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elfkin

Amazing Walt Disney World Dining Experiences!

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They key to this was prior planning! WOW! This was a VACATION! We never eat out much with our celiac son, so I was very nervous about going to WDW for a week. We stayed at the Pop Century resort on location. We did do our homework. We checked out menus before leaving home. We packed gluten-free snacks (just in case), and we purchased the meal plan at WDW. It includes a sit down meal, a counter service meal and one snack per day, per person. CALL AND MAKE DINING RESERVATION AT THE SIT DOWN RESTAURANTS BEFORE LEAVING HOME! We carefully made our selection (a list of restaurants and menus is available on line). We double booked a few reservation (one in one park, one in another) and canceled the one we didn't want the morning of. This allowed us to keep some scheduling flexibility. When we made our reservations, I told them he had celiac (he also has a peanut allergy). The chef's called me at home to to discuss our meal plan before we even left for the trip! I notified the resort (Pop Century) of our special dining needs and left a message for the chef. He called me at home and gave me the options as well as asking me if there was anything he could order for me to have ready! This was my dream vacation! I did not cook for eight days!!!!! My son is two and he had the time of his life! When we ate at the castle, the chef brought gluten-free rolls in a basket and placed them in front of our son. We always keep food out of his reach at restaurants (when we go) and guard the gluten carefully. This was amazing! He reached for the basket and eyed us, waiting for us to move it. "Those are for you!" I told him. He had the sweetest grin as he munched happily! My husband and I were moved to tears as meal after meal, he had wonderful gourmet dishes and stayed happy and WELL all week! At the buffet meals, the chef would come to our table and take his order after explaining the options. It would be prepared seperately and brought out to him. The chef explained that Disney chefs take a class on special diets and that the kitchens have special areas for allergen free food prep. This was a truly excellent time for all of us. He had gluten-free waffles and pancakes at our resort, gluten-free pizza and mac and cheese. Our daughter (age 6) enjoyed sharing some of his food and no complaints about taste! Snacks were easy, gluten-free fries, fresh fruit, etc. Just get a copy of the menu's and the gluten-free list from guest services at each park and your resort. Do this prior to arrival and plan your meals. With a little advance prep., Disney was an overwhelmingly wonderful vacation for our family. We extended our tickets and purchased the no experation date option! Hopefully we can return before too long. Did I mention how clean the pool and restroom facilities were kept! Also, they put a fridge in our room for no extra since he had a medical need for it. We kept a few snacks there, as well. I guess you can tell we are Disney fans! Now anyway! Before all of this it seemed a bit "commercial" for our taste. Now we cannot say enough about the way they treated our family, especially our son. One of the chefs told us is his daughter has celiac and he wanted to help other people with it. He was at Chef Mickey's in the contemporary resort, very yummy dining! Hope this might encourage those in need of a vacation to give it a try.

ps- I don't work for Disney or have any ties to them, we just had a blast and stayed healthy! :D

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Oh that is so awesome that you had such a great experience. I went to Disney in August and I stayed at Shades of Green Disney Resort and had an amazing experience also. We had purchased the meal plan also and at the buffets the chef would come out and make dinner for me seperate. It it such a wonderful experience to go and not have to worry about not being able to eat. While in Epcot we went up to several of the restaruants to ask if we could dine there and they were like gluten free, we have a menu! I love disney and I cant wait to go back because of the wonderful experience that I had. I am glad that you had a great time. B)

Amanda NY

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I'm so excited for you guys. A few of my friends have started to have kids and I was just saying a few months ago to DH wouldn't it be fun if a whole group of us took a vacation to Disney centered around our one friends 2 year old (ok the 2 year old was an excuse I just wanted to go to Disney). After reading this I really might try and organize it!!

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Elfkin and everyone--It was so nice to hear of all the positive experiences at Disney World. I also teared up a little reading about your 2 year old and his own basket of rolls. :)

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I also teared up a little reading about your 2 year old and his own basket of rolls. :)

OMG...me too. I was telling my Mom the story and she started crying when I talked about the basket of rolls.

