Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Gluten Free at Disneyland Park

Last week, we spent five days at Disneyland Resort.  You can read my food reviews from Disney California Adventure here.

We could only go in one park per day with our tickets, and we spent three of our days at Disneyland Resort at Disneyland Park.  Our first full day, we had breakfast at Carnation Cafe on Main Street U.S.A.  You can read my review, and view Carnation Cafe's allergy-friendly menus here.

One of our favorite meals from our last trip to Disneyland was at the Blue Bayou, a table service restaurant serving Creole and Cajun cuisine in New Orleans Square.

 You pass by the restaurant, where you dine in perpetual twilight, when riding Pirates of the Caribbean.

I did not ask to speak to a chef at Blue Bayou, though that is always an option, even when there is an allergy-friendly menu.

I was brought gluten free rolls and my own butter to start my meal.  The rolls were well heated, and tasted pretty good, though I do prefer Deanna's Gluten Free rolls.

My first salad, which was included with my meal, was served with blue cheese on it, which I do not like, so our server brought me a new salad, minus the blue cheese.  I thought the vinaigrette was very good, and I loved the candied pecans, red grapes, and cranberries that were on the salad,  

For an entree, I chose the pan-seared salmon with sauteed spinach and blood orange beurre blanc, but I substituted au gratin potatoes for the caramelized onion and goat cheese mashed potatoes that are served with this dish.  My salmon was cooked well and tasted fresh, and the blood orange beurre blanc was delicious.  I enjoyed the au gratin potatoes as well, which surprisingly were a little bit spicy.

For dessert, I had the seasonal pumpkin creme brulee, which was one of the best creme brulees I have ever had.  The first time it came out, it had a cookie on it that was not gluten free, so it was quickly replaced by my server, who comped my dessert, and gave my gluten-eating family the other creme brulee.  Blue Bayou has several flavors of sorbet, including kiwi, mango, and pear, which I enjoyed the last time we dined there.

Our second full day at Disneyland Park, we dined at Cafe Orleans, a table service restaurant in New Orleans Square.  I recommend that you make advance dining reservations at both Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans if you would like to dine there.

About a week before our trip, I contacted Disneyland Special Diets to request gluten free versions of Cafe Orleans' signature dishes, the Monte Cristo sandwich and their Pommes Frites.  I quickly received an email back stating that they could make the Monte Cristo, but that gluten free beignets and pommes frites are not available at Cafe Orleans.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I informed my server that I had pre-ordered a gluten free Monte Cristo sandwich.  She left to check on my order, but came back a few minutes later to tell me that the restaurant had no record of my request.  The first manager I spoke to was quite rude, and told me that the Monte Cristo sandwich was not listed as a gluten free option on their allergy-friendly menu.  I told her that I knew it could be ordered gluten free, and showed her my email from special diets.  She said that she would check with the chef to see if they had the ingredients to make it, and that they would have to heat up a fryer in the basement, which could take a while.  While the manager was at our table, I asked if I could also order the Pommes Frites, which I had on our last visit to Disneyland.  I have always known that they are not safe for people with celiac, because of shared fryers, but 3 years ago, a chef heated up a separate pot of oil, and made me safe fries.  The first manager I spoke to said they were also not safe because they contained starch.  We discussed that they are the same french fries served all over Disneyland, and they are listed on allergy-friendly menus at quick service restaurants as gluten free.  If starch is sourced from wheat, the label must state that.  Oddly enough, managers at Restaurantosaurus in Disney's Animal Kingdom were telling some of my blog readers the same thing a year or two ago, but I spoke to Special Diets at Disney World and confirmed that the french fries were indeed safe.

I know that was a crazy long story, but in the end, another manager came to our table and was incredibly apologetic.  He informed me that they could make me both the Monte Cristo and the Pommes Frites in a separate fryer.  We waited a while, but they ended up comping my meal, and giving us fast passes to two rides of our choosing, so our meal that started on such a bad note, ended up being a great experience for my whole family.

While we waited for the rest of my food, my husband and I shared the Crescent City Salad with pan-seared Atlantic salmon on top of mixed greens, tossed with caramelized pecans, red grapes, navel orange segments, caramelized onions, roasted sweet corn, and orange-cilantro vinaigrette.  There is nothing not to love about this salad, which I enjoyed on our previous trip to Disneyland, which you can read about here.

My order of Pommes Frites arrived next.  The Pommes Frites are traditional French fries tossed with Parmesan, garlic, and parsley.  They were so ridiculously good, I did not want to share them with my gluten-eating family, who had already devoured their own basket of Pommes Frites shortly after we arrived at Cafe Orleans.

Finally, my Monte Cristo with sliced turkey, ham and Swiss, fried in a light batter, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with berry puree arrived.  This sandwich, which I had looked forward to for so long, did not disappoint.  I have heard that they make the batter with my favorite gluten free flour blend, Cup4Cup.

I cut each piece of the sandwich in half, and shared with my family.  Even my daughters, who were very skeptical, loved it.  The next time we dine at Cafe Orleans, I will definitely make a note requesting the gluten free Monte Cristo in my original reservation, which I always make online, and email special diets.

