Hiiii from the Most Magical Place on Earth!
Can’t.breathe. It’s Belle. My favorite princess. Ahhhh… “Little town, it’s a quiet village..”
Vivian and I are here in Disney World with our families for a week-long vacation! We are so excited to be here and can’t wait to share all of our tips, favorite places to go, and overall experiences while eating at the most magical place on earth.
This is part 1 of a 4 part post series about eating at Disney with an allergy! And don’t worry, Disney doesn’t disappoint. I think I even forgot that I had an allergy while I was here because of how well the cast members, chefs, and anyone that works for Disney handles allergies.
What I love most about the Disney dining experience is that the chef or manager of the establishment always comes out and takes your order for your meal and talks to you about all of the options, and they always avoid cross-contamination at all costs and will alert you if any food items might be cross-contaminated.
I recommend making reservations for everywhere you’d like to eat because it gives the restaurant time to prepare for your arrival. And, when you are going to a restaurant with special requests it’s courteous to let the establishment know ahead of time, but I also just showed up at a few places (especially for lunch) and the service was the same. I also emailed Disney at email@example.com a few days before our trip (they ask you to email them at least two weeks ahead of when you are going if you have multiple allergies or more than one person in your party with allergies) and they emailed me an awesome list of most of the restaurants and parks on property and what they might have that is dairy-free. It was the perfect go-to when deciding where to eat and I often referred to it when ordering dessert. If I knew that a restaurant had Enjoy Life cookies on the list, then I would specifically ask for them for dessert.
In our first blog post, we have decided to share our experience at Epcot. The park that can take you from Mexico to Germany in a matter of minutes by far has the most restaurants on Disney property, so Epcot was where we ate almost all of our dinners.
We dined with fish at Coral Reef Restaurant, ate pizza from Vesuvius at Via Napoli in Italy, visited Belle at Monsieur Paul in France, got henna tattoos at Tangierine Café in Morocco, and so much more!
Coral Reef Restaurant
We love eating at Coral Reef Restaurant. I have eaten there before, but never with an allergy (when I was way younger). It was funny because the people at the table next to us had children with nut allergy’s, so I just saw the chef running back and forth and back and forth between our two tables.
When we checked in, we let the hostess know that we had two with an allergy, and they put a giant stamp on our ticket. Then when we sat at the table, the waiter told us that the chef will be out soon to talk to us about options for our meal.
Because this is a seafood based restaurant, it was pretty easy for Vivian and me to eat there and we had a lot of options. I decided to order the seasonal soup (white bean pureé) as my appetizer and salmon with vegetable stir fry as my main dish. The chef told me that the original sauce was made with butter and without the butter it’s pretty strong taste wise, so he gave me the sauce on the side. Vivian ordered fried shrimp (how many times can a dairy-free person have something fried? She was excited) from the kid’s menu with broccoli and french fries.
The white bean pureé seasonal soup was very, very tasty! It had crushed croutons, bacon, and chives on top. It was such a treat to have a super creamy soup while eating out (um, hello, that never happens!) and I loved it!
See the allergy stick on top? It came on basically all of our meals, which is kind of special
This was the salmon with stir fried vegetables. As you can see, I lovedddd the sauce! Poured it right on top. It tasted like teriyaki, just altered a little bit. Perfect for the salmon.
This was Vivian’s fried shrimp. The batter tasted a little funny, might just be whatever they used to substitute the original batter with, but with the shrimp it was tasty! The french fries and broccoli were yummy side dishes.
And for dessert (I know, I know, how many times does someone with an allergy get to say that while eating out?) we had mango sorbet and Enjoy Life cookies (double chocolate chip, snicker doodle, and regular chocolate chip). Disney has recently made a partnership with Enjoy Life and offers their cookies and snacks at almost every restaurant, you just have to ask for them. What a lifesaver it was, Vivian and I always had a yummy dessert available whenever our sisters ordered decadent desserts of their own, and I never heard a complaint out of Vivian or even the typical, “I wish I could eat what they are eating.”
That made me extra happy!
Our experience at Coral Reef Restaurant was excellent! there are so many options and the food is extremely fresh.
Here is a rating system we will use for an easy go-to of where we recommend eating:
Kids Options: 9/10
Adult Options: 10/10
Taste of Food: 8/10
Overall Experience: 9.5/10
Would we recommend? Absolutely!!
