Celiac Disease / Gluten Free Restaurants / Uncategorized

Gluten-Free Disneyland is Kinda’ Magical

This weekend my family decided it was about damn time we visited the happiest place on earth. I mean, how long can one avoid Disneyland when one lives in Southern California? About a year-and-a-half, apparently. While I got some great Disneyland tips, many of which included bringing my own food, I decided that I was going to go for it. I was going to make Disneyland my gluten-free paradise, and see what kind of gf yummies I could nosh on in between Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and a melt down that looked something like this –

Well guess what, Mousketeers? Disneyland is totally celiac-friendly. But of course it is. Do you know how many kids running around with food allergies there are in that land of enchantment? Kids just ready to sue the pants off Mickey if they get sick on site? Naturally, this is what happened when I inquired at “City Hall” about my gluten-free dining options:


How psyched is this Disney employee to hand me this list of celiac-friendly food options that is six pages long —  front and back? Honestly, I just looked for the section that was near the Star Wars demo and ignored the rest. They had me at gluten-free hamburger bun, really. But the magic didn’t end with this piece of paper.

When I went to order our lunch and I requested a gluten-free bun for my cheeseburger, the lady behind the counter stopped what she was doing and called for the chef. A man in a very tall, white, hat (duh) came out and asked me what my allergy situation was like. When I told him I had celiac, he seriously said “So what can I make for you?” At a food stand. In Disneyland. I was all, look dude I’m just happy to get a cheeseburger with a gf bun, and he was almost disappointed that I didn’t force him to create a cheeseburger that contained no gluten, no nuts, no dairy, no meat, and no fat — and with the secret ingredient, “kimchi.” Regardless, he left me with one final word, “When you pick up your food, it must be from a chef. If the person isn’t wearing the chef hat, your food will have gluten.” So when my chef delivered my food personally, I decided to snap his picture as proof that I was served by a chef at Disneyland.

As you can see, he was not psyched about this. In fact, he ran away so quickly I can only assume he had faked his own death, changed his identity and was now working as a Disneyland chef and feared I was working for the New York Times and the jig was about to be up. (If you know this man, you might want to call 1-800-FAKED-DEATH-WORKS-AT-DISNEYLAND.)

I finished off my day enjoying the lovely Nestle ice cream pop in the shape of Mickey Mouse, and falling asleep in the car on the ride home. PERFECT. Was the food amazing? No way. But I only hit one restaurant/food stand out of a zillion that have such names as Hungry Bear Restaurant (why I am a hungry bear, thank you!), and Ariel’s Grotto. They take this gf stuff seriously at Walt’s pad, which left me with a warm fuzzy feeling, and a giant hole in my bank account.

6 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Disneyland is Kinda’ Magical

  1. I have an annual pass, and always check to see if there’s an updated list. It’s a relief to not feel like a weirdo, though I did warn my friends that they would want to order separately for me since gluten-free burger guaranteed it would take 4 times as long for my food to be prepared.

    Awhile back I learned that one of the higher ups at Disneyland either is a celiac or has someone in their family who is, so they’re working hard to make sure that people with gluten issues can dine. (I do wish that their lists included warnings for some other allergens- while I only have to worry about gluten, I have a kid with more allergies than that) And if you’re staying at the hotels, there are a couple restaurants that can make you gluten free pancakes and waffles! Amazing!

  2. Pingback: Gluten-Free Disneyland is Challenging, Still Magical | Gluten Is My Bitch

  3. Hey! This blog is great! I’m going through everything. I wanted to let you know they don’t even provide a list at City Hall anymore because almost every place has a Gluten Free option!

    So you don’t have to even worry about it. They have GF spaghetti options and will make tons of things GF. They are better every time I go.

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