Cinderella’s Royal Table at Disney’s Magic Kingdom (as of 7/2015) – This menu covers the top 8 common allergens (gluten/wheat, milk/dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish). Check with the restaurant for modifications and/or other special dietary needs.
*This dining experience took place in July 2015.
Sanaa located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village has long been one of my favorite restaurants on Disney property. I’m such a fan of all types of Indian-inspired food, so I’ve always been impressed with the palate of flavors that Sanaa presents its guests. I love how approachable the food is, despite being a bit exotic for most folks. And, it doesn’t hurt that they offer amazing gluten free and dairy free offerings, set in one of the most gorgeous restaurant settings at Disney World.
On this particular visit, my mom and I stopped by for lunch during a very full day of shopping in Orlando. Shopping clearly makes me hungry, and I couldn’t think of a better place to grab a bite than Sanaa. It’s been ages since I’ve been, so it was long overdue.
After we were seated, I was given one of the new allergy friendly menus that have been appearing throughout the Disney restaurants. The first thing that popped out on the menu was gluten free AND vegan naan. WHAT!? Yes, you read that right, gluten free and vegan naan. Sanaa has long been serving a gluten free naan, but it has been very dairy-filled, which meant I had been still eating falafel chips.
Of course, ever the skeptic, I asked to speak with a chef, as I was very curious if this bread was really gluten free and dairy free, or if this was too good to be true. Chef Michelle let me know that it was indeed gluten free and vegan. The restaurant now uses Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour instead of cup4cup. I hadn’t planned on ordering bread service that on this visit, but gluten free and dairy free naan. I had to have it.
We ordered the full bread service with all the dips (minus the cucumber raita which contains dairy), and I was excited to see 5 pieces of naan available with the bread service. This girl loves a good carb, especially one smothered in delicious dips and chutneys.
Overall, I have to say, I was pretty pleased with the naan. It was a bit more like flatbread, rather than traditional naan. But the flavors were delicious, and the chickpea flour, in this instance, works really well with the Indian flavors. They were also piping hot from the oven (which is where they prepare them), so I enjoyed immensely. My favorite dips, of course, continue to be the coriander chutney, mango chutney, and the roasted red bell pepper hummus. These are my hands down musts every time I order bread service. I also enjoyed the pickled garlic and the tomato date chutney a lot too. My verdict on the naan? Really good (not amazing but really good), and something I wouldn’t hesitate to order again.
For my entree, I went with the Durban Shrimp and Goan Seafood Curry. I have to admit, I still very much miss the green curry shrimp and wish it was still around, but I do also really enjoy the Goan Seafood Curry. The first time I tried it, it lived up to its goan (aka spicy) name, but since then it’s become very toned down and is quite mild, in my opinion. Which works perfectly with the spicy Durban Shrimp which is ridiculously but deliciously spicy. If you do not like spicy food, avoid this one.
Overall, I was really pleased with my meal at Sanaa. It’s hard not to love everything about this restaurant – from the food, the special diets accommodations, to the atmosphere. All that was missing on this visit was an African Starr Mint Mojito.
Chef Michelle said the dinner menu has changed quite a bit, so I can’t wait to check it out sometime soon, especially so I can order the bread service again. They are also working to tweak the recipe, so I can’t wait to see how it changes and evolves. If you’re curious about other folks’ thoughts on the new gluten free and vegan naan bread, check out Alexis’ review from Gluten Free in Orlando!
Have you been to Sanaa? Are you looking forward to trying the new gluten free and vegan naan? What about the other offerings on the menu?
*This dining experience took place in June 2015.
If there’s one thing I know, I love a good barbecue. From side dishes to smoked meats, there’s just something comforting about anything cooked low and slow. I can’t say that I’ve found a great barbecue place on or near Disney property… until now! Thankfully, I can now get my gluten free and dairy free barbecue fix at American Q, located at the B Resort & Spa.
The B Resort Resort & Spa located just outside of Downtown Disney and is considered a Downtown Disney Area Hotel. Many of you readers have asked me about the dining options at these hotels for gluten free and special diets diners, and I was thrilled to finally get to check out American Q. This barbecue themed restaurant opened in late summer 2014, and I had been hearing rave things from friends and online from sites like Inside the Magic and Disneyways.com.
