For those who keep to a gluten free diet due to personal lifestyle reasons or health-related conditions, travel can sometimes be a bit difficult when scouting for decent places to eat that offer options specific to your needs. But thankfully, Walt Disney World Resort has you covered with a wide range of snack and mealtime items to suit any and every special dietary request imaginable. And because Disney delivers on such precision in everything they do (including food prep), you never have to worry about sacrificing great taste, regardless the alternative rendering. This is great news, as the request for gluten free eating has grown considerably over just the last decade alone. From savory snacks to mouthwatering meals, we’ve rounded up just a few of Disney’s top gluten free menu items in various categories.
1. Snack Classics
Everyone likes a quick pick-me-up snack pack or classic single-serve snacking item of their favorite treats once in a while, and this fact doesn’t change even for those who adhere to a gluten free diet. Fortunately, Disney carries a wide range of well-known gluten free brands and options around the various parks and resorts. Here are some of our top picks:
- Enjoy Life Snacks—This renowned snack brand, praised for its commitment to being free of most major food allergens, can be found at numerous kiosks and quick service locations all around the parks and at various resort locations. From cookies to chocolate bars, snack bars, chips, seed mixes, and more, they’ve got you covered.
- Snacks with Character—Like the aforementioned, these better-for-you snack options, branded under Disney (as referenced through recognizable Disney character shapes and design), are excellent for those with specified dietary restrictions. Disney created these various snack pack items in partnership with other known specialty suppliers, including Ocean Spray, Way Better Snacks, WOW Baking Company, and the aforesaid Enjoy Life Foods.
- Popcorn—Popcorn lovers rejoice, as you may rest assured that the popcorn served at all the different kiosks and quick service locations throughout Disney World are in fact committed to remaining gluten free. No ingredients used in the popping process or added flavors contain any gluten.
- Fruit Kiosks—A good old-fashioned healthy grab and go piece of fruit or veggie cup is always in style, and fortunately there are plenty of fruit kiosks and quick service locations to find such.
2. Icy Niceties
Traditionally, ice cream in its original and authentic format is in fact gluten free. While we can’t claim to know the contents contained in more recent experimental flavors and fusions that have emerged in recent decades, you can rest assured that traditional ice cream flavors are still a safe bet for those opting for a gluten free diet. The same is true of various icy treats, like Italian Ice, sorbet, snow cones, iced drink blends, and more. As always, your safest bet is to consult a Disney Cast Member to confirm, especially if the place you are buying from doesn’t have specific allergen information listed publically (which most do). All the same, here’s a look at a couple top gluten free picks in this specific category:
- Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bars—These Disney Park classic ice cream treats are a tradition for almost every park goer to indulge in at least once in their lifetime. And fortunately, they are completely gluten free and can be found in just about any park, resort, or Disney designated venue.
- Dole Whip—Here’s another Disney-renowned classic that may surprise you to learn is completely free of gluten. You can get yours at the Magic Kingdom’s Aloha Isle or from Pineapple Lanai over at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Other venues have also been known to feature them on occasion as well.
- Citrus Swirl—This frosty soft-serve treat, popularly served up at Sunshine Tree Terrace over at Magic Kingdom Park, isn’t exactly a contender to the undeniably more popular Dole Whip we just mentioned. It is, however, an orange-flavored, creamy alternative and also happens to be gluten free.
- Night Blossom—We could have chosen plenty of unique specialty drinks to focus on, as there are so many, but this popular pick being served up at Pongu Pongu over in Animal Kingdom’s Pandora—The World of Avatar is an undeniable newer classic must-try item. It’s a refreshing combination consisting of layers of apple and dessert pear limeade and then garnished with passion fruit boba pearls.
- Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich—There are numerous gluten free alternatives to ice cream sandwiches throughout the parks and resorts. Some establishments use their own gluten free cookies to shell ice cream choices into. But one of Disney’s most famous ice cream sandwich hits is undoubtedly the Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich they serve over in EPCOT’s France Pavilion at L’Artisan des Glaces.
- Gluten Free Ice Cream Cones—Like the ice cream sandwich, a good old-fashioned ice cream cone is a desired treat for many, including those who keep to a gluten free diet. Fortunately for them, most ice cream locations throughout Disney World offer special allergy free cones to suit such needs.
