Crystal Palace located at the Magic Kingdom (as of 6/2018) – 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.
Crystal Palace located at the Magic Kingdom (as of 7/2017) – 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 series of guests posts comes from reader Kathleen. Her love of Disney and passion for bringing awareness to special dietary needs on her college campus makes her the perfect guest writer for Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW. I’ve been following along on her college journey where she blogs about dining at college with special diets. Check out this great article on allergy friendly dining that she wrote last fall for her campus. Thanks again, Kathleen, for taking us along on your Disney special diets journey! (if you aren’t hungry, you will be after you read these reports)
I’ve broken up Kathleen’s posts, and today we’re checking out her last days at Disney World on her vacation. You can catch days 1-3 on her previous post, and you can also recap with her visit to Universal Studios Orlando on her previous guest post!
Hi everyone! My name is Kathleen and I’m currently a senior at NC State University in Raleigh. A few years ago, I found out about several food allergies that I have (gluten, corn, dairy, tomatoes, apples and peanuts) and ever since then, I’ve been on the lookout for new and exciting foods to try. Disney is a big deal in our family, and on our annual trip each summer, we love eating at new restaurants to mix things up. This was my third Disney trip with allergies, but my first without dairy, since I found out about that only a year ago.
Day #3 – 7/23
On Wednesday, we didn’t have any dining reservations for once, so we ended up having a big lunch at Whispering Canyons Café in between MGM – errr, Hollywood Studios – and Magic Kingdom. This time, Chef Angela helped me out. She said that she could do plain pulled pork for me (unlike the other night), and that she had a gluten and corn free bun in the kitchen that I could have to make a sandwich. I was going to order the sweet potato fries and coleslaw, but after checking the ingredients, she ended up making my coleslaw with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (the regular one had apple juice), and a cucumber-dill salad, both of which were great. That sandwich was huge, but not to worry – I polished off the entire thing!
The bagel that she gave me for the bun was also very good, but she later told me that it was an Udi’s bagel. Since I ended up having another skin flare up later that day, I checked the ingredients that night and corn syrup solids was one of them. I’m not sure why two different chefs (this one and Margaritaville) who were so adamant about the bread not having corn, would overlook that. However, the experience was still really good.
That night we were all set to watch the Spectromagic Parade at 11 (wayyyy past my normal bedtime of 9 PM – look at me staying up!), and I used that opportunity to try out the Rice Dream ice cream at the ice cream parlor on Main St. When I ordered, the cashier asked if it was an allergy or a preference, and when I told him it was an allergy, he got one of the servers to put it in a cup instead of a cone. Pretty impressive for a quick service stop.
The ice cream itself had an interesting flavor – I liked it, but not as much as the So Delicious coconut milk ice cream I get at home. Still, I’m glad I got to try it. Unfortunately, right after I sat down with my ice cream, they announced that the parade was cancelled due to the one drop of rain that had apparently hit someone. Well, just kidding…there was supposed to be an impending storm that never ended up happening, so for the first time in forever, we were unable to see the parade. Oh well!
Day #4 – 7/24
Thursday was our “day off” from the parks. Usually on these days we’ll hang out at the pool for a while before moseying on over to Downtown Disney to shop and eat dinner. This year, I convinced my family to try out Whispering Canyons Café for a third time – breakfast! I was happy to see Chef Angela again, and she remembered me from the day before (regular, at last!).
Now, there were two things that I was on a mission to find and try before leaving Disney. One of them was the famous allergy Mickey waffles. Chef Angela said that there were two types of batter – one with corn and one without. The batter also has applesauce. Usually they mix the two batters together for the allergy waffles, but she was able to make me Mickey waffles with no corn and no apples, and with pure maple syrup and earth balance butter on the side! She told me that the waffles were lighter in color and had a different flavor due to the lack of applesauce, but honestly, I wouldn’t have known the difference. They were fantastic! I stayed away from the earth balance since I knew it had corn in it, but the waffles and syrup were so good, I didn’t miss it. The waffles also came with bacon or sausage. I was in a bacon mood (who isn’t?), and let me tell you, the chefs at Whispering Canyon know how to cook their bacon. It was perfectly crispy – just how I like it.
