Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Gluten Free at Disney California Adventure

Last week, we spent two days at Disney California Adventure.  We did not make any advance dining reservations, but they are available for Carthay Circle Restaurant, Wine Country Trattoria, and Ariel's Grotto, the three table service restaurants in the park.

Our first day at Disney California Adventure, we decided to have lunch at Carthay Circle Lounge, which is in the same building as Carthay Circle Restaurant.

The Lounge menu features small plates, and they do not have an allergy-friendly menu, but our server was very knowledgeable about gluten free options.

The seasonal hard cider was pumpkin, one of my favorites, so I decided to order one.

I shared the queso fundido with my family, which features melted Monterey Jack cheese, ranchero sauce, and crisp tortillas.

I asked for the ranchero sauce on the side, and also received sides of onions and peppers that were not mentioned on the menu.  I loved the chips with a little bit of cheese, onion, and pepper on top.

For my second dish, I chose the tostaditas mole verde-braised pork cheeks with avocado, queso fresco, and hibiscus sorbet.  The presentation was beautiful, and this small plate, which came with three tostaditas, was big enough to be a lunch on its own.  I enjoyed the flavors and textures of this dish, and would definitely order it again.

It was nice to sit down and relax at Carthay Circle Lounge, but the tables were very small, and it was hard to fit all of our food and drinks comfortably on our tiny table.

For lunch on our second day at Disney California Adventure, we dined at Lucky Fortune Cookery, a quick service restaurant on Pacific Wharf.

I love rice bowls, so I was excited to see that they had three gluten free options on their allergy-friendly menu.

I decided to order the chicken rice bowl with teriyaki sauce.  Oddly enough, my rice bowl did not come with any Asian vegetables, which were mentioned on the menu, but I loved my rice, chicken and teriyaki sauce so much, I decided not to take it back and ask about the vegetables.

Plus, I did get my fill of veggies, because I ordered a side of edamame, which was lightly salted and quite good.

My whole family loved their meals at Lucky Fortune Cookery, which is one of the best quick service restaurants I have eaten at in any Disney park.  We will definitely be returning the next time we visit Disneyland.

Another great option for gluten free eats at Disney California Adventure is Flo's V8 Cafe, a quick service restaurant in Cars Land.

They do serve breakfast, if you are looking for a quick bite in the morning.

The first day we were in the park, I noticed that they have vanilla, chocolate and strawberry milk shakes listed as gluten free options on their allergy-friendly menu.

One thing you will notice about quick service restaurants at Disneyland versus Disney World, is that they do not offer allergy friendly chicken tenders anywhere at Disneyland Resort, and it is hard to find the allergy-friendly brownies and chocolate chip cookies that are on almost all quick service allergy-friendly menus at Disney World.

After eating at the Lucky Fortune Cookery on our second day at Disney California Adventure, we headed to Flo's V8 Cafe, so I could get a milkshake.  My family had ice cream at Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, where I was told that sorbet was their only gluten free option.

At Flo's, I asked if they could make a combination vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry milk shake for me, and the cast member who took my order told me that people frequently request Neapolitan milk shakes.  This is after all the land of In-N-Out Burger.  My milk shake was so incredible, I almost went back for another one later that night.

We did not have dinner in Disney California Adventure either day we were in the park, because we had reservations at Tortilla Jo's and Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, but I did eat a variety of gluten free snacks at the park.   I found a cart selling fresh popped popcorn in Grizzly Peak the last night of our trip, and purchased it with a souvenir holiday bucket, so we could take it with us on our car ride to Las Vegas.  Disney popcorn is gluten free and vegan, which you can read about here.

Every day we went to the theme parks, I started my day with Chobani blueberry blended Greek yogurt at the Candy Cane Inn, which provides a free breakfast.  Even if I ate two of them, I found myself hungry before lunch, so I snacked on fresh pineapple spears and freeze-dried apple crisps, which are labeled gluten free and peanut free, and can be found at Mortimers Market on Buena Vista Street and Filmore's Taste-In in Cars Land.

Gluten free Snacks with Character, which you can read about here, were much harder to find in Disneyland than at Disney World.

I also noticed that not all of them are gluten free, so carefully read the labels before purchasing.

The gluten free Snacks with Character in these picture are from a shop on Buena Vista Street, right next to Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream.  This was the only shop I saw them in at Disney California Adventure.

Most of the flavors of Main Street Popcorn do not contain gluten, or have a cross contamination warning, but they are not certified gluten free.

Smokejumpers Grill, located in Grizzly Peak, has gluten free options for lunch and dinner, and was the only quick service restaurant I saw that was offering allergy-friendly chocolate chip cookies and brownies at Disney California Adventure.

Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, a quick service restaurant on Pacific Wharf, has a nice selection of gluten free options for lunch and dinner, but only offers apple sauce for dessert.

The last time we visited Disneyland, which you can read about here, we ate at Paradise Garden Grill twice, because they serve delicious vegetable, chicken, and steak skewers.  Unfortunately, my favorite quick service restaurant from our last trip had a seasonal menu of traditional Latin-American favorites, and did not have an allergy-friendly menu available.  I was told that their traditional menu should be back soon.

Before we went to Disneyland, I read recent reviews from Danielle Walker from Against All Grain, Amy the Family Chef, and Chandice Probst from Gluten Free Frenzy.

What are your favorite gluten free options, and restaurants to dine at at Disney California Adventure?


  1. My celiac daughter will be visiting Disney Land on a school trip later this year, and this article will be a huge help. It will be her first time travelling without a parent, so I appreciate all the good tips, I'm going to make a list of good places she can go to get GF food (she is very picky!)

    1. We were at Disneyland last week, and I am just starting to post some new reviews. I hope she has a great trip!

    2. Are you going to post your reviews here? Our family went to Wait Disney World last Feb and had great success, the chicken fingers were awesone, (My 11 year old daughter and I both have Celiac). We are heading to Disneyland and California Adventure mid-Feb, so any tips would be great!

    3. Michelle - They will be new reviews, which you can view easily on my home page.