Monday, May 13, 2019

Disneyland 2019

Since we moved to California three years ago, we have been visiting Disneyland at least once a year. We do not have annual passes, because it is about a 5 1/2 drive for us from Santa Cruz County. I am often asked if I prefer Disney World or Disneyland. My family loves them both. For gluten free dining options, I definitely prefer Disney World in Florida. At Disneyland, we love how close the two theme parks are to each other, so I recommend a park hopper, so you can go back and forth between Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure multiple times in one day. I also recommend the MaxPass for making fastpasses. It allows you to ride a large number of attractions in one day without waiting in long lines. We much prefer it to the fastpass system at Disney World.

In January, my daughters and I tagged along with my husband to his work conference in Los Angeles over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. We did not buy park passes for Disneyland, but we did visit Downtown Disney twice.

One morning, we had breakfast at Steakhouse 55, a table service restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel. They do not have an allergy-friendly menu, but a chef came out to speak to me. I decided to order a large Mickey waffle with bacon, and sides of bananas foster and macerated berries. The waffle, which is not on the menu, was $16, and the sides were $2 each.

The chef I spoke to told me that he could make me waffles or pancakes with a Bob's Red Mill mix, and that they were also dairy and egg free. I loved my big Mickey waffle, and both of my toppings were great too. You can read my previous Steakhouse 55 reviews here and here. My gluten-eating daughters ordered the German apple pancake, and classic french toast. Emma loves the German apple pancake, which is big enough to feed two or three people.

Tortilla Jo's, a table service restaurant in Downtown Disney, has always been our favorite restaurant at Disneyland.

Gluten free options are noted on their menu, and there are plenty of safe dishes to choose from.

Their salsa and warm corn chips, which are made in a dedicated fryer, are so good. I have a hard time not filling up on chips and salsa before my entree arrives.

I also love their margarita flight. On both visits this year, I ordered strawberry, pineapple cilantro, and mango jalapeno mini margaritas.

In January, my husband and I shared the tableside guacamole and steak fajitas.

Our steak fajitas were served with a side of black beans, Mexican rice, and guacamole. I left off the sour cream, which is high on my least favorite foods list. I did not eat any corn tortillas on this visit, preferring to eat fresh guacamole on top of my steak and vegetables. We enjoyed our meal, but thought the guacamole had a little too much lime in it.

I always order a side of sweet corn cakes at Tortilla Jo's, because I like to end my meal on a sweeter note.

In April, we had dinner at Tortilla Jo's with my parents. Overall, my meal was a disappointment on this visit.

The chips were amazing, but the salsa was spicier than usual, and tasted like oregano, which I thought was a bit odd. My margarita flight was very heavy on the tequila, and I ended up breaking out in hives. I started having reactions to all types of alcohol about four years ago, but usually if I take a half of an allergy pill, I can have one drink without issue.

I ordered my favorite entree over Easter Break, the pozole rojo with red chile broth, slow cooked pork, hominy, cabbage, onion, radish, and oregano.

Sadly, it was too salty, and oddly spicy, which has never been an issue in the past.

My daughters split an order of chicken tamales, their favorite meal at Tortilla Jo's. This dish is another gluten free option on their menu. You can read my previous review of Tortilla Jo's here.

In January, I had a gluten free red velvet cupcake from Sprinkles at Downtown Disney for dessert. They also sell gluten free chocolate chip cookies, which my daughter Katie loves, and gluten free lemon blueberry cupcakes, which I have heard are great. When I order, I tell them that I have celiac, and they change gloves and get my cupcake from the back. I have eaten at multiple Sprinkles locations in Florida and California, and feel that they take the appropriate precautions to prevent cross contamination. You can read more about Sprinkles in my Disney World review here. Sadly, the Disneyland shop is quite small, and they do not have ice cream, so no cupcake sundaes.

