Disneyland the Gluten Free Way

Disneyland California

No trip to Disney would be complete without hugs from your favorite character

The idea of heading to Disney for family vacation made me quite fearful.  Last time we went, I was sick as a dog and barely enjoyed any of our adventure.  That was PRIOR to being diagnosed with celiac disease.  Now we are aware that at least 3 out of 5 of us must medically live a gluten-free (GF) lifestyle it was time to do some research to find out what would be safe to eat on our trip.

The Boardwalk at California Adventure

I began by sending emails to Disneyland and several places in Anaheim that had GF menus.  Places that would be near our lodging accommodations and had online reviews of their GF offerings.  Fortunately, there is plenty of research by other bloggers and a multitude of information on Disney’s website about dining in the Anaheim area.  Thank God for the internet!

In order to make sure we arrived in CA healthy and happy, we made 8 hours worth of sandwiches, snacks and other GF goodies and planned to stop every 2 hours for potty breaks.  We didn’t think the kids (yep, let’s blame them) could go 8 hours without stopping.  Since the GF people on this trip were outnumbered by the “regular people” in our party of 7, labeling everything GF was essential to avoid cross-contamination.

Arriving late in the evening we sought out the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company http://www.bubbagump.com/ located near our lodging at the Anaheim Gardenwalk http://www.anaheimgardenwalk.com.

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

They had assured us via email that they could accommodate not only those who needed to eat GF but also my daughter that is dairy free (DF).  I was quite saddened to see such a limited selection on their GF menu but was able to speak to the manager and have my favorite dish altered and made GF.

The following morning our brood of 7 decided to head to Disneyland.

Our “party” of 7

Upon entering, we went directly to Disney’s Town Hall to obtain information as I was instructed to do via email.  We were very impressed with Disneyland’s several page print out of “Celiac Offerings” which listed each place that we could safely eat GF by area within Disney and California Adventure.  Many of these venues would even have you speak with the chef to give you confidence that your meal would not cause any harmful reaction.

Disney took these extra precautions to show us that they DO realize the GF diet is not a fad but a serious necessity.

If you have special dietary concerns, please see this link for guidance.  http://disneyland.disney.go.com/plan/guest-services/special-dietary-requests/

Within 2 hours at the park, hunger struck.  We went to Tomorrowland Terrace for GF burgers and fries.  When we ordered, the chef came out to greet us and to assure us that she would personally prepare our order.  She even brought it up to us in the front.  The burgers were wonderful and the GF buns were the best the kids have ever eaten.  If I hadn’t been vehemently assured by the chef herself, I would have thought the buns contained gluten.  They were airy and held together until the burger was completely devoured.

California Adventure

The younger children had their favorite rides on the pier.

The following evening my family went to the parks without me.  I wanted alone time with my fibromyalgia pain.  No worries as my husband is wonderful about making sure that our kids eat safely.

He took them to Award Wieners where they were served John Morrell hot dogs with a side of fresh fruit.  The kids said that the GF hot dog buns were not crumbly but soft and fluffy.  Although we always expect our 10 year old to polish off her meal, our 5 yr old son ate the whole entire hot dog including the bun with delight.  At home, he would have passed on the bun so that says a whole lot.

We skipped the next day at the parks to check out our lodging and what GF goodies we could find in Anaheim.  At lunch, we dropped by Fire+Ice (http://www.fire-ice.com/ ) whom I had also corresponded with prior to our visit.  Fire+Ice is also located in the Anaheim Gardenwalk.


Upon arriving, our party met with the owner and we were again reassured that we could dine safely GF/DF.  We were so pleased that we went to this establishment twice during our week stay.  See Dining out in Anaheim for more information.

With a day or two of rest in between, the children were ready to visit Cars Land.  Sure, it was just the kids who were dying to go there.  Adults don’t watch cartoons (at least we don’t usually admit that we are willing).  Ka-chow!  This area was just recently opened so it was quite crowded.  Even though we got a late start, had a dinner reservation at 8pm, our kids just had to eat something while at the park.   And of course, it had to be in Cars Land so we visited Flo’s V-8 Café for kids meals of sandwiches, fresh fruit and zesty coleslaw made with mustard vinaigrette.   These sandwiches came on a darker version of a GF mini-roll.  Ciara had roast beef whereas Colin and I both ate the turkey.  This was a refreshing little meal.  Of course, the children cared more about the souvenir car lunch box and the drink cones than the food.

Colin with his prizes from Cars Land

We had a three day park hopper and because of Disney’s preparation, managed to eat safely.  It is so nice to say with sincerity that Disney is the most magical place on earth.

Thank you Disney for taking our dietary requirements seriously!

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