While I was away.

This last Monday, June 1st I headed up to my big sister's in Skagit County. You see she'd been working on a surprise birthday getaway for me as I'm turning 30 this year. All I knew was that we'd be going to Seattle and I'd need some good walking shoes, a swimsuit and a good book to read.

In my head I'd been flipping through all the possible things she could have planned: a day at the zoo, the food tour walk of Pike's Place, or just a nice relaxing couple of days hanging out by the pool enjoying the company of a good book and each other. How wrong I was.

Monday night when we got to her house after watching my very talented nephew play some basketball I got to open the big box waiting for me. I untied the string and pulled the bag away, out popped a big mickey mouse balloon... I didn't think much of it, I love Disney stuff so thought it was cute. Then I read the scroll she'd attached to it. Many heartfelt sentiments, the kind that bring tears to your eyes were written (I love my sister very much, she's my best friend) and the last line, "I decided we should celebrate your first magical 30 years at the Magic Kingdom!!!"

I was in shock and disbelief. No way would my sister surprise me with a trip to Disneyland, but sure enough she did. I haven't been since 2005 (which I know doesn't sound like long, but trust me it is) and didn't think I would be going for a while, you see my little man is a little bit short, he'll be six before he can get on most of the rides. I was so excited I couldn't even show it properly.

We got to the park early Tuesday morning, took the red eye you see. It was early afternoon before we were hungry and I realized, I didn't know if I could eat anything. So we went to a restaurant and I got a salad, my only safe bet, while my sister had roast, and potatoes and other yummies. As we ate I pulled out my iPhone to see what my gluten free options were in the Magic Kingdom. All signs pointed to City Hall, we ate and headed over there.

"I need to eat gluten free," I said to the lady at the counter, "I hear this is the place to get the scoop."

"You're right," she replied, "Let me get you our printout." She rifled through some drawers and cupboards, "I guess I'll have to print out a copy for you, just a minute please," and she headed through the back door.

A few minutes later I was holding a nice long list (6 pages or so I think front and back) that had the park broken up by Lands, then restaurants/hotels and then gluten free offerings at each one. I was amazed and overjoyed. My entire stay at the park was so easily gluten free, I talked to many of the chefs and they were all willing and able to work with me. The most amazing part was I didn't get one single blank stare when I uttered the words, "Gluten Free." All of my meals were flavorful gluten free versions of the originals, I didn't get any poor substitutes. It truly was the happiest place on earth as far as being the best surprise birthday present ever and my ability to eat gluten free with comfort and confidence.

If you're looking to travel as a family or just for fun, and need a positive gluten free experience, go Disney. If you happen to go to Disneyland make your first stop City Hall (front of the park) and have that list in hand from the start (also has a phone number in case you have additional questions.) Talk to your servers and the chefs, I promise you'll have a fun and flavorful gluten free vacation.


Brian said...

It's been a while since my wife and I have been to Disneyland, but I remember the Grand California Hotel restaurant having good GF food choices. I'm glad you had a nice trip. Happy birthday! I wish my sister was that nice.

Gluten-Free in South Florida said...

I live in Florida and love Disney World! It is the "happiest place on earth" and pretty amazing when it comes to gluten-free! We love to stay on Disney property and eat at the hotel restaurants. Happy 30th!

Charm said...

Glad you had a great gluten free vacation. My hubby's grandma took Victor for his 10th birthday and they had no problems. I had talked to the head chef before they left and i'll tell you he is the greatest man, other than my hubby! Completely understood about cross contamination and really did his research!