Gluten Free In Disney World – Magic Kingdom
Updated February 2020
We are huge Walt Disney World fans! The safe food service that we receive every time we go is unmatched and incredible. It gives our kids the opportunity to experience the Disney magic like all of the other kids, which is truly priceless.
As the mother of a child with celiac disease and a dairy allergy, traveling can be very difficult and going on vacation doesn’t always feel like vacation when you’re worried about finding safe food and making sure your child doesn’t get sick. Thankfully, Disney World has an impressive food allergy program that makes enjoying your vacation much easier!
Here are our family’s Gluten Free Disney World Tips
Gluten Free Dining in Magic Kingdom
Before you get to the park, we recommend making reservations on the Disney World website or via the Disney World app. When you make the reservation, it asks if you have any dietary restrictions, which you’ll want to mark down.
We are always impressed how when we get to the restaurants they repeat the dietary restrictions before we sit down at the host stand, and the chef or manager comes to speak with us personally about the menu and our needs. It is always clear how much they care and want to make sure we have a fabulous, safe meal.
Most of the sit-down restaurants have an allergy friendly menu available, which makes ordering very simple. Plus, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many allergy friendly options the restaurants have.
Our Family’s Restaurant Experiences in Magic Kingdom:
1. Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen
This is my favorite restaurant in Magic Kingdom. It’s a Jungle Cruise themed restaurant and the food is amazing. 95 percent of their menu is already gluten free and their fryer only has gluten free items that go in it, making gluten free dining really easy here. We like so many things on the menu, but I’ll list our favorites: the falafel and hummus platter, “Tastes Like Chicken Because It Is” Fried Chicken Platter, Perkins Thai Noodles, and the Chef Tandaji’s Crispy Chicken Platter. The gluten free fried chicken is the best I’ve ever had at a restaurant anywhere, so I highly recommend it!
Here’s the kids allergy-friendly menu from our trip in February 2020.
2. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
They have an allergy friendly menu. Yes, I said Allergy Friendly Menu. In fact, there was one side for adults and one side for kids under 9. I was impressed that they noted all of the top 8 allergens and gluten.
Even though they had gluten free menu options, I asked the chef about how they prepare the foods and where the foods come from to find out about potential cross contamination and was happy to hear about all of the precautions they take. Our meals were prepared with separate pots, pans and utensils and were marked with special allergy toothpicks to make sure they wouldn’t be mixed up.
I ordered the Chicken Primavera and my daughter ordered the Spaghetti with Marinara and grilled chicken with a side of apple slices. Both were delicious and so was the gluten free bread that they brought to our table while we waited for the main course.
When was the last time you went to a mainstream restaurant that had warm bread in addition to entrees, appetizers and desserts you could safely eat?! I can count on one hand the number of times, not including dedicated gluten free restaurants, so it was a definite treat.
Tony’s offered sorbet for dessert that looked terrific, but I had heard about Aloha Isle’s Dole Whip and wanted to take the kids there when we came back that evening.
I’m including pictures of the menu as of February 2017, so that you can see all of the options. Please note the menus are updated regularly so always check with the restaurant in advance.
3. Crystal Palace Character Breakfast – Character breakfasts are fun, especially if your kids want to meet characters, take pictures and get their autograph books signed. We ordered gluten free Mickey waffles and scrambled eggs and both were delicious. They made the waffles from scratch in a dedicated gluten free waffle iron in a separate area which meant that we had to wait longer for our food, but that it was safe. I can’t believe it, but I didn’t take pictures of this restaurant…next time I will!
4. Aloha Isle’s Dole Whip
It’s not every day that we can go to an ice cream shop and find dairy free soft serve, so this is always a real treat! They offer pineapple and raspberry flavors and right now you can also get a swirl which is our favorite! Our kids are always so excited and love it; So, we definitely recommend stopping by this quick service stand too.
5. Columbia Harbor House: I asked the Celiac Mama facebook community if they had favorite restaurants to add and several families highly recommend this restaurant. We haven’t personally tried these restaurants yet, but they’re real reviews from other celiac families and we can’t wait to try them!
Here’s what they had to say: Delicious chicken, safe French Fries (separate fryer), the BEST GF chicken nuggets and the Salmon platter is delicious too!”
6. Hotel Dining Note: The restaurant staff within the Disney World Parks have an amazing allergy friendly training program in place, but this does not necessarily extend to the hotels. Some Disney owned hotels may have fabulous training, but it is always important to check with the hotels ahead of time to find out if they can accommodate and what options are available. We had an experience at an area hotel which is not owned by Disney, but did have Disney in the title. They accidentally served our daughter wheat pancakes, which resulted in an end to that particular trip so we feel most comfortable eating in the parks, Disney Springs or at our hotel room with a kitchen.
Favorite Rides in Magic Kingdom
Our kids always have a blast in Magic Kingdom! There are so many toddler friendly rides there and we spend most of our time in the Fantasyland section. Their favorite rides are:
- It’s a Small World
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, and
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
How to Beat the Lines + Fast Pass Pro Tips for Families with Kids
Our strategy is to get to the park 15 minutes before it opens. Why? Because they usually open the doors early and if you’re there you’ll get to the front of the lines faster.
The lines are shorter for the first couple of hours and the crowds don’t become unbearable until lunch time. So, we usually schedule our first two consecutive Fast Passes one hour after the park opens. Since you have an entire hour window to do your fast pass that gives us the first two hours to go on as many rides as we can before the lines get crazy. Then we have time to do our 2 fast passes before lunch and save the third one for after lunch when the lines are longer.
My kids are young and need a break come 11:30, so we schedule lunch at that time in a sit down restaurant. We do this because it’s air conditioned and Florida can be very hot and it gives us a nice 45-minute break from the excitement to relax and replenish.
Each Disney guest can sign up for 3 fast passes per day, but once the fast passes are used you can keep signing up for one more at a time an unlimited number of times. The free Disney app is very useful for this as well as scouting out wait times and making reservations.
When we travel, we choose to stay at hotels that have full kitchens to ensure that we have safe food for our children to eat. Luckily, there are many hotels near Disney World that offer full kitchens at very reasonable prices. Sheraton Vistana Villas, for example, has spacious apartment style rooms that include separate living/bedroom areas, full kitchens, and washer/dryers.
There are many restaurants in Disney World that have safe food, but we like to have our own kitchen so that we can have one meal a day at home (usually breakfast so we can go straight to the rides when the park opens, or dinner if the kids are exhausted).
We bring kitchen cooking essentials (one pot, pan, spatula, cutting board, paper plates, etc.) to reduce cross contamination, as well as snacks. The idea here is that we want to make the trip as much fun as possible and maximize time in the parks, rather than needing to find a local grocery store.
Family vacations are tons of fun for celiac families, they just require more packing and planning in advance to ensure that gluten or other food allergies are not the focus of the trip.