Saturday, January 20, 2018

Cafe Orleans - Disneyland Park

Over Christmas Break, we had lunch at Cafe Orleans, a table service restaurant in Disneyland Park.  I have to admit that I was a bit anxious going into this dining experience for a variety of reasons.

My friend Sarah from Gluten-Free & Diary-Free at WDW had such a terrible experience at Cafe Orleans in October, she will probably never go back.  Last Christmas Break, I had my own not so great experience there, which you can read about here.  I emailed Disneyland Special Diets in advance and received a response, but took the extra step of stopping at the restaurant two days before our reservation to make sure they had a record of my request for a gluten free Monte Cristo.  Sadly, I was not surprised when they told me they had no record of my request.  The gentleman who helped me at Cafe Orleans was very friendly, but he said I should email Special Diets again and/or call Disneyland's reservation line, because Special Diets had to authorize special ingredients to be sent to the restaurant to make my sandwich.  The whole thing sounded a little far-fetched, but I emailed Special Diets again, called the reservation line, and insisted the cast member who helped me write down my request.  Special Diets never responded to my second email, and the gentleman I spoke to on the phone said he would do his best, but that 48 hours advance notice is usually needed to request a Monte Cristo, and I wasn't able to call until the day before.

We arrived about 45 minutes early for our reservation, and requested the first available table, which unfortunately was inside, right at the entrance to the restaurant.  I definitely prefer dining on the patio at Cafe Orleans.

Cafe Orleans' allergy-friendly menu has a good number of gluten free options to choose from.  The Monte Cristo Sandwich is not labeled as gluten-friendly, because it is an item that has to be pre-ordered.  The batter is made with Cup4Cup flour, so it is not dairy free.

Thankfully, our server was able to confirm that she did have a record of my pre-order.  The Monte Cristo Sandwich includes turkey, ham and Swiss cheese, and is battered and fried, dusted in powdered sugar, and served with a berry puree and fruit.  I requested that my sandwich be made without ham this year, because I am not a huge fan.

My Monte Cristo Sandwich was incredible.  It was light and crispy, and perfectly cooked.  I did remove some of the meat and cheese, because I prefer it with just the battered bread and Cafe Orleans' amazing berry puree.  This year, I am glad I had a sandwich all to myself, because I definitely did not want to share it with anyone.  My daughters split a gluten-filled version of the three-cheese Monte Cristo, but did not love it, probably because of the brie, which we were told they could not remove, because it was already blended with the other cheeses.

My husband enjoyed his shrimp and grits, one of the gluten-friendly options on Cafe Orleans' allergy-friendly menu.  Other gluten free options include the house salad, steak and potatoes, blackened sustainable fish, Bourbon Street Chicken, Muffuletta Chopped Salad, and the Lobster Cobb Salad.  I did not ask about gluten free dessert options, because quite frankly, I wanted to leave as soon as we finished our meals.

As soon as I asked my server whether the pommes frites could be made gluten free, in a very nasty tone, I was told that the french fries contain gluten, and that they were not an option.  She was very forceful about it, and we were in a hurry to get back to our hotel, so I did not push the matter and ask to speak to a manager.  I had the pommes frites at Cafe Orleans last year, and I am convinced they are the same fries served all over Disneyland, which are safe when made in a dedicated fryer.  My daughter Katie had them the night before at Hungry Bear, and she said they looked and tasted the same, with the exception of the Parmesan, garlic and parsley they are tossed with.  Quite frankly, I don't think the staff at Cafe Orleans wants to be inconvenienced, so they tell people the fries themselves contain gluten.  When my friend Sarah asked to see the ingredients, they refused to show her.  When I asked last year, they told me they contained starch, which could be wheat starch, but I informed them that starch sourced from wheat has to be identified on food labels in the United States. frustrating!

Even though the Monte Cristo I had at Cafe Orleans might be the best thing I ate at Disneyland, I am not sure I will return on our next trip, because I am used to Disney magic, something that is sorely lacking in too many cast members at Cafe Orleans.

You can read more about Cafe Orleans, view their menu and hours, and make advance dining reservations on Disneyland's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free options at Cafe Orleans?


  1. I have to say that I went to Cafe Orleans once and asked about gluten free dining and the 3 cast members at the host desk who were standing around gossiping couldn't be bothered to go find me an allergy menu. They rolled their eyes at my suggestion they go inside to find one or find a manager and would not help me. I was so angry I just left and filed a complaint at guest services and we received 3 fast passes so I guess that is okay? I am really finding that the gluten free offerings may be broadening but the cast members seem to resent those of us who have to eat gluten free and make it as hard as possible for us to eat. It's quite disappointing.

    1. Wow, so sorry to hear you had a bad experience with cast members at Cafe Orleans!

  2. I am going to cafe Orleans next week. I emailed special diets, but what number do I call 48 hours in advance to confirm with? I’m expecting the worst but really want to try as I’ve heard it’s amazing!!

    1. Sorry, Maria. Blogger does not notify me about comments anymore, and I can forget to check for months at a time. Hope you were able to get the Monte Cristo! I just call the regular reservation line for Disneyland.

  3. No worries! That’s what I did and it worked out great!