Later that evening, after soaking up some rays by the pool and going on an impromptu bike ride to the campgrounds, we took the bus to Downtown Disney to eat dinner at Raglan Road. Originally, I was planning on getting the gluten free fish and chips or chicken curry with an appetizer of onion rings (provided that the batter was corn free). Unfortunately, the onion rings were not dairy free so I couldn’t get those. (*Note from Sarah: These have been dairy free in the past; however, ingredients and recipes do change, so it’s important to always check with a manager or chef when you dine at a restaurant at Disney)
This was not my week for curry, because it contained at least one of my allergens. Three strikes and it was out. In the end, I ordered the butternut squash “Raglan Risotto” because I love butternut squash, and it was something unexpected. Plus, the fries looked like steak fries and I’m not a huge fan of those, so I was unsure about the fish and chips. The risotto was really good – it was super creamy. I’m not sure how they got it to taste like that without milk or cream, but I liked it. The pear cider was also good. It’s possible that the risotto was too creamy to be true, however, because I ended up having a really bad skin reaction right after dinner. (*Note from Sarah: in the past this has been the restaurant’s default vegan dish; always check with a manager or chef when you dine at a Disney restaurant for current ingredient listings, as products and recipes can change).
Overall, I think this was my worst experience during my week at Disney. Not to say that it was awful, because the waitress was really nice and attentive to my allergies, but it was a little hard to hear and I wish I could have spoken with the chef since there ended up being some sort of cross contamination or unwanted ingredient in my dinner. Next time, I think I’ll try the fish and chips and hopefully that will work out better.
Day #5 – 7/25
On Friday, our only reservation was at Crystal Palace and it was an early dinner. The rest of my family had gelato in Italy, and I just brought a snack from the hotel to tide me over between breakfast and dinner. Normally we do a lot more character meet and greets, but this ended up being the only one we did this year!
The chef was great – she took me around the buffet to show me what was okay for me to eat, and said that she could prepare a couple of the hot bar vegetables plain for me. Remember when I said I was on a mission for two specific things? Well, the allergy chicken tenders were the second. I knew that Crystal Palace offered them, so I asked the chef if she could make those for me. She said that was not a problem, and that she would bring those out with the vegetables. I was able to try the sweet potato salad (!!), beet salad, and cucumber/pickled ginger salad from the salad bar. They were all good. You know I love sweet potatoes, and I’m also a fan of beets and fermented vegetables so it was a good appetizer.
I was very excited for my entrée to come out. The colors on the plate were so pretty I almost didn’t want to mess up the food. Ha! Yeah right! I haven’t had chicken fingers in quite a while, and these were definitely worth all of the hype I’ve been reading about them.
After bringing that out, the chef told me there was rice dream and a chocolate brownie that I could have, and she brought those out for me for dessert. I already knew what the rice dream was like, but that chocolate brownie was the bomb. In the words of Princess Anna, I wanted to stuff some chocolate in my face, and I did. Just more gracefully. I think Crystal Palace was the best experience I had during the trip – those chicken tenders and brownie sealed the deal!
Day #6 – 7/26
The last day of the trip is always sad for our family, but luckily we’re so busy enjoying the parks that we don’t really realize it until we’re in bed. Our last dinner reservation was at Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios. I’ve come to realize that I prefer buffets for dining with allergies because I can see what’s available and know what it is instead of just reading a name off of a menu.
The chef, Chef Trevor, was very nice. He was surprisingly young, and cute too! This buffet had a lot more protein options that were safe (as opposed to Crystal Palace), so I had the carved turkey. I also got the steamed broccoli, and broccoli salad from the buffet. The chef brought me some plain green beans and plantains (twice in one week, what up!) that I could eat as well. Not to sound like a broken record, but everything was delicious. That broccoli salad was so good, I went back for seconds! I love mixing fruit and nuts into my salads, and the combination of broccoli, soy nuts and cranberries worked really well.
