Monday, November 14, 2011

Mickey Wants Me to Eat Gluten Free!

I spent this past weekend in Walt Disney World, celebrating my niece’s fifth birthday.  I was a bit concerned that I might have trouble finding foods to eat, but was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to eat gluten free at Disney.
When we arrived at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday (at lunchtime) we were all hungry, and stopped at the first place that had food to satisfy a five year old – Casey’s Corner.  This quick service restaurant was a hot dog place.  Convinced I was going to have to eat a plain hot dog with no bun, I was surprised to learn that they had tapioca buns for the GF visitors.  Now, I ended up eating the dog sans bun because it was hard and not that tasty, but I totally appreciate and applaud their efforts!  Dinner that night was a salad from another quick service restaurant.
On Sunday we went to Animal Kingdom.  We stayed on in a Disney resort – Fort Wilderness – and had a cabin with a full service kitchen.  So, we ate breakfast before leaving for the park.  For lunch I had another salad from a quick service restaurant in DinoLand.
Dinner was such a treat that night, however!  We wanted to take our niece to a special birthday dinner, so we headed to Downtown Disney.  We stopped at the first restaurant we came to – T-Rex.  It’s very similar to the Rainforest Café (if you’ve ever been there), only with a dinosaur theme.  Our niece loved it, and said it was a “cool place” (except during the meteoroid showers – those were a little scary because it gets dark and noisy, and the animals move).  When I told our server I had a gluten allergy, she let me know that the chef would come to speak with me and go over my options.  He was at our table within 2 minutes, and gave me a thorough description of the entrees I could eat.  He assured me his name would be on the ticket and he would personally see to it that my food would be safe from cross contamination.  I ordered the rotisserie chicken with vegetables and mashed potatoes.  Everything was delicious!  The veggies were fresh, potatoes tasted like they were homemade, and the chicken was tender and juicy, with a crisp, flavorful skin.  I was definitely impressed with this restaurant. 
I was so stuffed after dinner; I was too full for dessert.  But, I had read that Babycakes NYC had opened up in Downtown Disney, so I wanted to buy something to take with me.  This bakery is all gluten free, soy free, egg free, and dairy free – totally vegan.  I was overwhelmed by choices – cupcakes, cookies, donuts, etc…  I ended up buying several to take home with me.  I ate a donut on our two-and-a-half hour ride home and it was great!  I think I’ll be stopping into Babycakes NYC whenever I find myself near Orlando. 
Since we’re Florida residents, it was cheaper for us to buy a 3 day pass than to pay for the 2 days we were there.  That means that sometime in the next six months we’ll be going back for our third day and I can’t wait to see what other gluten free options I can find at Disney World!

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