Non-Aulani celiac-friendly (or generally food allergy-friendly) recs?

cmph

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Anyone have experience with restaurants outside of Aulani that are definitely safe options? DH has celiac, and we (of course) know that Disney is great with allergies. But we can't afford to eat every meal at Aulani on an 8-day trip. Right now I have a res at Monkeypod, which I believe will be fine, and the sushi place in Ko Olino has g-f tamari noted on their menu. But saying you have gluten-free options, and actually being safe for someone with celiac are two different things. We're in a 1-bedroom villa and will have breakfast in there almost everyday, so I'm mostly trying to get any ideas for lunch/dinner away from the resort, anywhere on Oahu, as we have plans to go to a variety of places all over the island. I've already gone through the usual g-f sites for ideas, but they never seem to have the best non-chain suggestions for any location, in my experience. Thx!
 

jtba

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
we just came back from aulani after spending 5 nights there. DD5 has been clinically diagnosed to be allergic to gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish. not quite celiac but you know, lots of things to avoid. we picked up grocery from safeway en route to aulani from HNL, but, not knowing what the allergen-free options were available, we brought a box of gluten-free cereal, a loaf of gf bread, gf buns, and lots of safe snacks for her from home.

we had a 1-bedroom villa and ate our breakfasts there every morning. for lunch, i had looked for gluten-free french fries for her, but there were none to be had from Mama's Snacks place (or whatever it's called, hotdog stand between lazy river and main pool, across from the Lava Shack) and pool-side service--i was told by the server that our best bet was to get fresh fruits because it would be guaranteed to be free of cross contamination and cross contact. so she had two bunless hotdogs from Mama's Snacks with the gluten-free hotdog buns we brought. we also ordered the breakfast potatoes from ulu cafe for two lunches, and she was very happy with that. you gotta order them before 11 though, as that's when breakfast service ends, replaced by lunch items.

we dined at ama ama twice. the first time she had the steak from the kids' meal; the waitress was really awesome and gave her fresh fruit when everyone else's bread came, and swapped out the mickey head cookie with dairy-free strawberry sorbet. DD was thrilled with that. the second time we dined there, *sigh* somehow the kitchen mixed up her order with DS'. she was meant to have grilled steak with rice, but received grilled steak with mashed potatoes, which had dairy. the sad thing was, we asked specifically about the mashed potatoes when we saw it on her plate, and were told the kitchen made sure it was dairy-free. DD happily took a few bites. then the waitress came back, apologized profusely and said she was wrong, it had dairy in it and was not meant for her. at that point DD said her tongue felt tingly, and her lower lip looked ever so slightly swollen and more red than usual. we gave her Benadryl immediately and had our epipens ready. thankfully it didn't progress beyond that, but i was like, what else could we have done to ensure the meal was safe for her, you know??? we already noted down all her allergies on our reservation, checked with the waitress, asked before the dish was served, and it still happened. the manager came out and apologized too, said they would make her a new plate, and came back to check on her again towards the end of the meal. and that was it. they did not comp her portion. not sure if it was because they gave her a second serving? i wasn't sure what to expect. felt like they could've done more, but we let it go because we aren't the type ot make a fuss.

it's ironic that you wrote "we (of course) know that Disney is great with allergies". i say ironic because she also developed reactions twice during our alaskan disney cruise last summer (see my trip report). i suppose i should just be happy it didn't get worse, like an ER visit or something. because it's happened three times now with disney properties, i want to warn FA people to not let your guard down simply because it's disney.

now, because your daughter only avoids gluten, it should be a little easier.

