Port Orleans is one of the most popular resorts at Walt Disney World, known for its New Orleans theming and cuisine. The resort has two sections – Port Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside – both designed to transport guests to the Big Easy with architecture, landscaping and dining options reflective of New Orleans. One of the most iconic New Orleans foods is beignets – warm French doughnuts coated in powdered sugar. Naturally, beignets are a popular menu item at Port Orleans’ food outlets. However, some Disney World guests may wonder whether gluten-free beignet options are available. In this article, we’ll provide a quick answer upfront and then go into more detail about beignet options at Port Orleans for gluten-free guests.
Yes, Port Orleans’ food outlets do offer gluten-free beignets as part of Walt Disney World’s efforts to accommodate guests with food allergies and celiac disease. Both sit-down restaurants at Port Orleans – Boatwright’s Dining Hall and Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory – have gluten-free beignets on the menu. The quick service restaurants – Croissant Moon Bakery and Pizza Ponte – also have gluten-free beignet options. So guests with gluten restrictions can enjoy Mickey-shaped beignets during their stays at Port Orleans.
Gluten-Free Dining at Disney World
Walt Disney World has robust gluten-free dining programs in place to accommodate guests who cannot consume gluten due to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or other health issues. All restaurants on Disney property have gluten-free menus and food preparation procedures to avoid cross-contamination for gluten-free orders. Chefs and cast members receive special training on safely preparing gluten-free foods in the Disney kitchens. Disney also has a dedicated culinary team that works actively with restaurants on gluten-free recipe development.
So both table service and quick service restaurants at Disney’s resorts, parks and entertainment districts generally offer multiple clearly marked gluten-free options. That includes being able to prepare gluten-free versions of some of Disney’s most iconic and popular menu items, like churros, Mickey waffles, funnel cakes and of course, beignets.
Why Are Beignets Such a Popular Treat?
For those not familiar, what exactly are beignets? Beignets are essentially just fried dough, made from a yeasted dough, cut into small squares, fried and then coated liberally in powdered sugar. They have a crisp, airy exterior and a soft, pillowy interior. Beignets likely originated from France in the 17th century and became popular in New Orleans after the Louisiana Purchase when French colonists brought them over.
Beignets are now completely synonymous with New Orleans style cooking and widely considered one of the city’s signature foods and sweets. Several key factors contribute to their popularity:
– The simplicity of the ingredients – beignets just require basic pantry staples like flour, sugar, eggs and oil that are likely already on hand.
– They’re quick and easy to make. The yeasted dough comes together quickly and fries up fast, so fresh hot beignets can be served up with little effort.
– They appeal to both kids and adults. Kids love the sweet powdered sugar coating while adults appreciate the refined, fried dough texture.
– They pair perfectly with coffee, cafe au lait or chocolate milk for breakfast, brunch or a snack.
– Though fried, they have a lightness that makes them hard to stop eating! The airy interior means you can enjoy several without feeling overly full.
– They’re shareable and make an fun, interactive meal when you can dip the beignets in powdered sugar or dipping sauces.
So beignets hit that sweet spot of being both nostalgic and novel at the same time. People fondly remember enjoying them in New Orleans, yet they’re uncommon enough in most areas that they still feel like a special treat.
Beignets at Port Orleans French Quarter
The Port Orleans French Quarter resort transports guests to the historic French Quarter in New Orleans with wrought iron balconies, lush courtyards and Southern antebellum architecture. Cajun fare like jambalaya, gumbo and Po’boy sandwiches are served at the casual food outlets.
Given the theming, beignets are naturally incorporated on the menus at several French Quarter eateries:
Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory
This counter service restaurant in the French Quarter lobby serves up quick breakfasts, lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu includes an order of three powdered sugar-dusted, Mickey shaped beignets for $5.49. Gluten-free beignets are available on request.
Croissant Moon Bakery
This bakery and beignet shop attached to the Sassagoula Floatworks restaurant is the best place to get your beignet fix at Port Orleans French Quarter. Guests can order individual beignets for $3.99 or a shareable 3-pack for $4.99. The bakery can make the beignets with gluten-free baking mix upon request.