First things first. When you arrive at B Resort, parking is valet. But, not to worry! If you’re dining at American Q, it’s free (that’s my favorite kind of valet)! Just make sure to take your parking ticket to the American Q team and have them validate it for you. I love this added benefit provided by the resort. This means, parking is easy peasy when you dine at American Q.
Of course, after getting out of your car, you’ll be intoxicated by the smells of barbecue. In fact, my mom and I both remarked how amazing it smelled, just standing outside of the hotel entrance. Probably the only other hotel that has such amazing smells is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge which has great restaurants like Boma and Jiko.
American Q has it’s own side entrance, and you’ll find cozy chairs to sit and relax at if you’re early for your reservation. Or, you could enjoy the American Q bar…just sayin’!
After checking in, my mom and I got a chance to take a look at the buffet, which is set up on a flatbed truck. How cool is that? The food looked delicious, and I was excited to see what options would be available to me as a gluten free and dairy free diner. My friend Leah from Our Florida Project had visited American Q, and she told me that they had loads of gluten free options, which made me very excited about my meal.
Our server Ryan greeted us and gave us a full overview of the restaurant, which was great. Essentially, guests have a few options for ordering dinner at American Q. The first, is a la carte. They have a variety of options on the a la carte menu – from ribs to fajitas and everything in between. The other options involve the flatbed buffet.
Remember that flatbed truck I mentioned? This buffet is available in two ways. You can choose to just take part in the flatbed buffet with unlimited salads and appetizers. If you choose the full buffet, you get to dine from the flatbed buffet truck AND you get table side carvings of a various smoked meats. This options is a reasonable $34.95, and believe me, well worth it!
The restaurant also includes a full bar with some interesting cocktails, like Margarita Thyme (which includes blackberries and thyme) or the Pineapple Mojito. I personally can’t resist a mojito, so I ordered the Pineapple version to check it out. It was fabulous, and even better, if you dine between 4-7 p.m. it’s happy hour and 1/2 price!
After ordering drinks, Chef John came out to talk to me about the options available to me as a gluten free and dairy free diner. Surprisingly, the flatbed truck offered a lot of great choices. The seafood salad, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, sweet potato salad, collard greens, and salad bar were all great options for me. They even offered to make me some dairy free corn on the cob, as the version on the buffet was soaking in butter (which my mom proclaimed one of the best versions of corn on the cob she’s ever had).
All of the table side carved meats are gluten free. The only item that isn’t dairy free is the vegetable brochette, which can be made dairy free upon request. The barbecue sauces are all made in house and are gluten free, but do contain dairy. If you’re a dairy diner, don’t worry, the meats are still absolutely delicious even without the sauces.
We were the first folks at the buffet that evening, so I was the first person to dine off the buffet, which helped with cross-contamination concerns; however, the culinary team there is great and were very willing to bring things from the back, upon request.
As we were digging in to our first round off the buffet, Executive Chef Justin Leo came by to say hello and to talk a bit about the restaurant. Chef Justin has worked for the Disney Company – serving as Executive Chef at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. He’s also worked at Hilton Bonnet Creek and the Swan and Dolphin. Because of this, he’s had background and training with Disney’s food allergy protocols and even trained chefs on this while working at various resorts. His knowledge and experience really shined through as he talked about food allergy accommodation at American Q.
Chef Justin explained that the restaurant works to incorporate styles of barbecue from the U.S. and Latin America – which fits my initial description to my mom of American Q, “Brazilian steakhouse style but with barbecue!” They also like to utilize a lot of Florida local products from the meat (which is high quality and grass fed) right down to the types of wood they use to smoke the meats. They make all of their sauces from scratch and really focus on authentic flavors. And their smoking all of their own meats daily, starting at 6 a.m.!
Chef Justin also mentioned that while their dinner is not only gluten free friendly, they also have terrific gluten free and dairy free options for breakfast. They serve gluten free pancakes and Mickey waffles (hurrah!) along with providing staples like gluten free toast. As Chef Justin noted, they do have a lot of special diets guests, so being able to accommodate them is important. Of course, now that I know they have so many great breakfast options, you can bet I’m going to visit for breakfast!