DD did have a dinner prepared solely by the kitchen out of my sight during the premium activity "surf's up" at aunty's beach house while DH and i dined at roy's across the street. i can't remember what she had; the staff reassured me the kitchen knew about her allegies and would take everything into consideration while preparing food for her. this was before the incident at ama ama so i was more relaxed than i otherwise would've been, i suppose. but i was glad that we were away from her for 3.5 hours and she was safe and sound when we picked her up. i had packed a sandwich with her, but DH brought it back after dropping off the kids, and said aunty's did not allow outside food to be brought in. it makes sense because i wouldn't want other parents to send along a PB&J sandwich to aunty's!

as for off-property places, we did eat at monkeypod but there weren't too many options she could have due to her numerous allergies. i think she ended up getting the keiki burger, substituting lettuce for buns, which was ok.

there is a store called down to earth organic & natural, supposedly a whole foods-like grocery store near target and we even drove past it, but we didn't go in because i felt we had enough items already. you might want to call them to see what they carry.

overall, aside from that incident at ama ama, we are very happy with our vacation. but please vigilant while you dine, and don't let your guard down because "it's disney".

ping me if you have more questions.

Anyone have experience with restaurants outside of Aulani that are definitely safe options? DH has celiac, and we (of course) know that Disney is great with allergies. But we can't afford to eat every meal at Aulani on an 8-day trip. Right now I have a res at Monkeypod, which I believe will be fine, and the sushi place in Ko Olino has g-f tamari noted on their menu. But saying you have gluten-free options, and actually being safe for someone with celiac are two different things. We're in a 1-bedroom villa and will have breakfast in there almost everyday, so I'm mostly trying to get any ideas for lunch/dinner away from the resort, anywhere on Oahu, as we have plans to go to a variety of places all over the island. I've already gone through the usual g-f sites for ideas, but they never seem to have the best non-chain suggestions for any location, in my experience. Thx!
 
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cmph

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Eek! We've had such great luck with DL and WDW. Maybe the parks have more stringent training, or we've just been lucky! It's my husband, and he's a non-picky adult, which does make things easier. And only being a gluten issue, much easier to deal with in general than multiple allergies. It'll take him 30-60min to get sick, since it's not an allergic reaction, but once he's sick - there is no fix, and he's sick for 24-48 hours bare min. Not something you want to happen on vacation. Did you contact Disney after the fact, once you were home? I can't believe that's all they did for your daughter, knowing they put her in danger, frankly. To me, it's not even about the money - although I'm shocked they didn't take her entree off your bill. I would have hoped they would have checked in regarding her health later that evening or the next day.

Did you speak to the Ama'Ama chef, or just the waitress? Again, we're just used to the parks, where we can generally see what they're doing to accommodate in quick service places b/c they're in sight, and the chef has always come to our table in table service restaurants. I'm racking my brain now, but I can't think of any table service we've been to where he didn't personally speak to the chef before ordering. I assumed that was the Disney-norm, but maybe not for the non-parks properties? Or maybe we're just bossy and insist even if they don't want to send a chef out, ha!

Thank you very much for your candid response. We're sailing on the Wonder in Dec, first DCL, so I'm definitely going to read through your trip report.
 
  • E&Cmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2011
    Fortunately we had a better experience. My husband has a gluten allergy and we had no issues eating at Aulani. At Uli cafe, they made him a special gluten free flat bread. At the Character breakfast, the chef came out and showed hime everything he could and could not eat. If he wanted pancakes or waffles, they just made them separately. We ate at Ama Ama for 2 breakfasts and one lunch and again they made suggestions of alternatives if he couldn't have what he wanted. I do remember we had to go to "Off the Hook" since ehe felt like a burger and they had a gluten free bun there.

    We also ate at Monkeypod. I can't remember what he ate but he found something and enjoyed it.
     

    jtba

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 21, 2014
    Eek! We've had such great luck with DL and WDW. Maybe the parks have more stringent training, or we've just been lucky! It's my husband, and he's a non-picky adult, which does make things easier. And only being a gluten issue, much easier to deal with in general than multiple allergies. It'll take him 30-60min to get sick, since it's not an allergic reaction, but once he's sick - there is no fix, and he's sick for 24-48 hours bare min. Not something you want to happen on vacation. Did you contact Disney after the fact, once you were home? I can't believe that's all they did for your daughter, knowing they put her in danger, frankly. To me, it's not even about the money - although I'm shocked they didn't take her entree off your bill. I would have hoped they would have checked in regarding her health later that evening or the next day.

