Gluten free eating Walt Disney World, part 2

Eating gluten free Disney World

Eating gluten free at Disney World, part 2

Gluten free eating Disney World, part 2

Hi everyone! In this post, I wanted to focus on our gluten free eating at table service meals and dinner shows. Our adventures took us to HoopDeeDoo Revue, Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, Tusker House character breakfast and Epcot’s Chefs de France. Note, that I had told the reservation desk and servers about my son being GF prior to arrival. Thankfully, in most cases, there were already suitable replacements on the table for him. Disney does a good job trying to cater to everyone, and for that I’m grateful as it took worry out of the vacation.

Character Breakfast at Tusker House

First, located in the Animal Kingdom, Africa, is the Tusker House character breakfast. Take advantage of this fun brunch buffet, all you can eat, where Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald and Daisy come to visit. We had a birthday that morning so that was a fun surprise for our little birthday boy. There were many choices here for food allergy sufferers (and vegetarians). We ate the scrambled eggs, bacon and ham from the carving station. Additionally, two frittatas were available – potato/leek and ham/cheese which was nice because they weren’t quiches. The potato and leek frittata worked well with TQ’s fructose malabsorption as he can’t eat onions – but leeks are ok. And it was quite tasty!  Most notably, my favorite included baby arugula tomato salad that paired well with smoked salmon. Other tidbits included a sweet potato hash, rice, roasted potatoes, and a chicken curry.

Meeting Mickey at Tusker House

Meeting Mickey at Tusker House

HooDeeDo Revue, a family favorite

Our most entertaining dinner was the HoopDeeDo Revue, located in Fort Wilderness. Perhaps it was nostalgia for my brother, sister and I, or that our kids had a such a good time, or maybe that our father was selected to be the fairy that evening. Anyway, the show was a hoot.

Gluten free eats began with a salad and corn bread. My son could have made a meal just on that! He loved it. In addition, he had an option of grilled chicken or GF tenders but he decided not to eat chicken and stick to bbqued ribs. The ribs were not heavily sauced, and he no trouble later after eating them (speaking only of the fructose malabsorption as bbque sauce is usually out for him) Admittedly, I was a little nervous – didn’t want a sick kid a few hours later. But, all was good! Rounding off the meal included corn, mashed potatoes and baked beans (which he did not eat because of FM)  For dessert, he had just a few strawberries, he was full from the rest of his meal. I believe you can ask for a GF brownie or cookie as well.

Gluten free ribs, veggie, mashed potatoes, corn bread and salad at HoopDeeDoo Review

Gluten free ribs, veggie, mashed potatoes, corn bread and salad at HoopDeeDoo Review

Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

I just love the Polynesian Hotel, the gardens are gorgeous. It was my grandmother’s favorite, and that makes me smile. But, anyway got a little off track, the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show is located at the Polynesian.  The show features hula dancers and fire throwers (everyone’s favorite).

To begin, there was a large platter of salads, pineapple and soba noodle salad. We were told that everything was gluten free except for the obvious soba salad. My son was brought a warm roll and his own salad to replace the coconut/pineapple rolls the rest were offered. Surprisingly, the entire main course was GF and my son couldn’t have been more excited to have an endless platter of meats and rice. Most noteworthy, his favorite (and mine too) was the pulled pork, shredded, lightly spiced, super tender and juicy. Ribs, roasted chicken and grilled veggies rounded out the meal. For dessert, the server bought him a lovely plate of fruit (pineapple, strawberries and melon) and assorted GF cookies and brownies. It was enough for our table.

Eating gluten free at Disney World

Eating gluten free at Disney World part 2

Epcot’s Chefs de France

Last, but not least, was my son’s most favorite meal while we vacationed. Look for the Eiffel Tower in Epcot and you’ll find Epcot’s Chefs de France. No entertainment here, so the little one’s entertained themselves by coloring. But, it was a nice change and delicious food. Our server was helpful in helping us with selections. He had started a few GF rolls in the warming oven as well. The menu was easy to navigate.