So let’s dig into the food! (Vegetarians, I warn you now…this post is going to be meat heavy. Look away if you do not want to see copious amounts of barbecued meat. Though, don’t be too discouraged! If you visit American Q on Monday nights you can enjoy an entirely vegetarian buffet with their Meatless Mondays).
First up – the flatbed buffet. My first plate consisted of seafood salad, a roasted sweet potato with brown sugar and cinnamon, sweet potato salad, and grilled asparagus. The seafood salad was divine. Filled with bright citrus flavors and a bit of a bite from the red onion and peppers, this was a definite hit in my opinion. It was a bit messy with peel and eat shrimp and more, but don’t let that deter you from trying it.
The roasted asparagus was delicious. Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies. I could have also chosen the roasted mushrooms, which were on the same buffet tray, but I am not a big fan of mushrooms.
The sweet potato salad was served cold and definitely a nice change from traditional potato salad. I love the red onion in this.
My favorite item on my first plate was the roasted sweet potato with brown sugar and cinnamon. The roasted potato was outstanding with great flavor and texture. This was a great compliment to the salty components on my plate.
While we were enjoying our buffet, American Q manager Agnes brought over some Swine Candy for us to try. Made of smoked bacon roasted with molasses & spice, this was absolutely hands down my new favorite dish. I’m not going to lie, I may or may not have had a food moment when I tried this. If you readers know anything about me, you know I love bacon and candied bacon especially. If you go to American Q, even just for drinks. Do yourself a favor. Order Swine Candy.
After my bacon revelation, I hit the other side of the buffet, which included salad. Most of the items like mac & cheese were not safe for me to eat, but believe me I did not lack any food options throughout this meal. One thing I loved were all the meat options as toppings for the salad bar which included, ham, turkey, chicken, and bacon. As a former Midwesterner, meat-filled salads are pretty commonplace on a salad bar there. Though ranch dressing (the Midwest salad dressing of choice) was not safe (dairy-filled), I enjoyed the balsamic dressing a lot.
The collard greens served at American Q were outrageous. My mom and I both agreed that these collards were some of the best we’ve had in ages. They are not vegetarian, so be prepared for a very meat heavy collard green (which wade them even more delicious, in my opinion).
If you can imagine, I was already getting really full but we hadn’t even started with the BBQ meats. At American Q when you want the servers to bring you table side carvings, you put up a sign. When you’re taking a break, the sign goes down. There’s always time for more Q!
Of the table side carvings, we tried out the following:
- Confit of Smoked Turkey Leg
- Bacon Wrapped Boneless Chicken Thigh
- Smoked Pork Shoulder
- Picanha of Beef
- Smoked Chimichurri of Turkey Thigh
- Carolina Style Flank Steak
- Brisket of Beef with Texas Bark
- Vegetable Brochette
- Grilled Pineapple
We loved all the meats, but I have to say that my favorites were the bacon wrapped boneless chicken thigh (everything’s better with bacon!), smoked pork shoulder, brisket of beef with Texas bark and grilled pineapple.
As you can see, I had plenty of options to choose from as a gluten free and dairy free diner at American Q, and best of all? It was all delicious! My mom and I both proclaimed this to be a restaurant we have to take my whole family to dine.
We absolutely adored the ambiance, the food, and American Q team. I have to say a big thanks to Chef Justin, Chef John, server Ryan and manager Agnes for making our meal delicious, safe, and memorable. We will definitely be back to American Q, and hopefully soon!
For more information about American Q located at the B Resort & Spa, check out: http://www.americanq.com/
I was hosted at this dinner as a guest of American Q. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.
*This dining experience took place in June 2015.
Star Wars™ Weekends is one of my favorite times of the year at Hollywood Studios. I’m a huge Star Wars™ fan and love all the special events surrounding Star Wars™ Weekends. Last year, Disney launched several new dining experiences including the Star Wars™ Dine-In Galactic Breakfast which was super fun, and equally fun when I went this year in 2015. I love the character interaction and Star Wars™ theming!
Of course, you can imagine how excited I got when they announced this year’s newest Star Wars™ Weekends dining experience – the Rebel Hangar. In fact, it was so popular, the initial ADR slots available booked up quickly (I heard around 2 hours!). I was lucky to snag a reservation for the very final weekend of Star Wars™ Weekends.