    Did you speak to the Ama'Ama chef, or just the waitress? Again, we're just used to the parks, where we can generally see what they're doing to accommodate in quick service places b/c they're in sight, and the chef has always come to our table in table service restaurants. I'm racking my brain now, but I can't think of any table service we've been to where he didn't personally speak to the chef before ordering. I assumed that was the Disney-norm, but maybe not for the non-parks properties? Or maybe we're just bossy and insist even if they don't want to send a chef out, ha!

    Thank you very much for your candid response. We're sailing on the Wonder in Dec, first DCL, so I'm definitely going to read through your trip report.
    i do think you will have a better time than us. i have not contacted disney yet; still mulling it over. i emailed DCL customer service after our incidents last year, and the customer service rep basically just said sorry that happened, we'll do better, blah blah blah. yes, i agree that it would've been nice and more "disney magical" if the manager had called our room to check up on us or something like that. we don't need monetary compensation, just something that tells us they feel bad about the whole thing and will strive to do better next time and, more importantly, be more careful for their other, more severely allergic guests.

    we asked to speak to the chef the very first day, but the waitress said the allergens were already reflected on our reservation, and because that experience was overwhelmingly positive (i even asked for the manager after the meal to praise the waitress), we didn't think to ask at the second meal.

    oh i'm so happy to hear you'll be on the wonder! my trip report is pretty long, but do ask for sarah vine as your head server, if she's still on board at that time. she really took very good care of us, and was very attentive about the whole allergy thing. the incidents that did happen on board was beyond her control, and we did not hold it again her. we miss her fondly. :)
     

    vikequeen

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2015
    I'm so sorry that happened to you. My son is peanut allergic, and we had good luck on our recent trip. my two cents for whatever it is worth -- I would contact disney again. i don't think their response was adequate. Comping the meal would have been the least (the very least) they could and should have done. I'm more concerned that no one followed up. They are held in such high regard in the allergy community this concerns me. I know mix ups can happen (isn't that we all worry about), but the follow up afterward is a no-brainer. I'm glad she is ok now!
     

    cmph

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2016
    i do think you will have a better time than us. i have not contacted disney yet; still mulling it over. i emailed DCL customer service after our incidents last year, and the customer service rep basically just said sorry that happened, we'll do better, blah blah blah. yes, i agree that it would've been nice and more "disney magical" if the manager had called our room to check up on us or something like that. we don't need monetary compensation, just something that tells us they feel bad about the whole thing and will strive to do better next time and, more importantly, be more careful for their other, more severely allergic guests.

    we asked to speak to the chef the very first day, but the waitress said the allergens were already reflected on our reservation, and because that experience was overwhelmingly positive (i even asked for the manager after the meal to praise the waitress), we didn't think to ask at the second meal.

    oh i'm so happy to hear you'll be on the wonder! my trip report is pretty long, but do ask for sarah vine as your head server, if she's still on board at that time. she really took very good care of us, and was very attentive about the whole allergy thing. the incidents that did happen on board was beyond her control, and we did not hold it again her. we miss her fondly. :)
    I would have had no idea to request a particular head server, but we're totally doing that!! I did read through your report, and my biggest take-aways were "get lots of magnets for the door" and "don't let DH eat dessert." LOL! He would rather have a second steak than eat dessert, so that's not such an issue. I'm guessing that dessert prep is done by a whole separate crew well before it's served, without nearly as much care to avoid cross-contam.

