The inside scoop from Epcot’s Flower and Garden Fest! Special dietary needs! by Laurie

March 8, 2013

We have a guest blogger today, Laurie Smith, who has been on the scene at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival. Enjoy!


I did last year’s Food and Wine Festival at Epcot with a lot of disappointing moments as to the food kiosks. At times I would have to have a chef come from half way around the park to talk with me. The staff had a list of items with check marks for the top allergens. Soy lecithin would cause an item to be listed as SOY even though many people can tolerate soy lecithin. There was no way to differentiate between types of nuts added. Things have changed this year with the Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot in WDW. I have tried Japan and the USA booths so far.


Just like at WDW bakeries and confectionaries each kiosk has an ingredient book. Officially kiosks are to have a chef talk with guests who have special diet questions. If a chef is not onsite then one will be called. Chefs can refer to the ingredient book when in doubt. It seems that they are still working out the kinks in special diets. I have had nothing but pleasant experiences in ordering food and drinks. Japan used the ingredient book whereas the chefs at the USA, Cottage, and Florida Fresh kiosks knew exactly what did not have soy and wheat/gluten.

Can an item be made allergen free?

Some items like the pork slider at Smokehouse in USA are assembled on site . Items made onsite sometimes can allow them to hold sauces, components, and garnishes. However some items are made back stage and brought to the kiosks. Those dishes cannot be altered. They cannot serve the cole slaw without carrot or without bell peppers, for example. They do have a team of chefs and managers who for the most part make sure there is no cross contamination and that guests can find something to eat. Still you must use your gut feelings and double check if in doubt. I questioned staff about the cole slaw because most cole slaw uses mayonaisse or other soy based dressings.

There are lovely gardens, demonstrations and seminars, and the best part was the vegetable garden. They have an Oz themed playground and a Cars themed playground. There are 3 concerts a day in the USA pavillion. I had a great time and for once came home with a full tummy. I am going to try to go back today and try other booths.

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3 thoughts on “The inside scoop from Epcot’s Flower and Garden Fest! Special dietary needs! by Laurie”
  1. China and Mexico booths were a pain as they are run by outside restaurants. No ingredient books, wait for chef or go to the restaurant to talk to a chef, EGADS, only real speed bump. Shrimp and polenta is from a booth run by a chef from Victoria and Albert restaurant. Overall been having lots of fun. LOVE the Morocco lamb kebabs and the chicken leg confit that fell off the bone.

  2. I am having a lot of fun and eating a lot. I had the shrimp and grits. There were 3 properly cooked tail on shrimp, zellwood corn, sausage, and polenta/grits. I have had home cooked polenta cooked by a Romanian neighbor so I can say that their grits were very good, smooth, and delicious. The andouille sausage was cubed and more like summer sausage. Overall this was the best dish but the heat made it hard to finish the dish.

    The Cottage in the UK pavillion offers a caprese salad made with colourful heirloom slices, housemade mozarella cheese, vingegar, and basil. They can hold the cheese to make it casein/dairy free. As soon as I heard about this salad I wanted to try it because the caprese salad consists of tomatos, buffalo mozarella, basil and a liquid. The liquid can be oil, vinegar, or a light dressing. The WDW version is one of the best I have ever had.

    I loved the violet lemonade slush. Violet syrup can be made at home or bought by companies such as Monin. This is sweet and fruity with lemon goodness for a refreshing drink in a bright violet pink color. It is so pretty.

    Feel free to contact me if you have food or disabled travel questions. As for your comment the parks handle allergies very well even ones like strawberry that are not top 8 allergies. HAVING FUN!!!

  3. My mom has a allergy to seafood and strawberries, so I can understand how frustrating it is. Luckily her allergies are pretty straight forward. I hope you get to taste lots more food, safely.

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