We selected of the Prix-fixe menu. First course, salad of mixed greens, bacon, tomatoes tossed with a light vinaigrette. TQ liked that so much he ate 3 others from his cousins. We both selected the salmon entrée. Additionally, advised to change the white wine sauce to a buerre blanc sauce that was gluten free. The meal was served with roasted veggies and rice. The rice soaked up the extra sauce, which was extra delicious. All of the entree meats are available GF, so there were many options (beef, duck, chicken ect). In some cases,  sauces should be swapped out like we did. And for the little ones, GF chicken tenders are offered.

Finally, crème brulee was the dessert of choice. TQ just LOVES it, and he was looking forward to that indulgence all day. It was nice that there were different GF dessert choices from what we had already experienced. Besides the crème brulee, a variety of sorbets were available and chocolate mousse.

Creme brulee at Epcot’s Chefs de France

Creme brulee at Epcot’s Chefs de France -Yummy!

In conclusion, fun trip, good food and great service. We were very pleased with our gluten free eating Disney World dining adventures and look forward to going back to try new things. What about you? Do you have any adventures you’d like to share? Or any favorite Disney GF meals?



Eating gluten free at Disney World

Eating gluten free at Disney World

Eating gluten free at Disney World


Happy New Year! We just got back from a family vacation to Disney World. It was sure nice to get away and do something different and recharge the batteries. Of course, the kids had a blast as well. We really aren’t excited about being back to below zero temps that’s for sure! So, I decided my first post of the year will be about eating gluten free at Disney World. Anytime, we go anywhere out of the ordinary, I do research about places to eat. It’s always a challenge. This trip was no exception.

First, step before leaving was to make sure I had adequate snacks packed in the event we couldn’t find suitable gf options at the airport or at a park. Included in my stash were a few gf low sugar granola bars, protein balls, beef jerky and microwaveable rice packets (and plastic forks!). Pack a few in the purse for the day and the rest in the luggage, if nothing else I have peace of mind. And off we went!

Eating gluten free at Disney World

We arrived at the French Quarter at Port Orleans. And of course, as soon as we got there all of the kids were asking to eat (13 of use in total). It had been a long half day of travel after all, so most of kids sat down with hot pretzels from the bar. The bar did not have any gluten free options so I went to the main restaurant where I found some fries (forget about nutrition!) My son was happy. I was pleasantly surprised to see the other options offered for meals and snacks.

Quick snacks included a variety of fresh fruit and veggie containers. Milk and soymilk, V8 juice, hummus, yogurts, parfaits (not positive that was GF). I knew I would be able to get GF buns all over Disney. And this hotel offered that. When placing your order, tell the cast member that you are GF and they will get the chef. The chef will go through all of your options and prepare your meal separately. And as I learned, that was the routine for every quick service meal.

I would also like to make a note that Port Orleans serves gluten free beignets! Yes, you read that right. I hear they are amazing. Sadly, we did not try them as they are made with applesauce and that is a no no for fructose malabsorption. But, what a treat that would be for gluten free eaters!

Gluten Free at Port Orleans Riverside Mill

Gluten Free at Port Orleans Riverside Mill

Our first dinner was at the Port Orleans Riverside Mill, just a short walk away from our resort. Gluten free choices that I observed:



Grilled chicken sandwich

Create your own GF pasta

Other sandwiches, like club, turkey and roast beef

Make your own salad

Desserts: cookie, brownie and ice cream

TQ opted for a make your own pasta dinner and salad. The pasta was mixed with a marinara sauce and he added chicken and parmesan cheese. His salad had fresh greens, and other veggies that he selected. A good healthy and hearty meal to start off our first day of vacation.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The next morning we skipped breakfast to get to the Animal Kingdom Park as it opened at 7am. So, I had purchased a few fruit cups (red grapes and melon) and milk the evening before to go along with our protein bars for a quick start. We spent two days essentially at this park so I will go through all of our eating adventures there. Go to Harambe Fruit Market located in Africa, our favorite snack station. Here they had a large selection of fruit (as the name would suggest) clementines, fresh pineapple spears, grapes, strawberries, carrots, cheese and nut bowls, bananas, apples with caramel, chips (Lay’s) and yogurt. Each day was slightly different. Clearly, enough choices for everyone GF, low FODMAP, vegetarian, dairy free and our group encompassed all (yes, we are a high maintenance family 😊 )!

