beignets on left, red and yellow text in a blue box on the right: Disney World Park Hopping: The BEST Gluten-Free Food OUTSIDE The Parks

Disney World: The Best Gluten-Free Food OUTSIDE the Parks

Disney World is amazing for gluten-free food. The Disney gluten-free magic doesn’t stop at the park gates. You can spend a whole day (or many, many days) finding gluten-free food all over the Walt Disney World property without setting foot in the parks.

Although, I still recommend actually going to the theme parks.

Take at least one no-park day in the middle of your Disney vacation for resort hopping and gluten-free treasure hunting!

Resort hopping is traveling between Disney World Resort hotels to enjoy publicly available fun, outside the parks. Note this does not include pool-hopping, as pools are exclusively for guests of each resort. But other activities, some free and some with an extra charge, are available to non-guests.

On your gluten-free Disney World resort-hopping adventure, you will:

  • Eat fabulous gluten-free food outside of the parks.
  • SAVE money on park tickets with one less day in the parks.
  • Enjoy your resort’s pool, activities, and amenities.
  • Have time for a character meal. In-park character meals use precious park time, and some of the best character meals are outside the parks.
  • Slow down and savor the ambiance of Disney World without rushing from ride to ride and checking Genie + constantly.

These are my favorite resort-hopping gluten-free food and activities throughout Disney World.

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gluten-free churros in a basket

Gluten-Free Churros at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Gluten-free churros are a must-have for any gluten-free Disney World guest!

Coronado Springs is a southwest-style resort with Spanish and Mexican influences. You will see this in the architecture, themed decor, and especially at Three Bridges restaurant. Most importantly, at Three Bridges you will find gluten-free churros (not currently on the menu, but available by special request), a favorite of Disney World fans with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

In addition to gluten-free churros with chocolate sauce, I recommend enjoying an entire fabulous gluten-free meal at Three Bridges. The menu has extensive gluten-free options: braised pork tacos, several amazing dips, including roasted corn dip with tortilla chips, poke bowls, and steak frites (steak & fries).

CJ lying on a hammock on the beach at Disney World

While you are here: Take time to enjoy the resort. Chill in a hammock by the lake. Sign up for the Spanish Mosaic Art class or the Colors of Coronado Painting Experience.

It is worth noting that gluten-free churros are available in two locations in the Walt Disney World Resort: Three Bridges at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and the Nomad Lounge inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. If you are going into Animal Kingdom for a park day, it is more convenient to grab gluten-free churros on a park day.

Gluten-Free Beignets at Port Orleans French Quarter

This is another must-do for gluten-free visitors to Disney World. Disney’s gluten-free beignets are only available here. Not at Disneyland. Not in the Disney World theme parks. Not in any other Disney resort hotel. Only at Port Orleans French Quarter. And they are so worth the stop.

beignets on a plate, covered with powdered sugar

Note, there is a Port Orleans Riverside Resort next door, but the gluten-free beignets are only at the French Quarter.

Scat Cat at Port Orleans French Quarter has a walk-up counter where you can order these sugar-covered, fried-dough specialties, cooked in a dedicated gluten-free fryer.

The gluten-free beignets come with chocolate, strawberry, and (sometimes caramel) sauces. I was able to enjoy a gluten-free caramel sauce, but other guests have recently reported that at times the caramel sauce is from a supplier who uses barley malt. Confirm with the chef on-site, or skip the caramel sauce if unsure.

You can order a beignet sundae (with ice cream, scooped from an allergy container in the back), boozy beignets, and occasionally seasonal versions, such as pumpkin spice beignets.

Disney Allergy-Friendly Tips: The Mickey-shaped beignets are not gluten-free. Always look for an allergy pick on your gluten-free food to be sure that allergy protocols were followed and you have the right food.

If you are in the mood for a meal before your amazing dessert, place a mobile order at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, a quick-service restaurant also at Port Orleans French Quarter. There are so many delicious options, including unique dishes like prime rib dip and delicious jambalaya. Just save room for dessert!

There’s no need to ride a bus to get here. Take complimentary Disney Water Transportation from Disney Springs.

While you are here: Take a 25-minute horse-drawn carriage ride along the Sassalouga River.

100% Dedicated Gluten-Free Bakery in Disney Springs

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, located in the Disney Springs shopping district, is dedicated gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan, and kosher.

