*This gluten free review took place in May 2019. It includes information about peanut free, fish/shellfish free, and chicken and turkey free options.
Lunch at Cookie’s BBQ
Cookie’s BBQ is one of three restaurants on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. On our recent 3-day cruise on the Disney Dream, we had lunch at Cookie’s BBQ, which is the main restaurant on the island, and the location that handles special dietary needs requests. On our last two cruises, we’ve pre-ordered our lunches, and this has worked really well for us. So, Cookie’s BBQ is our go-to spot to eat.
Somehow I always manage to forget to take a lot of photos of Cookie’s BBQ when we eat there. I’m sure this is due to being super relaxed and chill while we’re on the island!
When you go to Cookie’s BBQ, you’ll want to find the giant boat with potato chips on it. This is exactly where you need to go to check in if you’re pre-ordered food or to talk to a coordinator about special diets options.
You can always grab a bag of plain Lay’s potato chips too while you’re there. These are individually packaged and gluten free and dairy free too!
One of the things I always appreciate about the food options with Disney Cruise Line is that they always have lots of fresh fruit and vegetables around for guests to grab and take with them. Cookie’s BBQ is no exception. They have tons of fresh fruit available. And, I always make sure to grab at least one plate of fresh pineapple, mango, and grapes.
Another nice touch is that while you’re on your way to your picnic bench to enjoy lunch, you’ll find fresh condiments individually prepared by cast members. This is great for those of us with special diets who need to avoid cross-contamination.
Although we didn’t pre-order food at any other location, we always make sure to pre-order our lunch on Castaway Cay. In May 2018, we didn’t pre-order and attempted to eat at the Serenity Bay BBQ (the adults only restaurant). And, I had very limited options. So, we’ve pre-ordered on the last two cruises and had great success.
One important note about pre-ordering. It does not guarantee that you get your food the moment you walk up to the restaurant. What it does is help the restaurant and coordinators prepare the right amount of food for special diets guests and help streamline the process when you arrive. We sadly saw a guest who came to Cookie’s BBQ who was extremely irate that the special diets food options for her kids was not ready immediately. For us, even with a small wait, we’re just grateful we can eat safely while we’re on our cruise, so I do recommend having a little patience and understanding with the cast members who are helping make your experience safe and delicious.
After speaking with a coordinator who found our order, we were given a number to take with us to whatever picnic table we wanted to sit at. While Brandon grabbed us a table, I went to get some fresh fruit. I don’t know what it is, but I swear the fruit on the cruises is so fresh. I could eat the pineapple they serve for days!
A cast member arrived at our table with only one of our orders. Unfortunately, the coordinator got confused and only grabbed my pre-order and not Brandon’s. So, the cast member went to prepare Brandon’s food, which did arrive pretty quickly considering.
I pre-ordered a cheeseburger on a gluten free bun, French fries, and grilled mahi mahi. Everything was gluten free, and the burger could have been made dairy free by omitting the cheese. While I wouldn’t say anything we get at Castaway Cay is super amazing, we both really just enjoy a basic grilled burger while we listen to the ocean nearby. I also really enjoy the grilled fish too.
You’ll find that there are other options that are gluten free safe too — like the grilled chicken, potato salad, and coleslaw. Always double-check with a coordinator to confirm that the items you’re interested in are safe for your special dietary need. I also recommend that when you pre-order that you ask for specific items that you want. We have found that if you’re too vague, you’re likely to get plain and bland food. The more specific you are, the better your experience!
As you can see, Brandon got virtually the same thing — minus the fish because of his allergies. This burger was fish/shellfish free, peanut free, and chicken & turkey free. He was served a regular gluten-filled bun since that was safe for his special dietary needs.
We both really enjoy the simple pleasures of getting classic BBQ food when we eat at Cookie’s BBQ on Castaway Cay. There’s something charming and nostalgic about eating BBQ at a picnic table and lounging afterwards on the beach. If you have special diets, I strongly recommend pre-ordering your food and eating at Cookie’s BBQ (and avoiding Cookie’s Too and Serenity Bay BBQ) for the best special dietary needs options while you’re at Castaway Cay.
Have you been to Cookie’s BBQ on Castaway Cay? What did you get when you dined there?