Traveling is always going to be one step harder for those of us with food allergies, but at least us gluten intolerant people are becoming more and more recognized in the restaurant world. I am completely aware we annoy a lot of chefs, sorry, but I’m pretty sure I am speaking for more than myself when I say, we didn’t ask to be gluten intolerant and if we could eat anything we wanted without feeling ill, we most certainly would! But annoyed or not, more and more menus are prepared with us in mind, whether the menu is a separate one or one where the gluten-free meals are marked, and traveling with at least this particular food allergy is easier than ever. I am happy to report that Disneyland was remarkably easy to navigate with gluten intolerance. As long as you can make it through the throngs of people, you can find gluten-free food. A little research and planning definitely helps though, so here are some tips~ First of all, make your dinner reservations ahead of time. You can email them (firstname.lastname@example.org) and in the email (with location, time, date, name) let them know the food issues your party has. Second of all, contact the special diets dining services (DLR.Special.Diets@disney.com) and let them know all of your dinner reservations and they can advise both you and the chefs. They can only help you with the actual park restaurants though, not the downtown Disney district ones. This was extremely helpful the one night we ate in the hotel at Goofy’s cafe which is a buffet style dinner with characters walking around. When I checked in the chef was alerted to come talk to me, which I almost declined because I hate to be a bother but I’m so glad I did not. He offered to make me either rice, veggies, and a meat of my choice or a gluten-free pizza. I was confused because it was a buffet, and he said that he’d be happy to talk me through the items of the buffet but since it leaves his control he cannot guarantee the items are in fact not cross contaminated. That made sense but I wanted to see what was available anyway, and he pointed out all the gluten-free items, and also all the things I might expect to be gluten-free but were not, such as the steamed veggies had been dipped in pasta water, and all the salad dressings had hidden croutons that had fallen in. He was very helpful and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal there. At Tortilla Jo’s the gluten-free meals are clearly marked with an asterisks by them, and there was a large selection. At Naples Ristorante the waiter just told me what I could and could not get, which mostly turned out to be gluten-free pasta with any sauce they had available. To be honest this was my most boring meal and the rudest staff, but everyone else loved their meals so I can’t not recommend it. The last night we ate at Rainforest cafe and the manager came over to talk to me about what I could and could not safely ingest. He actually did not inspire much confidence as he looked so frightened I felt like offering him a sip of my wine, so maybe he was new…? I don’t know, but all I wanted was a soup and salad and both were in fact gluten-free (with a certain dressing that is) so it worked out. For breakfasts and lunches we ate snacky stuff (I brought Udi’s bagels and travel peanut butter) and bought smaller meals. You can actually get a gluten-free guide to the park at Disneyland’s courthouse on Maine Street but each time I looked in there was a long line so I did not bother even though I was very interested in what it said. (Were all those people gluten-free? What else does one do at the Disneyland Courthouse? Apply for a marriage licence with Mickey and Minnie as witnesses? Change your name to Tinkerbell? Ask for a judgement in a ride dispute?) Anyway, 3 days of Disneyland and I don’t feel one bit gluten-fied. That is indeed…magical.
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