For the growing number of Celiacs (as you know, I’ve just joined you!) travel can be a concern. What to eat, how to explain and the concerns can go on and on. However, during the past 9 months, I’ve discovered that vacationing on Disney Cruise Ships and the US Disney Resorts are a Celiac Disease patient’s best buddy.
For this blog post, I won’t go into deep detail – so reach out to me for more info – but I’m going to cite some basics to get the most relaxation out of your trip. At the Disneyland resort in California, it’s as easy as alerting your server at any sit-down restaurant you go to. The Chef will then come out to discuss your menu options and personally take down your order. It’s that easy. When ordering from the quick service counters, just alert the cashier, who will then bring a chef to the counter for you to do the same – discuss options and take your order. Most of the restaurants have dedicated fryers so that you can get your dose of gluten-free french fries. Many times gluten-free buns are also available.
When visiting the Walt Disney Resort in Florida, it’s best to make notes in your dining reservations, as well as alert the host when you arrive at the restaurant. Then the server can get the chef involved. Counter service restaurants are handled as they are at the Disneyland resort – just alert the cashier. And for the fried goodness treats you just can’t find too many places, go to Cookes of Dublin, the take-away spot next to Raglan Road. The gluten-free fried goodness is GREAT! Fish and Chips, Onion Rings, Chicken Tenders and a gluten-free zucchini muffin or cupcake – didn’t get that far down the menu.
While sailing the seven seas with one of my favorite cruise lines all around – the Disney Cruise Line – it’s a breeze to eat gluten-free and friendly. When making your cruise reservation, just let your travel agent (and let’s hope that’s me:-)) that you are Celiac or Gluten intolerant. Then when you arrive in your dining room, alert your waiter. The head waiter will no doubt come over to your table to discuss your options. Our wonderful head waiter came over every night to the table and let me order ahead for the next night if I wanted to so that they could adapt the menu as needed. They even had gluten-free rolls. (they were ok, as far as gluten-free bread goes – but they filled a bread need on a nigh or two). And I was very happy to find out that the Mickey Bars have gluten-free ingredients (whenever things come from a factory, you may have the cross-contamination risk) and I ate them several times with no signs of gluten issues. But use your own judgement on that. And one more bit of “fine print”: the Disney kitchens are not allergen kitchens that are separate, in a bubble, etc….but they do their best to respect food allergy needs.
Buffets are not out of the question on Disney properties on land and at sea. When arriving, ask to speak to the chef. They will come out and walk you through the buffet line and let you know what you can and cannot eat. Again – they are VERY helpful and ready to assist with a smile.
The bottom line that makes Disney a great place for Celiacs, is that they care. They don’t make you feel like you’re high-maintenance and being a problem. They are accommodating, educated about food allergies and do their best to make your meal as carefully as possible. It’s nice to be able to enjoy a meal not worrying the whole time about how sick you might feel afterwards and that’s worth a pretty penny.