Hi Everyone! Welcome (back) to Tuesday’s Travels – gluten free for our third week in our multi-week series of Walt Disney World*. This week we’re at Disney’s Hollywood Studios where we found a really fun place to eat.
We visited Hollywood Studios on our second day at WDW. Since this was our first day at a WDW theme park with our Special Diets dining plan, we still had hesitation about how well the food-services chefs could accommodate our allergies and intolerances. Would cross contamination be an issue? We surely didn’t want to find out the hard way and have some of our time at WDW dampened by gluten. For this reason, the gluten gluttons had breakfast in the resort café, while we gluten-freebies minimized our exposure by having homemade (and transported) banana bread, trail mix, and juice. Start the day off right and be ready for early dinner reservations, that was our motto for today.
We also packed power bars, dried fruit, and bottled water for our lunch. Yes, stepping out of the comfort zone and our familiar food environment was a difficult mental and emotional transition.
I’m so excited to tell you that we were not disappointed, nor did we have reason for trepidation … our first day of the Special Diets dining was fantastic! So was our choice of restaurants;-D
For dinner, the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurantallowed us a perfect gluten-free, dairy-free (and multiple allergen-free) pleasure in a truly unique retro atmosphere. I’ve never experienced anything like it (of course that can be said about many Disney experiences, right). Each “table” is designed like a convertible car, with seating for 4 or 6 “passengers”. The cars are set up in a drive-in theatre format with a huge movie screen playing 50’s Twilight Zone-type movie clips. The lighting is low and the sky is spattered with twinkling lights to look like the stars. Very fun!!
“But what about the food?” you ask? Well, I must say honestly, this is where our hesitations completely disappeared concerning how well Disney could accommodate our special diets. Our waiter knew (even before we had a chance to inform him) of our dietary requirements. Once seated, he confirmed them with us, then set off to retrieve the chef. Treated as if we’d been personally invited, the chef was enthusiastic, attentive, and took time to ask what he could personally prepare for us. Though I know the kitchen must have been bustling with dozens of orders, he made us feel as though we were the only people in the entire restaurant. WOW … delightful! Because the theme was a 50’s drive in, we chose to dine on juicy, moist hamburgers, with fluffy gluten-free, dairy-free buns, crispy yet tender French fries, and an old fashioned chocolate shake (made with Tofutti chocolate “ice cream”) … all personally delivered by the chef. We ate to our hearts content! When our bellies were full, and we were completely giddy from the nostalgic and entertaining ambiance, we sent our heartfelt thank you to the chef and continued on with our afternoon of adventures and thrill rides, waddling all the way.
By late evening, I’d burned off dinner and was ready for a refreshing snack. Cool and creamy ice cream sounded like the perfect treat, so I had to check out Hollywood Scoops Ice Cream Shop. They serve delicious ice cream, as well as the most smooth and creamy Tofutti brand non-dairy “ice cream”, available in chocolate or vanilla. Habitually ingrained to ask “safe food” questions everywhere I go, when inquiring about gluten- and dairy-free choices, I was greeted by the manager and politely and energetically had my questions answered … at an ice cream stand. Wow, WDW, you’ve got this “special diets” concept rockin’ successfully! I treated myself to “cool and creamy”, while everyone else got their fill of more thrill rides. At WDW, you just gotta treat yourself, right? Hollywood Scoops is located at the end of Sunset Blvd, just where the road branches to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.
Very satisfied with our dining choices at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there’s one more place we had a great experience at during a previous trip. I suggest you check out the 50’s Prime Time Café. Designed as a 1950s kitchenette, you’re thrown back in time to where black and white TV clips are running on vintage “tube-operated” televisions and “Mom” comes around to make sure you’re not eating with your elbows on the table. Great fun to be had there, but watch your manners or you may find yourself standing in a corner while you wait for your meal to be served.
This wraps up our notes on Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hope you’re intrigued to check out our fun, gluten-free dining spots if you have a chance to visit WDW.
*If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to check out the easy How-To Guide we shared last week on creating a gluten-free, or multiple allergen-free, dining plan. While our series will share the places we visited, there are countless dining locations from which to choose. To find restaurants easily, I scour Birnbaum Guides 2012 Walt Disney World (there is a new one every year with updated info) for their descriptions and dining information. I’ve used this book (year appropriate) every time we’ve planned a trip to Disney. I don’t think I could do Disney without it:-D
Do you have a favorite dining place at Walt Disney World you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear all about it!
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™