Dude. This place is one of my favorites. For real. It’s kind of new, so if you haven’t visited Disney in a few years you haven’t eaten here, but I definitely recommend that you change that. Like immediately, if possible.
I love Via Napoli. It’s mainly a pizza place, with a few pastas, and is like about as authentic Italian food as you’re going to get in Florida. They use these giant wood-burning ovens named after the three active volcanoes in Italy — Mount Vesuvio, Stromboli, and Mount Etna. If that doesn’t get your heart-pumping for some pizza then I don’t know what will! This time the chef didn’t come out, but the waiter had extensive knowledge on our allergy and what we could and could not eat. He laid out the whole menu for us, showed us first what was off limits, and then suggested what he thought we might like. I opted for some pizza, while Viv had pasta with marinara and her must have, olives.
They brought Vivian her food out separated, and then she got to mix the sauce together with the pasta. She loved that and added just enough sauce to suit her fancy. I would recommend asking for the sauce on the side if you go to Via Napoli because it’s fun to mix it all together and you can have your perfect sauce/pasta combo!
This meal definitely had Vivian’s seal of approval. Any place that can provide her with either olives or soy sauce in her meal is a major plus, and she is almost guaranteed to lick the plate (not really, but I’d bet you she’ll want to).
I had the most delicious pizza with marinara sauce, eggplant, onions, pepperoni, and arugula. Can I say yum enough? No. I really can’t. It was so good and I pretty much ate the entire thing. Major thumbs up!
We both were too full after that meal to have dessert, but they did have sorbet and fruit options if you are interested.
Kids Options: 10/10 (it was kind of make up your own thing for Viv)
Adult Options: 10/10
Taste of Food: 10/10
Overall Experience: 10/10
Would we recommend? Yes, yes, and yes! I can’t say it enough how good this place is. The waiters and waitresses are all from Italy, the food is authentic, and you can have a meal that is free from your allergy– Triple plus! The overall experience at Via Napoli it just one that you can’t miss. Book early though, it’s very popular.
Nine Dragons Restaurant
Nine Dragons, although a great meal, is one place I wouldn’t recommend based on the fact that they aren’t very thorough with their allergies. Fortunately for Vivian and me, we can take a few risks here and there (even though we might suffer from major tummy problems, mood swings, etc. later on) with cross-contamination. But others are not that fortunate.
So my disclaimer: if you have an allergy that requires an EpiPen, do not eat here.
It’s just too risky. The manager and/or chef did not come out, and the waiter had to check often on anything we asked about. When we ordered the spring rolls, the waiter told us that they did not have dairy, but were fried in the same oil as the pork lollipops, which did have dairy. So Vivian and I only ate a little of those.
For the rest of the meal, the waiter just wasn’t completely clear on their cross-contamination practices and how safe the food was for someone with an allergy. When we called, they said it wouldn’t be a problem, but I just didn’t feel that too much importance was placed on the safety of our food.
But if you just have an intolerance or aren’t deathly allergic and want to take the risk, the food is very good!
The spring rolls and my dad’s awesome modeling hand. I didn’t have any, but Vivian liked them a lot (not my dad’s hand! the rolls, silly). They had pork which was a nice surprise from the usual spring rolls that you can get at all chinese restaurants.
Vivian’s meal (I loved the Mickey plate, so cute!). She got the kids honey chicken with sauce on the side with broccoli, carrots, and chicken fried rice. Her favorite was dipping the veggies in soy sauce, shocker there. Ha!
I had honey-sesame chicken, basically the same as Vivian, just the adult version, with white rice. Again, very good!
We didn’t have dessert here because, like at Via Napoli, the food was very filling.
Kids Options: 8/10
Adult Options: 7/10
Taste of Food: 9/10
Overall Experience: 6/10
Would we recommend? Great food, but not knowledgeable enough on cooking techniques and practices.
As we spent one afternoon strolling through all of the countries around Epcot, Vivian and I decided to stop in Morocco and try to get some afternoon snacks from the little cafe on the corner.
And holy goodness. What a gem of a cafe. It’s a walk up and order kind of deal, and we went in the afternoon so it wasn’t very busy. But the chef came right up to the counter and helped us order. He seemed very knowledgable on all the dishes and ingredients used, and you could see that they had many stoves to cook the food on separately to avoid contamination. Viv and I just got some cold snacks; hummus, pita, and olives.
