Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Gluten Free in Orlando, Florida - Part 3: Sea World and Discovery Cove

Hmmmm after we'd been spoilt with gluten free food at Disney,  Seaworld - Orlando and Discovery Cove were both a bit of a let down. Disney definitely rules the gluten free/allergy catering stakes. I researched gluten free dining heavily at both Seaworld and Discovery Cove and had never really discovered much, but I was hopeful - given how great Disney was. I had even emailed Discovery Cove to ask about their gluten free catering and even though their reply was very swift and courteous it didn't fill me with hope:

Dear Sarah,

Thank you for contacting Discovery Cove. We appreciate the opportunity to 
provide world-class customer service!

Our Culinary Team, like everyone else at Discovery Cove, would like to provide 
you with peace of mind that your day will be as enjoyable, and safe, as 
possible.  They also recognize the importance of all aspects of food safety – 
especially those challenges our guests with food allergies encounter when dining 
out.  We would be more than happy to place a note on your reservation to alert 
the culinary staff of a guest’s specific food allergy.  Please respond to this 
e-mail with this information.  Then, on the day of your visit, you are welcome 
to visit our restaurant, Laguna Grill, early in the day to discuss your personal 
dietary needs with one of our chefs.  
After speaking to many guests, we have found that allowing our guests to use 
their judgment based on personal experience is best.  Guest response to this has 
been excellent.  In addition, many guests have expressed it is the best 
experience they have had, since it allows anyone dealing with food allergies a 
more precise idea of what menu selections they should avoid. 

I hope this information was helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we 
can be of further assistance.

Best Regards,
Louise | Guest Relations

Discovery Cove, Orlando
6000 Discovery Cove Way | Orlando, FL  32821
O. 407-370-1427 | F. 407-370-1452

Discovery Cove
So, after receiving the email above we were more than nervous about a gluten free day in Discovery Cove! We did as instructed on arrival and headed straight to the Laguna Grill and they said that "yes we provide gluten free food and snacks". We had a pretty decent cooked breakfast of scrambled egg and bacon - the food was unlimited, which was good as the portions served were pretty tiny!

The refreshement stands all carried gluten free snacks, we tucked into several bags of trail mix and crisps (potato chips) and ice lollies, however were pretty sad that everything else was gluten containing.

Lunch was in the Laguna grill again. Gluten free food was very limited. I had a salad to start, which they prepared freshly for me, with no dressing (I wanted dressing - but they said that it all contained gluten), whilst Seb skipped his starter as salad was the only thing on offer. For our main course they cooked us plain chicken and chips, which was nice, but again quite boring and we had to wait 25  minutes for it. Desert was only fresh fruit, which didn't impress Seb! However in the afternoon - after the lunch rush - a sign appeared saying "gluten free snacks available" - so I asked and was given two "Gluten free to go" packs. These are an amazing idea, from two Floridian mums. They contained  all sorts of gluten free snacks, my favourite were the snickerdoodles! We really appreciated our packs, it's just a shame we had to ask for them! Food aside though Discovery Cove is an amazing place - we'd go again in a heartbeat!

Seaworld - Orlando
Again I hadn't read great reviews about SeaWorld's gluten free offerings before our trip. Upon arrival we visited every restaurant we could find. We really wanted to buy their all day dining deal wrist bands, but were worried that there would be nothing for us to eat. We were assured we'd be OK though and were told it was a shame we weren't there a month later (we went in April 2012) as they were introducing gluten free pasta and pizza to their restaurants shortly.

We managed to find a decent lunch in the Voyager's Smokehouse restaurant. Seb and I had ribs (with no sauce and corn on the cob. We couldn't eat the fries here as the fryer wasn't a dedicated one, but the ribs and corn were feeling and taste really good, even without the sauce and were cooked especially for us by the chef (more waiting!).

We ate dinner at the Seafire Inn, cheesburger and fries again, but without the bun. It was OK, we were hungry and it filled us up, but we wouldn't rush back and we certainly didn't get value for money out of our wristbands. Hopefully if they now have the GF pizza and pasta as we were told things will be a lot better at Seaworld for fellow coeliacs.

One thing to note though, on our way home we popped into a little shop nearish to guest services selling drinks and snacks to find that they sold the Gluten free to go packs we had been given at Discovery Cove, which helped to quell the hunger on the journey home! 

Part 4: Universal studios, Universal Islands of Adventure, Universal City Walk and Kennedy Space Center: http://glutenfreechild.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/gluten-free-in-orlando-florida-part-4.html

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your review. It has been really heplful, I too have Ceoliac Disease and it always a worry when travelling.