The Polynesian is one of my favorite resorts, and I love the restaurants here. Kona Cafe has my favorite breakfast at WDW hands down. The Big Kahuna is the best. But, since going GF/CF I wasn’t sure if I would be able to really enjoy my favorite breakfast. But, Chef Kim and the rest of the Kona staff made sure I did! Upon being seated, I told the waitress that I had dietary restrictions. She then went to the back and brought out Chef Kim. He was hilarious! We were greeted with a great big Aloha and he proceeded to ask all sorts of questions. He had a pad where he wrote my name, my restrictions and what we decided I wanted to eat. He asked what I liked and I told him I really, really liked the Macadamia nut pancakes; however, I couldn’t really eat nuts at the time (b/c of the Crohn’s flare) and Chef Kim said he could try, but that I couldn’t blame him if it tasted terrible. Well, I can’t say I blame him. At least he was honest. I told him, I love the Big Kahuna and he said he would see what he could do. About 10 minutes later, Chef Kim came out with 2 piping hot plates. One for me and one for my mom. He joked how special we were because he doesn’t normally run food. I was really impressed with his service! I ended up getting the Big Kahuna modified. He made me scrambled eggs, Mickey waffles, and everything else that comes with the meal. I swear, I got double everything. It was HUGE. Here’s what mine looked like: Now here’s what my mom’s version of the Big Kahuna:
Yep, I did not wind up being hungry. Everything was just great. I definitely recommend this for dietary restrictions; they were very accommodating and very friendly. 10 out of 10.
If you have the chance to eat at Jiko, you should! It is simply amazing. A stunning restaurant, not only is it beautifully decorated (the lighting even changes to reflect the sunset!) but the food and service is phenomenal. It is now one of my favorite restaurants at WDW, and I’m sure it will continue to be for years to come. Upon arrival, I made sure my restrictions were noted on our reservation. After being seated, I had to mention it to the server Sassan, and he said he would get the chef. He said that they do wonderful dietary foods there and that I would have a great meal. A few minutes later the chef arrived with a menu JUST FOR ME! Ok, it was a pre-done menu for lactose intolerance, but still. It was nice to just look at the menu and pick what you wanted, not ask for substitutions. The chef said that everything but 1 item was GF on the Lactose free menu. (*Note: this menu did have goat cheese on it. I am lactose intolerant, but tend to just do CF as well; however, I can tolerate goat cheese and such, but I just rarely eat it. If you are CF you will most likely get a special menu for that…although honestly goat cheese was only in 1 dish everything else seemed truly dairy free). I decided on a dip sampler as an appetizer (as they could do pampadams instead of the bread basket and a chermoula dip in place of the marsala that typically accompanies it). My mom and I shared this, so they brought out a separate bread basket for her and a separate one for me. They brought out all three dips and the marsala separately for my mom. I will say this was very impressive. We didn’t ask them to do that, and they said they wanted to make sure everyone was taken care of. Now, if you have a child who is GF/CF and you also eat that way (so that no one feels bad, etc.) you would probably want to mention that so you don’t get tons of bread at your table. Me, I am perfectly fine with my own and others eating gluten and cheese as long as I get something tasty and wonderful too! Here’s the dip:
You can see my stuff in front and my mom’s stuff in the back. So, good she even is in the midst of eating it!
On to the entrees! I choice the Swahili Curry Shrimp (made with coconut milk) and it was fantastic. I could not believe how large of a portion it was. Their were 12+ very large shrimp in it. The rice and sauce were extremely tasty and the shrimp were out of this world! I highly recommend this.
I had the option for fresh fruit and sorbet for dessert, but I was too full to eat anything else. I did, however, get some Rooibos tea (it is said to have great anti-inflammatory properties, very good for Crohn’s disease) and Jiko has a great tea menu. Here’s my pot of tea:
What a wonderful dining experience and an amazing meal. An excellent choice for dietary restrictions and for everyone else too! 10 out of 10.