Next, Yak and Yeti Counter service (next to Yak and Yeti restaurant – which has an entire allergy friendly menu for everyone! Will try that next time, for sure) as we did not have reservations for the restaurant. Nonetheless, the chef came to inform us of the day’s special short rib platter. He recommended it as one of his favorites to eat himself and he is celiac! So, we jumped on that. They were tangy, sweet and mouthwateringly tasty. Another option was a fresh salad with chicken.

yak-and-yeti-restaurant-main-entrance allergy free menu available

yak-and-yeti-restaurant-main-entrance allergy free menu available

Our final meal at Animal Kingdom was also a quick service meal at Restaurantosaurus located in DinoLand. This is your typical burger place. We opted for a grilled chicken BLT sandwich with fries. (they also offer vegetarian burgers) There is a nice bar of fixings to add extra lettuce or tomatoes, pickles ect to your burgers along with sauces. I am not sure which sauces were GF as my son is a purist and opts for no sauce 😊 Worth noting, Flame Tree Bbque located between the Tree of Life and DinoLand, has a menu that covers the top 8 common allergies (gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish) They offer ribs, chicken and pulled pork.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Enjoy a quick service meal in Hollywood Studios at Rosies’ All-American (near Tower of Terror), connected to Fairfax Fare. Rosies, has a menu to cover all of the common 8 allergies. GF selections included chicken strips and burgers which my son opted for as he’s a burger freak. A turkey sandwich is offered for children’s meals. Fairfax Fare had TexMex offerings but I read conflicting reports that the pork and rice bowls were gluten free, plus other FODMAP ingredients could have caused trouble. They have a vegan chili rice bowl for all of my vegan friends worth noting!

The Magic Kingdom

Finally, the Magic Kingdom had suitable choices. We tried Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café located near the Bear Jamboree and Splash Mountain. This was another restaurant that was well suited for our entire family. The menu covers all top 8 allergens and also features vegetarian. Gluten free meals included a chicken salad, a burger and rice bowls with chicken, beef or vegetarian. I enjoyed the chicken bowl, and you can customize the bowl to your liking at the salsa bar. Here you can get fixin’s like salsa, guacamole, corn salad and veggies to add to your rice bowls or top burgers.

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Frontierland, food allergy free menu available

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Frontierland, food allergy free menu available

All in all, there were many options for all of our special diet needs. All of the parks readily offered fresh fruit and veggies as snacks, popcorn, turkey legs and dole whips (famous dessert) which we didn’t partake in – but definitely an option. In my next post, I will detail our meals at several of the dinner shows and Epcot for sit down dinners. Do you have any experiences at Disney that you’d like to share? Any favorite restaurants?

Pesto chicken topped salad

Pesto Chicken 3-Ways

Pesto chicken topped salad

Pesto chicken topped salad

Pesto chicken 3-ways, maybe 4 or 5 or 6……

Hi everyone! I should have named this post herb pesto 3-ways and more. Pesto is so flavorful and versatile, I’m sure you will find other ways to use the leftovers. Actually, I made and egg white omelette this morning and dabbed on a teaspoon – yum! Interestingly, my uber picky eater eats pesto. I certainly won’t complain because I can get good mileage out of a batch and it’s very healthy! But, I find it curious that she will eat pesto, but not something simple as corn…. sigh. Onward!

We grow a lot of herbs and use those those all season in salads and all of my cooking. I’ve convinced the kids that herbs are essential  for making a dish look good and taste good. In addition, herbs are really healthy! I count them as vegetable in our house.

Even my picky eater will eat this - separate, of course

Even my picky eater will eat this – separate, of course

You mentioned healthy?

As mentioned, I treat herbs as a veggie. They are packed with nutritional value. Basil is a good source of vitamin A, C and K and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Cilantro has much of the same vitamins but also boosts a few more minerals and helps lower bad cholesterol. Fresh oregano is a good source of minerals like potassium, iron and calcium is great for digestive health. Parsley is considered a “super food”. It packs a punch with vitamins A, C and K and minerals iron, magnesium, and potassium like the others but also supports kidney, urinary tract health and fights cancer. Most herbs are good sources of fiber and are low in calories, anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense. Pesto sauce is concentrating all those great properties into a meal.