Salt & Straw recently opened up an ice cream shop at Downtown Disney. We first visited a Salt & Straw on a trip to Portland, and I was impressed with how allergy-friendly they were. I did not eat at the Portland shop with my family, but I was offered ice cream samples from fresh containers, so there would not be cross contamination. 

Major allergens are noted on their menu, their servers ask if anyone has any food allergies before taking your order, and they have vegan options too. I decided to pass on dessert when we stopped at the Disneyland Salt & Straw in April, because I had eaten too much for dinner, but my family enjoyed their ice cream.

My gluten-eating family likes to have pastries from La Brea Bakery, or beignets from Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen Express in Downtown Disney for breakfast. Sadly, gluten free beignets are not available at Disneyland like they are at Disney World.

La Brea Bakery does have gluten free bread for sandwiches, but they do not make gluten free pastries.

Sometimes I get a smoothie from Jamba Juice in Downtown Disney in the morning on vacations at Disneyland, but on this trip, I had fresh fruit in the parks, and a granola bar I brought from home, except the last morning. Before we drove to San Diego to board the Disney Wonder, my husband bought me gluten free waffles from White Water Snacks, a quick service restaurant at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel. I stopped in a few times for water while we were there, but was not able to see their allergy-friendly menu, because it had a misprint on it. I have heard that the Mickey waffles are only on the kids menu, which might explain the portion my husband was given. They tasted like they were made with Bob's Red Mill. They were a little undercooked in the middle, and could have used some fun toppings to make them a little more exciting. My favorite restaurants for Mickey waffles at Disneyland are Steakhouse 55 and Carnation Cafe, which you can read about here.

The last time we vacationed at Disneyland, we spent six nights at the Disneyland Hotel, which we loved, but after staying at the Grand Californian, there might be no going back. The best part was the direct access into Disney California Adventure Park from the hotel.

If you are at Disneyland before October, be sure to check out Mickey's 90th Birthday Celebration Cake in the lobby of the Grand Californian.

In the gift shop, you can purchase gluten free Snacks with Character cookies from WOW Baking Company.

Over Easter Break, we had lunch with my parents at Blue Bayou, a table service restaurant in Disneyland Park.

I wanted them to experience the unique ambiance of dining in perpetual twilight in the bayou, overlooking Pirates of the Caribbean.

The allergy-friendly menu I was given included lunch and dinner options.

The Monte Cristo sandwich on the lunch menu can be made gluten free with at least 24 to 48 hours notice. Just call the Disneyland dining reservation line, and have them note it on your reservation.

My meal started with gluten free rolls. They were heated well, but I am a total bread snob, so I did not enjoy them that much. I prefer Deann's Gluten Free allergen free dinner rolls, which are served at some Disney World restaurants. You can order them online if you want to enjoy them at home like we do.

For an entree, I ordered bone-in rib eye with broccolini and au gratin potatoes instead of the mashed potatoes it is usually served with. When my entree arrived, there appeared to be mashed potatoes on my plate, so our server brought me a separate side of au gratin potatoes.

The potatoes were incredible, but be warned, they are a little bit spicy. My steak was decent, but not worth the price. When I pay $46 dollars for a steak, I expect much better.

My daughters shared an order of jambalaya, which is another gluten free option on the allergy-friendly menu. Neither one of them liked it, because of the strong tomato taste, which they did not expect. My girls did enjoy their gluten-filled N'awlins Gumbo, which has always been their favorite dish at Blue Bayou.

After lunch, we stopped at The Tropical Hideaway to check out the new Dole Whip options at Disneyland Park.

I ended up ordering a Loaded Dole Whip with fruit and crystallized hibiscus, which I really enjoyed. I chose raspberry-pineapple swirl instead of the orange-pineapple swirl it is usually served with, because the cast member who was helping me recommended it.

I asked about the secret menu candied bacon, which they told me is gluten free, but decided to skip it on this visit. When we stopped by the next day and asked about the candied bacon again, I was told that it is cooked on a surface where it might come into contact with chicken and beef, that I assume are the fillings for the bao at The Tropical Hideaway. The cast member seemed unsure of whether there could be a cross contamination risk, so I did not order it. Make sure they do not put a Pocky sticks in your Loaded Dole Whip, because they are not gluten free, and I also left off the coconut.

