Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gluten Free at Walt Disney World - Grand Floridian

While at Walt Disney World, we stayed at the Grand Floridian. It has become our custom to have a quick meal at the Gasparilla Grill which offers quick service food including pizza, hot sandwiches, chicken tenders, soups, salads, and more.  My favorite for years has been their grilled cheese sandwich, but I knew this time I couldn't have it. Well, I could have it just with gluten-free bread, but I thought "why bother?" because I knew it would not be the same and even if it tasted good, I would still be disappointed that it wasn't the same.

WDW is great at having the manager or chef come out to talk with you about dietary needs, so after a quick perusal of the offerings, I asked if I could speak to someone about their gluten free options.  They told me about their GF fries and chicken tenders, sandwiches on GF bread, and then also mentioned that everything on the salad bar, including all of their dressing options, were GF (except the croutons and one other item).  I had been thinking about the salad but it was $11.59 which was more than I really wanted to spend on lunch (a grilled cheese is only $4).  But I didn't want the chicken and fries and I didn't want a sandwich, so I opted for the build your own salad with flank steak and a mandarin orange sesame dressing. And I have to say this - if I wasn't eating GF, I would never have gotten the salad there and I would have missed out - it was so fresh and delicious. The salad dressing was the right blend of sweet and tangy. And I got my veggies in for the day!

On the last day of our girlfriends' trip, we have tea at the Grand Floridian's Garden View Tea Room.  While we had not known of my Celiac's when we made the tea reservation, concierge was able to add a note to our reservation so they would know ahead of time about my special dietary needs.  In fact, when our server came to talk with us, I noticed that our ticket had a Special Diet indication on it.  We ordered our tea service and he told me that they would be preparing special plates for me.

Here's a picture of the tea sandwiches.  They were on GF bread that was actually pretty good. I don't like the watercress that they usually include, so I asked if they could substitute the curry chicken for it (no problem!).  And instead of the beet and goat cheese that came on the regular plate, they made an extra egg salad one which I enjoy anyway.  The open faced sandwich is roasted tomato on pesto.

The second course is usually a scone, but for my plate they served two slices of BabyCakes - a lemon poppy and a banana walnut (I think that's what it was).  They were ok; I liked the lemon poppy better and the lemon curd went nicely with it.

And finally the last course: dessert. Usually they offer a selection of pastries, trifle, or strawberries with whipped cream which is what I usually get and most likely was fine for a GF choice. However, they provided a GF plate which included two coconut items, berries, and a chocolate treat.

All in all, I was happy with the way my dining experiences at the Grand Floridian were handled. They certainly made staying GF easier for me by offering GF food that was comparable to what the other menu choices included.

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