Having food allergies stinks. With a gluten allergy, I tend to be very used to not eating when we go places. I know the places that I feel safe eating at. Anyone dealing with food allergies knows the potential for cross contamination when you are eating outside your home, is high. So, when we decided to go to the Universal Parks in Orlando, Florida, I was prepared to fill my purse with snacks and basically eat at the beginning of my day and at the end of my day. What I didn’t know was how allergy friendly Universal and Islands of Adventure were. Gluten free eating was a breeze!
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Image via The Barefoot Nomad, with permission
Bringing Food Into the Parks
The very first thing I did was check Universal’s policy on bringing in outside food and drinks. You can find their policy here. Basically, if you have a food allergy, you can bring in whatever food you need to eat throughout the day. If you need special food for medical purposes, you can bring it in. The one thing that really surprised me was that you could bring in bottled water and small snacks! So that is exactly what I did! I didn’t bring in food for lunch or dinner since I was staying in a hotel and grocery shopping on vacation was not something I really wanted to do, but I did take snacks!
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Gluten Free Eating for Lunch/Dinner
The snacks were great and really helped tide us over, but lets face it, after walking miles and miles around the park, an actual meal was needed. We looked at the map, showed it to our daughter, and decided to go to the Simpsons section of the park. They had a food court with a wide variety of food options. The second I mentioned I had food allergies, a chef came out to talk with me. He had a list of food I could eat. I chose what I would like to eat and he told me that he would be the only one to handle my food. This reassured me that I was safe eating the food.
What Did I Eat?
Sometimes gluten free eating isn’t the greatest. Sure they tell you they have gluten free hamburger buns, but they end up being dry and crumbly. Not here! I got a gluten free burger and the bun was absolutely amazing! Another bonus, the burger came with tater tots. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE tater tots! I mentioned earlier that there are just some places that I am uneasy eating out at. Normally, a place as busy as an amusement park, would be one of those places. However, they put my mind at ease and I was able to truly enjoy my meal.
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How Was the Food Throughout the Park?
Every place we went to, whether it was a food stand or a restaurant, we were able to ask the ingredients of the food and they were able to tell me! We went into an Italian place to see what gluten free options they had. Not only did they have two types of gluten free noodles, they also told me which ones to get over the other ones (because one tasted much better than the other, apparently)! I really liked that! Food is expensive at the park, as you can imagine, so to be told “eat this, not that”, was very helpful!
Overall, I give gluten free eating at the Universal parks two thumbs up!
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