Set in a blocked off section of the Backlot Express, the Rebel Hangar offers drinks and small plates. It is definitely not a full dinner location. Of course, my family and I had enjoyed a very filling meal at Mama Melrose earlier in the day for lunch, so we were totally fine with a few small plates.
It was a very hot June day, and one thing we noticed about the Rebel Hangar is that there is indoor and outdoor seating. Indoor was blissfully air conditioned while outside was pretty muggy (exactly what you expect on a Florida June day). We didn’t ask for a particular seating but were glad to be seated indoors.
The theming isn’t overly flashy, but each table contains some type of Star Wars™ model and there were loads of Star Wars™ touches throughout the dining area. Essentially, they did a bunch of small touches to overlay the existing Backlot Express interior.
In terms of options, there were several available to gluten free diners. Thankfully, Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando had shared her experience at the Rebel Hangar and listed the gluten free options available to guests. Some dishes, like the Pomme Frites (aka French fries) contained dairy (parmesan cheese). After speaking with a chef, I decided to get the Slider Sampler which contained barbecued chicken and barbecued chicken sandwiches along with house-made chips (which were gluten free & dairy free). The sandwiches were modified to be dairy free (removed coleslaw) and served on GNI brand buns.
While we waiting for our food, we got to experience some unique entertainment. As we sat and chatted, we noticed that several characters began to come into the Rebel Hangar. Initially, we thought the characters were going to go around to tables for photographs and autographs (much like the Star Wars™ Galactic Dine-In or the Star Wars™ Character Dinner at Hollywood & Vine; however, we realized they were all sitting at a table playing cards!
It was super cool to watch this, and I almost wonder if Disney is testing this kind of experience for new restaurant experiences. It was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before at Disney. Generally, they were performing a “skit” while several Disney cast members stood by so people didn’t engage with them (more than taking photos), and another cast member was recording the scene with an iPhone.
The characters engaged in a card game for about 10-15 minutes and then were interrupted by members of the Empire (aka Stormtroopers!) after a fight broke out and several of the characters were arrested while the card game was broken up. It was pretty neat to watch — almost like Disney dinner theatre!
Pretty shortly after the characters left the Rebel Hangar, our food came out. My slider sampler looked really good, but I have to say it was a bit hit or miss. I loved the house made potato chips. Those were delicious! The beef brisket slider was very tasty but I found the barbecued chicken slider to be rather bland. In both cases, the buns were horribly heated and very dry and crumbly. Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando also noted this in her experience, so it sounded like they just had some challenges heating the buns. Overall, I wouldn’t say I disliked the slider sampler, but I’m not sure I’d order it again if the Rebel Hangar came back next year.
My family ordered the Pomme Frites and really enjoyed them. They liked the presentation, the seasoning (garlic & parmesan) and the garlic aioli. Next time, I would see if they could make the fries dairy free and still offer the aioli.
One final experience at the Rebel Hangar were the Jawas. As you know from my meals at the Sc-Fi Dine-In Galactic Breakfast, I adore these fellas! They were, of course, looking for shiny things to trade with us, though this time we came up empty handed. Still, they were great fun coming through the restaurant interacting with guests.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Rebel Hangar Lounge experience. The food wasn’t anything special but we had a great time, and we really enjoyed the character atmosphere. If Disney offered this again next year, we’d definitely go back for an affordable and fun way to participate in character dining (note: Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando did not experience any characters when she visited, so this may be subject to availability).
Did you get a chance to go to the Rebel Hangar this year? What did you order when you dined there?
*This dining experience took place in June 2015.
Oh Mama Mia! Mama Melrose located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios reminds me of the classic New York Italian restaurants. With great atmosphere and delicious smells coming from the wood fire, it’s a wonder that it’s been five years since I’ve eaten at Mama Melrose! After reading reviews from Alexis at Gluten Free in Orlando, I knew I needed to make a reservation to try Mama Melrose again.
I love that Mama Melrose has a backstory (who knew, right?). You can read all about it on the Disney Food Blog along with non-special diets dining reviews (great for looking at photos of the restaurant). When we arrived, it was just after lunch opening (11:30 a.m.) so the restaurant was fairly quite early on. You can see from my photo, the charming lighting and rustic cozy tables.