French Quarter Café
Breakfast is served daily at this more intimate table service restaurant including Mickey-shaped beignets, with gluten-free preparation available. An order of 3 gluten-free beignets is $5.49 here.
Mardi Grogs Pool Bar
The French Quarter’s pool bar also gets in on the beignet action, with an order of 3 Mickey beignets for $5.99. Let the host know you need a gluten-free preparation.
So gluten-free guests have their pick of spots to indulge in this quintessential New Orleans treat in a gluten-free form during a Port Orleans French Quarter stay.
Beignets at Port Orleans Riverside
Port Orleans Riverside transports guests to the grandeur of Louisiana’s manor homes and bayous. The backwoods style cabins, peaceful landscapes and outdoor activities present a different side of Louisiana’s culture. But true to its shared New Orleans roots, Riverside also serves up hot beignets in its food outlets:
Boatwright’s Dining Hall
The table service Southern comfort cuisine restaurant in Riverside’s main lobby offers Mickey-shaped beignets on the appetizer menu available gluten-free upon request. An order includes 3 beignets for $5.49. The restaurant’s kid’s menu also includes gluten-free beignet as a substitute for the standard desserts, a nice option for gluten-free kids craving this treat!
River Roost Lounge
The lounge adjacent to Boatwright’s serves food including beignets and specialty southern cocktails and beers. The beignets come 3 for $5.49 with gluten-free preparation available on request. Live entertainment and Yehaa Bob’s nightly comedy show make this a fun spot for enjoying beignets and letting the powdered sugar dusting fall where it may!
Riverside Mill Food Court
The counter service food court offers standard theme park-style quick eats like burgers, chicken fingers and salads. But in the mornings, guests can also get an order of 3 Mickey beignets for $5.49 with gluten-free versions made to order.
The charming and more relaxed vibe at Riverside means fewer crowds clamoring for beignets. But gluten-free guests can still enjoy this treat here in several spots, including table service ambiance at Boatwright’s.
Tips for Ordering Gluten-Free Beignets at Port Orleans
To help ensure you safely get to enjoy gluten-free beignets during your stay, keep these tips in mind when ordering at any Walt Disney World restaurant:
– Specify that you need to order from the gluten-free menu due to an allergy – using the word “allergy” flags additional preparation care in Disney’s kitchens
– Ask your server to confirm if the beignet order can be prepared gluten-free
– Request that the frying oil used for your beignets has not been used to fry any wheat-based items
– Verify with your server that the powdered sugar coating on the beignets is gluten-free
– If dining at a table service restaurant, ensure your server marks your order as gluten-free and alerts the chef to follow proper protocols
– When your order arrives, visually inspect that the beignets look like fresh fried dough rather than a baked gluten-free alternative
By being proactive with your order, you can enjoy peace of mind that your beignet treat is safe for your dietary needs. That gives you license to blissfully dip away in that powdered sugar!
Other Gluten-Free Treat Options at Port Orleans
While beignets may be the quintessential gluten-free treat at Port Orleans, guests have some other sweet options to consider like:
Mickey waffles – Available gluten-free during breakfast at the various quick service spots
Churros – The beloved Disney churro gets a gluten-free preparation at several locations
King cake – Seasonally available at the bakeries during Mardi Gras celebrations
Brownies or cookies – Pre-packaged gluten-free versions are stocked for dessert or snacks
No Way Jose – This layered dessert at Boatwright’s is gluten-free without the cake component
Ice cream novelties – Look for gluten-free frozen desserts in the gift shops
So those with gluten restrictions visiting Port Orleans don’t have to feel left out of thefun, even if they need to pass on the classic beignets. There are still plenty of magical gluten-free sweets and treats to enjoy during a Disney getaway.
Dining Precautions for Gluten-Free Disney Guests
While Walt Disney World does go to great lengths to accommodate gluten-free diets, guests do still need to take some precautions when eating at the Disney parks and resorts:
Cross-contamination is still a risk
Even with excellent training and dedicated fryers and prep areas, the normal kitchen operations still present a small risk of cross-contamination with gluten. Disney does not guarantee an entirely gluten-free environment. So those highly sensitive should still use caution.
