*This gluten free dining experience took place in February 2020. It includes information about dairy free options, as well as a review of fish/shellfish free, peanut free, cabbage free, hazelnut free, and chicken & turkey free options.
Dinner at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, has been a long-time favorite of ours for delicious special dietary needs ice cream sundaes and its retro charm. Recently, Brandon and I stopped by Beaches & Cream to check out the updated menu and restaurant since it’s refurbishment and expansion in late 2019.
One of the things that I love the most about Beaches & Cream has always been its small size and retro nostalgia. If you have never been, the previous version of this restaurant before the refurbishment was very small and always very crowded because of its size. I also loved its slightly 90s look and feel for a 1950s inspired diner.
Somehow in our visit to this restaurant, we failed to take many photos. That’s because we were actually recording a lot of video for a vlog that we put together (you can find the full video at the end of this review or on our YouTube channel).
I can’t believe we missed all the photos, because there’s a lot of great features for the new restaurant. I especially liked the light fixtures and some of the artwork on the walls. Of course, if you want to see more of the restaurant interior, check out our YouTube vlog.
Overall, I think we both agreed that while the expansion and refurbishment were nice (and needed given how popular the restaurant is), the end result was sort of mixed. We liked the art and light fixtures, but we found the restaurant to be a lot more generic feeling.
And, as an added layer, it is now extremely loud in the restaurant. Somehow during the refurbishment, the acoustics got a bit wonky. So, do be prepared for a rather noisy dining experience.
In addition to checking out the refurbishment, we also wanted to check out the updated menu. While there were still a lot of dishes that have been on the menu for a long time, there were some new options like tater tots that we were dying to check out.
Like most Disney owned restaurants, Beaches & Cream Soda Shop does carry an allergy-friendly lunch & dinner menu. You can also speak directly with a manager at this restaurant too. I highly recommend speaking with a manager because many of the options, including the tater tots, weren’t listed on the allergy-friendly menu but could be easily modified or accommodated for.
On this visit, we talked to manager Neicy, who was awesome. She explained that both the tater tots and French fries are made in a dedicated fryer. Even better? Now that the restaurant has expanded, the kitchen space can accommodate for dedicated fryers in the restaurant. In the past, if you wanted allergy-friendly fries, you would have to wait a bit while they got fries from Hurricane Hanna’s Grill (the Beach Club’s pool restaurant). So, this was a big improvement!
Brandon and I simply could not resist tater tots. We ended up with a version of the Cheese and Bacon Tots, featuring cheese sauce, bacon, red onion, and green onion (we omitted the ranch dressing that normally comes with this dish).
This dish was made safe for gluten/wheat, fish/shellfish, peanut/tree nut, and chicken & turkey allergies. It does contain dairy, but you can order some dairy free versions of the tater tots (including a plant-based chili version with non-dairy cheese).
We were both really impressed with the tater tots. Of course, both of us absolutely love tots in general and the addition of cheese, bacon, and onion was just perfect. We both agreed after devouring our bowl of tots that we’d 100% come back to Beaches & Cream for these loaded tots and ice cream sundaes just about any day. They were really good!
For my entree, I ordered the Salmon Sandwich with Bacon Aïoli, Bibb Lettuce, and Tomato on a Bloomfield Farms Allergy-Friendly Bun and a side of plain tater tots (in place of regular French fries). This dish was marked safe for Gluten/Wheat, Milk, Peanut/Tree Nut, and Shellfish Allergies.
Overall, I will say the sandwich was good but not great. The bacon aioli was somewhat lacking in flavor, and I would have loved to have seen some other addition to the sandwich like bacon. The salmon itself was actually fairly flavorful and cooked well. And, of course, the tots were outstanding! I would order this again, but I’d be more likely to try another option next time.
As an aside, I’m glad that more Disney locations are using the Bloomfield Farms gluten free and allergy-friendly bun. I really like this a lot, and it might be the best gluten free bun that they’re using on property right now.
Brandon ordered an Angus Beef Burger with Cheddar, Lettuce, and Tomato on a Freshly Baked Bun. His dish was safe for fish/shellfish, peanut/tree nut, and chicken & turkey allergies. But, you can also order a version of this that is also gluten free, dairy free, and soy free too.
Brandon’s burger came with fries from a dedicated fryer, as well. And, like me, he also said his burger was good, but nothing special. I think we both agreed that the main entrees are just OK at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. But, it’s the appetizers and desserts that really shine.
When visiting Beaches & Cream, you have to get ice cream sundaes. It’s a must! I ordered a gluten free and dairy free sundae that featured Tofutti non-dairy chocolate & vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and marshmallow sauce. I do usually get the No Way Jose Sundae modified to be dairy free, but with Brandon’s new peanut allergy, I try to avoid peanut if at all possible.
I have to say that I was very impressed with this sundae. The portion was huge, and they were very generous with the toppings. Plus, the combination of chocolate & vanilla non-dairy cream, chocolate sauce, and marshmallow sauce was just plain delicious. This will definitely be my new go-to sundae at Beaches & Cream. So good!
Brandon also got an ice cream sundae, but he opted for regular dairy ice cream. He got a sundae with mint chocolate chip and vanilla ice cream flavors topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Like me, he agreed that his sundae was outstanding and one to get again.
If you want to see more of the restaurant’s interior or see our initial reactions to our dishes, check out our vlog on YouTube.
While we weren’t necessarily wowed by our entrees, we were very impressed with our tater tots and ice cream sundaes. With a refreshed look and larger space, we both appreciated Disney’s efforts to keep the Beaches & Cream nostalgia alive. It still has a lot of charm to it too. There are a few drawbacks with the new space, like the noise level, but we’ll definitely be going back to Beaches & Cream Soda Shop for those amazing tater tots and ice cream sundaes!
Have you been to Beaches & Cream Soda Shop? What did you order when you dined there?