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What To Eat At Wdw In Florida

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We just got back from the The World yesterday (and, yes we're going through the Disney withdrawal). Since being diagnosed with celiac, we've been there two times and just recently became DVC members. We were very nervous about me not finding anything to eat, but we'd heard that Disney was the best place for celiacs to go on vacation and being that my husband is a mousejunkie we made our plans. I can give you details of our most recent trip and I'll give some from our previous trip.

O'Hana: Sit down restaurant in Polynesian resort, served family style. Chef delivers every course of the meal. I think we took the monorail to get there. Our reservation was late in the evening and by the time we got to eat, I was starving and would have eaten anything gluten-free, but the chef came right out and told me what my options were. The chef was great about making sure that I had just as much of a variety as the rest of my family. When my family was served a salad (no croutons), the chef told me that it was ok for me to eat, too. Then, she brought me a plate of special gluten-free wings all for myself while my family shared the gluten wings. She made me a plate of white rice and broccoli with my own skewers of chicken, pork and steak. The chicken here was very tasty. I didn't care for the pork and the steak didn't have as much flavor as the chicken, so the next time I will definitely tell her that I want just the chicken ;). For dessert (unfortunately she wouldn't let me have it to go. I had no room, but ate some of it anyway) she brought out this amazing flourless chocolate lava cake for me while my family enjoyed ice cream and some kind of apple dessert. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Mama Melrose: Italian, sit down restaurant in Hollywood Studios. Chef came to our table, but there are different people who serve the food. The first time we ate here in summer 2010, there was no issue, but last week, the server set my husband's pasta bowl in front of me. (eek!!!!) The chef did come out during the meal and asked if I needed anything else. They served me toasted Ener-G rolls with the dipping oil. The dessert here was a real melt in your mouth kind of chocolate cake that was very tastey.

Via Napoli: Nope, not recommended at all. I was disappointed because every restaurant we had been to before this, the chef is the one to come to our table. Here, the manager came out and only when I had to remind the waitress that we had allergies (my husband is allergic to shellfish). When I asked what my options were here, she told me it was pasta and sauce only and she didn't recommend the pasta because of all the flour flying around the kitchen when they made pizzas. They don't have a dedicated space to cook their gluten free pasta. This is the first restaurant we walked out of without eating. We left here and went to the Teppan Edo

Teppan Edo: Japanese restaurant in Epcot. It's a sit down restaurant, too. We went here without having a

reservation and they didn't give us any problem at all with our allergies. Again, the chef didn't come out. (probably because we don't speak Japanese???) So, the manager came over to explain our options. Neither the manager nor the chef served my meal here, but I asked if it was all gluten-free and they confirmed that it was. I had chicken, rice and broccoli here and it was good.

Plaza: Ask for Chef Kenny or Chef Connie. They are genuinely caring. In 2010, Chef Kenny came out and explained my options and he not only made me feel comfortable, but he also made a fruit plate that I could share with my family. My husband wanted to take him home with us. Chef Kenny insisted on a pic of him with our family and sending it to him. If you notify him in advance, he says he can make special carrot cake or something so you don't have to have the gluten free brownie. It was my birthday last week so my husband had a gluten-free cake ordered. Chef Connie was the chef this time and she was just as caring as Chef Kenny. My son thought that she might even be his mom. LOL. She took my order and brought out all my food, just like Chef Kenny. She even brought out my gluten-free birthday cake and the whole restaurant sang Happy Birthday to me. The prices here didn't seem too outrageous, either.

Turf Club and Grill and Artist Palette: These are restaurants in the Saratoga Springs Resort where we stayed. The restaurants share whichever chef is on duty. If Chef Ron is there, he will treat you well. I had read good reviews on allears.net about him and I was happy when he came out to our table. Here, Chef Ron explained my options, but the meal was served by someone other than the chef. Our waiter was Max and he loves kids. (He told us a story about his son where he was trying to get his son to understand something and all his son did was look at the ground. When he finally looked up he pretended he had binoculars on his eyes. Max told the story so much better than I can. lol) My boys tried doing that later in our trip where I was trying to be serious with them, but they put their heads down and when they looked up, it was like they were holding binoculars to their eyes. Some waitstaff, chefs, castmembers really try to get involved and make magic happen with family and they do a good job of it. I think the binocular story will stick in my head for a long time... The Artist Palette is the counter service restaurant for the resort. If Chef Ron is on duty, he'll work with you on whatever you want. I think that Chef Michael would too, but I asked for a buffalo chicken flatbred and when it came out, it had a TON of buffalos sauce and little chicken. The crust ended up being so soggy I had to go back and get a salad.

Oh, while I'm thinking about it, the fruit cups and salads are gluten free. While at one of the food carts in Epcot, I asked if the nuts were gluten free. They didn't know, but they didn't look at me like I was nuts. They just called someone to find out they are. That made me happy to know they went the extra mile to find out. The best part was that there was no blank stare you get when you ask if something has any gluten in it.

Les Chefs de France: French sit-down restaurant in Epcot. The food here was good and flavorful, but there was a mix up somehow with my soup. At this restaurant, you have to order your meal with the waiter (taking your best guess at what could be gluten-free), then he has the chef come to the table. So, I told the waiter what I wanted, he brought the chef back to the table and read off what I wanted to the chef. The chef said there would be no problem. I ordered the french onion soup with gruyere cheese. The food was brought out by servers. I started eating the soup and realized that there was bread under the cheese. I didn't have to say anything directly to our waiter, but I looked around to see if I could see him or a manager etc. Seeing no one, I just sat there. Minutes later he came up from behind me apologizing profusely and took my bowl away promising he'd bring another one. I don't know if he ordered the wrong thin in the first place or if there was a mix up in the kitchen etc. So, I was kind of worried of what would happen to me after having not eaten gluten in over a year. I was so upset that I am so careful and then that happened. I didn't eat much of my main course or dessert after that.

