347
ANIMAL KINGDOM
Executive Chef Robert R. Adams 407-938-2441

The following is information I received from postings on St. John's Listserv as well as my own Disney contact research.

MAGIC KINGDOM
Executive Chef 407-824-5967
Tony's Town Square, Chef Dennis
gluten-free Pancakes, bacon, eggs, fruit, gluten-free pasta and meatballs, bread
Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square - Family style meals
Sleepy Hollow - Caramel Corn
Aloha Isle - Pineapple Dairy swirl
Cosmic Cafe - Rostisseri Chicken (ask manager to help)
Main Street Ice Cream Shop (ask manager for gluten free in back)
Hamburgers, hot dogs without buns, ketchup, Turkey legs, frozen lemonade, snow cones, strawberry juice bars, Nestle's Itsakadoozie ice treat, baked potato, Orville Redenbacher popcorn, frozen banana, Mickey shaped pops with vanilla
ice cream and chocolate
Fast Food counters keep a book that shows pictures of each food item and lists the ingredients.

EPCOT
Executive Chef, Sharon Schifano, Epcot F&B, 407-560-7483
All table service restaurants can accommodate your needs. If you make a priority seating, please mention it to the Cast Member and they will note this on your information. I recommend asking to see a Manager or Chef when you arrive and they will be happy to assist you and help ensure your food is prepared safely. As for our Quick Service Restaurants, we do keep special products on hand at one of our locations, Liberty Inn located at the American Adventure. They serve hot dogs and burgers. The french fries in this location are gluten-free as they are not cooked with anything else. (Please double check this, they weren't the day we were there.) We can also do a burger on gluten-free bread. The hot dogs are gluten-free as well. We serve a grilled chicken sandwich that is marinated in canola oil and Italian spices, garlic, salt and pepper. We also have a turkey club sandwich. They keep a gluten-free pizza on hand in the freezer. We have an ingredient book at the cash register for you to look at as well. Hagen Daz ice cream is usually available.

As for our food carts, the turkey legs are gluten-free, popcorn, strawberry juice bars and Itzakadoozie bars are all gluten-free. We serve fresh fruit cups at all of our Counter Service Restaurants. Pure & Simple at Wonders of Life Pavilion serve fruit smoothies (Strawberry Apple: frozen strawberries & Minute Maid Apple juice or Pineapple Banana: fresh bananas & Dole Pineapple Tidbits in natural juice).

MGM STUDIOS
Executive Chef Michael LaDuke 407-560-1347
michael.laduke@disney.com

Quick Service Areas
All areas EXCEPT ABC Commissary have fryers designated to their french fries which are not cross contaminated. (Note: Always be sure to double check if fryers are safe!) The ABC fryers are in very close proximity to a batter dipped fish area, which may lead to cross use. Areas are able to adapt their menu items slightly without notice, please allow 5 to 10 extra minutes for them to accomplish this as it is apart from their daily practice and certain safety measures are always followed.
We are able to provide items such as Gluten Free Pizza, or Pasta, Lactose Free Milk, etc. with advance notice. Please contact Ex. Chef Michael LaDuke to arrange items/times/and locations.

Table Service Areas
In our Table Service Locations (Prime Time CafE, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre, Mama Melrose, Hollywood and Vine, Hollywood Brown Derby) we have a staff of trained chefs who can meet your needs by adapting current menu items, or developing items fit to your requests. If making priority seatings please notify reservation agent of any dietary request, and ask them to note. Upon arrival at the restaurants please notify your server of your need, and a chef will visit your table, to insure your requests are met. Special items of course are available to be provided with advance notice, and should be communicated through Chef as mentioned above.

