*This post contains a dining review that took place in June 2020 after Disney Springs reopened after the closure related to COVID-19. It includes information about gluten free options, in addition to dairy free, fish/shellfish free, cabbage free, peanut free, hazelnut free, and chicken & turkey free options.
Dinner at The BOATHOUSE
The BOATHOUSE is one of our go-to table service restaurant locations whenever we want to dine in Disney Springs. We have always enjoyed their special dietary needs accommodations and terrific meals. On this occasion, we had an impromptu dinner at The BOATHOUSE during a visit to Disney Springs in early June after it had reopened after it closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this review, we’ll not only share our meal experience, we’ll also explore how the restaurant handled social distancing and other safety measures during our visit.
COVID-19 & Reopening Notes
On this particular visit, we did not make a dining reservation at The BOATHOUSE, but were able to get a walk-up seating due to low-crowds and attendance when we went to Disney Springs. You can still make dining reservations via the My Disney Experience, DisneyWorld.com, and Open Table. We have heard that Disney Springs is a bit busier now, so reservations are recommended.
In terms of safety protocols, the restaurant not only had social distancing markers outside the restaurant, but inside the restaurant, tables were greatly reduced with different color table cloths on some tables to indicate more than 6 feet apart (and which were not used to seat guests). All cast members wore masks.
As a note, at the time of writing this review, we have not been back to Disney Springs, so be sure to check with the restaurant and the official Disney World website for additional information about current guidelines and recommendations.
We love the theme of The BOATHOUSE. It’s decidedly nautical, and we love everything about it.
On our visit, you can see that while this restaurant did still have guests, it wasn’t too busy. This photos gives you a good idea of the restaurant’s theme too with the neat amphicars that you can ride in along with a giant boat above the restaurant’s entrance.
While we had one table with people near us (the table is shown above) for about the first 5-10 minutes of our meal, we did not have any other guests nearby for most of our dining experience. It was not only very reassuring from a safety perspective, but it made for some great photos, as well.
We were seated in the dining room at the very far end of the restaurant. Brandon loves this room, as he says it reminds him of many restaurants from the 1980s and 1990s, with dark wood features and unique light fixtures.
Here’s a more expansive shot of the dining room. And, as you can see, there was literally no one in there by the time we were done with our meal.
There are a lot of other wonderful dining areas in The BOATHOUSE. We both love how each dining room is different in theme and decor. Here’s a photo from another dining room. You can see the giant nautical artwork along with lighter colored chairs too.
Though The BOATHOUSE is not owned and operated by the Disney Company and does not carry an allergy-friendly menu, we have always been impressed by how well they can accommodate guests with special dietary needs. Because we were visiting just a few weeks after Disney Springs had reopened, we weren’t sure how plentiful the food options would be or if any protocols had changed.
We were both pleasantly surprised to see the same protocols in place and offerings too. The menu was slightly reduced, but both Brandon and I noted that it was still fairly large. We had the option to speak with a manager or a chef, which was great.
One of the biggest concerns that I have heard from other Disney guests about the reopening has been whether or not Disney and non-Disney owned restaurants would still still have special dietary needs products. I am happy to report that at The BOATHOUSE, we were still able to get their allergy-friendly rolls with no issues.
This roll is essentially their gluten free & dairy free bun (I believe Udi’s brand), so it’s nothing fancy. But, I was so glad to be offered this both as a starter and if I wanted a sandwich. The only slight negative on this visit is that it wasn’t heated very well.
Brandon and I decided that since this was our first dining experience in a restaurant in nearly 3 months that we would get whatever we wanted for our meal. We decided that we wanted an appetizer, and we ordered the Wedge Salad to split. This dish was made to be safe for gluten/wheat, fish/shellfish, peanut, cabbage, hazelnut, and chicken & turkey allergies. If you have other needs, like dairy free, there are some other great salad options that can be made dairy free too.
We both absolutely loved this salad. And, can you believe that the photo above is only half a portion of it?! The manager offered to split the salad for us, and we were both shocked when it arrived as the salads were huge. I will give credit where credit is due. The BOATHOUSE does not skimp on portions! Both of us agreed that we’d definitely split this salad again for its fresh flavor.
This is a terrible photo of the fish tacos that I ordered, as I somehow managed to forgot to take a photo at the restaurant (and had to screenshot the image from our YouTube video). The dish can be made gluten free by omitting the side of tortilla chips (because they are made in a shared fryer). If you’re dairy free, ask them to omit the crema.
While the fish in the tacos was outstanding, the overall tacos were just OK. I absolutely loved the old version of these fish tacos, which I ordered regularly. This version was good but couldn’t compare to the amazingness of the original fish tacos. It definitely felt like the tacos were missing something. Next visit, I would order something else.
Brandon went with a classic steak, which came with steamed baby red potatoes that were tossed in a parsley butter and Old Bay seasoning. Brandon said that both the steak and the potatoes were outstanding, and he was very pleased with his meal choice. This dish was made safe for fish/shellfish, peanut, cabbage, and chicken & turkey allergies. This should also be gluten free or easily made GF too.
If you’re a steak fan, The BOATHOUSE has excellent options, so we always recommend them if you’re not a fan of seafood or have seafood allergies.
A must have on any visit for Brandon is the gluten-filled macaroni & cheese. The portion is beyond huge, and Brandon loves how cheesy this mac & cheese is. It’s definitely a sharing dish, so keep that in mind! We actually took leftovers home of this because he couldn’t finish it.
As a side note, I’ve heard several reports of gluten free guests being able to get gluten free mac & cheese at The BOATHOUSE. I might have to ask about this whenever we visit next to learn more!
If you’re curious about our visit to The BOATHOUSE and Disney Springs and want to see more, check out our vlog from this visit. We shared highlights from Disney Springs along with our meal experience too.
The BOATHOUSE continues to be a great option if you’re visiting Disney Springs. On this visit, we both enjoyed our meals and were pleasantly surprised by how well the restaurant handled safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Add in excellent special diets accommodations, and it’s definitely a location we’ll continue to visit for a great and safe meal.
Have you been to The BOATHOUSE? What did you enjoy when you dined there?