Babycakes: This is a real treat and a "Don't miss for gluten-free" in Downtown Disney. Keep in mind that I'm spoiled on Jules Gluten Free flour and the cupcakes here weren't as good as my own when I use Jules flour, but it was ok. The cranberry bread, however was out of this world delicious. It was so moist and didn't taste gluten-free at all. We were going to order a gluten-free birthday cake here, but it was going to be around $50 for a 6 inch, so we passed. If you have kids, this is a great alternative to the infamous "gluten-free brownie" that you get at a counter service restaurant. It's located inside a building across from the T-Rex restaurant. I'm sorry I can't remember more details of where it's located, but I think it is on the Marketplace side of Downtown Disney.

Pollo Campero: This is a counter service restaurant in Downtown Disney located in the same building as Babycakes. We were told by our resort that this was a close gluten-free restaurant. They do claim that they have gluten-free food, but watch for CC here. The grilled chicken is located in a bin right next to the fried chicken and they don't have the option to get fresh food from their kitchen. When I pointed out that it was next to the fried chicken, the server told me that they used separate tongs to get the food out. I was horrified to see that the tongs were touching each other in the bin. We didn't eat here.

Pizza Plant: This is a counter service pizza/arcade in Hollywood Studios. When we walked in, the manager was standing at the entrance with 2 other people. I didn't have to wait for them to finish their conversation before they all greeted me. I explained that I had "a gluten allergy" because that's what triggers them to pay more attention, I hear. The manager, Wes said that either of the 2 ladies standing next to him would be glad to help me. Rachel went and got a book with all the ingredients in it and explained my options. If you like Amy's, you're all set. I don't (again, I'm spoiled with Silvana's, Udi's and Against the Grain Gourmet pizza crusts). They also have Ener-G pizza shells. She made me a real pizza (like real sauce and cheese) and put it on the Ener-G shell and brought it out to me.. It was pretty good. I have to make mention here because it happened...with my drink, I watched as the girl put on rubber gloves and then proceeded to pour beer into cups in front of me, then without changing her gloves, I guess she pressed the button on my drink cup (you know, the ones where you can mark that it it's diet, or tea etc..) Another girl, Vesta, who is wonderful, gave me my drink and said that it was regular coke even though the other girl had marked it as diet. I asked her if she had done it with the same gloves she was still wearing after pouring the beers. Without further question, she knew what I was asking and she said that she'd get me another one right away. The girl with the gloves starting refilling my cup, I asked if she could PLEASE change her gloves before she got my drink. Vesta took over the refilling, looked at me to make sure it was ok to use the same ice shovel, poured my drink and then before she touched my cup, she went over to the sink,washed her hands and then came back over and put a fresh lid on my cup. I don't know if I explained it well enough, but Vesta really went the extra mile here. I thanked her for it and she then explained that her friend has celiac and she knew what needed to be done. I was thankful for that and I also explained it all to Rachel when she gave me my pizza. It would have been ok here had the one girl not touched the button on the lid without changing her gloves that touched the beer.

Flametree BBQ...I think that's the name of it. It's a counter service restaurant in Animal Kingdom. Look for the lady handing out menus outside of the lines. She'll be dressed in a bright uniform. Tell her that you have an allergy and she'll tell you what you need to do. Basically, all you can do here is go up to the cashier and tell him or her that you have an allergy, she'll send you to the counter to wait for the chef, the chef comes out and asks what you have in mind, then you have to turn around and give your order to the cashier again. I didn't like this so much because there was a long line and the original cashier left her station and someone new took over and didn't know about my allergy. It worked out and the food was ok.

I'll mention that Chef Ron told me that if one of the ingredients listed is modified food starch, to assume it is wheat unless the source is in parentheses. They use modified food starch to stabilize their bulk foods.

Biergarten: Buffet restaurant in Germany at Epcot. The chef comes to your table and you follow him or her to the buffet line. Chef tells you what's safe. If you ask him to get you a fresh plate from the kitchen, he will do so. Most of the chefs at buffet restaurants will do the same (Boma, Crystal Palace, Tusker House)

Rose & Crown: Sit-down restaurant in United Kingdom at Epcot. CHef comes to your table and gives you your options. Place your order with the waitress and the food is brought out by servers.

All in all, I've had good experiences and have never had trouble finding something good to eat. Via Napoli is the only restaurant I wouldn't recommend for gluten-free. While I can't remember all the details of our previous trip, we've had good experiences at California Grill, Liberty Inn, House of Blues, Tony's Town Square and others too.

Also, we went on a Pirate tour where they served snacks. When I booked the tour in 2010 I told them about the allergy. When I got to the location where the tour was to start, they were ready for me. THey had my own gluten free snacks already to go. :)

WOW this was an AMAZING post. CAn I email you off the forum? I was wonder what members of your family has Celiac? My 6yr DD was just diagnosed and I think that my 19mo DD and I also have celiac disease. So going away scares me. But your information is a God send. I am printing this and taking it with me.

I am a planner when it comes to going to WDW I find you HAVE to plan and your suggestions will DEFIANTLY help me plan better. I had wanted to go to O'hana's the last time we were there but not enough time. Your tips will make it one of our must visits. I am so nervous about buffets and knowing that the Chef comes to your table to talk to us makes me feel better. My biggest concern with buffets is the cross contamination. How do they help prevent this? Do they cook your meal and then bring it to you. With all the mixing of utensils I get very scared to even go to any. Thanks again for all your detailed info.

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