Boma is one of my favorite Disney restaurants. It evokes visions of Africa with its variety of unique foods and luscious desserts. However, this was my first visit being GF/CF, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. We decided to go for breakfast. Upon arrival, I made sure that it our reservations had my dietary restrictions noted. Once seated, I mentioned this to our server (the servers did not seem very aware of the notations on the tickets, and I usually had to tell them) and she said she would get the chef. A few minutes later, the chef from my visit at the Mara (see that dining review post) and so I was a little apprehensive considering that last time he saw me he kept trying to give me things with dairy in it. When he came up, I reminded him that I am GF and CF. At first he kept saying GF only and I told “NO Dairy free too” finally he got it. The first thing he did was ask me what I wanted to eat. He said he would show me around the buffet and then make some separate things for me as well. He gave some suggestions (omelets, french toast, pancakes) and I jumped at the idea of french toast! So, we decided on french toast and an omelet with spinach, ham, and onions. Then he took me around the buffet line. I was surprised at how few options were really available on the actual buffet. This was mostly because of the dairy. They put dairy in a LOT of their items. However, I could eat the meats at the carving station (I had turkey and ham, so good!), potatoes with Afritude and that was about it. At the time I couldn’t have fresh fruit, but that was plentiful if you want it. They had Quinoa as well. I was bummed about the bobotie (my fav) but the chef did mention that he could make that GF/CF with notice, but I think you would have to call at least 24 hours in advance. I missed the baked goods but the chef did say he could bring me Muffins and donuts, but I didn’t really have the room. Here’s a photo of my omelet and french toast:
I couldn’t eat all of it! I did end up taking some of the french toast back to the room and ate it another day. It wasn’t quite as tasty 2 days later, but still good. Overall, I’d give this a 8 out of 10 mostly due to the lack of items on the buffet. But, they can still accommodate dietary restrictions pretty well.
Eating at counter service can seem intimidating and even frustrating after a bad experience. My review of the Mara is somewhat mixed. This counter service restaurant is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. AKL seems to be a cut above many other resorts with service and quality. The Mara had a lot of typical fare (burgers, fries, pizza) and some less typical fare that is more African influenced. Upon arrival, I scanned the menu board and felt less than confident in making choices myself regarding what to eat. At the time, I was coming off of a very bad Crohn’s flare so I knew that anything fried would be a bad idea (regardless of being GF and CF). At the Mara, near the ordering stations a CM was there taking orders. I spoke with her and said that I had dietary restrictions. At that point, she said she would need to get the chef and quickly went to the them. However, I ended up waiting for quite a while until a chef appeared. The chef finally came out and asked what dietary restrictions I had. I explained that I could not have Gluten or Dairy. He then offered to make me pizza (which I said had dairy in it, so I could not have. I think he didn’t hear me say dairy) and then he offered me macaroni and cheese. He also said I could have fries. I finally asked about the roast chicken which was on the menu; he said it wasn’t GF. So, he said if I wanted chicken, he had some that was OK for me to eat (had like a curry glaze on it) and asked what I wanted as a side. We finally decided upon vegetables, stir-fried. He then left to go prepare my food. He told me to go find a table and he would come bring it out. So, I met up with my Mom and she dug into her African Stew. The wait for the food wasn’t too long, and out came my meal of chicken with vegetables. I couldn’t believe how HUGE the portion was. I ended up taking it back to the room and heating it up later. It was pretty tasty and fairly healthful. Here’s a picture:
Overall, I would say the Mara was pretty good. Although I had difficulty reminding the Chef I was also CF, I still got a pretty good meal. I would recommend making sure you repeat your restrictions to the Chef who is assisting you. I would rate it a 7 out of 10.
This just in from the Special Diets Department at WDW:
“Due to the higher cost of dietary products, some items have an increased price. As items vary by location, we encourage you to inquire at each venue prior to your purchase. If you purchase the meal plan, it is considered a regular meal and you will not be charged for the difference. “
I guess that means that if you aren’t on the dining plan you may encounter some higher prices on foods, depending on the location. While I’m slightly disappointed, I’m not entirely surprised as grocery shopping normally (for me) is higher than non-dietary restrictions grocery shopping. Hopefully, the increase won’t be too hefty.
WDW has an allergy hotline that you can call to find out more information about dining with special needs that include Gluten and Dairy free in addition to other needs like Vegan, Kosher, Sugar-Free, and allergies such as soy, egg, and tree nuts. You can call them at: (407) 824-2634.
If you can’t get through, leave a message. They should get back to you.