After being seated, I was given the restaurant’s allergy-friendly menu. It’s amazing to see how many restaurants have already released these throughout the parks and resorts. You can see the different ones I have listed on the blog on the menus page.
One thing that I’ve learned very quickly with the new menus is that you can and should still consult with a Disney chef. In fact, our server suggested it (she also had celiac disease so totally understood the process). They also recommend that anyone with multiple special dietary needs, like me, always check with a guest. When I dined at ABC Commissary recently, they wouldn’t even take my order unless I talked to the manager.
One thing to note about the menu – the Flatbreads are not listed as gluten free. They can make gluten free pizzas/flatbreads using Udi’s Gluten Free crusts. I did not ask if they had dairy free cheese, but I believe that they used to.
Dairy free is always a challenge, and with the new menus they tend to be very dairy heavy. However, when I talked to Chef Will, he was great at coming up with dairy free options. The mixed green salad for example, could be made without cheese and was another great appetizer option (I actually ordered it, but they forgot to bring it out until I was halfway done through my meal so I didn’t actually eat it).
Most of the entrees could be modified for dairy free. The pasta with vodka sauce for instance could be made with just a marinara sauce. After some discussion, I opted for the Satlimbocca which was very dairy heavy but became modified with the removal of cheese and subbing the mashed potatoes for a gluten free pasta and a melange of sautéed vegetables. So, if you’re feeling uncertain, definitely check with a chef and see what options you can come up with.
The restaurant also carries the GNI brand rolls, which they served with extra virgin olive oil and herbs. These rolls are great when they are well heated, but this time they were sadly very dry and crumbly. Of course, the olive oil and herbs helped make them palatable.
As I mentioned, I didn’t get my salad, but I was thrilled when I got my entree. The grilled pork was really delicious (great grill flavor) and the salty prosciutto ended up getting cut up and tossed with my pasta. The pasta was actually quite good and well cooked (not gummy or mushy at all). And I loved the vegetables sautéed in olive oil with salt, pepper, and some garlic. Chef Will used a combination of broccoflower (super delish!), broccolini, sundried tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and onions. The dish wasn’t too heavy, and I felt very satisfied after eating it.
Overall, I really enjoyed my meal at Mama Melrose. I wouldn’t say it’s the best Italian I’ve ever had, but it was good. Chef Will was also super nice and very accommodating with the dairy free options. My family also all loved the food they got, and everyone felt pretty satisfied with the meal overall. We’d definitely go back, and I won’t wait another 5 years between visits!
Have you been to Mama Melrose? What did you order when you dined there?
*This dining experience took place in May 2015.
Olivia’s located in Disney’s Old Key West Resort is one of those restaurants I love to dine at. With a charming atmosphere and relaxing vibe, you’ll feel like you are in Key West any time you dine here.
In fact, I’ve dined here so much, the chefs and servers tend to recognize me. The team here is known for remembering faces of frequent Disney Vacation Club vacationers, and I’m sure as a special diets diner they remember you even more. After we arrived, we were greeted by Chef Corey who said, “You’ve been here a bunch of times before, haven’t you?” Why yes, yes, I have!
Because I’ve been there many times, I knew exactly what I wanted. The poached eggs and hash have been a staple of mine for the last several times I’ve visited. I love sweet potatoes and hash, plus poached eggs. Well, those are a win-wins for me. The only thing I can’t get with this dish is the Hollondaise sauce, which isn’t a huge loss for me, given how tasty everything else in this entree is.
In addition to the hash and poached eggs, I also got Udi’s Gluten Free white sandwich bread toast along with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread (they do not carry the soy free version). I’m so glad that Olivia’s carries both of these products, as they make the breakfast complete.
The dish on this visit was delicious, though my eggs were a little more hard poached than I would have liked. I love a good runny poached eggs with hash and toast any day!
Overall, Olivia’s continues to be one a great location for a quiet and relaxing breakfast at Disney. It’s truly a hidden gem of a restaurant, one that has great atmosphere, service, and food.
Have you been to Olivia’s? What did you order when you dined there?