I just got back from a five night stay at the Disneyland Resort. It was perhaps the best vacation I’ve ever been on, for one big fat main reason: Almost every restaurant, from the high-end venues to the carts on the sidewalks, have gluten-free options. Oh yeah, and the kids had fun too… π
First of all we drove down to Anaheim on the 28th. Getting the kids out of bed was surprisingly difficult, considering especially that Maxwell has been asking if we can go to Disneyland every day for the past three months.
We stopped on the way at a Wendy’s so I could feed the troops and get myself one of their baked potatoes. No baked potatoes – we’re out. Drive on cursing while the smell of french fries and burgers fills the car. Feh.
When we got there, we checked in to our hotel – the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. I always wanted to try this place out. Very nice – I’m impressed.
I wrote up a detailed review for each restaurant on Yelp.com. The good gluten-free experiences were:
- Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
- Disney’s PCH Grill
- Goofy’s Kitchen
- Storyteller’s Caf√©
- Carnation Caf√©
- Blue Bayou
- Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port
The sucky restaurants that had poor gluten-free dining options included:
The Disneyland Resort’s head chefs keep a gluten-free information sheet available at the main info desks. For Disneyland, go in to City Hall just to the left as you enter the park. For Disney’s California Adventure, again go to the information office just to the left as you enter their gates. Ask at either location for a gluten-free info sheet and they will give you one right away that is updated regularly. It will tell you what options you have for most restaurants and food carts, from the fast food places all the way up to the nicer venues. Some of the table service locations have dedicated gluten-free menus. Others will send the head chef out to talk with you personally about your options. Food cart items such as popcorn, turkey legs, and hot dogs are GF. Ask for a gluten-free ice cream scoop and they’ll dip it in a new box for you. Some places such as Pizza Port and the hotel caf√©s stock tapioca buns, GF pizza crust, and rice pasta. I actually was able to order a burger with fries, pizza, pancakes, and spaghetti like a normal human.
The kids of course had a blast the whole time. It was too cute to watch Dylan running around finding stuff to do and Max going ballistic on the rides or chasing down his favorite characters. He had a wrestling match with a one of the gorillas from Tarzan, Pluto, Dale (of Chip & Dale) and Stitch, and he got to jam on pots and pans in the kitchen with Goofy, a big giant bear, and Pluto again. And he did a little hula dance with Daisy Duck, Lilo, and Stitch. So funny. He rode the roller coasters with his eyes shut, and his arms held out way up high above his head while shouting “wooooooooooo!!!”
The crowds were unreal – kind of like going to the Hajj or something. Just seas of people moving around. Some lines moved fast but we seemed to be close to a few too many failed rides – the Monorail broke down one morning, I got stuck for over an hour in the underground part of the line for the busted Indiana Jones thing, and another time the Star Tours thing died while Yingwen was trying to go check it out.
The park was open until 2 AM for New Year’s Eve, and they had two fireworks shows that night. We made it until about 11:45 before our legs collectively gave out from under us, but the cool thing was that our hotel room faced the fireworks and we could (and did) watch each show from our balcony.
That was a blast. We’ll definitely do that one again next year.