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I am glad you all liked my roll story! We (my husband and I) did cry! We were sitting there wiping our eyes and smiling like fools! I should probably tell you that he spent a good portion of the meal just taking them in and out of the basket! It was too cute! I didn't mention this before, but, as a side note, he even swam in the pool with no ill effect. Every other pool we have tried has given him hive-like rash and complicated his eczma. My parents are Disney enthusiasts and they assured me that they use some substance in the pool that is better for allergies than the normal stuff. I was skeptical, but with pool-side rooms and that great Pop Century pool, we gave it a try. We were in it every night. He loved it and did fine.

Also. . . certain ice cream novelties were supposed to be gluten-free at the snack stands. We went to get one, but had to check it, of course, for peanuts (anaphalactic allergy). I was very impressed that when the info. wasn't on the wrapper, the staff member (Disney's word for employee!) called very quickly on her little radio-thing to the parks food service office. Within moments they had the manufactor info. and confirmed that although gluten-free, it had been processed on shared equipment with peanuts. All of this took less than three minutes, no joke. We made an alternate selection and moved on with the epi-pen safely in the bag!

I can't guarantee they would always be this on the ball, but, I was quite impressed.

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Guest Lucy

We are going to orlando in April. We are not staying at resort, but will be visiting Animal Kingdom, and the Magic Kingdom. We are doing a Character breakfast at Animal Kingdom, but other than that we are either prepareing own food, or dining out. What restaurants at these 2 places had gluten free menus?

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This is so great to hear! We're planning a trip in mid February and staing at Shades of Green with my parents (mother is Celiac) and kids (oldest is Celiac-trying to get youngest tested next). I was a bit concerned, but it sounds like it's gonna be fine!

Thanks for the info!

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In response to the question about animal kingdom and magic kingdom:

http://allearsnet.com has a whole section of info. on the gluten free Disney experience

I cannot remember exactly where it was, somewhere under dining.

It had phone numbers for chef's and other tips. Here is some info. that I still had on it:

Animal Kingdom

Restaurantosaurus:

Mc Donalds French Fries - designated fryers

Salad - gluten-free/ dairy-free

Burgers - 100% all beef, no fillers

Petri-Fri:

Fries- designated fryers

Asia:

Hot dog and fries (no bun, of course :rolleyes: )

Stir fry- gluten free

Turkey Leg Cart:

gluten free

(Between Flame Tree Bridge and Asia)

Flame Tree:

Ribs- gluten-free/dairy free

Chicken - gluten-free/dairy free

Salad- gluten-free/dairly free

(We ate here! It was a counter service restaurant. Ask for the mananger, explain that it needs to be uncontaminated. We had no problem, he was used to it. It was very good and reasonable.)

Carts

Strawberry juice bars

orange juice bars

frozen lemonade

Africa

Fruit stand

Tuskers

Rotisserie Chicken

Grilled Salmon

This is all of my info. on Animal Kingdom. We were only there once. Of course, check it out as you go to make sure everything is still the same. Remember to make priority seating reservation for any sit-down meals before leaving home. YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ONCE THERE UNLESS YOU LUCK UP ON IT. The name of the excutive chef for that park at the time of our visit was Chef Robert R. Adams (407) 938-2441.

The Disney Dining Priority Seating # is (407) 939-3463

Tell them first thing that you have special needs, they will mark it in the computer and make sure you are taken care of.

Magic Kingdom

Executive Chef (407) 824-5967

Tony's Town Square:

gluten-free pancakes, bacon, eggs, fruit

gluten-free pasta AND MEATBALLS, bread

My son loved this meal! We ate dinner there, the meatballs were YUMMY.

Liberty Tree Tavern ? It is listed, but no menu.

The Castle (I cannot remember the restaurant name):

This is where he ate the rolls! I cannot remember what else.

