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Disneyland Paris
Avg. Customer Review (1.0 Palms): 1.0 Palms
Number of Reviews: 1

Review Type: Resort
36 Rue Bichat, Marne-la-Vallée, 77777
Dedicated GF: No
Phone: +33 1 60 30 60
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Disneyland Paris is NOT like Disney World in Orlando when it comes to gluten-free dining,

Reviewer: from South Riding, VA, USA - See all reviews by Gftraveler

1.0 Palms
1.0 Palms
We recently took a trip to Paris over our sons' Spring Break. The reason for choosing Paris was due to my mother-in-law owning a time-share with Marriott resorts, and her "home" property (where she initially signed up) was at their resort about 40 minutes outside of downtown Paris, right near Disneyland Paris. So, although the main focus of our trip was to see the sights in Paris (after all, we've been to Diseny in Orlando a couple times and Disneyland in Anaheim once as well), we decided to stay close to our villa and visit Disneyland Paris our first day in France while we were still "adjusting" to the time difference. Our expectations for Disneyland Paris (from a gluten-free perspective) were tempered, at best. After doing a fair amount of initial research, contacting the park, reading posts online, we knew it was nothing like the parks in Orlando and Anaheim, which are the "gold standard" in gluten-free travel if you have kids. Unlike the U.S. parks, Disneyland Paris does not have gluten-free options in most of their park restaurants. In fact, they don't provide any list at all, but rather have pre-made "allergen free" meals they provide at certain restaurants. These "allergen free" meals are pre- packaged microwavable meals prepared by an outside company called Natama. After reading about them online -- and reading the not-so-complimentary comments in the online message boards, we decided to forgo these meals and bring a PB&J sandwich (and lots of snacks!) for our son to nibble on throughout the day. There are only four choices of meals (chicken drumsticks, minced beef and carrots, oriental meatballs, and lamb/vegetables, and the problem is they have eliminated every single possible allergen in these meals, so there's not much to offer in the way of variety or taste (again, hearing this second-hand -- to be fair, we probably should have at least tried one). But as those of us affected by Celiac know, it's hard enough just to avoid gluten (and with some people dairy, too) that we can at least take solace in the fact that there are indeed plenty of other flavorful and delicious things to eat. These meals literally eliminate 54 different potential allergens, reducing the meals to the "lowest common denominator" and treating all allergies and intolerances the same. In other words, no matter what allergy you have, they can give you one of these "safe" meals and be done with it. So again, we chose to pack our own food, and the rest of us just sort of snacked and grabbed quick-serve items within the park throughout the day. However, we had seen an ice cream shop on Main Street when we walked in that we remembered served Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Our son loves their Phish Food flavor, and we know from past research that it's gluten-free. So I decided to take him there for a mid-day "treat." I figured this was safe. Armed with my Triumph Dining dining card (in French, of course), I attempted to explain (after finally finding someone who spoke English) that I'd like 2 scoops of Phish Food ice cream for my son, but because of the "allergy" noted on the French dining card, I asked if they could scoop it out of a "new" container, as opposed to the one that was clearly toward the end and very likely cross-contaminated with gluten from "double dipping." I also asked that they rinse off the scoop. They seemed fine with those requests -- once they understood them -- but they seemed clearly confused by -- and alarmed by -- the gluten allergy. Even though it was clearly explained in French on my card, they mentioned that the ice cream had dairy in it (well, yes!) and then thought it had gluten (even though it was clear they didn't know what gluten was!). I read the ingredients on the new container they brought out, in order to double-check that it was gluten-free and not different from the variety sold in the States, and I assured them it was safe for my son to eat...that we'd done the research with the company in the past. We finally got our two scoops, despite a lot of back-and-forth reassuring and confusion among the staff. The final words of the woman who spoke English were something to the effect of, "There's a medical clinic next door in case he gets sick." OK...after this, you just get to the point where it's just not worth it...I think even our 7-year old agreed! I'll be brief about our dinner experience. We went back to the hotel, dropped our things, changed, and decided to head to one of the Disney-owned hotels nearby, hoping for better luck. We figured we should at least be able to get a grilled steak and steamed veggies and fruit. No such luck...all the hotels were like Fort Knox. You couldn't get through the gates or even park unless you were staying there or had a dinner reservation (which we didn't). It sounded from one security guard like getting a reservation at one of the hotel restaurants that week (it was the week before Easter) would be next to impossible anyway, unless you were staying at the hotel and thus given priority. So, without any hope of dining at a Disney hotel -- that night or any other -- we went back to the park (to Downtown Disney) to check out the scene there. There was a Planet Hollywood, which I've heard has some GF options in the U.S., so we tried this. Of course the place was mobbed, and my husband's attempt to explain our needs (again, showing the French dining card) was met with a blank, scared stare and some mumbling about getting a manager. After waiting for about 10 minutes, we assessed our chances of getting a safe meal here -- and was it worth it -- and decided NO, let's go back to our villa (fortunately with a full kitchen) and make scrambled eggs! Sad, but true. And this was not unlike our other attempts to find someone who "got it" when it comes to GF dining throughout our week in France. (See my other reviews within the France section.) There seems to be a very prevalent lack of awareness of Celiac Disease in France. We had been warned, and we were quickly finding out first-hand!

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Businesses marked with a Dedicated Gluten Free icon are DEDICATED GLUTEN FREE ESTABLISHMENTS.