ANIMAL KINGDOM
Executive Chef Robert R. Adams 407-938-2441
Restaurantasaurus in DinoLand (Donald & friends)
Burgers and Hot Dogs (you provide your own bread), Character Breakfast has several offerings including gluten free pancakes
Rainforest Cafe
McDonalds Fries
Flame Tree Barbeque: Ribs, Chicken, Corn on the cob, Chicken breast sandwich (your bread)
Tusker House: Rotisserie Chicken, Fresh Vegetables
Fruit Market: Fresh Fruits
Snacks: Soft serve ice cream, all 3 locations in Park are gluten free (ice cream only, not cone), Popcorn, Juice Bars (ice cream wagons), Frozen Banana (has nuts and chocolate coating), Cotton Candy, Lemon Slush

**********

April 2001

Last year my wife was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue. With Celiac Sprue your body reacts very negatively to gluten. Even small amounts of gluten can cause celiacs to become very ill. Gluten is in grains (flour, etc.). The cure for this is a gluten free diet. Although gluten is found in grains, it is used in many products used for cooking. Check the labels, anything that has wheat or modified food starch contains gluten.

Well, my wife was very concerned about eating in restaurants and even more concerned about going on vacation where she would be eating out for extended periods. When we started thinking about a possible vacation my wife was doing some research in the Sprue literature and read that Disney World is a good place for celiacs because the chefs are well educated and they are willing to bend over backwards to assist. So, we thought we would give it a try...

A few weeks before we were scheduled to go to Florida I sent an email to the Disney Folks and explained my wife's concerns. I received an email back the following day indicating that they deal with special diets all the time. The email gave me the names and phone numbers of 3 people to contact who could help me. I called these people and they were not only willing to help but they also knew about Celiac issues.

I was told to make Priority seating reservations and then call them back. So, I made our first set of reservations at Germany (EPCOT), the Brown Derby, and Chef Mickey's. I then called back and gave the ladies our dining schedule. She told me she would contact the chefs at these restaurants and make sure they had food my wife could eat. We were also to speak to the chefs when we arrived at the restaurants.

Well, each of the chefs knew we were coming. At Germany, the chef walked the buffet with my wife and pointed out what she could eat and what she could not. He also made a special fruit plate for her dessert since all the buffet deserts contained gluten. At the Brown Derby they made a special gluten free sauce for her food. At Chef Mickey's there was not a lot on the buffet that was gluten free so the chef cooked her a special steak dinner!!! He even had gluten free desserts in the kitchen.

To make this a enjoyable and healthy vacation for my wife required the coordinated efforts of many Disney employees and it all ran like clockwork. This was truly customer service as it should be. Joe DiBiase
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Jessica
Gluten Free since 12-31-2002!!
Kansas

#7 Aimee

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 02:33 PM

Thanks for posting all that! I haven't been there yet with Celiac, but mom has assured me that they are very accomodating and their chefs are very aware of all the health issues out there and special dietary needs, and will bend over backwards. Makes me look forward to my trip even more! =)
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#8 wendyspi

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 11:17 AM

Thanks Everyone for the advice...we are taking a business trip to Fl. today so we may end up at Disneyworld on Sunday!
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#9 SillyYakUK

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 04:53 AM

For all of us in the UK who want to visit Disneyland in Florida, anyone been recently and eaten gluten-free there??
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#10 Thomas

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 03:42 PM

Molly,

You said you went to Disneyland in California and had no trouble. where did you eat when you were there?
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#11 Kim

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 03:08 PM

I was in Disneyworld (Florida) with my nieces and nephew (all of us are celiac) last August. We did fairly well. I strongly recommend making the reservations ahead of time and indicating the gluten-free needs. Some, but not all, of the nicer restaurants at Disney, have gluten-free rolls (which are by Cybros?) which are very good. We did go to Rainforest cafe in Wild Kingdom and they weren't as accommodating and didn't have as much gluten-free to offer as other places so I would recommend you either call them ahead of time or find someplace else to eat.

In general, I found Disney to be very expensive (gluten free or not). We got a hotel room with a kitchenette, including a refrigerator and stove. We brought our own gluten-free bread, donuts, rolls. We bought eggs, peanut butter, jelly, etc. there. We ate breakfast in. We packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch most of the time. The kids were just as happy and it was easier than dealing with "fast food" type places. The icecream Mickey Mouse ears are gluten free and made a nice snack, especially in the summer heat. Also, there are fruit snacks (ie. Shrek, Disney characters, etc. that you can buy in your grocery stores that would be easy to bring in with you for kids snacks too).