    OK - so my plan for Aulani is just to flat out insist on speaking to a chef at Ama'Ama. E&CMom doesn't reference eating there, so maybe that's the one to watch out for. Maybe it draws fewer kids, so they aren't as cautious? helpful? with allergies as the more kid-friendly buffets and quick services places. I don't know, but I do think putting a face to the allergy makes it more real for the chef. And I will totally bring up the "we know you gave a milk-allergic child unsafe mashed potatoes" reference if they say talking to a chef isn't necessary - I have no shame! I wonder if they will remember it? We have plans to eat at literally every place on-site, so I will report back here for any future visitors' sake!
     
  • E&Cmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2011
    We did mention above that we ate at Ama Ama twice but never for diiner. We had two breakfast one one lunch there. We had no issues. i agree that you should talk to the chef.
     

    jtba

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 21, 2014
    I would have had no idea to request a particular head server, but we're totally doing that!! I did read through your report, and my biggest take-aways were "get lots of magnets for the door" and "don't let DH eat dessert." LOL! He would rather have a second steak than eat dessert, so that's not such an issue. I'm guessing that dessert prep is done by a whole separate crew well before it's served, without nearly as much care to avoid cross-contam.

    OK - so my plan for Aulani is just to flat out insist on speaking to a chef at Ama'Ama. E&CMom doesn't reference eating there, so maybe that's the one to watch out for. Maybe it draws fewer kids, so they aren't as cautious? helpful? with allergies as the more kid-friendly buffets and quick services places. I don't know, but I do think putting a face to the allergy makes it more real for the chef. And I will totally bring up the "we know you gave a milk-allergic child unsafe mashed potatoes" reference if they say talking to a chef isn't necessary - I have no shame! I wonder if they will remember it? We have plans to eat at literally every place on-site, so I will report back here for any future visitors' sake!
    in our case i'm guessing it was the waitress who made the error, because they did make the food correctly, but she swapped the plates between DS and DD as they both had the grilled steak. still, i specifically asked her when the plates were presented whether DD's was dairy-free and she answered yes!!!

    i double-checked our receipt just now to make sure that they really didn't comp us (even though the manager said she would):
    receipt.png

    guest #1 is DS, who ordered the grilled steak that comes with a mickeyhead cookie. #2 is me (for this particular meal i had the waitress list DD's allergies as well so i could share my lamb with her). #3 is DH who had the fish. #4 is DD.

    i will take your advice after all and contact aulani, but need to clean up the house first! we've been home for two days now and there are still clumps of stuff from the trip at random corners of the house. ;)

    p.s. when your wonder cruise gets closer, ask for FA-friendly servers and/or head servers on the main DCL forum. that's where i got sarah's name in the first place, although she was a server at the time. as you may have read we pre-ordered for DD the night before, and she was always the one to take those orders.
     

    cmph

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2016
    We did mention above that we ate at Ama Ama twice but never for diiner. We had two breakfast one one lunch there. We had no issues. i agree that you should talk to the chef.
    Somehow I glossed over that?? I have no idea how!! Thank you!
     

    cmph

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2016
    in our case i'm guessing it was the waitress who made the error, because they did make the food correctly, but she swapped the plates between DS and DD as they both had the grilled steak. still, i specifically asked her when the plates were presented whether DD's was dairy-free and she answered yes!!!

    i double-checked our receipt just now to make sure that they really didn't comp us (even though the manager said she would):
    View attachment 162949

    guest #1 is DS, who ordered the grilled steak that comes with a mickeyhead cookie. #2 is me (for this particular meal i had the waitress list DD's allergies as well so i could share my lamb with her). #3 is DH who had the fish. #4 is DD.

    i will take your advice after all and contact aulani, but need to clean up the house first! we've been home for two days now and there are still clumps of stuff from the trip at random corners of the house. ;)

    p.s. when your wonder cruise gets closer, ask for FA-friendly servers and/or head servers on the main DCL forum. that's where i got sarah's name in the first place, although she was a server at the time. as you may have read we pre-ordered for DD the night before, and she was always the one to take those orders.
    It's nice that she apologized, but the server clearly screwed up!! Anyone who's really trained to deal with allergies would have said "let me check first" instead of telling you the potatoes were safe and THEN checking. That's nuts. I was just talking to DH about this last night - how adults diagnosed later in life at least have a decent chance of recognizing that something is probably not ok for them. A kid who has never even eaten the thing they're allergic to would have no clue and just keep eating it. Thank goodness she only ate a few bites!

