The Gluten-Free Guidebook’s Reader Report Contest didn’t get very many entries (there ended up being six in total), but every one was a terrific read and will add lots of valuable information for travelers. I will be publishing them all on the site, starting with the very first entry that came in. Many thanks to Deb for this terrific report!
Deb’s Report on Disney World
Last spring my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease less than a month away from our trip to Florida, including two days at Disney World. I learned the folks at Disney are fantastic at accommodating guests with celiac, gluten/wheat sensitivity, or any other food allergies. We returned to Disney again this March and had a second wonderful experience.
Contact SpecialDiets@DisneyWorld.com at least two weeks before your trip to Disney. We were sent a guest allergy form to fill out and return. Then we received a confirmation email verifying that the pertinent allergy information was included on our dining reservations.
Here are reviews for the restaurants we dined at. To make a reservation at any of the sit down restaurants at Disney World, call 407-WDW-DINE.
Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)
Crystal Palace provides an upscale buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We’ve had lunch at Crystal Palace two years running. The chef walks the line with you, showing you which foods are safe. During our visit, gluten-free foods available on the cold line included several fruit salads, a black bean and corn salad and a spring greens and tomato salad (dressing and croutons were further down the line, so the salad was safe). On the hot line there was flank steak, salmon, and a rice dish — all delicious.
The chef also prepared gluten-free chicken fingers and fries for my daughter. The gluten-free chicken fingers were rated ‘amazing.’ For dessert there is ice cream, or if you can’t have dairy, Rice Dream.
The culinary team at Crystal Palace was very welcoming. We will continue to dine there on future trips.
Coral Reef (Epcot)
Coral Reef diners order from a menu, so the chef comes out and discusses options with you. Grilled Mahi Mahi and a grilled chicken breast were two of my daughter’s choices. While we waited for our entrees, our server brought out warm gluten-free rolls as an alternative to the bread basket.
The grilled chicken breast served with a side of fries was rated ‘great’ by my daughter. Fresh fruit, Rice Dream or a gluten-free brownie were offered for dessert. If you do not have an issue with dairy, regular ice cream would also be an option.
We’ve eaten at Coral Reef twice and will return again.
Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios)
Like Coral Reef, the chef comes out and discusses options with you. Disney menus at the sit-down restaurants feature a fair number of grilled meat and fish dishes, which are easy to modify. Warm gluten-free rolls are provided here as well. My daughter had a delicious flank steak, new potatoes with olive oil and herbs and steamed broccoli. Fruit, Rice Dream and gluten-free brownies were again available for dessert. While service was a bit slow, we’d dine there again if we ever return to Hollywood Studios.