*This gluten free and dairy free dining experience took place in February 2019.
Dinner at Rainforest Cafe
Rainforest Cafe is a jungle-themed table service chain restaurant owned by the Landry’s company and has two locations at Walt Disney World — Disney Springs and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. It has been years since I’ve dined at a Rainforest Cafe. And, recently, Brandon and I decided to have dinner here after watching a movie at the AMC Theater in Disney Springs. After our recent positive experience at T-Rex Cafe in Disney Springs (another Landry’s restaurant), we decided it was worth a revisit.
Even though it’s a chain restaurant, every Rainforest Cafe location has a slightly different theme, at least on the exterior. The location at Disney Springs looks like a Volcano outside. And, you can even see the volcano erupt if you time it right.
One thing is for sure. The interior of the restaurant definitely fits the jungle theme. Everything is bright and screams tacky jungle, which I kind of love.
When you first arrive at the restaurant, you’ll see a gift shop with just about every tropical and jungle inspired souvenir you can imagine. It’s a lot of fun to look around if you get the chance.
Because Brandon and I are Landry’s Select Club members, we did not make a reservation at Rainforest Cafe. Typically, as a member, you get priority seating. And, we’ve had very good luck with this. I think the most we’ve ever waited for a table has been 10 minutes at any Landry’s restaurant located at Disney.
After showing our Landry’s card, we were told to go to the Gorilla line (shown in the photo above). We were seated about 10 minutes after that. For this alone, I highly recommend a Landry’s Select Club membership. You pay $25 for the membership. And, you get the $25 right back to use. On this visit, we actually used my $25 birthday reward, which you get every year on your birthday.
The seating area of Rainforest Cafe continues the jungle theme. There are lots of large animatronic jungle animals and lots of theming from the floor to ceiling. It’s definitely a restaurant you want to look around in. And, it’s perfect for kiddos who will absolutely love the theme.
Because Rainforest Cafe is not owned and operated by the Disney Company, they do not have an allergy-friendly menu. But, I was pretty pleased that they bring a chef to your table to discuss options.
Before the chef came to the table, I took a look at the menu to get an idea of what options I thought might be safe for me. At every Landry’s restaurant I’ve been to, the chefs tend to recommend steak as an easy gluten free option. The chef did also note that the restaurant had gluten free buns available for sandwiches but that they did not have a dedicated gluten free fryer for French fries. They also offer a quinoa pasta.
Because I’m still not 100% after my resection surgery from Crohn’s disease, I’m trying to take it a bit easy with food. I asked if the Honey-Sriracha Salmon with Sweet Honey-Sriracha Glaze, Steamed Rice, Asian Green Bean Stir-fry, and Cilantro could be made gluten free. The chef noted that they could make this option for me and that the dish was also dairy free.
When my entree arrived, I noticed that it did not have the Sweet Honey-Sriracha Glaze which I had asked for on the side. Our server was excellent, and he double-checked with the chef who said the sauce did, in fact, contain gluten. I’m glad that they took measures to ensure I avoided any sauces that were not a safe option.
Essentially, what I was served was pan seared salmon, sticky rice, and sauteed vegetables. While it wasn’t anything fancy, it was quite good. The salmon was well-cooked, and I really liked the sauteed vegetables. I would have liked a bit of sauce with this. But, it was still good without one.
While I wouldn’t say the food at Rainforest Cafe is the best I’ve ever had at Disney, I appreciate the fact that there were several options available to me. I also was really glad to see that a chef came to the table to talk through options and customization too. We both agreed that of the Landry’s restaurants at Disney World, Yak & Yeti is by far our favorite. We also think T-Rex is a bit better too, in terms of options and atmosphere. But, if you and your kiddos want to have a wild time at a jungle themed restaurant, Rainforest Cafe is the perfect option for you.
You can also read reviews from Alexis’s Gluten Free Adventures about her experiences with Rainforest Cafe on her blog.
Have you been to Rainforest Cafe? What was your experience with special dietary needs options?