Quick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food Allergies

Quick Service at Hollywood Studios with Food Allergies: The Ugly, The Good, and The Perfect

Welcome Back to my Magical Mondays SeriesAll 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.

Quick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food AllergiesI 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!

  1. Wait in line, and when you reach the register tell the cast member that you have a food allergy.
  2. 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.)
  3. Order with the waiter, and then the cast member will type it in and pay.
  4. 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.
  5. Enjoy!

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.

http://www.wdwmagic.com/dining/abc-commissary.htm
Image Courtesy of WDW Magic

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

Quick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food Allergies
My favorite Quick Service Spot in Hollywood Studios

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)

Quick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food AllergiesWhile 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! 

Quick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food Allergies
Awesome Cast Members!

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.

Quick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food AllergiesQuick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food Allergies

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.

Quick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food Allergies
With my Carrots and Water from the Backlot Express

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.)

Quick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food Allergies
So Excited to Find Individual Ketchup Packets!

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

  • Quick Service Options at Hollywood Studios with Food Allergies
    My favorite meal from the Backlot Express.

    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.

Upcoming on the Blog!

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!

Have a Magical Week!

13 thoughts on “Quick Service at Hollywood Studios with Food Allergies: The Ugly, The Good, and The Perfect

  1. Kaila,
    So glad you finally got your burger and fries!
    I love your positive attitude throughout the whole experience!
    Enjoy your time in Disney!

  2. OKAY I GOT SO NERVOUS READING THE BEGINNING OF THE POST, and was like nOOOOOOOOO don’t tell me she got sick, PHEW, glad everything ended up okay and KUDOS TO YOU FOR LEAVING ❤ stick with what is safest. ALSO RANDOM QUESTION: Do you check for wheat protein in your shampoo?

    1. Hahaha, yeah, you know I HATE getting sick! And, yes, but I don’t necessarily believe it’s a necessity.

      For soaps, shampoos, etc. I ensure that there are no gluten containing ingredients (rather than like certified and all that jazz). My theory is that even though we know it can’t get in through your skin pores, I have tons of scrapes, rug burns, etc. I’m very clumsy and active; it’s a bad combination. And, even if that doesn’t matter, I sing in the shower.

      Since it’s simple enough to buy products that don’t contain gluten as an ingredient, I figure that I’m better safe than sorry. It’s wheat germ that I see in sunscreens the most often. And, who can really get over the idea of rubbing wheat germ all over themselves and then using those same hands to eat an apple? (That’s probably just my issue.) So while I’m sure it probably doesn’t matter, I always check. 🙂

      Does that help?! What do you do?

      1. Kaila, WELL, I used to be clueless, until I went to my local area’s Celiac Support Group and got all this info to read, and one of the brochures mentioned shampoo, and a few of the elderly ladies were like “suave and dove are great” and explained how you can accidentally swallow shampoo or wash your hair then touch your mouth etc. and I never thought about it really. I switched my shampoo over a month ago and my stomach has been feeling AMAZING, I looked at my old shampoo WHEAT PROTEIN WAS IN IT.

        Coincidence? Maybe, but NOW I will only use brands that don’t have it as an ingredient! I am currently using Mane and Tail. But heard suave and dove are okay too!

    2. Yay! Celiac Support Group! And, I’m so glad that you’re feeling better. Yeah, we cut gluten out of my kitchen, bathroom, everything cold turkey. But since it can’t be scientifically backed up, I don’t want to scare the whole world. ❤

      My orthodontist and dental hygienist also know too. Every time I go in to get my teeth cleaned (which is an extra time a year too because one of my celiac symptoms was enamel related), my dental hygienist tells me that she checked the box and everything is still gluten free. She's really sweet, and intrigued because she only knows one other person with celiac disease.

      1. Good idea, but rather us be safe than sorry 🙂
        And AW how cute, my mom checked the dentist for me actually haha, she was like “I already looked at the labels for you, you’re safe”

    1. Yeah, Disney can be expensive, but we love it because it’s a place where we can go on vacation and I fit in with everyone else. For our first trip to Disney World, Disneyland, and the Disney Cruise, we brought enough food for me to eat in case it didn’t turn out alright. (And, on the Disney Cruise it was all pre-packaged factory-sealed items!) But, so far, everything has turned out well.

      The chefs always come out, and I know that I ask more questions than most people when I start asking about brands of products. But they’re always great about it. And, as long as I don’t get sick, I don’t tend to find meals that I can eat unsatisfying because I didn’t have to cook it. (You’d never know since I have a food blog, but I REALLY don’t like cooking).

      However, if you care about taste (which you should), then I would go to certain quick service spots, such as the Backlot Express. They have a tasty salad and make their corn chips in a dedicated allergen fryer (always ask if something you can’t eat goes in it though). And, most sit-down restaurants are wonderful. I wouldn’t recommend the Garden Grill because your meal will be bland IF you have a milk allergy. (I’m not sure if that’s the case if your request is only celiac because I can’t have milk too.) And, obviously not ABC Commissary for quick service.

      We also used to book at a hotel that had a kitchen, such as the Boardwalk Villas, but there are a ton of other ones (Disney and off-property). That’s a practical way to bring your own food if you’re traveling for a week in Disney. (We bring our own cooking set too. I have a traveling cooking set, but it’s mainly used for road trips, SO it gets cut down on airplanes. It’s still super helpful.) 🙂

      Today, I just kind of like to fit in at Disney because where I live all the 100% GF spots can’t feed me due to my other food allergies. When I travel I have found some cheaper spots that are good about food allergies, but nearby me, most places end up being equivalent to the price of Disney. But, I also pack it a lot (like this Thanksgiving), and that’s always a good way to go. 😀

      P.S: Sorry for the essay, but hopefully it was helpful if you ever want to go to Disney. It’s a combination of all my Magical Monday posts. ❤

      1. You are quite simply amazing and I love essay responses to comments because it shows you truly careeee! 🙂 What I am thrilled about is that restaurants in general are really catching onto the food allergy trend!

    2. Awh, thanks! I definitely agree, and Happy FRIDAY! 🙂

      P.S: Some places truly have food allergies and celiac disease down, and others are trying. But, the more we educate, each restaurant has a better chance of understanding. 🙂

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