The allergy brownie at this place was made with corn flour, so I couldn’t have that, but Chef Trevor brought me out a bowl of So Delicious Coconut ice cream. I’ve never had the coconut flavored one before, and I think it’s my new favorite! To make it even better, I topped it with an enjoy life cookie that I brought from the hotel. Ta da! Cookie Sundae.
Overall, this trip to Disney was fabulous. I got to spend time with my family, eat good food, and hang out in the happiest, most allergy friendly, and my personal favorite, place in the world – Walt Disney World! Now I just need to grow three inches so I can be a princess and I’ll be set. All I can say is, thanks to Sarah for letting me share my experience with you all. I had a wonderful time and I’m so excited to see what’s in store for next year!
A huge thank you to Kathleen for her great trip report!
If you want to learn more about Kathleen’s experiences as a college student with special dietary needs, you’ll get that chance at the upcoming Food Allergy & Celiac Convention held at Disney World on November 22, 2014.
I love these brownies! If you read my review and check out the photo, you’ll see how wonderful and decadent these brownies are. You wouldn’t even guess they are dietary restriction safe. Share them with family and friends! I am so glad that the chefs at Crystal Palace were willing to share:
First off, let me make a brief statement about waiting and ADRs at Crystal Palace. Perhaps it was because we went 2 weeks after free dining started, but even though we had an ADR we waited a ridiculous amount of time (to the point that I was going to leave in 15 min if we hadn’t been seated. We waited an hour). It was August so it was very warm and very crowded. Granted, I knew that this would be a popular dining location, but I really wanted to try this restaurant because I heard they were good with dietary restrictions. That being said, after a long wait, I was pretty tired and not overly excited (other than being seated and getting something to drink), but trying to get in the spirit of things. We arrived at our seats, and I reminded the waiter of my restrictions. He said he would get the chef and he also said that they make their own dietary desserts there and that he heard they were really good. So that made me pretty hopeful. The chef then arrived at our table and had the same pad of paper as Chef Kim at Kona. He asked my name and dietary restrictions. He then took me around the buffet and let me know what foods were OK to eat. For the most part, I could eat a lot here. The salad bar had a lot of offerings including a shrimp, hearts of palm, and quinoa salad (very good, but I got a little sick because of the vinegar. Apparently because of my Crohn’s I had sensitivity to vinegar), salads and non-dairy dressings (Zinfandel vinaigrette was tasty, but again vinegar based so it didn’t agree with me). I had a lot of meat choices to choose from: roast chicken, carving station (with pork loin and prime rib, which was later put out because we were there in the middle of lunch/dinner changes) I also enjoyed shrimp cocktail. The chef asked if I wanted tapioca rolls to be brought out, which I said yes to. I’m not a huge fan of tapioca bread/rolls, but I had heard good things about them and thought I’d give them a try. They were warmed up which helped. Here’s a picture:
Honestly, they weren’t bad. The texture was a little spongy, but they worked and tasted better than a lot of other GF rolls I’ve had.
The chef also asked me what I’d like for dessert. He offered me rice dream ice cream and a brownie cake. I am always looking for decadent chocolate desserts, so I said ice cream and cake would be great. Once I finished my meal, I let my server know I was ready for dessert and he went and got it. WOW! It was the best dessert of the trip. So good! I was practically licking the plate. It was the most decadent, chocolatey, moist, and non-dieatry tasting item I’d had! (and did the whole trip!) It was awesome. Here it is:
While I’m not sure I’ll make the trip to Crystal Palace for a while, I will say the dietary restriction needs were met with great enthusiasm and variety. I only wish I’d had asked for the allergy free chicken tenders (I saw some kid with them later) because I was CRAVING chicken tenders. But there’s always another time and another location. Overall, it was a nice place to eat, but be prepared for a wait. 8 out of 10.