I love Disney. I am a HUGE Disney villain fan. I worked full-time in the parks for 3 years and have been seasonal with them since I moved North. I am getting ready to do my last Disney work trip, as they have changed the rules requiring more availability then I can give. But this is blog is not about that. This blog is about the two Disney’s I have experienced since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease: The side that I experience as a guest, and, tomorrow, what the experience has been like as a cast member.
As a guest, WOW! My first stop of any Disney trip is to Guest Relations of whatever park I visit first. While the list is available online, I love to go in and talk to the cast members and get a paper copy on site in case there have been any changes. This list tells me which Quick Service locations have gluten-free options and what they are. It also lets me know the options available from the stands. So, when the mood hits for a Mickey Ice Cream Bar (seriously, the BEST thing ever), I know that they are safe. If I want to go into a bakery, I know that they have gluten-free brownies and cookies. The ones I have seen sold in the parks come from a vendor, which I recently heard that OMG…It’s Gluten Free.
When the time comes for food and you do not have reservations, you whip out your list, or I believe they have an app for this now,
and head into the restaurant that has what you want. I always let someone know right away that I have food allergies, which gets them the manager/floor supervisor on duty. This person has always been SUPER helpful. They tend to bring a binder that lists all of the ingredients in everything they offer so that you can make sure that you are safe. They then make several mentions when I order that it is gluten free, and often times, go into the back to make it themselves to make sure there is no cross-contamination. The only downside I have ever experienced with this is the waiting for my GF pizza to be cooked. If I was traveling with others, they would have finished theirs before mine came out. But I would be safe. And the last time I was there, the pizza was Annie’s.
And back to dessert! For one of my birthday’s, I went with some of my amazing Orlando people and her parents to Beaches and Cream, an ice cream shop at
the Beach Club Resort. They have an item there called “The Kitchen Sink”. It is literally hot fudge, butterscotch, peanut butter topping, banana, vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, strawberry ice cream, mint ice cream, coffee ice cream, chocolate syrup, marshmallow cream, strawberry topping, pineapple topping, almonds, white & dark chocolate shavings, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, maraschino cherries, and an ENTIRE CAN of whipped cream. Oh, and since I could not have the following, due to their glutenous nature, they put them on the side for my dining partners to enjoy: cinnamon spice cupcake, angel food cupcake, brownie, candy bar, jellied orange slices, and oreos. Again, the server and the manager came out to make sure that we could enjoy this treat, which took 5 of us to eat, without my getting sick.
The one experience I have had with a full-service restaurant has been BEYOND amazing! One of my favorite Orlando couples made reservations for us to see the HOOP-DE-DOO MUSICAL REVEUE. We made our reservations last minute, so I was not that surprised when they could not find our reservation. I made a point to tell, pretty much everyone involved in the seating process, that I had food allergies. The seater knew, the person who got our drink orders heard, the server heard. They all told me that it was noted and they would let the chef know. (side note, I learned when I had surgery that it really is important to let multiple people know, as I was almost given crackers post surgery). ANYWAY, back to the story. Even though they lost the advance notice, the chef personally came out to our table, introduced himself, and then told me EVERYTHING that I could eat. If I could not eat one of the primary dishes, as the restaurant is family style dining with a set meal, he gave me options for everything. Seriously, everything that I could not eat, I was told, “we can do a or perhaps, b”. Up to, and including, dessert. AMAZING!!!!
I am really excited to be going down to The Happiest Place on Earth for 5 days next month. Disney has always been at the forefront of providing GF options to their guests. And when I am playing in the parks, it is going to be fantastic. And I will let all you wonderful people know how it went and what I experienced.
But when I am working, it will be a completely different story. One that I will talk about tomorrow.