 What’s in the pesto?

My pesto recipe is really a basic pesto recipe. I do not add garlic as that is not acceptable for TQ’s fructose malabsorption. Honestly, I don’t miss it. But, if you are a garlic fan, then certainly add a clove or two. Sometimes, I use garlic flavored olive oil to get that hint of garlic and it is quite tasty.  Otherwise, the key players are the 3 cup of freshly packed herbs. The herbs I use most are basil (traditional), parsley, cilantro, and oregano. My daughter is especially a big oregano fan. I also use 3-4 green onion tops. I think that rounds out the flavor and since we don’t use garlic it adds a little kick.

This recipe couldn’t be any simpler. I used my blender to pack in the herbs, olive oil, parmesan, juice of half of a lemon and salt and pepper to taste. I used 1/4 cup of pine nuts, but before you add them to the blender toast them in a pan for a few minutes. Place the pine nuts to a dry skillet over medium heat until they are fragrant,  toasty and slightly brown, Turn off the heat once they start browning, so they don’t burn. Add them to the blender. Blend all of the ingredients, start with a pulse of two to incorporate. Once blended, you are left with a lusciously beautiful green sauce that can be use in endless ways.

Luscious, vitamin packed pretty herb pesto

Luscious, vitamin packed pretty herb pesto

Let’s talk versatility…

I used about 3/4 cup of the prepared pesto to a zip bag along with 1 pound of chicken tenders. The chicken marinated in the bag (in the fridge) for several hours.  Make the pesto the night before and prep the chicken, and marinate so it will be ready when you get home in the evening. I cooked a large batch of chicken for leftovers possibilities. Our first evening meal was gluten free pasta tossed with pesto and the marinated chicken.

Pesto chicken tossed with pasta

Pesto chicken tossed with pasta

I made myself a salad topped with the chicken and drizzled a little touch of pesto as my dressing along with a few crumbles of goat cheese which I highly recommend. Our second meal included make your own sandwiches. Toppings included grilled red pepper, green lettuce, goat cheese and little extra pesto for the bread. They can be eaten warm or cold. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal!

Pesto chicken and veggie sandwich

Pesto chicken and veggie sandwich

I had mentioned topping my egg whites with the pesto but I also think this would be a really delicious topped on cubes of baked tofu, or combined to make a pesto tofu salad or wrap. I may try that and report back. It could be spread as a condiment on any sandwich veggie, turkey or grilled cheese. What ideas do you have? What should I do with my next batch?

Pesto chicken pasta artfully designed by my son :)

Pesto chicken pasta artfully designed by my son 🙂

Herb Pesto - low FODMAP style
Serves 16
Luscious, vitamin packed, pretty herb pesto versatile in many ways from a marinade for chicken, pasta sauce or topping for potatoes and veggies.
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
92 calories
3 g
2 g
9 g
2 g
1 g
24 g
186 g
0 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 92
Calories from Fat 78
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 2mg
Sodium 186mg
Total Carbohydrates 3g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3 cups Fresh herbs (basil, parsley,cilantro, oregano, chervil)
  2. 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup Pine nuts - toasted
  4. 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  5. 3-4 Green onion tops
  6. 2 TB fresh lemon juice (half of a lemon)
  7. 1 tsp Salt (or to taste)
  8. Pepper to taste
  9. Optional garlic clove - but not low FODMAP
  1. Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from heat.
  2. Place herbs, lemon juice, green onions (and garlic, if using) in bowl of food processor or blender.
  3. Pulse a few times and scrape the sides with a spatula to make sure all is blending.
  4. Add parmesan cheese and pine nuts, pulse a few more times.
  5. Add olive oil in slow stream to allow sauce to emulsify.
  6. Enjoy endless ways: Marinate chicken or tofu, toss in pasta, serve on eggs, over potato, mix in veggies, serve on sandwiches, top on fish or seafood.......
  1. Gluten free
  2. Low FODMAP
  3. Low sugar