- Gluten Free Sundaes—As we just mentioned, there are plenty of places that offer up gluten free cookie substitutions, special allergy free cones, and even alternatives for other dietary restrictions including those opting to avoid dairy or other animal products. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to learn that some of Disney’s most decadently desired sundaes, including that famed Kitchen Sink Sundae, can be made to meet and exceed gluten free expectations. Another hit to consider is the No Way José Sundae. You can get both of these over at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop along with many other mouthwatering possibilities.
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3. Classic Quick Service Fair and Entrées
Quick service (and table service) locations all around Disney World sport designated fryers and other food preparation essentials specifically used for customizing gluten free foods. So you can chomp on with confidence that any gluten free fair is in fact what it claims to be without added worries about cross-contamination. With that said, you no doubt have at least one or two favorite classic fair hits you’re wondering about, and we have the answers right here:
- Burgers and Hot Dogs—You can get these American favorites at just about any quick service location or resort food court you come to. And thanks to Disney’s partnership with renowned gluten free bread distributors like Udi’s, those opting to avoid gluten consumption never need hesitate to get in on the action. Unless baked on location using an exclusive in-house gluten free recipe, most gluten free breads, buns, and dinner rolls at Disney come from the trusted Udi’s brand.
- Onion Rings—This famous side order/snack/quick bite of battered goodness can be made free of any gluten when you order them over at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant or neighboring Cookes of Dublin, both located in Disney Springs.
- Fish and Chips—This enticing Brit hit classic is served up at quite a few places within Walt Disney World Resort and in nearby Disney Springs. They are most notably found at EPCOT’s Rose & Crown, which even offers a gluten free variety! Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant and Cookes of Dublin dish them out free of gluten as well.
- Chicken Strips/Tenders with Fries—Here’s another comfort classic offered at just about any quick service location around parks and resorts. And again, you need never fear cross contamination with the separate fryers we previously referenced being utilized for such purposes. Chicken strips often come served with a side of fries, and you may rest assured that those too are gluten free.
- Fried Chicken—We’re not going to chicken out now in talking about chicken. And on that note, we bring our attention to that other crispy fried favorite—fried chicken. You’ll find it served up in gluten free format at many locations. Two notable venues include 50’s Prime Time Café and Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen.
- Pizza—This favorite food to many is an undeniable universal hit even for those with food allergies or dietary restrictions. And to accommodate all the above, Disney serves it up however you like it almost anywhere you are, from quick service counter locations in the parks, resort food courts, or even at specific table service restaurants. Some of the best gluten free variations we’ve heard praise about can be found at Pinocchio’s Village Haus at the Magic Kingdom, Via Napoli in EPCOT, and Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza over in Disney Springs.
- Pasta/Noodles—This timeless classic mainstay is crucial to many traditional favorites in both Italian and Asian cuisine, along with other regional and fusion hits across the board. Fortunately, guests opting to steer clear of gluten while visiting Disney can still enjoy their favorite pasta and noodle entrées at countless establishments around the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. Alternatives range in rice noodles, quinoa, and countless others, depending on where you go. So go ahead and dive a into a hearty helping of Perkins Thai Noodles at Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen or tuck into some gluten free spaghetti at Mama Melrose’s with gusto. Or enjoy myriad other possibilities at these and other venues.
- Meatloaf—Did you know that you can even get comfort favorites like meatloaf made entirely free of gluten? It’s served up as Cousin Megan’s Traditional Meatloaf over at 1950’s Prime Time Café in Hollywood Studios, which also boasts myriad other comfort food classics that can be made allergy friendly.
- Tacos—You’ll even find special gluten free tacos at various venues within Disney World, made using homemade corn tortilla shells. If you’re hankering for a unique take on tacos, here are two gluten free contested picks to try over at EPCOT’s La Cantina de San Angel. Tacos de Barbacoa is made with seasoned beef, Mexican rice, black beans, and red salsa, wrapped into the aforementioned homemade corn tortillas. Tacos de Pollo includes the same but with seasoned chicken instead of beef.
Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s a very good thing that many classic breakfast staples are available gluten free. While items such as eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and fruit are all obvious examples, here are a couple more surprising options you wouldn’t expect:
- Mickey Waffles—Almost as much of a rite of passage as Mickey Mouse Premium Ice Cream Bars are those famed Mickey Waffles. But for those adhering to a gluten free diet, who may have already resigned themselves to the idea that such an experience is not in the cards, take heed. Most quick service locations and resort food courts do in fact serve these cute shaped iconic hits in gluten free format. On that note, it goes without saying that the pancake variety is also highly doable.
- Grits—Unlike oatmeal, which isn’t always gluten free (though some varieties are), this other classic breakfast mush staple is a beloved favorite to many. And the good news is that it’s on the allergy friendly breakfast menu at many resort food courts, quick service locations, and even offered at various table service venues throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
- Bagels—When it comes to gluten free baked goods at Disney, Erin McKenna’s Bakery over at Disney Springs reigns supreme. As a contested favorite amongst allergy friendly venues, it’s no wonder many resorts and park restaurant venues serve up some of Erin McKenna’s famed baked goods. These includes bagels, of course, in addition to their sweeter cousin variety—donuts.
- Muffins—Again, Erin McKenna’s is the place to go for muffins (or their sugary cupcake counterparts). Do also note that many resorts and restaurants provide in-house baked offerings they feature on allergy friendly breakfast menus as well.
- French Toast—It’s really a given that any place serving up special gluten free bread can accommodate French toast needs in addition to various other toasted bread hankerings.
There are seemingly boundless gluten free dessert options available all around Walt Disney World Resort. Some are gluten free alternate versions of classic favorites while others are novelty in-house creations at a specific venue. Because there are so many to choose from, we couldn’t possibly list them all. So we’ve narrowed them down to these top picks:
- Zebra Domes—These highly delectable morsels, which are comprised of mousse liquor encrusted in a layer of white chocolate and drizzle, chocolate shavings, and a cake-like base, are available exclusively at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. And yes, they even make a version that is entirely gluten free.
- Macarons—We already touched on the Macaron Ice Cream sandwiches, but did you know that macarons in general are traditionally gluten free? You’ll find these French favorites served up at multiple locations through out Disney, including Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in EPCOT and Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom.
- Chef’s Special Chocolate Brownie—If you’recraving a warm, gooey after-dinner brownie that’s free of gluten, 50’s Prime Time Café has you covered with this top-rated fan favorite. Another gluten free specialty that has many raving about at this location is their stellar S’mores dessert.
- Churros—To try those famed Disney churros has become one of those must-have experiences quickly making its way onto everyone’s bucket list. And since Nomad’s Lounge over at Animal Kingdom offers a gluten free version, nobody has to miss out on the chance to indulge.
- Berry Shortcake—Over at Garden Grill in EPCOT you’ll find a fabulous family-style allergy friendly menu, available upon request, consisting of numerous gluten free items. But it’s their dessert specialty that really takes the cake, quite literally, in the form of their delectable House-made Allergy Friendly Berry Shortcake.
- Chocolate Cake—In continuation of the concept of letting those who adhere to a gluten free diet eat cake, how about a decadent serving of the flourless chocolate variety? Two such venues that are known for their house specialties in this department include Mama Melrose’s over at Hollywood Studios and EPCOT’s Corral Reef Restaurant with their savory Chocolate Wave.
- Baked Pastries and Goodies—When it comes to delicious gluten free baked goods, Erin McKenna’s Bakery in Disney Springs is once again the ultimate go-to destination. As we previously highlighted, this certified gluten free bakery turns out a multitude of pastries and other sweet treats that fit the bill. From cupcakes to crumb cake, donuts to cookies, cinnamon rolls to infinitely more, McKenna’s Bakery bakes up a bounty beyond all expectations. Another Disney Springs-located bakery that serves up several gluten free goodies is Sprinkles.
We’ve barely scraped the surface in this highlighted look into some of the best gluten free eats available at Walt Disney World. Possibilities range far and wide, especially with new items constantly being introduced and phased reopenings still underway. As always, when traveling to Disney with any kind of food allergy or dietary request, it’s always best to plan in advance, make reservations when able to, and task to speak directly with the chef at any dining venue, just to play it safe. We encourage you to contact Disney Dining prior to your visit by emailing Special.Diets@disneyworld.com or calling 407-824-1391. To learn more you can also visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/special-dietary-requests.