    Beyond training the servers better, this mix-up was entirely preventable!! The kitchen needs to implement some kind of way to flag allergy-related orders on the plate itself. Just a special little toothpick thing or something. I know some of the parks restaurants do that (BOG did for sure), so why isn't is Disney-wide? It is NOT that hard to stick a little flag into the food and avoid any chance of the server mixing plates up. Why on earth wouldn't they do that?? This is probably the one thing we should all be making a stink about, b/c it's such a simple solution.
     
  • vikequeen

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2015
    Thanks for all of this info -- we are going on our first cruise next year so this is helpful. And I agree -- how hard would a special toothpick be? I'm still surprised they didn't take better care of you. And if it makes you feel better, we got back 3 weeks ago and I don't think everything is put away yet. Perhaps I am spending too much time on this board :)
     

    Mom2disneygirls

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2014
    Okay since I have some fellow allergy suffers here with kids... were any of yours teens? Trying to find out what toppings they have in the Painted Sky yogurt bar.... more importantly trying to find out if they have peanut in there because it is the main teen hangout and would prefer my severely peanut allergic teen girl to be safe hanging out there... and have not had luck finding this out.
     

    cmph

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2016
    Okay since I have some fellow allergy suffers here with kids... were any of yours teens? Trying to find out what toppings they have in the Painted Sky yogurt bar.... more importantly trying to find out if they have peanut in there because it is the main teen hangout and would prefer my severely peanut allergic teen girl to be safe hanging out there... and have not had luck finding this out.
    I would call them ahead of time, if I were you, or maybe email. I'm not sure anyone on this thread has teens, but even if they do - you never know if they might have changed the menu since that family went. I doubt any of us wants to tell you it would be fine and be wrong for a highly allergic kid!! Also - not for Painted Sky, but for the adult spa, when I made our appts, they asked about allergies/sensitivities. The CM who booked us made fairly extensive notes about gluten/wheat just for DH's massage. If they're asking for that info for adults, then I would hope they have plenty of allergy info at the ready for a teen area.
     

    Mom2disneygirls

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2014
    I would call them ahead of time, if I were you, or maybe email. I'm not sure anyone on this thread has teens, but even if they do - you never know if they might have changed the menu since that family went. I doubt any of us wants to tell you it would be fine and be wrong for a highly allergic kid!! Also - not for Painted Sky, but for the adult spa, when I made our appts, they asked about allergies/sensitivities. The CM who booked us made fairly extensive notes about gluten/wheat just for DH's massage. If they're asking for that info for adults, then I would hope they have plenty of allergy info at the ready for a teen area.
    Not asking if they would be fine just trying to get a clearer picture on it - trust me we have lived with this for YEARS now. I have called and could not get a straight answer which was surprising for Disney regarding allergies (long time allergy and Disney family) but have found Disboards tends to have more little details than Disney likes to release and some first hand experiences which is always helpful.... no different than asking about restaurant experiences you know good to hear what everyone does but always go in asking your tried and true specific to you questions and be prepared to walk away and do something else. Teen club seems to be one of the hardest places to get a lot of info on. We scheduled spa services as well and they asked about them and made notes but again the specifics on peanut toppings seemed to hard to get a definite on. Was just hoping maybe someone reading this will have been there done that.
     