As far as snacks go, I had fresh popped popcorn, which is gluten free and vegan.  There were several carts around Disneyland Park selling it.

I also had a Dole Whip from Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland.  Dole Whip, like Disney popcorn, is gluten free and vegan.  You can read more about Dole Whip here.

When I was in the mood for fruit, I bought pineapple spears in both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.  They are available at multiple locations in both parks.  Mango and watermelon slices were available at some locations as well.

If you are in the mood for a crisped rice treat, head to the Market House Starbucks on Main Street, U.S.A. for a Marshmallow Dream Bar.

None of the Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats are gluten free, because they contain malt, which is sourced from barley.  The word "barley" is not mentioned on the packaging, so it can be very confusing to people who are trying to avoid gluten.  You can read more about Disney Parks Rice Krispies Treats here.

I was shocked to see that Village Haus Restaurant, a quick service restaurant in Fantasyland, had a crispy treat listed as gluten/wheat allergy-friendly on their allergy-friendly menu.

I was shown the Frozen-themed treat pictured above, which contains Rice Krispies Cereal, which is not gluten free.  I did speak to a manager about the treat, which is wheat free, but not gluten free.  I also spoke to someone at Disneyland Special Diets, so hopefully the menu will be corrected.

On our last trip to Disneyland, I had an Udi's blueberry muffin for breakfast at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, a quick service restaurant on Main Street, U.S.A.

The cast member I spoke to told me that they do have gluten free options for breakfast, but that I would have to speak to a chef, which I chose not to do on the day we stopped in, because we were having breakfast at Carnation Cafe.

They did have an allergy-friendly menu available for lunch/dinner.

Redd Rockett's Pizza Port, a quick service restaurant in Tomorrowland, is open for lunch and dinner, and has an allergy-friendly menu.

The last time we were at Disneyland Park, we had lunch at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante, a quick service restaurant in Frontierland.  I enjoyed their citrus grilled chicken, which is a gluten free option on their allergy-friendly menu.

Galactic Grill, a quick service restaurant in Tomorrowland, has allergy-friendly menus for breakfast and lunch/dinner.

We stopped at Hungry Bear Restaurant, a quick service restaurant in Critter Country, in the hopes of trying their sweet potato fries, but they are no longer available.  I did take some pictures though, of their allergy-friendly lunch/dinner menu.

My dream one day is to eat at Club 33, a private dining club located in New Orleans Square.

Disneyland is magical at Christmas, because of all the decorations, the " Holiday Magic" Fireworks Spectacular, "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade, and "it's a small world" Holiday, the Jingle Cruise, and Haunted Mansion Holiday.

Inside and outside, "it's a small world" is transformed for Christmas.  Even the classic song that plays during the ride is interspersed with Christmas music.

We loved Haunted Mansion Holiday with it's The Nightmare Before Christmas theming so much, we rode it three times.

I have always enjoyed the Jingle Cruise at Disney World, and it was fun to see Disneyland's version this year.

We made sure we got to the parks when they opened every morning, so we could enjoy the attractions without the large crowds that descended by late morning and early afternoon.  We got as many fastpasses as we could throughout the day to cut down on wait times also.  We much prefer Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland to Space Mountain at Disney World, because we can sit next to our kids, the ride is a lot smoother, and it has Star Wars theming.

Now that I have been to Disneyland at Christmas, I can't imagine going at any other time of the year, because it was just so magical.  The big question is whether I prefer Disney World or Disneyland.  For the Christmas season, I would pick Disneyland, because of the incredible holiday overlays at three of their attractions.  Disneyland is missing two key things I love at Disney World though  - gluten free beignets and allergy-friendly chicken tenders.  For eight years, we went to Disney World once a week, because it was a place we could spend quality family time together, and I could eat safe gluten free meals.  Now that we have moved to California, I am looking forward to visiting Disneyland more often, because I love everything Disney, and there are plenty of great places that I can dine safely.

In 2017, we will be taking our first European cruise on the Disney Magic, and visiting Disney World over Thanksgiving Break.  You can view all of my Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line reviews on the Disney page of my blog here.

What are your favorite gluten free options, and restaurants to dine at at Disneyland Park?


  1. Hello! I love your blog, it's been so helpful with Disney trip planning with celiac.

    I was just reading this post for fun and I had to laugh because I went to Village Haus just before Christmas and was told that the allergy menu was being remade because a customer had noticed the incorrect listing of the rice krispy treat as gluten-free. I guess that customer was you! So they were taking it seriously and remaking the menu.

    1. Yay, that's great to hear that they looked into the issue and are updating their menu. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for all the menu's throughout Disneyland. We are taking a family trip next spring and my husband is Celiac and my 6 year old grandson is Type 1 Diabetic so finding gluten free and healthy eating is very important to our family. I will use this religiously throughout our time at Disneyland.

  3. Thank you for all the detailed tips. There were several GF foods I did not realize the different Parks could do.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this!