This is a bakery where your celiac kid can walk in and have anything they want. That made me tear up just writing it. Erin McKenna’s is also particularly wonderful if you have multiple food allergies, intolerances, or dietary restrictions.

The best treats at Erin McKenna’s are the pineapple upside-down cake, thin mint cookies, chocolate chip cookie sandwich with frosting, lemon tea cake, apple caramel crumb cake, and carrot cake slice.

My husband also likes the coffee cake and I enjoy the veggie or pizza bombs (warmed).

I think the die-hard fans outnumber the haters, but some gluten-free guests complain that the treats at Erin McKenna’s are too dry and they recommend folks head to Sprinkles.

As a celiac, I consider Sprinkles, a traditional bakery, too high a risk for cross-contamination, so that’s off the table for me and my celiac daughter. I do agree that the cupcakes are dry (due to accommodating multiple allergies) and avoid those. But I highly recommend everything in my “best treats” list above!

For a savory meal at Disney Springs, D-Luxe Burger is Disney owned and operated and follows the same gluten-free protocols you find in the park and at Walt Disney World Resorts. Save time by placing a mobile order using the My Disney Experience app. Always be sure to order off of the gluten/wheat allergy-friendly menu when using the app, and look for your allergy pick.

If you somehow need more sweets after Erin McKenna’s, you’ll have another chance to grab an out-of-park Dole Whip at Swirls on the Water near the Rainforest Cafe. Better yet, if you haven’t gone to Scat Cat, yet, hop in a boat and head to Port Orleans French Quarter for gluten-free beignets.

While you are here: Take a tour of Lake Buena Vista in a Vintage Amphicar (starts by the Boathouse), get in some pin trading at Disney’s Pin Traders where you’ll find an impressive collection of pins for sale and trade, and visit the many shops throughout Disney Springs, like the popular LEGO Store and even more popular World of Disney.

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    Storybook Dining at Artist’s Point with Snow White at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

    Storybook Dining at Artist’s Point with Snow White is one of the best character dining experiences in all of Disney World. The character interaction is wonderful, and the characters themselves are unique. The Evil Queen, Grumpy, and Dopey are truly the stars. Of course, Snow White is there for all of the princess fans.

    The atmosphere is charming, as you dine in the Enchanted Forest with twinkling lights. The food is wonderful, and the presentation is fabulous.

    Be sure to note a gluten/wheat allergy when you make your reservation, and let your server know, as well. Gluten-eaters are served family-style appetizers and desserts. But you will get your own gluten-free platters to prevent cross-contamination.

    For dinner, you will be served your own “flight” of gluten-free appetizers, including fabulous wild mushroom bisque. Or ask for the kids’ appetizer, “from the garden” with veggies, fruit, and, cheese. You’ll have your choice of several gluten-free entrees. Then, you’ll finish with a “flight” of gluten-free desserts, including the gluten-free version of a “poison apple”, a chocolate ball. Plus, ganache hearts from the smoking box (thanks to the magic of dry ice), the “Hunter’s Gift to the Queen”.

    While you are here: Enjoy a guided fishing excursion during the day. At night, head to the beach or pier to take in the Electrical Water Pagent. The times are available in the My Disney Experience app.

    Ohana Best Friends Breakfast with Lilo & Stitch at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

    If you are looking for a fabulous gluten-free character experience for breakfast, ‘Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast with Lilo & Stitch at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is it! I highly recommend it.

    The characters are great. You’ll see Mickey and Pluto, plus Lilo & Stitch, who is one of my favorites for character interactions. Stitch will have your kids (and you) cracking up!

    Stitch hugging CJ, Miss E walking up for a hug

    The food is mostly standard Disney breakfast food: Mickey waffles, bacon, sausage, eggs, fried potatoes, fruit, and donuts. Plus, you’ll enjoy a few ‘Ohana specialties: gluten-free Stitch waffles, Hawaiian-style ham & pineapple compote, and the famous POG (passion fruit, orange, guava juice).

    allergy skillet with gluten-free Stitch waffles, bacon, fried potatoes, sausage, eggs and a small pitcher of syrup

    With the exception of biscuits, nearly everything is gluten-free or has a gluten-free substitute, so those of us with celiac disease or gluten intolerance will not have to jealously eye others’ skillets.

