I wrote about all the amazing gluten free eats I fueled up with when I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in 2015, but it never hurts to share all the great stuff there is to fuel up with for a race weekend when you’re gluten free at Disney World! So on this WIAW, I’m showcasing each meal and treat that gave me the energy to wake up at 3:30am, run a race, and play in the theme parks until dark and fireworks.
Thursday evening, dinner at Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom meant my first brush with chicken fingers since making the transition to eating gluten free more than three years ago. Chicken fingers were one of my favorite foods as a kid, pretty much my standard order whenever we went out to eat, and these were hot and delicious and brought back lots of fond memories of chicken fingers and french fries from the kid’s menu 🙂 Of course, I went for the broccoli rather than the fries as a side, because some things have definitely changed, including my love for greens.
On Friday, the 10K race was over and we were back at the hotel, showered, and on our way out again by 8:30am, so breakfast was in the room with snacks we bought at a nearby Publix (and for everyone other than me, the snack boxes provided by runDisney). The first real meal of the day was brunch/early lunch at the Plaza Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. The chef was so nice there, not that they aren’t always accommodating at Disney, but he actually came out to our table to explain how he prepared the allergy free meals and even brought some gluten free bread for everyone else at the table to try. His method of soaking the bread in olive oil and then grilling it was a little too heavy for my stomach, but I really appreciated the thought and effort he put into it, and my sandwich was delicious. I also ordered the broccoli cole slaw and was given fries, so they just gave me both, making for a totally stuffed stomach afterwards.
Dinner that evening was at Trattoria Al Forno on the Boardwalk, right downstairs from our hotel. I’d read good things about the allergy free accommodation at this restaurant but due to some slow service, they never brought me the allergy free menu. It didn’t matter because the whole roasted fish and vegetables I ordered off the regular menu was wonderful, and they did bring me two Udi’s rolls and my own cask of olive oil to start. Just look at that branzino and brussels sprouts combination!
Brunch after the half marathon on Saturday took place at the Captain’s Grille at the Yacht Club, same as last year and with Mickey waffles every bit as delicious doused in syrup. I also had scrambled eggs and fruit.
Dinner Saturday night at Hacienda San Angel in Epcot was also tasty. The restaurant was my mom’s choice as it is one of her favorites at Disney, but I’m not a big fan of Mexican food, so the chef kindly made me the roasted snapper with vegetables in a lemon and olive oil marinade instead of the usual peppers and chiles. I was also given a round of the gluten free white corn tortillas to start while everyone else snacked on tortilla chips, and when the waitress realized I’d polished off all five, she brought more with the main meal. What can I say, I was starving all day after running 13.1 miles and walking almost as many in the parks.
For dessert, I enjoyed the gluten free Mickey rice krispy treats you can find in several locations. The regular packaged ones have malt flavoring so aren’t safe for Celiacs but the make your own kind can’t be beat if you request the allergy friendly krispies. I didn’t know about the packaged ones being unsafe until recently (thank you to Gluten Free in Orlando!) and I’m not sure if eating them in the past contributed to stomach issues I’ve had while at the parks, which I put down to an odd sleep schedule and running races since Disney is so great at allergies, but it is good to know now.
You’ll notice that while I kept strictly gluten free as I have to every day while at Disney, I went off the grain free bandwagon for the weekend. I wanted to enjoy all the treats I could, knowing that a mostly grain free diet is in the cards for me at least for the next several months until I figure out what’s up with my tummy. I noticed a slight difference in how I felt but again, I can’t tell if that was from the go-go-go pace and lack of sleep, or from eating gluten free grains in much larger quantities than I have been for the past couple of months. I’m still happy I enjoyed my Mickey treats, because I don’t get to do that every day, and I am reluctant to cut things out entirely when I don’t know for sure if I need to. And for those who have their allergies figured out, Disney is absolutely amazing at accommodating. The only thing that might take a hit is your wallet – which is why packing or buying snacks is the way to go to save some money on food! My apples and bananas with peanut butter carried me through as usual.
Have you found some vacation destinations to be more allergy friendly than others?
How do you stay safe when traveling with allergies?
Favorite allergy free indulgence when dining out?
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