Sleepy Hollow:

caramel corn

Aloha Isle:

Pineapple Dairy swirl

Cosmic Cafe:

rotisseri chicken

all beef hot dogs and hamburgers

Main Street Ice Cream Shop:

ask manager for gluten free from the back

hamburgers, hot dogs (w/ no bread), ketchup, Turkey legs, frozen lemonade, snow cones, Orville Redenbacher popcorn, frozen banana, Mickey shaped pops with vanilla ice cream and choc., Nestle's Itsakadoozie ice treat, baked potato - all gluten free

Fast Food counters keep a book that shows pictures of each food item and lists the ingredients.

Chef Mickey's is in the Contemporary Resort (the one the monorail goes through), and is easy to get to from the magic kingdom. They were wonderful.

I hope this is helpful to you.

I would recommend going to AllEarsNet for the whole scoop if you can.

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Disneyland does do the same thing. In Futureland I got a cheese burger with a real-tasting gluten free bun and french fries from a dedicated fryer. The chef came out to talk with me about the meal before I ordered it and then he personally brought it out to me and said that there were no problems with cc and that he had prepared the entire meal from start to finish himself.

At the restaurant (is it called the Blue Lagoon--something like that), I made reservations in advance. The chef called me at home and assured me that I would have no problem. When I arrived, the chef described the options and then prepared the meal himself and brought it out to me. In addition, the people at the gate were very understanding when I brought in foods for "medical necessity" (though I didn't really need them with all of the food they were able to provide). In Adventure Land they have a stand that only sells McD's french fries, so nothing has ever gone into that hut except for the ff and soda--very safe. I had a great experience in Disneyland and can't wait to go back!!!

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Also. . . certain ice cream novelties were supposed to be gluten-free at the snack stands. We went to get one, but had to check it, of course, for peanuts (anaphalactic allergy). I was very impressed that when the info. wasn't on the wrapper, the staff member (Disney's word for employee!) called very quickly on her little radio-thing to the parks food service office. Within moments they had the manufactor info. and confirmed that although gluten-free, it had been processed on shared equipment with peanuts. All of this took less than three minutes, no joke. We made an alternate selection and moved on with the epi-pen safely in the bag!

I can't guarantee they would always be this on the ball, but, I was quite impressed.

MAN! I just love impressive efficiency! So glad the trip was a worry-free blast. DH and I may be going there too in the next few years--lots of friends w/kids and his sisters has 3 that are nearing the Disney age. Thanks for the great tips and info!

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Guest AmandasMommy

elfkin,

thank you, thank you, thank you. make-a-wish foundation is sending my amanda and family to disney in aug. i am concerned that she wouldn't be able to eat there. it sounds so nice to see that they do accually care about allergens.

would you send me the links you got to my email address so i can plan for us? i need to do planning myself. thank you so very much.

joanie368@netzero.net

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I just got back two weeks ago and did not have such a great experience. Maybe I was expecting too much after all the favorable responses from everyone. I went to eat at the one place that has the most gluten free food and ate what was designated and was sick for 3 days of my 5 day vacation. Animal Kingdom was the hardest to find something gluten free. Oh well what to you do. I am glad you had such a great experience. The place really is magical!!

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LOVE your post! Thank you so very, very much!

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I am glad you all liked my roll story! We (my husband and I) did cry! We were sitting there wiping our eyes and smiling like fools! I should probably tell you that he spent a good portion of the meal just taking them in and out of the basket! It was too cute! I didn't mention this before, but, as a side note, he even swam in the pool with no ill effect. Every other pool we have tried has given him hive-like rash and complicated his eczma. My parents are Disney enthusiasts and they assured me that they use some substance in the pool that is better for allergies than the normal stuff. I was skeptical, but with pool-side rooms and that great Pop Century pool, we gave it a try. We were in it every night. He loved it and did fine.