    Speaking of skillets, this meal is typically served family-style in large skillets, for gluten-eaters. Once you put wheat/gluten allergy on your online reservation and let your server know you need “wheat/gluten allergy-friendly” options, you’ll get your own gluten-free skillet with an allergy pick.

    During the meal, the characters and kids will dance through the restaurant with maracas. It’s so much fun. For just a little while, you’ll feel like you are visiting Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii!

    While you are here: On one of our Disney World vacations, my son’s favorite souvenir was a caricature drawn by an artist in the lobby of the Polynesian. Caricature artist locations are subject to change. If you miss one at the Polynesian, try The Art Corner in Disney Springs.

    Dole Whip & Fireworks at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

    As much fun as the ‘Ohana character breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, spending the evening here is just as wonderful. It is the perfect way to end a day of resort hopping.

    Order a Dole Whip (or even better, a Dole Whip Pineapple Float) from the Pineapple Lanai and head to the beach or pier to watch fireworks from the Magic Kingdom. It is simply magical.

    If you are looking for a low-key but unique dinner before the fireworks, mobile order off the “gluten/wheat allergy-friendly” menus at Kona to-go or Captain Cook’s. Especially delicious gluten-free dishes are stir fry, sushi, and poke bowls from Kona-to-go and Thai coconut meatballs and the noodle salad dish from Capt. Cook’s.

    Gluten-Free Insider Tip! You can also get amazing pulled pork nachos from Capt. Cook’s, but not via mobile order. They aren’t on the allergy-friendly menu but can be made gluten-free upon request. Speak to a chef at the restaurant.

    While you are here: Be sure to check the schedule for the Electrical Water Pagent in the My Disney Experience app. It usually passes by the Polynesian around the same time as the fireworks.

    Gluten-Free Truffle Fries at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

    Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a Victorian-themed resort with a grand lobby that is just begging you to visit.

    Head to the Enchanted Rose Lounge (kids welcome) for the most amazing truffle fries with black truffle, salty, aged parmesan, and the fabulous truffle aioli dipping sauce. For those of us on a gluten-free diet who find ourselves excited about regular french fries from a dedicated fryer, this delicacy is an over-the-top treat.

    If you are looking for a full meal, the Grand Floridian has lots of wonderful gluten-free options. The Grand Floridian Cafe is a casual table service restaurant at this grand resort. It is a gluten-free hidden gem. Order the “allergy-friendly” caramelized French onion soup au gratin. Yum! Enjoy shrimp and grits, salads, steak, a lobster burger, or salmon. For a quick-service restaurant, Gasparilla Island Grill serves a great mac & cheese.

    While you are here: Check the My Disney Experience app for the lobby pianist schedule, then relax and enjoy the music in this gorgeous lobby. At night, watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the boat dock.

    Drizella with a crooked-scowling look on her face and hands on her hips

    The Grand Floridian is usually home to 1900 Park Fare’s Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner, which has been closed since the pandemic. The entire experience rivals Storybook Dining at Artist’s Point, and you will enjoy an equally unique cast of characters, usually: Prince Charming, Cinderella, Lady Tremaine (stepmother), and stepsisters, Anastasia, and Drizella. You cannot beat the stepsisters for character interaction. Sadly, this character dining experience is not currently available. I will update this post when/if it reopens. Fingers crossed!

    Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review at the Fort Wilderness Resort

    Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds is a popular, old-fashioned dinner show with music, dancing, and plenty of corny jokes. The show is a blast and the food is also a hit!

    You’ll enjoy a tasty meal of smoked chicken (not fried), ribs, BBQ sauce, baked beans, mashed potatoes, french fries, coleslaw, gluten-free cornbread, macaroni & cheese, and strawberry cheesecake for dessert.

    Note gluten/wheat allergy when you make your reservation, and request a chef consult when you are seated. The regular meals are served family style, but they’ll serve you separate gluten-free platters to avoid cross-contamination.

    While you are here: Make an adventure out of it. Fort Wilderness has so many activities: float around the grounds in a canoe, try archery, rent a bike or a golf cart and explore, or spend your time at the Fort Wilderness Resort with a 45-minute horseback ride along woodland trails. If you are lucky enough to be here at the most magical time of the year, you can reserve a Holiday Sleigh Ride.

