Menu Alternative Options Available Throughout Disneyland Resortby Lisa Stiglic, contributing writer
A few years ago I submitted to an allergy panel test due to a reaction while eating peanuts. The results came back with mild allergies to several common foods, one being gluten. Really? But what about Disneyland Resort? No more Countdown Chicken Fusilli at Redd Rocket's Pizza Port (aka Alien Pizza Planet)? No more Mickey Mouse beignets? No more churros?! Luckily, I've learned I can still tolerate a small amount of gluten, but it's opened my eyes (and stomach) to alternatives in the dining world. Disneyland Resort has a plethora of options for those foodies who are looking beyond the typical menu.
ALLERGY AND GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS
According to guest services on the Disneyland Resort website, the dining options in the Resort offer substitutions for those guests with common allergies, including gluten. If you are making Disney Dining reservations for any table service location, always let the cast member know in advance you have a dietary need. Most menus in these locations provide allergy-friendly options, If in doubt, check with the server and/or chef regarding how the dish is prepared.
Disney's PCH Grille, located inside Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, offers alternatives for those guests with dietary needs. A favorite at this location, and at Disneyland Hotel's Steakhouse 55, is gluten-free pancakes – a great start to a magical morning. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.
If you're park-hopping with little time to enjoy a lengthy sit-down meal, you can still eat your way through the Disneyland Resort with a wide variety of substitutions starting with gluten-free buns. Several of the quick service locations, such as Refreshment Corner on Main Street in Disneyland, and Award Weiners in Disney California Adventure Park's Hollywood Land, offer bun alternatives. Just let your server know and ask if you have any questions regarding how the food was prepared.
If you want to leave the gluten behind altogether, the Disneyland Resort offers a nice variety of foods for every palate. In Disneyland Park, Rancho del Zocalo's menu brings a taste of the southwest with grilled shrimp tacos – accompanied by corn tortilla chips – or choose Chilaquiles, which is a entree of layered corn tortillas, refried beans, and scrambled eggs. In DCA, Lucky Fortune Cookery serves rice bowls with your choice of protein and sauce, but still check with the cast member to ensure the sauce you choose is a gluten-free alternative, or omit it all together. (For vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, choose the tofu rice bowl).
Portable picks are a foodie's best friend at Disneyland Resort. If you plan on spending your day chasing Fastpass times and darting from shows to parades, the vendor carts are available just for you. From savory snacks such as turkey legs, popcorn, and corn-on-the-cob, to savoring sweet treats, all guests can take advantage of these transportable tastes.
As noted earlier, the Disneyland Resort guest services page offers a list of suggestions to help guests with dietary needs navigate the Resort which also caters to the vegetarian and vegan-minded guests. For vegetarian followers, definitely make a reservation at Disneyland's Carnation Cafe for the morning meal of a spinach and tomato egg-white frittata filled with mushrooms, sour cream, and an avocado black-bean pico de gallo. Again, at any Disneyland Resort dining location, let the server know you are seeking menu options. They will be happy to suggest alternatives.
Everyone can be a guest at Disneyland's Red Rose Taverne, but vegetarians seeking something different might want to try a standard menu selection with a slight twist.
The Enchanted Cauli-flower Sandwich highlights a grilled cauliflower steak, spicy lime aioli, tempura-battered green beans, and tomato all on a roll served with fries or apples. (For a vegan option, order it without the aioli). Photo by Lisa Stiglic.
Across the esplanade in DCA, you can land yourself at Smokejumper's Grill which boasts a BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich. This entree is served with Bear-claw slaw and a pickle on toasted ciabatta bread with a side of waffle fries or onion rings. Several social media suggestions point toward a road trip to Carsland to Flo's V-8 Cafe for the Veggie Tater Bake. Similar to a shephard's pie, this favorite includes bulgur wheat, roasted veggies, and mashed potatoes all topped with cheddar cheese and soy crumbles.
And again for easy accessibility, the vendor carts are very handy. Choose giant, soft Mickey pretzels, dried fruits, and fresh fruits and vegetables as vegetarian options. These simple snacks will help tide you over until you have the time to enjoy your next meal.
Several vegan-friendly entrees repeatedly pop-up on Disney dining sites with one of them being the Red Quinoa-baby Tuscan Kale Salad at Carthay Circle Restaurant in DCA. With roasted beets, crispy mushrooms and an orange-pecan vinaigrette, this delicious lunch fair is a must for vegan and non-vegan guests alike. Remember to make dining reservations in advance when you can, and again, let your server know your dietary requests.
Another vegan eat that trends on social media is the Vegetarian Gumbo with sourdough bread bowl from Royale Street Veranda in New Orleans Square. One bowl of this and you'll be set to go for the entire day, it's that filling! Next door in Adventureland, stop by Bengal Barbecue for the portable Outback Veggie Skewers. Whether you have time to put your feet up and enjoy your savory skewer in the expanded seating area next door, or you're on a timeline, the food-on-a-stick is a delicious eat.
What would a trip to Disneyland Resort be without a sweet treat to end your day? As mentioned earlier, cotton candy is a friendly option for gluten-free, and vegetarian and vegan diets. If you crave something a bit more decadent, frozen confections are perfect for several diet specifics.
Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream in Disney California Adventure Park serves up a choose-your-own flavor ice cream bar diet-friendly to guests with gluten allergies or who are vegetarians. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.
The ice cream vendor carts also offer dipped-chocolate Mickey ice cream bars, and frozen juice bars along with the aforementioned frozen lemonades which are vegan-frendly. And, I couldn't conclude a specialized menu article without mentioning the Resort's most sought-after, iced icon — the Dole Whip pineapple-flavor frozen dessert. Available at Tiki Juice Bar in Disneyland Park and at Coffee House at Disneyland Hotel, this non-dairy, gluten-friendly delight is available as a soft-serve in a bowl or with pineapple juice in a float. (You can add rum to make it adult-friendly, but only at the Coffee House location). All guests can chill with this Disneyland treasure.
This article is just the tasting tip of what Disneyland Resort offers for all diners — from gluten-free dieters, vegetarians, vegan diners, and everyone else in-between. No matter what your dietary needs are, the Disneyland Resort has you covered. A few reminders however, always check with your server and/or chef (if available) regarding ingredients. Allergy-friendly menus are available upon request at most locations throughout the Resort. Feel free to share some of your favorites. Happy eating!