Ingredients and recipes can change
As with any restaurant, Disney’s chefs do update recipes and use substituted ingredients in some cases. So if a meal contained something gluten-free on a prior trip, double check that is still the case.
Food prep mistakes happen
With the volume of food Disney serves, human error can occur in busy kitchens. Verify your order was accurately placed and prepared as gluten-free when served.
Kids’ menu substitutions aren’t automatic
If ordering off the kids’ menu, remind your server you need a gluten-free side and dessert substituted for the standard ones listed. Don’t assume they’ll automatically realize the swap is needed.
So while Disney World is ahead of the curve for gluten-free accommodations, guests do need to actively manage their own dining orders. By being informed and proactive, gluten-free guests can have peace of mind eating at Disney’s parks and resorts.
Gluten-Free Dining at Other Disney Resorts
Beyond Port Orleans, what other Disney resorts offer solid gluten-free dining options?
Has several dedicated gluten-free offerings including gluten-free waffles and a gluten-free cake at the Contempo Cafe food court. California Grill serves a gluten-free bread basket and has an extensive gluten-free menu.
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Offers a separate gluten-free menu at its sit-down restaurants Boma and Jiko. Sanaa’s kitchen focuses specifically on allergy-friendly preparation.
Features gluten-free waffles, brownies and pizza crust at its quick service locations. Artist Point and Whispering Canyon have separate gluten-free menus.
The sit-down restaurants have gluten-free menus and several quick outlets offer gluten-free pizzas, sandwiches and desserts.
Yacht & Beach Clubs
The restaurants here accommodate gluten-free diets and Ale & Compass offers gluten-free fish & chips and nutella waffle sandwiches specifically.
Has dedicated fryers for gluten-free items at its quick service spots along with ample gluten-free choices at Cítricos and Narcoossee’s.
So guests that require gluten-free meals have excellent dining choices at deluxe Disney resorts to accompany the theme park and Disney Springs options. With some planning, those with dietary restrictions can enjoy their Disney vacation without feeling limited on the food front.
Top Tips for Gluten-Free Dining at Disney World
Navigating gluten-free eating at the parks and resorts is much easier by keeping these must-know tips in mind:
– Do your research
Review restaurant menus online for gluten-free options and guest feedback before your trip
– Make reservations
This ensures the chef is ready for your gluten-free order, especially at higher-end restaurants
– Explain your needs to your server
Clearly state you require fully gluten-free meals, not just wheat-free, due to an allergy
– Ask about prep procedures
Understand how food is cooked and if items share fryers or prep areas with gluten items
– Confirm your order
Verify your meal is marked and plated as gluten-free to prevent mix-ups
– Pack snacks
Bring gluten-free snacks to have on hand all day in the parks
– Download the Disney app
Use the app to search menus and order food at quick service spots ahead of time
– Carry your own “cheat sheet”
Make a card with your dietary needs and acceptable brands to show Disney cast members
– Seek chef assistance
Ask to speak to the chef if needed to feel fully comfortable with ingredient choices and prep
– Enjoy the experience!
Don’t let dietary limitations interfere with making magical memories
While eating gluten-free at Disney World requires some extra care and effort, the peace of mind of eating safely lets you fully immerse in Disney magic!
Even with its indulgent beignets, churros and Mickey waffles, Disney World offers secure gluten-free eating through its chefs’ specialized training and accommodating kitchen protocols. Guests who follow gluten-free diets can find breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack choices at both table service and quick service restaurants in the parks, resorts and Disney Springs.
The Disney chefs put additional care into safely preparing popular Disney menu items in gluten-free forms, like the iconic Mickey-shaped beignets served around Port Orleans. By being aware of preparation procedures and carefully placing their orders, gluten-free guests can feel at ease eating anywhere at the Disney parks and hotels. With personal responsibility and proactive communication, those avoiding gluten can experience Disney magic without food-related worries.