Can you imagine having gluten-free Mickey faced waffles or a delicious cheese pizza while vacationing in Disneyland? Now you don’t have to imagine, you can have these things and many more thanks to the talented Chefs at Disneyland Resort!
My family and I recently vacationed at the Disneyland resort in Anaheim, California. When I googled dining gluten-free at Disneyland there really wasn’t much to help me plan my trip. There were a few short reviews on different blogs, which I appreciated but wished there were more. For that reason I decided to do an in-depth highlight and review of our recent experiences while dining out gluten-free at Disneyland.
The first thing I did in preparing for my visit was to call Head Chef Chris Justesen (714-781-3569 or 714-781-4650). This was probably the most important thing I could have done and suggest to all of you who will be vacationing there. Chef Chris was so helpful in helping my family and I find the best locations for gluten-free dining. Chef Chris told me to make sure that first thing when we arrived at the Disneyland Resort, to stop by the City Hall on Main Street to get a current listing of gluten-free items offered. This is helpful in giving you an idea at what is available to you no matter where in the park you are. The list also includes California Adventure and Disney Resorts dining options. The other VERY important thing I must emphasize is that our experiences were so great because we CALLED AHEAD to get reservations for all our dinners. We made sure to tell each Chef about our having Celiac Disease. Also, I wasn’t afraid to ask if they could possibly make something that looked good on their regular menu gluten-free for me. I was reasonable in the items I did this with. Obviously there are some things they just wouldn’t be able to do this with. However, with enough notice, the Chef’s will do all they can to accommodate. They are wonderful!
Here is our experiences starting with the first and ending with the last place we dined. At the end I have also included a list as of April 2010 of gluten-free offerings at Disneyland Resort. There are some things available we found out while there, that aren’t on the list.
Lunch at Redd Rockets Pizza Port in Disneyland Park:
My mom and I went directly to the Chef to place our gluten-free order. We had the choice between cheese or pepperoni pizza which was excellent. I asked if there was anyway to get veggies and they said no. (In my mind, the Chef there could have been a bit more friendly.) The wait of about 15 minutes wasn’t great but understandable. I wished I would have called ahead of time. The pepperoni pizza was good while it was nice and hot. When I tried it again cold about 30 minutes later it just wasn’t the same. So eat it while it is hot! We also had a great antipasto salad with veggies and meats which was delicious. We were able to have it with the Italian dressing was all. I asked about the Hidden Valley Ranch they had but they said it wasn’t gluten-free.
Dinner at Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park:
Can I just start out by emphasizing that this was by far, the most amazing meal we had while in Disneyland!!! The food was to die for! This was a restaurant that I not only called ahead to make a reservation but actually spoke with Chef Moises Carranza. He could not have been more accommodating and eager to help us. I saw the Isla~Cruces Crab Cakes on the menu and just had to have them. I kindly asked if there was anyway to get them made and he said he would call over to the resort kitchen where they have an great GF pantry and do all he could to work with them in creating this. He also said he was going to make a batch of the world famous Blue Bayou potatoes for us! When we arrived and placed our order, the Chef was already aware of us and got right preparing our meals. When the food came out, I can’t even tell you how good it was. Being able to have the famous Blue Bayou potatoes was the best experience! The crab cakes came with a delicious herb citrus beurre blanc and green and white sauteed asparagus. Both my mom and I almost ordered another plate of exactly what we had because it was all so good!!! There was plenty on the plate but it was just so great, we wanted to keep eating. Dessert was just as wonderful. We had the creme brulee and let me tell you, it was one of the BEST creme brulees I have ever tasted (and I eat it everywhere I go :). Again, THIS WAS THE BEST DINNER EVER!!!
Lunch at Taste Pilots Grill in California Adventure Park:
We were so excited to dine here because we had read that they offer gluten-free buns for the burgers and french fries. We were so excited that we walked in around 10:55 or so. They told us they didn’t open until 11 and seemed really irritated that we were already there. We waited outside for 5 minutes then went back in. Again, they did not seem happy at all to help us. When we told them we needed gluten-free buns they were even more irritated. After serving many other people (and not mentioning to us that it would be a few more minutes) we finally received our food. The bun wasn’t warm so it didn’t taste all that great. The rest of the meal, including the fries were really good. This would have been a much better experience without the poor customer service. When I took the time to tell the manager that we enjoyed most of the food but felt a bit frustrated by the customer service, she was quick to change her attitude and offer her apologies.
