*This gluten free and dairy free dining experience took place in November 2018.
Dinner at Backlot Express
Backlot Express, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is a quick service restaurant that serves burgers, fries, and chicken tenders. Although it’s nothing fancy, it’s long been one of our go-to spots for a quick and easy dinner at Hollywood Studios. Both Brandon and I love it for their allergy-friendly chicken tenders and fries. On this visit, we decided to stop by for a quick dinner on a weeknight while checking out the Flurry of Fun festivities in the park. We also used it as a test for the mobile ordering which now allows some special dietary needs ordering options.
Backlot Express has a theming that represents a working studio backlot — complete with props and other set design elements. Even though the theming isn’t immediately that noticeable, if you stop to look around for a bit, you’ll see lots of great detail in the restaurant’s theme.
The main ordering area is a little sparse. But, if you keep exploring you’ll find lots of cool details.
We usually sit on the side of the restaurant where the theming is focused on set-design and studio safety. But, on this visit, we sat on the opposite side, closer to where the backstage of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is. In fact, we heard the show going on during in. And, even cooler? We noticed that all of the theming details on this side of the restaurant reflected stunt design. Talk about a nice touch!
Since Brandon and I were doing mobile order, we took some time to look at the allergy-friendly options in the mobile ordering portion of the My Disney Experience App prior to ordering. The app ordering for special diets is based on dietary need and is formatted similarly to the allergy-friendly menus.
Unfortunately, if you have multiple special dietary needs, you can only order through the mobile ordering with one notation. This is a major limitation of the ordering in our opinion, and I hope they’ll work to improve this feature. For instance, on this visit, we only ordered the allergy-friendly chicken tenders under gluten/wheat allergy. If I were dairy free, for instance, I couldn’t order it as gluten/wheat allergy AND dairy/milk allergy.
Once you order and pay, you’ll have a spot on your app that lets you “check in” when you are at or near the restaurant, so the restaurant can prepare your food. In our case, we checked in about 2 minutes away from the restaurant. We were notified that we could get an alert when our food was ready. I would say we waited probably another 5 minutes or so before we got that notification. Once we received the alert, we went to the area that was designated for mobile ordering pick-up.
Both a manager and another cast member were waiting for us at the mobile ordering pick-up. They not only had prepared our allergy-friendly order as they normally do, but prior to giving us the food, they confirmed our special dietary needs. Our meal was also served on a different color tray like it usually is for special diets orders.
As you can see by the photo, we received a mobile order receipt with our order too. Both of us ordered the allergy-friendly chicken tenders which are both gluten free and dairy free. This is a favorite of ours. And, we both appreciated getting extra fries on this visit and that everything was very fresh and piping hot. They are always a winner in our book!
The food was delicious, as always. And, the mobile ordering app was easy to use. But, I would definitely give Disney feedback about allowing guests with multiple dietary needs to flag their meals as such. Unfortunately, the mobile ordering only seems to be really good for those who have one special dietary need. Hopefully, as they continue to refine this service, they’ll add in more options and flexibility for guests with special dietary needs. If you do need to order with multiple special dietary needs, I would recommend ordering as you normally would and speaking with a manager prior to ordering.
Have you been to Backlot Express or used mobile ordering? What was your experience?