I know Vivian LOVES what she is eating when she looks up at me with her signature grin and says happily, “take a picture of this.. it’s going on the blog!”
I would consider Viv a full-on olive connoisseur. She loves any and all kinds of olives, with black being her favorite, and orders them from any restaurant whenever she can. I think it’s safe to say that Morocco’s olives were here favorite from the trip, and she loved the dressing that they were mixed with.
This hummus and pita hit.the.spot. The hummus was so fresh and the pita so warm, I dunked pieces of pita in the creamy hummus and Viv even let me have a few of her olives for toppings… ahhmazing.
Kids Options: 10/10 (honestly, I didn’t really look to see what was on the kids menu)
Adult Options: 10/10
Taste of Food: 10/10
Overall Experience: 10/10
Would we recommend? Oh my goodness definitely! The perfect afternoon snack, we loved it! And we even got henna tattoos across the street afterwards. Great memories and an enjoyable experience.
Not to be a debby downer here and all, but this restaurant was the exact place where I decided to stop eating dairy for good. A few years ago, I was sitting there trying to eat this delicious meal that was full of cream and my stomach was already hurting, I knew what was to come, I felt sick, and I just looked up at my parents and said, “I’m done.” and I haven’t eaten dairy since. I was interested to try this restaurant again and see how they did with an allergy.
The manager came out and helped us order and the food was excellent, but they didn’t have many options at all. I’m not a heavy meat eater as in, I just eat it every few days and rarely at all when I’m home, so I was in the mood for a seafood or vegetarian dish. The manager just kind of gave me one option: steak. After persisting for a little while, he went and talked to the chef and gave me a chicken option. I soon realized that it was the chef that was being difficult; he didn’t really want to work with our allergy and try something new. So Vivian had the steak and I ordered the chicken.
Vivian’s mom, after seeing me talk with the manager, asked politely but persistently, if I could at least have a hearty salad before my meal. They brought out a beautiful mixed greens salad with beets and white asparagus, and although it had meat, was dairy-free and I could easily pick the meat off. Good compromise, and thanks Ms. Mara!
The salad ended up being my favorite part of the meal, it was so so good!
Vivan had the steak for dinner. She originally asked for french fries with it, but the manager said that the chef worried about cross-contamination and would rather her have the green beans. He also put the sauce on the side, which was a good thing because Viv isn’t really a sauce-on-your-meat-unless-its-soy-sauce lover. In case you didn’t know
She loved the steak and green beans!
I had this chicken as my meal and it was very very good. The sauce was excellent. I would totally recommend it.
We also had these little french baguettes, and I think between the two of us, we ate at least six of them. SO GOOD! And dairy-free!
For dessert we had sorbets with dairy-free meringue. The meringue was literally melt-in-your-mouth. It just fell apart with the slightest touch, was super airy and refreshing as a dessert. I had green apple sorbet and Vivian had passionfruit sorbet.
Kids Options: 5/10 (not very many options for Viv, basically steak.)
Adult Options: 7/10
Service: 8/10 (the manager was nice, but the chef didn’t really like that we had allergies. hmph.)
Taste of Food: 10/10
Overall Experience: 8/10
Would we recommend? Yes, overall it’s a great restaurant. The atmosphere is wonderful and the food is to die for. Go on a night that you would want more of a heavy meal, steak, meat. But if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, I wouldn’t recommend Monsieur Paul. Your option would be a salad.
Well I hope this might help you plan for your trip to Disney, and might ease some of your worries about eating out with your allergy. Disney offers an excellent dining experience for us and honestly, it makes you feel like a normal food eater with how easy it is and enjoyable. Check back tomorrow for my post about Hollywood Studios!
I have to do it. Embarrass the men a little.
This is my Dad (on the right) and Vivian’s Dad (on the left).
Yep, they are posing with Belle. Got to love them.
They were walking around having man time (I mean, they are on this trip with 8 girls, they needed some alone time) when they saw Belle, and the line had already closed down. But being the incredible dads that they are, they begged a cast member to let them in line because their daughters love Belle.
They know how to make their girls happy. WE LOVE YOU DADS!
Andddd.. Belle totally remembered coming to my 5th birthday party! How cool is that?!