*This gluten free dining experience took place in August 2020. It includes information about dairy free options, as well as fish/shellfish, peanut, hazelnut, cabbage, and chicken & turkey allergies.
Dinner at Olivia’s Cafe
Olivia’s Cafe, located at Disney’s Old Key West Resort, reopened in July 2020 after the Disney Parks & Resorts closed temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been several years since we’ve dined at Olivia’s. So, we were looking forward to dining there after a several year gap. On this visit, we opted for a late dinner, as we had found the later seatings to be a bit quieter. It also gave us some extra time before our meal to explore the resort too.
COVID-19 & Reopening Notes
On this particular visit, we made a last minute reservation on the same day that we dined. I used the My Disney Experience app and found that there was a 8:30 p.m. seating, which we decided to book (the restaurant closed at 9 p.m.). The app worked as it normally does, and we were able to add in our special dietary needs in the app and alert cast members of our needs when we arrived at the restaurant. We also utilized online restaurant check-in when we arrived at Olivia’s Cafe. Online check-in includes using your My Disney Experience app to check-in yourself. It’s super easy, and I hope Disney keeps this going forward too.
Old Key West Resort itself featured many mechanisms to provide sanitization, social distancing, and safety for both guests and cast members. All cast members wore facial masks and some cast members also wore protective shields, as well. All servers in the restaurant wore both facial masks and protective shields. In addition, there were many portable hand sanitizer stations for guests to use throughout the resort. We also saw cast members regularly cleaning surfaces and restrooms throughout our visit. The resort itself was a bit busier than we expected, but we had no issues being able to socially distance. The restaurant wasn’t that busy but did include several large parties of guests. But, overall, the restaurant did an excellent job at spacing out tables and seating for social distancing.
As a note, at the time of writing this review, we have been to several of the Disney Resorts, including the Contemporary Resort, Old Key West Resort, and Riviera Resort. All locations have the same protocols, as far as we have observed. Be sure to check with restaurants and the official Disney World website for additional information about current guidelines and recommendations.
Olivia’s Cafe is located near the main lobby and the gift shop of Old Key West. The restaurant and the resort all have a tropical Florida Key West vibe. I love the bright and chipper colors and general decor.
Olivia’s is the only table service at the resort and is a very popular location to dine. We have always loved the homey atmosphere, as everything feels very inviting and laid-back.
The interior of the restaurant almost feels like a small restaurant that you might find in Key West. There are two rooms and patio dining, as well. We were seating in one of the comfortable booths which was tucked in a back corner of the restaurant.
I do always recommend taking a look at the decor — there’s lots of fun photos and nods to Key West.
Here is a photo of the main room. The decor may not be the most spectacular as far as Disney restaurant theming goes. But, I always find dining at Olivia’s to be comfortable, relaxing, and nostalgic — as it’s been a restaurant that my family and I have been dining at for a very long time.
One of my favorite features at Olivia’s Cafe is being able to look at the walls of photographs of families who are DVC members and call Old Key West their home resort. It’s pretty neat to see all of the Disney history and a tradition that took place back when Old Key West was the only DVC resort.
Like most restaurants at Disney World, Olivia’s Cafe does offer an allergy-friendly menu. We were also told by our server that we could speak with a chef at any time. As far as protocols and offerings, we found the restaurant to be just as accommodating as they are during normal times.
I always recommend looking at both the allergy-friendly menu and the regular menu of any Disney restaurant that you dine. That’s because there are often dishes that may be able to be easily modified to fit your special dietary need — if you ask. On this visit, both Brandon and I ordered directly from the allergy-friendly menu.
To start our meal, our server brought us bread service. Depending on the restaurant that we dine, sometimes we share the allergy-friendly bread service. And, other times, Brandon is given his own bread.
On this visit, I was brought a separate basket of Bloomfield Farms Allergy-Friendly Rolls, which are free of the top 8 common allergens (including gluten/wheat and dairy). I was served butter on this visit, but the restaurant also carries Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread.
Hands down, Olivia’s Cafe heated these rolls up by far the best of any restaurant that we’ve dined at recently. They were super well heated and tasted great. As Brandon and I always say, heating gluten free rolls well can be the key to them tasting really good or being awful. In fact, Brandon ended up preferring the allergy-friendly rolls over the gluten-filled rolls that he received.
Brandon’s bread service included a Pineapple-Coconut Bread. If you have a nut allergy, be aware that this bread is made in a facility that may include peanuts. Use your own judgement and comfort level on any item made in a shared facility.
Overall, Brandon said the rolls were fine but not amazing. And, as I mentioned, he ended up eating the allergy-friendly rolls instead as he preferred them.
For my entree, I debated on several dishes including the Fish of the Day which was gluten free and dairy free. However, I opted to get the Seven Mile Sea Scallops which was marked safe for Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Fish, and Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies.
Overall, I really enjoyed this dish. It wasn’t the best scallop dish I’ve ever had, but it was still really tasty. The scallops were cooked really well, and I loved the succotash in the dish. The polenta was the weakest part of the dish, as it needed a bit more seasoning. But, overall, all of the flavors went really well together, and I could see myself ordering it again.
For Brandon’s entree, he ordered the Grilled New York Strip. It is normally served with Parmesan-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Herb Chimichurri. But, Brandon asked if he could get mashed potatoes instead. This dish was marked safe on the allergy-friendly menu for Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Peanut/Tree Nut, and Shellfish Allergies.
Overall, Brandon said this was a solid dish. Like me, we both thought everything was very tasty and a nice solid meal option. He also really liked how the steak was cooked and seasoned. I have to admit, the chimichurri on the steak looked really great!
Normally, we don’t get desserts at restaurants. But, I was so curious about the Tropical Chocolate Tart made with Avocado-Chocolate Ganache and topped with a Mango-Lime Sorbet. This dessert was marked safe for Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Fish/Shellfish, and Milk Allergies (and it was also vegan). Whenever there’s a gluten free & dairy free dessert that is more than sorbet, I have to try it!
Overall, I really enjoyed the dessert. I could definitely detect a bit of avocado flavor — so be aware that it could have a slight avocado taste (especially if you’re not a fan of avocado). But, if you ate the cake, sorbet, and mango sauce all at once, you really couldn’t tell there was avocado in the cake. The sorbet was by far my favorite part of the dish — as I love sorbet that is a bit different. While it wasn’t my favorite dessert, I would definitely get this again and would recommend it to gluten free & dairy free guests.
For Brandon’s dessert, he got the Ice Cream Sundae which was marked safe for Gluten/Wheat, Egg, and Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies. Neither Brandon or I expected the sundae to be deconstructed. But, Brandon had fun adding in the chocolate sauce and cute Mickey sprinkles to his ice cream.
Like me, Brandon enjoyed his dessert and would get it again — especially as he’s a fan of ice cream sundaes.
If you want to get more information about our visit to Olivia’s Cafe and Old Key West Resort, check out our vlog that we recorded on our YouTube channel.
We were both pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed our meal at Olivia’s Cafe. Both of us agreed that the meal and overall experience wasn’t anything special. But, it was super relaxed and a really pleasant meal. I’d love to go back to Olivia’s for breakfast sometime — as that is always my family’s favorite meal at the restaurant (and it’s been years since I’ve been). Overall, we’re both really glad we went to Olivia’s and hope that we don’t go as long as we did this last time in between visits.
Have you been to Olivia’s Cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort? What was your experience dining there?