Our older Sweet Peas got to dance at Disney California Adventure on March 5th with their dance school, Talent Factory based in Tempe, Arizona. It is always such a great day for our family. We go in early and stay as late as the collective Sweet Peas can handle. Sometimes we close down the park; this year they were toast by 8:00 pm. Then again, they rode more rides than ever before, so they were definitely tired out!!
The first time we did this “field trip” with their dance school, I was freaking out about feeding our gluten-free children at the park. What could they eat? Where could they eat? Wouldn’t the opportunity for cross-contamination be theme-park proportioned?!?
Instead of continuing to freak out, I made a phone call to the park. After a few minutes on the phone with one of the park’s dining reservations specialist, my mama bear was able to calm down.
1.) You can bring your own snacks.
2.) There are gluten-free dining options in the parks.
3.) A chef will come out and personally take your order and prepare the food themselves. They will give you a run down of the menu items that suit your allergy. (They have been able to accommodate gluten, dairy, and nut allergies for our family.) They take care to avoid cross-contamination.
4.) Our children have never gotten sick after spending a day in the park and eating at Disney restaurants.
In the past, we have enjoyed Ariel’s Grotto and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta (overviews HERE). An annual family favorite is Wine Country Trattoria. We first ate there as part of the World of Color ticket; and have returned for lunch even when we don’t have to eat there for the Color show.
This is the first year when our server took our order and we never saw the chef. Nonetheless, she was versed in the gluten-free menu, took our order, and adjusted it accordingly so that our gluten-free kids only ate gluten-free foods. They also have amazing gluten-free rolls!! Puma and Night Owl ate them heartily!
Another “safe’ place for gluten-free families to get some snacks is Mortimer’s Market. They feature several different options for fresh fruits and vegetables, and they also offer hummus. There are no gluten-free crackers in the hummus pack, but you could dip the carrots and celery in the hummus, or BYOGFC 😉
We continue to be impressed with the amount of options and the level of consideration offered to families that travel in spite of their food allergies. I generally have anxiety about traveling with our family, and we pack A TON of snacks for the car/hotel because God-forbid we get stranded somewhere, without a place to feed the sweet peas! (I’m kind of kidding, but I’m not – my allergy-mama tribe feels me, right?)
It is nice to just enjoy the park and not be completely obsessed or over-anxious about all the ways they might get sick from accidental ingestion or cross-contamination. It’s safe to say that we will continue to participate in this trip and enjoy our fun-day at the park!
We will see what next year will bring – we found out that Otter loves roller-coasters…maybe she will be tall enough to try out some Disney screamers next year!! And then God only knows how late we will be staying in 2017 😉
For more gluten-free Disney 411 check out these posts:
TOP 10 Gluten-Free Options from Chip and Co. blog
Eating Gluten-Free in Disneyland from the Disney Food Blog
LODGING: On a side-note, we stayed at the Embassy Suites Anaheim South. They offer complimentary breakfast every morning…our kiddos enjoyed krispy rice cereal, eggs, oatmeal, omelettes, breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit and lots of bacon!! They even offered almond milk, although none of our kiddos drink it, if I had read the menu under “beverages” I could have had some (decaf!) coffee.
Here is a sample of their children’s grill menu available for lunch or dinner. We tried both the gluten-free pizza and the gluten-free pasta – both were good. They don’t have gluten-free hamburger or hot dog buns, so Night Owl had his hot dogs without buns both evenings. I watched him for a reaction (sometimes hot dogs have fillers even when the menu says “all beef”) but he didn’t have a reaction. Phew!