    vikequeen

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2015
    Not asking if they would be fine just trying to get a clearer picture on it - trust me we have lived with this for YEARS now. I have called and could not get a straight answer which was surprising for Disney regarding allergies (long time allergy and Disney family) but have found Disboards tends to have more little details than Disney likes to release and some first hand experiences which is always helpful.... no different than asking about restaurant experiences you know good to hear what everyone does but always go in asking your tried and true specific to you questions and be prepared to walk away and do something else. Teen club seems to be one of the hardest places to get a lot of info on. We scheduled spa services as well and they asked about them and made notes but again the specifics on peanut toppings seemed to hard to get a definite on. Was just hoping maybe someone reading this will have been there done that.
    sorry -- my kids are younger so I can't be helpful. Very odd to get so little info from Disney. Good luck.
     

    jtba

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 21, 2014
    @Mom2disneygirls , you might consider posting your question under a new message by itself because right now it's getting buried in here under a heading about gluten-free places off-aulani, so parents with teens aren't necessarily reading this. my own kids aren't teens yet so i can't offer any tips for you there. good luck though!
     

    Mom2disneygirls

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2014
    @Mom2disneygirls , you might consider posting your question under a new message by itself because right now it's getting buried in here under a heading about gluten-free places off-aulani, so parents with teens aren't necessarily reading this. my own kids aren't teens yet so i can't offer any tips for you there. good luck though!

    Yep just figured I would check to see if any of the people who had allergies who were commenting may hopefully had teens based on the conversation of restaurants. Since we saw some restaurant places and took notes on that figured same subset of people doesn't hurt to ask -- food issue families tend to be aware of these things in a different way then general population.
     

    DCPhotoGal

    Photographer and Mom to 2 Princesses
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2011
    I have a shellfish allergy and the only Aulani restaurant I had a problem with was the dinner buffet. After I saw all of the seafood I was nervous about eating there, so I spoke with my server who sent over someone from the kitchen to talk about the food and allergies. I followed his direction as to what was safe, but still got sick, so there must have been on cross contamination along the way. But that could have been a buffet issue (using serving spoons in different containers, etc) and not a kitchen issue.

    You might try Roy's as an option. I really enjoyed eating there, and had no reaction to any of the food I ate there.
     

    cmph

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2016
    Just wanted to pop back into this thread and report that DH safely ate all over Aulani and didn't get "glutened" once! We ate at Makahiki (once each dinner and breakfast - plenty of options at both for him, he was very happy); Ama'Ama for one breakfast and one dinner (he had the hash benedict thing for breakfast, naturally gf, and the ceviche and fish special at dinner - had to change sauces for the fish but otherwise was gf already); Off the Hook (a burger on a gf bun with fruit was pretty much his only option); shaved ice (nothing there with gluten); room service (he had the fish of the day which was naturally gf as were the sides) and a bunch of meals at Ulu. We really liked Ulu for the cost/food/ease. Any "sandwich of the day" could be made gf by subbing in what looked like a rice-flour based tortilla and (I assume) gf bread where it made more sense. Tortillas worked fine for the kahlua pork tacos and chicken tandoori. He had the honey roasted chicken and steamed fish plates of the day, and they brought him those from the back w/o sauce. The meat part is the last thing they add to the plate - first the rice, then potatoes, then veg, then meat, so no chance of cross-contam from the sauce on the meat. He also had one of the flatbreads, which can all be made gf.

    The only places he never ate were the beach quick-service (we just never ate there) and Mama's by the pool. I guess the hot dog would be ok without the regular bun, but it wasn't something he'd ever pick when Ulu was a minute away.

    We bought grocery supplies for all of his breakfasts other than the 1 each at Ama'Ama and Makahiki, so I can't speak to other gf breakfast options. We ate off-site when we had excursions, but he always brought his lunch, so I'm afraid I can't help with non-Aulani ideas! It was too dicey for him to eat in most tourist places (Pearl Harbor, Dole, etc), and the kids just never wanted to be away from the resort in the evening for us to go elsewhere! We cooked frozen pizzas for one dinner in the villa, and cooked hot dogs on the grill one night for dinner (with leftovers for lunch). We did our grocery shopping at Safeway b/c it was nearly closing time for Costco by the time we got there, and we re-stocked at Island market, which had a good selection of stuff, actually.
     

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