Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: Dining Allergy-Free in Disney World: Hollywood Studios


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dining Allergy-Free in Disney World: Hollywood Studios

This is Part 4 of my series on eating with food allergies in Walt Disney World. In 
Part 1 I discussed planning ahead for your visit, in Part 2 I focused on eating in the Magic Kingdom, and in Part 3 I shared my experience with the new food allergy kiosk in Animal Kingdom.  

Today, I'll tell you all about what we ate in Hollywood Studios.
Monster's University topiaries at the entrance to Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly known as MGM Studios), is one of the smaller parks in Disney World and, like Animal Kingdom, is often treated as a "half-day" park by guests.  There are fewer sit-down dining options in this park (four), and more counter service restaurants as a result.  The park features an Old Hollywood theme, set in the heyday of the movie industry. 

Secret Service or cool teenage guests?

As we found when we visited the Magic Kingdom's Columbia Harbour House restaurant, Disney has just rolled out new, printed allergy-free menus at all its counter service restaurants.  This we found very helpful as we stood in line to place our order; it was much more efficient to read our options and make our choices, than to discuss them with the cashier and make decisions on the fly based on the information she gave us.  

C3PO places his allergy-free lunch order.

We chose to eat lunch in Hollywood Studios, and returned to a highly-themed restaurant that we have enjoyed in the past, the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.  This sit-down establishment is decorated to resemble an outdoor drive-in movie theater, complete with night sky, a huge movie screen, and tables made of "vintage" 1950's convertibles.  

Seating in "cars" at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

The five of us sat in one cool car, complete with three bench seats.  Under-counter lighting illuminated our menus as we amused ourselves watching original previews for classic B movies like "The Amazing Colossal Man" and "Creature from the Black Lagoon."

Enjoying highbrow entertainment
This being a sit-down restaurant, the chef came out of the kitchen to speak with us, as per Disney policy.  He had some surprises to share with us that were not mentioned on the menu, including gluten-free Mac 'n Cheese, pizza, burger buns and sandwich wraps.  This was a nice change, as we were prepared to eat bun-free burgers and salad.

GF Mac 'n Cheese
The kids jumped on the Mac 'n Cheese and burgers, having been living without grains for 8 months.  Luckily, there was a fruit salad available on the side, to make the "exception" not feel so unhealthy.  Remember the days when the kids would eat Mac 'n Cheese several times a week and you wouldn't even blink?  No more.  We decided it would be a good time to enact the 80/20 rule (follow the Paleo diet 80% of the time) and let them have both a grain and a dairy exception.  You'll be happy to hear that no stomachaches resulted!

GF Rueben Sandwich and Cucumber Salad
The gluten-free sandwich bread was a soft flatbread, which looked lovely but tasted like paste.  After one bite, I decided it wasn't worth ditching Paleo for, and just ate the filling out of my Rueben sandwich.  There was a bit of cheese in there, so I enjoyed that as my personal "exception."  Paid for it, but enjoyed it.  The cucumber salad on the side was very, very good.  A sweet vinegar dressing softened the red onions, and it was a nice sharp complement to the heavier meat and cheese of the sandwich.

Our lunches were served quickly (which sometimes does not happen when a special order is placed), and featured a special pick labeled "Allergy," presumably to keep them apart from the non-allergy items in the kitchen.  The chef was very pleasant to speak with, and it was fun to have so many options to choose from.  Just about everything we ate was very tasty (with the exception of the GF wrap, but I was the only one who didn't like it.  My husband thought it was fine.)

Ceiling in Toy Story Mania
The rest of the day, we ate the snacks we brought ourselves.  Each child carried a light backpack (the kind with strings for straps), and packed his own snack each morning.  I laid out a Make-Your-Own Trail Mix bar in the hotel room and the boys chose their favorite nuts, dried fruits, and dried meats (pepperoni).  My suitcase was MUCH lighter on our return trip, as I packed all the snacks from home! (Just a note: no one ever wanted the tuna. It all came back home with me.)

Fozzy Bear and Kermit enjoying some trail mix.
We used our Pokemon-decorated plastic sandwich containers, and included a reusable bottle of water in each backpack as well, which we filled at convenient drinking fountains.  We heard that any counter service restaurant would also refill water bottles with ice water for free, but never tried it.

Pepperoni, dates and raisins for the 9-year-old.
Another highly-themed restaurant at Hollywood Studios is the 50's Prime Time Cafe, where all the waitresses act like your mother and urge you to finish your vegetables before you are allowed to eat dessert.  We didn't have time to try eating allergy-free here during this visit, but I wonder how all those "moms" will help out their "kids" with food allergies?  Any experience with that?  Tell us in the comments! 

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
We didn't eat dinner in Hollywood Studios, choosing instead to head over to Epcot and try dining in France.  The international side of Epcot features a wide variety of cosmopolitan restaurants, and in my next post, I'll tell you all about the amazing food we ate there.  Because we stayed at Disney's Yacht Club, we were within walking distance of Epcot, and availed ourselves of this convenience by eating dinner at four different countries during our trip!

Teenagers do smile sometimes!  

Here is a link to the full menu at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.

Other posts in this series:

Part 1: Planning for your allergy-free Disney vacation
Part 2: Eating in the Magic Kingdom
Part 3: The new food allergy kiosk in Animal Kingdom
Part 4: Eating allergy-free in Hollywood Studios
Part 5: Eating allergy-free in Epcot
Part 6: Eating allergy-free at Disney hotel restaurants
Part 7: The rest of the parks (Downtown Disney, Typhoon Lagoon, room service and more)

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