Welcome Back to my Magical Mondays Series– All About Dining at Disney with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease!
After a brief hiatus, Magical Mondays are back and here to stay. This weekend I returned to Disney for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon (my first official runDisney event), and next weekend, I’ll be running the Avengers Half Marathon in Disneyland.
I have so much exciting news to share, BUT I decided to get the bad news out of the way first! I officially had my FIRST less than ideal Disney food allergy experience; however, it quickly turned around, so here’s my tale! (Synopsis at Bottom)
Quick Service with Food Allergies or Celiac Disease
First, you need to know HOW to dine at Quick Service spot in Disney World with a dietary restriction. It’s super simple!
- Wait in line, and when you reach the register tell the cast member that you have a food allergy.
- They will get a manager/supervisor to go over your meal options with you. (There’s a binder with all the ingredients, and you can talk to them about modifications, how your food will be prepared, etc. I always ask questions about the allergy fryer, which you can read about in my previous Magical Monday Post.)
- Order with the waiter, and then the cast member will type it in and pay.
- Wait for your meal. It should be indicated as an allergy meal (from a different tray color), or in most cases, the manager will bring it out to you. If you have any questions upon receiving your order ask.
That’s it! This tale is about Hollywood Studios Quick Service dining options. My family has always eaten at the Backlot Express in the past because we read great things and have had many wonderful experiences.
The Ugly: ABC Commissary
I love the Backlot Express. However, as we funneled out the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, I was directed in the opposite direction, so I decided to try out ABC Commissary.
I identified myself as having a food allergy, the cast member promptly went to get her supervisor. However, when she returned, she said that he asked that she use the binder to make my order. It was probably because it was late in the night, but it’s a huge red flag when the manager doesn’t come out to speak with you at Disney World (and it’s not okay as I learned later on in the night).
I thought that maybe the cast member was training to move up, so I talked to her a little bit longer, but I quickly realized that she didn’t know much about food allergies. When I asked if I could try the salad, she said that she knew the vegetables were all gluten free, but wasn’t sure about the dressing and she couldn’t find it in the binder. She was hesitant about returning to her supervisor, so I offered to leave knowing that this was a rare occurrence in Disney World, and something was clearly awry.
The Good: The Backlot Express
By the time I made my way to the Backlot Express, it was past closing time. However, having never eaten elsewhere in the park, my mind is beginning to panic a little as I explain my situation to a cast member. She immediately grabbed her supervisor to hear his suggestions.
He arrives, and was so kind. While the kitchen was closed, he even went to check if they had cleaned out their allergy fryer yet. I’m sure there was a quiver in my voice, but he assured me that there would be food on Sunset Boulevard that I could find. He sent me off with a water and carrots for my short walk across the park.
The Perfect: Rosie’s All American Cafe (Sunset Boulevard)
While not fancy, Rosie’s was exactly what I needed. When I arrived and said I had a food allergy, the cast member immediately grabbed her supervisor Ricky. We discussed my order of a burger and fries, and they were clear to state that I wanted to grab my meal directly from Ricky. The service went exactly by Disney protocol, so I felt completely safe dining here!
As for my dining experience, the cast members were so funny and kept me laughing the whole time as I waited for my food. It wasn’t very crowded, and I definitely needed a few good chuckles after my long dinner adventure!
Not only that, Rosie’s All American Grill is located right at the base of the Haunted Mansion, so I could hear all the screams. This also means that it’s a very convenient location for those waiting to ride the Rock ‘N Rollercoaster, or for the Beauty and the Beast and/or Fantasmic shows to start.
Lastly, as I waited, I also enjoyed looking around at the old-time American spirited decorations.
My meal was a burger and fries, just like you would find elsewhere in the park. HOWEVER, these were safely prepared, and Ricky made sure I knew exactly what was going on, and he brought my meal directly out to me.
As I went to sit down outside, I noticed that this quick service spot had ketchup packets, rather than a ketchup pump, which is perfect for cross-contact. (Of course, you can always ask for these as I have in the past, but it was a nice little bonus at Rosie’s All American Cafe.)
And, in the end, I made it out of the park with a full meal in my stomach thanks to the Backlot Express and Rosie’s All American Cafe. While I love Disney World, I think it’s important to share this experience, so you see a balanced picture of the dinging experiences in the park.
Overview: Quick Service in Hollywood Studios
The Backlot Express is my favorite, and has the most variety for someone with dietary restrictions. (This was one of the first quick service spots we ever went to after reading so many positive stories from here.)
- I was so excited about the individual ketchup packets at Rosie’s All American Cafe on Sunset Boulevard. While they have less variety than the Backlot Express, it’s definitely a good place to go for a burger and fries.
- I’m personally not dying to go back to ABC Commissary, I know the staff is always changing and tonight was probably a fluke. But, for now, I’ll just stick with what I know and love. 🙂
Once again, thank you so much to all the attentive cast members that really helped turn my night around, especially those at the Backlot Express and Ricky at Sunset Boulevard.
Don’t forget the beginning of this story is very atypical for Disney, and I cannot wait to share all of my positive tales with you! I’m especially excited to tell you about my dining experience in EPCOT, and give you a peek into some of Disney’s holiday decorations!