For dinner, I ordered a hamburger and waffle fries from Smokejumpers Grill, a quick service restaurant in Disney California Adventure. You can read my previous review here.

With a little added salt, my burger was perfect. The bun was heated well, and the waffle fries were just as amazing as they were the last time we visited Disneyland. Quick service burgers and fries are usually not my thing, but I love to eat at Smokejumpers at Disneyland, and D-Luxe Burger at Disney World.

Near the entrance to the Incredicoaster in Disney California Adventure, there is a cart where you can buy a gluten-friendly Incredicookie.

I have been hearing how amazing these cookies are, and they lived up to the hype.

I loved my first cookie so much, I went back the next night for dessert. I especially liked the blackberry jam in the middle of the sugar cookie, which was nice and soft, and not overly sweet.

Our final day at Disneyland, we had lunch at Cafe Orleans, a table service restaurant in Disneyland Park. I usually preorder a Monte Cristo sandwich, but I decided I wanted a stress-free dining experience, so I skipped it on this trip. Plus, it is now being served with coleslaw and syrup instead of fresh fruit and berry puree, which did not interest me, though I heard that you can still request the fruit and berry puree. You can read about Cafe Orleans' incredible Monte Cristo here. Give it a try at least once. It is one of my favorite gluten free dishes at Disneyland.

I love shrimp & grits, so I decided to order the shrimp & grits with cheese grits, spiced sausage, fava bean-corn relish, and shrimp sauce as my entree at Cafe Orleans. Sadly, it was just ok, and could not compete with the shrimp & grits at Coral Reef and Sasssagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at Disney World in Florida. The grits were the most disappointing part of this dish, because they did not have a lot of flavor.

My gluten-eating family loved the pommes frites at Cafe Orleans, but I was not able to eat them, because they are made in a shared fryer.

Thankfully, you can get safe pommes frites at Red Rose Taverne, a quick service restaurant in Disneyland Park. I waited in line to speak to a cast member, because they were not listed as a gluten-friendly option in the Disneyland app.

The cast member I spoke to was super helpful. She used to work in the kitchen, and told me that the french fries are made in a dedicated fryer, so I was able to have safe fries with Parmesan and garlic for half the price of the pommes frites at Cafe Orleans. I think I might have to stop at Red Rose Taverne at least twice when we return to Disneyland over Christmas Break.

That afternoon, I had a milkshake at Flo's V8 Cafe, a quick service restaurant at Disney California Adventure. For the first time ever, I placed a mobile order in the Disneyland app.

In the app, you can order a vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, or Neapolitan classic shake. 

I chose the Neapolitan with all three flavors, but sadly, the machine broke a few minutes before I arrived, and only vanilla was available. Thankfully, my classic shake was still amazing.

I placed a mobile order again later that night for dinner at the Lucky Fortune Cookery, a quick service restaurant at Disney California Adventure. I love not having to wait in the regular line, and there is a special pick up spot at quick service restaurants offering mobile ordering.

I chose an Asian rice bowl with chicken and Thai coconut curry sauce, and my order was ready about five minutes after I placed it. 

I considered ordering the chilled edamame and fresh mango slices, which I have had on past visits, but I did not want that much to eat. I loved my rice bowl from the Lucky Fortune Cookery. The rice was amazing, and the Thai coconut curry sauce was really good, and did not taste like coconut.

These photos are screen shots from the Disneyland mobile app. It is really easy to view all the gluten-friendly options available at quick service restaurants that use mobile ordering in the Disneyland and Disney World apps, and on menu pages on their websites.

We are all excited to return to Disneyland for a few days over Christmas Break, and I am hoping to dine at a few restaurants we have not tried yet. What are your favorite quick service and table service restaurants at Disneyland?

You can read all my previous Disneyland reviews here.


Post a Comment