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Guest Review: Special Diets Dining Aboard the Disney Dream

Join us in welcoming Cheryl Perlmutter with a review of dining aboard the Disney Dream with special diets.

Recently, I went on the Disney Dream as part of the WDW Radio Cruise group. As you may know from prior posts by my husband, Todd, when I dine out, I request vegan meals and I am also gluten intolerant. Before the cruise, I contacted my travel agency and Disney Special Services. I noted my allergies, dietary needs and made special requests.

Disney Dream docked at Castaway Cay

Day 1

When I boarded the ship, I did forget to check in at D-Lounge to meet the restaurant manager, as my travel agent recommended. Instead, I headed to Enchanted Garden for my first meal. The server introduced me to the chef. I noted my dietary needs and inquired about dessert which I had specifically requested in my letter to special services. The chef said there were no desserts available. Admittedly, I was frustrated and upset (so much that I walked away from my meal) but before I left I was assured by the restaurant manager that I would have dessert.

After, I spoke with a rep from my travel agency, whom I want to thank for their excellent service. They introduced me to the restaurant manager who would follow me. They suggested I go to Cabanas to eat. I found some friends and together we had a decent meal.

That night I ate at Animator’s Palate where most of the menu items were modified to fit my needs. I was served a gluten free, vegan dessert which was a good attempt but not as tasty as those found at Babycakes NYC in Downtown Disney.

Gluten Free Dessert

Due to my dietary needs, I special-ordered both my breakfast and lunch for the locations I would eat at for the next 2 days. I also ordered dinner for Pirate night as well. The head server notified Remy, one of the Disney Dream’s ultra-exclusive adults-only restaurant, that I would be dining there the following night.

Day 2

The next day, breakfast was in Royal Palace, and I ran into a problem when they offered chocolate soy milk for my cereal. I said no thanks, and luckily they came out with a box of Pacific Rice milk instead. Lunch was corn and spinach and Tofu at Cabanas. Both meals ended up well.

Plain Rice

Dinner at Remy was excellent — they were very accommodating. The cheese course felt awkward as I was not eating, and my suggestion would be for them to provide vegan cheeses.

Day 3

The order for my breakfast the next day was lost. However, the chef came out and asked what I wanted to eat. This was not an issue since I am used to talking to the chef, then ordering and then waiting for my food. After eating, I went out to Castaway Cay for a while and came back to eat lunch on the ship. Once again my order was lost and I needed to reorder with the chef, again I did not have any problems with this. That day I ran into my friend’s mom who is also vegan, and I asked her about her experiences. She noted that she had run into issues as well.

Enchanted Garden is one of the Dream's Three Rotational Dining Locations

Then there was dinner at Pirate night (a fun, themed night on the ship). Unfortunately, most of the food was spiced or sauced. I tried eating a few bites but I did not like the taste, however I managed to get some plain rice. After determining other dining choices in case I was hungry later, I then needed to order breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next day. This was difficult since I had lost my appetite from the spicy foods. The restaurant manager was upset to hear that my breakfast and lunch orders were lost.

Breakfast the next morning was great, I had asked for quinoa and it made for a great comfort food. Lunch was a gluten free pizza with tofu at Enchanted Garden. The sous chef confirmed my choices for dinner and he really did good a job for both my lunch and dinner. After dinner, I planned my last breakfast.

I did stop at guest relations during the cruise and express my concerns and dissatisfaction at some of my experiences. I was provided with a guest recovery credit which, from what I understand, is rare.

Vegan Meal

Editor’s Note: We interviewed another guest who was eating solely vegan meals on the Disney Dream, and she noted that some of her favorite meals included the bean cake dish at Animator’s Palate and the barbecue at Castaway Cay. She states, “If a food department makes an effort to have not just carbs, but also protein, that means someone has done their homework.”

She also shared that she asked room service to bring her a smoothie of her own recipe — ice, banana, strawberries, and vanilla soy milk — each morning.

She also notes that the dessert and pastry options for vegan diets are not excellent, though “It seems to me that Remy has raised the bar, so I think they will change the menus accordingly.”

See more about dining on the Disney Dream over on our Disney Dream Dine Around page.

Have you dined on the Disney Cruise Line with a special diet? Let us know your experiences and tips below!

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4 Comments

  1. I was excited to read this post! Myself and my family are vegan, and have been wondering if a Disney cruise was right for us due to this. Last time I visited Disney, I found there were many choices for vegetarians. Vegans not so much. I’m not sure if these reviews did anything but to reconfirm my fears about challenges accomidating us. I am hopefull though, as it means that Disney cares enough to publish it. I look forward to changes that may result, so that our vegan family can exerience the same fun and carefree vacation that others enjoy!

  2. I. M. Omnivore says:

    My sympathies go out to you. After reading your account of the often frustrating experience of requiring that special meals be prepared for you individually , I admit that I am extremely grateful to be able and willing to eat anything (properly prepared) that is made available to me!

  3. Cheryl Perlmutter says:

    For Christina, Please don’t worry. I think the cruise line is working with the issues of adding another ship and training the chefs. I think the cruise line has to work more like the parksand maybe have some park chefs do training. The times that my food was lost were the best meals.

    For Omnivore: Thanks for the feedback, you are very fortunate to have not suffer food allergies.

  4. Irina says:

    My family and I just came back from the cruise on Disney Dream. While everyone was impressed with the beautiful new ship and entertainment, I thought the gluten free diet could be better. The service in the restaurants was very slow. 2 hour dinner every night with small kids is not what we were expecting. The waiter would take the order and you wouldn’t see him till the end of the meal. There seemed to be a lot of waiters and assistant waiters walking around, they either seemed to be frazzled, or didn’t speak English and were useless.
    Even though when I booked the cruise, I specifically stated that 2 members of our family have Celiac disease, and need gluten free diet, there was a lot of confusion when we came to dinner the first night. Thankfully the head waiter Kendell, was very helpful. He arranged special meals for my daughter and I. They even sent them on the island for us. Lunch and dinner was pretty easy to accommodate, and it tasted good. Breakfast was a different story. He did order pancakes and waffles for us, but it tasted awful, plus there was a lot of confusion of finding those special meals, when he wasn’t there the first morning. While there was a load of delicious food for everyone else, it was very frustrating to see the limited supply of GF breakfast foods. They didn’t have any gluten free bagels, muffins, or bread. They only had Energy brand hamburger buns, and I don’t care for them. They brought them to us every dinner, and one time for breakfast, since they didn’t have anything else. Sometimes they were cold, which tasted horrible. For breakfast the waiter said they heated them up in the microwave, but they had bar marks like they were heated in the toaster. I was concerned to eat them, because I wasn’t sure if it was a regular toaster that they use for regular bread. In this day and age there are so many gluten free products that taste good, and easy to freeze and store, it was very disappointing. I was glad to have 2 small bags of Chex cereal that I brought on board, and some corn crisps, and my daughter and I were happy to get by with those for breakfast. They did have a lot of fruit and yogurt. I’m just happy it was only a 3 day cruise. I always bring some gluten free snacks with us, but I didn’t bring so much, because Disney is supposed to be so great with diet accommodations.
    Out of 4,000 passengers, you’d think we were not the only ones on a gluten free diet. I’ve read so many rave reviews about Disney restaurants and hotels and other ships, but I was not impressed at all with the diet handling and service on their new ship. While it was clean, modern ship with an amazing technology, it still needs a lot of work with better waiter communication and better diet foods.

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