    Bread Service & Zebra Domes at Animal Kingdom Lodge

    Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is such a special resort. It is an immersive experience, from the lobby to the animals roaming the expansive grounds and, of course, the food.

    gluten-free bread service from Disney's Sanaa restaurant, a variety of dips set on a wooden serving board, with gluten-free naan on the side

    The gluten-free bread service at Sanaa is incredible! Designed for sharing, it comes with five pieces of gluten-free naan and nine accompaniments (dips) ranging from creamy to sweet to spicy: Cucumber Raita, Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus, Tamarind Chutney, Mango Chutney, Tomato-Date Chutney, Coriander Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Red Chile Sambal, and Jalapeño-Lime Pickle.

    Also, at Sanaa, the potji-inspired butter chicken is wonderful, if you still have room. After the bread service, to keep from having to roll out of the restaurant, I recommend either sharing a main dish or ordering a (very small) kid’s portion of the butter chicken, just to get a taste.

    Second only to the bread service, the large windows with savanna views of (hopefully) animals grazing are one of the best things about dining at Sanaa. Visit during the late afternoon for your best chance of animal activity.

    For lunch and dinner (when the bread service is offered), Sanaa requires reservations. No worries if you can’t snag a reservation! You can mobile order Sanaa to-go. Be sure to select the allergy menu when ordering.

    For dessert, swing by Johari Treasures and ask a cast member for the gluten-free zebra domes. You have to request gluten-free, as the regular zebra domes contain gluten.

    If the in-demand, gluten-free zebra domes are sold out at Johari Treasures, take the shuttle or walk back to the Jambo House. (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is made up of two areas: Jambo House and Kidani Village. Both Sanaa and Johari Treasures are located in Kidani Village.) In Jambo house, stop by the Mara, the quick-service restaurant to get zebra domes. Again, ask a cast member for the gluten-free ones, as the zebra domes you can grab from the fridge contain gluten.

    a giraffe and two zebras grazing on the savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

    While you are here: For free entertainment, grab a chair on the porch and watch the animals on the savanna. Nightview binoculars are available for animal spotting after dark.

    For a (paid) nighttime viewing experience, go on the Starlight Safari. The expert guides will provide night vision devices and take you out in an open-air safari vehicle for an up-close encounter with the active animal nightlife on the savanna.

    Mediterranean-Themed, Character Breakfast à la Art at Disney Riviera Resort’s Topolino’s Terrace

    Disney’s Riviera Resort’s Topolino’s Terrace Restaurant hosts Breakfast à la Art, a classic Mickey & Friends character breakfast, but with a twist:  Painter Mickey, Poet Minnie, Sculptor Donald, and Ballerina Daisy. I recommend this character breakfast over the popular Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

    Like the characters, these aren’t your ordinary breakfast dishes: steak and eggs, polenta, fruit and honey yogurt plate, kids’ mini waffles with a palette of dipping sauces, sausage hash, and a “pastry pail” of gluten-free pastries.

    The walls of windows around this 10th-floor restaurant give you beautiful Disney World views.

    Topolino’s is very popular and usually books up immediately when the 60-day dining booking window opens. If you don’t snag a reservation immediately, sign up for Mouse Dining to get alerts when a table becomes available.

    While you are here: Visit the Disney Vacation Club desk to pick up Disney’s Riviera Resort Signature Art Collection Search (scavenger hunt). It’s a great way to have fun while staying cool and taking in the unique art at the Riviera. While you are hunting for art, look for hidden (or not-so-hidden) Mickeys throughout the Riviera Resort.

    Pizza & Bocce Ball at Disney Riviera Resort – Primo Piatto

    gluten-free sausage and pepperoni pizza, with four slices separated and spread in a row slightly on top of each other

    It’s hard to imagine, but if you hang out at the Disney Riviera Resort long enough, you will get hungry again.

    Place a mobile order at Disney Riviera Resort’s quick-service restaurant, Primo Piatto. The gluten-free sausage and pepperoni pizza is delicious, and it is worth the trip to the Riviera just to enjoy the beautiful ambiance of the grounds.

    Not in the mood for pizza? The Primo Piatto serves other options, like romano fries, pasta, Italian sandwiches, a yummy Feta salad, and the usual burgers, chicken strips, and more.

    The view on the lawn outside Primo Piatto is so peaceful. It’s the perfect place to slow down and relax.