Dinner at Ariels Grotto in California Adventure Park:
Wow, this was quite the Disneyland experience. It was all about the kids and getting to meet the Princesses. It was adorable to see all the little ones faces light up. My son was only 14 months so could have cared less. His 17 year old uncle was much more excited to see them. The experience started with a great Antipasto platter that included olives, veggies, cheeses, meats, jello molds, and pickles as well as a salad with vinaigrette. Everything was gluten-free which was excellent. They also brought my mom and I out some hot gluten-free rolls (the buns from the day before) that were very tasty because they were properly heated. It was nice to eat bread with the rest of our party. We ordered the Cioppino after having it suggested to us by the Chef when I called ahead for our reservation and to speak with them. It was a very good dish that included shrimp, mussels, white fish, scallops and lobster tail in a delicious broth. We finished off with a dessert of white chocolate conch shell (beautiful!) and fresh berries. It was all great!
Lunch at Rancho Del Zocalo in Disneyland Park:
After speaking with the chef when I walked in, I decided to have the Mahi Mahi tacos with corn tortillas and rice and beans on the side. It took about 10 minutes to get my food because the Chef took the time to grill me a new piece that hadn’t been marinated. It was a very good American-Mexican meal. No complaints.
Dinner at Steakhouse 55 in Disneyland Hotel (Chef Jason Martin 414-956-6719):
This was our second favorite dinner. Chef Jason Martin was very knowledgeable in cooking gluten-free. He came right out to our table and discussed our options with us which was very nice. I started out with the chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce. It was delicious. For dinner I chose the Free-range double breast of chicken. It was very tasty when served with Chef Jason’s homemade Hollandaise sauce, however, after tasting my dad’s ribeye steak with signature steakhouse 55 rub, I wished I would have ordered that and I never order steak. It was excellent! We shared a bunch of great sides including the green beans with smoked bacon, steamed asparagus, mushrooms sauteed with Madeira, roasted heirloom potatoes, yukon gold, garlic and herb smashed potatoes, and the AMAZING Chef’s potato stack au gratin. It was SO good! I could have eaten more of that definitely! I was disappointed that we couldn’t have the creme brulee there. Chef said it is made in a bakery where flour is flying around everywhere and he didn’t want to chance it. I was very sad but appreciated the sentiment.
Lunch at Lucky Fortune Cookery in California Adventure Park:
This was a very casual outdoor dining experience. We were able to choose from any of the meats without the sauce. I chose the chicken, veggie rice bowl with edamame on the side. I do wish they would have had some gluten-free soy sauce packets on hand for those of us who needed it. The meal was great but lacked that soy sauce flavor I was craving. It was a nice choice for a quick and different kind of lunch than we had already had.
Breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen in Disneyland Hotel (Chef Alle 714-956-5017):
This breakfast was AMAZING!!! I told my family I would go back there again and again. I am STILL craving the delicious little Mickey shaped waffles that Chef Alle whipped up for us. I am not usually a waffle fan but these little treats were nice and crispy on the outside then hot, soft and mouth watering on the inside. They were so good! I even made my mom give me one of hers after I ate all of mine! Chef also made us four delicious little eggs benedict minus the English muffin. It came hot with the ham, egg, and yummy Hollandaise sauce. They were a nice treat. I felt like a pizza so when Chef asked if it was something I would want made gluten-free I jumped right on the idea. I asked if he could put some veggies on it and he said absolutely. I loved his willingness to accommodate a simple request of veggies on pizza. I wished they would have done that at Redd Rockets. I ate and ate until my belly was about ready to pop. There were many gluten-free salads and potatoes that were available to choose from on this delicious buffet. Chef also let me know that pancakes were an option if I wanted them. I couldn’t take myself away from the waffles long enough to enjoy pancakes so I didn’t try them. I have no doubt they would have been delicious though. The experience at Goofy’s kitchen was also great because of all the smiles I got from my little guy as the characters all came over to visit with you at your table. He loved it.
Lunch at Award Wieners at California Adventure Park:
This is pretty much a to go dining place. You can sit but there wasn’t a lot of room. I chose to get the Sicilian Sausage with mozzerella and pizza sauce on a gluten-free hot dog bun. It was so light, fluffy and good I was worried the bun wasn’t gluten-free, but of course it was. This was a fun, fast-food type lunch.
Sam Andreas Shakes in California Adventure Park: I had the date shake and it was amazing! They used real dates to create this delicious little treat. It was perfect for the mid-day heat.
Bur-r- Bank Ice Cream in California Adventure Park: I had the butter pecan icecream in a cup. It was good but I realized later that it was sweetened with Splenda as it was the no sugar added version…boo, I like the real thing.
Outdoor Vending Cart in Disneyland Resort: I had corn on the cob with butter which was a nice, savory treat.
Tiki Juice Bar at Disneyland Park: I had the Dole whip frozen drink. It was an ok treat but was a little too fluffy for me. It tasted like pineapple whip cream. I was hoping for more of frozen yogurt texture. It was good though.
Overall, we had the most amazing experience at Disneyland Resort. Thank you to all the wonderful chefs who did so much to not only accommodate, but make us feel so “normal” while dining out gluten-free. We have made a plan to return every 5 years with the entire family but now we know to make a few extra reservations at Blue Bayou!