Gluten-free Universal Orlando: a #nimatested Dining Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Hello muggles! My name is Emma; I am an alumni of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and I am a proud Hufflepuff.
Okay…in all seriousness I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease during the summer of 2015 and when I got my Nima my life changed. I’ve always loved to travel and I’m the least picky eater out there – as long as it isn’t super spicy, I’ll try anything once. Nima has allowed me to travel and eat with confidence when I am in unfamiliar places.
I visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando January 28-31 and brought my Nima with me so I could find out what a witch can eat on vacation at a theme park. I’m so excited to share that Universal blew me away with only one gluten found result out of everything I tested! Check out what I tested and ate and hopefully you too can visit The Wizarding World and enjoy all of the goodies with confidence.
Before leaving for The Wizarding World I emailed Universal Studios culinary department via a link on the main webpage. The website suggested anyone with food allergies contact the park before arrival in order to plan their meals. I suggest writing to them sooner than later as it took about 2 weeks for me to hear back from them.
Universal emailed me a list of gluten-free items that can be found at the Wizarding World area of the parks, but also said this list can change and so anyone visiting should email even after reading this review because an item’s gluten-free status can change.
Personally, after 3 days at the Wizarding World I never felt ill…I was always impressed with the customer service and the quality of the food.
Also we stayed at the new Aventura Hotel at Universal Studios and the staff were helpful and knowledgeable about gluten-free meals. Those also tested gluten-free but I imagine in a place like that it really matters who you have helping you.
Finally, I recommend a fanny pack for holding your Nima, the test capsules, your phone, and money. We were allowed to wear our fanny packs on every ride we did except for The Hulk which saved us a lot of time by avoiding the crowds at the lockers.
The Leaky Cauldron
Location: Diagon Alley
#nimatested Dish: Gluten-free Pancakes with Bacon, and a Chicken Sandwich
Notes: When I arrived at The Leaky Cauldron I told the witch or wizard behind the register that I had food allergies and needed to speak to a chef. Each time the employee would ask what my concerns were and I would explain I had Celiac Disease and needed to eat a gluten-free meal. After this a chef would join me at the register with their book of listed GF foods and we would discuss what I wanted to eat for that particular meal. When I ordered the pancakes I asked about cross contamination and the chef did not hesitate – she said they were the first thing they made in the morning to avoid any gluten. I felt as if the staff were knowledgeable and confident! Luckily my Nima agreed – I tested each part of my meal and it always came back gluten-free.
The Three Broomsticks
#nimatested Dish: Short Ribs with Potatoes, and Corn on the Cob
Notes: As with The Leaky Cauldron, I went through the whole talk about Celiac Disease and wanting to see a chef. This time a chef was not brought out but the employee taking my order seemed comfortable telling me what was safe for me to order. It made me a little nervous not to see a chef but everything tested gluten-free just as I was told it would. As was the case with everything else at The Wizarding World my meal was very good and I was happy with my order and experience.
#nimatested Dish: Fizzing Whizzbees, Chocolate Wand, Chocolate Frog, Exploding Bon-Bons, and Butterbeer Fudge
Notes: The packaging for all of these famous treats say they are made in a facility with wheat but none of them tested as having gluten. I was really surprised with how good everything tasted – I really didn’t have high expectations for theme park candy but the Exploding Bon Bons taste like Fruity Pebbles, and the chocolate and Fizzing Whizbees were surprisingly good! I was certain the Butterbeer fudge I brought home for my husband would be contaminated because it was in a case with all kinds of gluten baked goods, but I tested it anyway and was surprised to see it was gluten-free. Either way I would be especially cautious when ordering anything from the case at Honeydukes.
#nimatested Dish: Butterbeer
Notes: When I got the list of gluten-free items from Universal Studios it said all types of Butterbeer were gluten-free so I tested the cold variety to double check. It was gluten-free and amazingly good! I tried all three varieties during my time there – cold, frozen, and hot (only available during colder months). My favorite was the cold, my husband prefers the frozen, and my friend loved the hot. You really can’t go wrong with any of them but if you are a fan of the books hot is the way it is meant to be enjoyed!
Diagon Alley Food Stand
Location: Diagon Alley
#nimatested Dish: Gilly Water Elixer
Notes: There is a stand in Diagon Alley that sells several Elixers you can add to your Gilly Water….I tested the Euphoria Elixer and it was gluten-free.
Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream
[ not pictured ]
#nimatested Dish: Strawberry and Peanut Butter Hard Ice Cream
Notes: Cones were being filled while held over the ice cream and I don’t know how well the scoops get cleaned in the water they soak them in, so I can totally see where cross contamination could happen. The soft serve might be a safer bet since it comes from the machine and not a contaminated scoop.
Testing tip: When testing foods that are creamy or high in fat, try diluting your sample with a few drops of water. This will help in the mixing process!
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