    Dave & CJ playing with a very large chess, while Miss E watches from the bench swing

    While you are here: Relax on the bench swing, play a game of giant chess, try your hand at bocce ball, and explore the resort on an art scavenger hunt.

    This Meditteranean-themed resort is conveniently located on the Disney Skyline Route. Take a Skyliner ride to nowhere (go either direction there and back) or head towards Ecpcot and walk to get…

    Ice Cream Sundaes at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

    Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a 50’s style soda shop known for burgers and sundaes.

    The sundaes are the highlight of Beaches & Cream, and those can be purchased at “Beaches & Cream To-Go”, the walk-up window outside, without a reservation. The walk-up menu is limited to ice cream treats and beverages. Ask for an allergy-trained cast member, who will walk you through gluten-free options and prepare your order.

    While you are here: Pick up a frosted brownie or two (you’ll wish you grabbed two) for later from the grab-and-go options at the Beach Club Marketplace. Walk or take a leisurely (slow) Friendship boat to Disney’s Boardwalk and rent a Surrey Bike to cruise around Crescent Lake.

    Parking at Resorts (and Alternatives)

    Parking at the resorts can be very limited, especially during busy times. Rarely, security will allow you to park your car for resort hopping, but it is not something you can count on.

    Use Disney Transportation. If you are already staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, taking Disney transportation is ideal. For visitors who are not hotel guests, use the free parking at Disney Springs and take Disney transportation to resort hop.

    Make a table service reservation. If you have a table service reservation at one of the above resorts, Disney allows you to park at that resort.

    Consider Uber, Lyft, or even more fun, Lyft’s Minnie Van Service. Anecdotally, I have had no trouble taking an Uber/Lyft to the above resorts, when I had already placed a mobile order for a quick-service restaurant.

    Insider Tips for Resort Hopping with Disney Transportation

    Disney Transportation includes:

    • Bus
    • Boat
    • Monorail
    • Skyliner
    • Minnie Van (additional charge)

    All of the resorts are connected to Disney Springs by bus. When in doubt, make Erin McKenna’s at Disney Springs a stop between two resort hotels on your resort hopping itinerary.

    Port Orleans French Quarter also connects to Disney Springs by complimentary boat. Definitely pick this option when traveling between Port Orleans French Quarter and Disney Springs.

    Skyliner resorts connect to “the Epcot Resorts”. Take the Disney Skyliner from the Riviera Resort to Epcot’s International Gateway (a back entrance to Epcot), then walk 10 minutes (or take a Friendship boat) to Beaches & Cream’s to-go window at the Beach Club Resort.

    The Monorail Resorts are all along the complimentary monorail loop and are so easy for resort hopping. The stops, in order, are Transportation and Ticket Center (“TTC”, parking by Magic Kingdom), Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Magic Kingdom park, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, on a continuous loop. You could park at the TTC for a charge, hop on the monorail, have breakfast with Stitch at Ohana, eat truffle fries at the Grand Floridian, pop in the Contemporary and then head back around the monorail loop to the Polynesian for fireworks… enjoying each resort’s unique ambiance and shops along the way.

    Storybook Dinner at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Hoop-Dee-Doo at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground can be a bit more limited, depending on where you start your journey. You can, of course, take the Disney Bus Service to Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness from any of the theme parks or Disney Springs. You can also take a boat from the Magic Kingdom. If you are resort hopping along the Monorail Resorts, you could absolutely take a monorail or boat to the Magic Kingdom and hop on another boat from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or Fort Wilderness, as a more relaxed and lovely way to travel and enjoy the views.

    Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge have even fewer options. They are a bit out of the way and accessible only by car/uber or Disney Bus Service from a theme park or Disney Springs. The good news is that once you’ve gone out of your way to get there, it will be worth your while for gluten-free churros (Coronado) or gluten-free zebra domes & bread service (Animal Kingdom Lodge).

    Make a rough plan for your day. Choose resorts based on when you want to be there, considering meal or activity times. Consider a plan that easily connects about three or so resorts, giving you plenty of time to enjoy each one. Then relax and take your time as you eat your way through the best gluten-free Disney food, no theme park tickets required!

    After a full day of gluten-free resort hopping, you’ll be ready to head back to the parks tomorrow to find the Best Gluten-Free Food INSIDE the Parks.

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