We took the kids to a "character meal" which they loved and there was some stuff for them to eat. It was extremely difficult to get to speak to a chef, or anyone who knew about the restrictions, for the character meal. The hostess was nothing short of rude. When we finally could speak with someone who was knowledgable, he was nice and did try to accommodate. It was frustrating however, for him and for us, because so much of that food was pre-prepared and he wasn't sure how. If I recall correctly, the hotdogs were gluten-free and they had icecream sundaes which were okay as well (they don't use M&Ms, but they did have gluten-free generic M&Ms).

We went out for dinner and only once did the restaurant make a mistake and bring out gluten -- The chef came running out after we'd had one bite, he apologized profusely and they redid the order. (Luckily, we didn't get adverse affects but I wasn't too happy about it). They really did bend over backwards at the nicer restaurants to accommodate. I wish I remembered where exactly we ate. Again, I would recommend stating when you make your reservations that you need Gluten Free. Also, apparantly, you need to make reservations pretty far in advance (gluten free or not).

The kids absolutely loved the trip and I would go back. Hope that helps. Kim.
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#12 lovegrov

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 05:49 AM

For those of you planning to go to Disneyworld -- it is absolutely the best gluten-free-friendly place I've ever been. At every place we ate the head chef came out and talked to me, including at the character breakfast. Every time we ate at a buffet the chef offered to bring fresh food from the back to avoid contamination. At the character breakfast I had a choice of gluten-free pancakes or French toast -- or both. And every chef knew EXACTLY what was in every item. One of them even advised against one dish even though it was most likely gluten-free because they could not get the maker of one of the six mustards to guarantee the mustard gluten-free. At one place I joked about being the "problem person" and the chef quickly assured me it was no problem at all.

Another story -- we went to the Liberty Tree in Epcot because I had heard they stocked gluten-free buns and you could get a hamburger or chicken sandwich with bun. This was true except they had just sold their last one. The manager sent somebody to another place for buns, but it ended up taking 35 minutes. As a result the manager came out, apologized profusely, and told us all three of our meals were on the house. BTW, the bun wasn't really worth it, although the gluten-free rolls and pancakes I had at other restaurants were.

We got great treatment even though we were there during one of the busiest weeks of the year. One key is to call ahead to the dining number and get priority seating for where you want to eat. Tell the operator you must eat gluten free and he or she will give you another number to call. This will be either the chef or the food manager for the park. Call that person and tell them what you need. They will then tell you what to do or who to ask for (usually the chef) when you get to the restaurant. Everybody I met was very professional. Meeting special dietary problems is part of their job. If you run across somebody rude or not accommodating, report them to the park food director.

Numerous fast food places DO have gluten-free food. The turkey legs are gluten-free, as are the McDonald's fries. Several BBQ places in differtent parks have gluten-free food. Ice cream and popcorn are gluten-free.
Eating at Disney is indeed expensive but everywhere we ate was good.

To help you decide where you might want to eat, here's a web site with menus for just about every restaurant:

http://allearsnet.com/menu/menus.htm

richard
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#13 Kim

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 06:49 AM

Richard, It's good to hear you had a good experience with the character breakfast. We did indicate when making all of our reservations that we needed gluten free -- we must have just caught the wrong hostess/chef for our character meal.
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#14 TeachK71

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Posted 24 July 2004 - 01:18 PM

Hi!
I just returned from Orlando and I followed the advice from this post and it was wonderful in Disneyworld. We went to the Magic Kindgom and Epcot. We did the reservations ahead of time at both. My best experience was at the Liberty Inn at the Magic Kingdon. The chef Greg came out to talk to me and brought me all of my courses himself. He even brought out a gluten free brownie with ice cream for dessert and he did the whole presentation of it with raspberry sauce making it look like the best brownie ever. I was so impressed. We also did Tony's Town Square in the Magic Kingdom where I had rice spaghetti with meatballs, and some warm bread and butter. In Epcot we did the Biergarten restaurant where the Chef went along the buffet with me to tell me what I could have and what to stay away from. It was truly an easy few days without having to worry about where and what to eat. Disney is definitely Celiac friendly. :)
Kim
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