Also. . . certain ice cream novelties were supposed to be gluten-free at the snack stands. We went to get one, but had to check it, of course, for peanuts (anaphalactic allergy). I was very impressed that when the info. wasn't on the wrapper, the staff member (Disney's word for employee!) called very quickly on her little radio-thing to the parks food service office. Within moments they had the manufactor info. and confirmed that although gluten-free, it had been processed on shared equipment with peanuts. All of this took less than three minutes, no joke. We made an alternate selection and moved on with the epi-pen safely in the bag!

I can't guarantee they would always be this on the ball, but, I was quite impressed.

Wow. Disney is indeed, MAGIC!

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That's so amazing!!! Thanks for sharing your experience!!!! :)

Hi, Crayons574:

I agree! Even though the original posts are from some time back, reading them helped me so much NOW. We're going to WDW this October -- I am being tested for Celiac in a couple weeks, and it will be the perfect place to go while coping with it all . . . assuming of course that I need to give up gluten (which I most probably will).

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I had looked at the WDW public web site in advance but apparently didn't know where to look. When I arrived at Pop Century, I asked at the registration desk if the food court could accommodate food allergies (I have to be not only gluten-free but can't eat the common substitutes for gluten/wheat, plus additional allergies). The person went to ask Concierge and related to me what she was told--that the food court only gets in things that are already somewhat prepared and my best bet was to try sit-down restaurants, that there might be a few in the parks that could accommodate food allergies.

I then rented a refrigerator for the room and ultimately called Garden Grocer to deliver a few things to my room so I could eat, after finding only a burger patty that I could eat in the food court.

I found the Landry's chain restaurants like T Rex and Rainforest and the one in Animal Kingdom are skilled at making delicious food, accommodating all the allergies. I also found that all chefs/restaurants are not created equal, even if they are all on WDW property. With some attitude, the ESPN chef threw his hands in the air on seeing my restrictions. The chef at the Coral Reef restaurant said he could make me a sauce for my mahi mahi instead of the sauce it came with. I waited and waited but he didn't return--someone else came out with my food with no sauce and I said that the chef was supposed to have a sauce for me, but he asked the chef and cam back empty-handed. So I decided to take some lemons for my iced tea and squeezed it on my mahi mahi. How hard was that to come up with?! And the Liberty Tree Tavern chef looked at my card and said he could accommodate. He seemed rushed to me, though. This was born out in getting a large portion of one of the no-no's brought to me on my designated plate. And I'm sure the rolls he sent out did not meet my restrictions, either. He mentioned a brand name which I didn't think I knew, but I'm sure now that it was the brand most gluten-free folks can have (but I can't).

Toward the end of vacation, I was at a cashier in the Pop Century food court with my lone burger patty when the cashier, who was new on the job by 3 days, didn't want to charge me for a whole meal and so contacted a manager. I waited and waited as various people were talking. Finally, a chef came over to me and asked if I was just eating the patty because of food allergy. I said yes, and she volunteered to help with that--that she could make me something. Cynically, I pulled a card out of my pocket with my allergies on it and said "I don't think you can help."

But guess what. She did! She made me a marvelous meal. I wanted to cry!

Then I met another chef. I learned all about them and their training and what they have. And they were only too happy to have a challenge! I thought I was impossible, not only because of the many allergies, but because they crossed all categories. The chefs there spent a lot of time with me and reached out. People saw my plate and were envious of me!

With those chefs there, I am a dedicated Pop Century fan!

I wrote cards thanking the chefs and wrote one to the hotel manager explaining how I had to pay for a refrigerator and groceries when all along, the food court could have accommodated me. Sorry to say, the manager never contacted me, but I do see that shortly after our trip, WDW Pop Century puts a refrigerator in every room without charge now.

Oh, and there was Babycakes bakery in the Disney Downtown located in the Pollo Campero (the old McDonald's) that at first I was told by a worker didn't have anything for me, then on the second try later with another employee, found a marvelous Toastie! Yum!

They also had PopChips close by that I could eat. Yum!

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If you go to guest services in the parks, you can get a print out of what's available in each location. The list includes which specific items have gluten, egg, soy, etc.

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