Celiac Disease (CD) can be a real pain in the ass when it comes to traveling. From bringing food onto an airplane, to making sure the CD-sufferer has safe food and snacks throughout the entirety of the trip, it becomes a real ordeal to travel. Some destinations are way more Celiac-friendly than others. This means that a lot more prep and research has to go into any trip.
Our rules for safe Celiac eating:
- 100% dedicated gluten free facilities are always the best.
- Restaurants with dedicated food allergy areas and protocols are second best.
- Restaurants with airborne flour are a hard no. Looking at you, non-segregated pizza spots.
- Other restaurants that are confused when Celiac or wheat allergies are mentioned is a hard no. These places are extremely risky.
- Every restaurant that is not 100% dedicated gf gets questioned on how safe they are, and the order noted it is for a Celiac and gluten-allergic eater. Gluten-allergy doesn’t exist, but more people recognize the severity of an allergy versus Celiac Disease.
We recently traveled to O’ahu to celebrate our cousin’s wedding, and it was a treat! Perusing Find Me Gluten Free got me very concerned about what I’d be able to eat since it didn’t seem like a lot at first glance, but being located in an extremely touristy area worked to my advance in finding safe food.
We stayed around Ko’Olina in a villa with a full kitchen. All of the resorts around us had restaurants that could reliably accommodate CD, but we kept heading back to Aulani (Disney). Character dining, buffet, Disney! 🐶
Hawaiian Airlines: Breakfast
Surprisingly, we actually got breakfast on our flight to Honolulu. The yogurt was actually gluten free, and the silverware wrapped in plastic, so the cross-com risk was minimal. I stayed away from the grapes, granola, and the wrapped onion corn cake thing, just in case.
(The cake smelled really good, though!)
ABC Store/Island Market by ABC
Unfortunately no pictures from me, but the Island Market in Ko’Olina was surprisingly well stocked for cooking at the villa. They stock fresh vegetables, eggs, and steak… While also stocking gluten-free bread, drinks (ok maybe I wouldn’t splurge for a $10 orange juice carton but hey), snacks, and pineapple Dole Whip.
Other ABC Stores also stock gf snacks. They’re all over the place, so it’s a safe spot to stop by for a quick refuel. Safe snacks are marked with a “gluten free” sign.
Aulani’s Poolside Food (Off the Hook & Papalua Shave Ice)
Disney’s Aulani resort has a number of on-site restaurants and eateries, including some poolside options that are a tad less expensive.
Unfortunately no pictures of this either, but I got a bomb set of kalua pork tacos in corn tortillas with pineapple salsa and avocado with a side of fruit. The food options I had were burgers with gf buns, tacos, salads, and flatbread. Nothing from the fryer unfortunately, but with that many options it wasn’t at all an issue.
The shaved ice from Papalua is gluten free. I didn’t inquire about getting the condensed milk at the time, but the shaved ice by itself was pretty darn good. 🐠
Aulani’s Makahiki Character Breakfast Buffet
Character breakfast was a real treat at Disneyland, but I found that Aulani’s character breakfast was just as good. Disneyland’s Mickey waffles win out for being mochiko based, but Aulani won with an eggs benedict — something I never really had a chance to have before. In this buffet, the chef will walk you down the buffet and ask you what you want to eat. Food came directly from the back with allergy sticks on them. It was a really good variety!
The show was also cute, and it was totally worth it. Loved hearing the auntie sing and go through the different routines. We had a visit with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy at our table. 🙂
Aulani’s Makahiki Dinner Buffet
Non-character dinner, and that’s OK! My only complaint is that this buffet is totally aimed at the seafood lovers. I got to have a lot of different foods for dinner buffet, which was totally awesome. Same thing as breakfast: chef walked me through the line and asked what I wanted. I’ve never had poke and some of the other foods before, so I got a plate. (When we went to Disneyland’s Storytellers Cafe for dinner buffet, they couldn’t accommodate me at the time and I went for a meal instead. So it was nice to have another buffet style meal.)
Meals I received:
- Rice, mashed potatoes, prime rib, and fruit
- Pasta bolognese
- Poke 🙂
- Ham & prime rib
- Glazed salmon, pork chops, some other beef thing
- Tapioca pudding w/ mango and fresh fruit on top
- Pineapple & watermelon
Dole Plantation – BBQ Corn
No pictures of this one either, but there’s a stand right outside of the Dole Plantation building that has BBQ corn. I pestered them enough times to figure out that yes, it is gluten free, no, they don’t deal with gluten in the stand, and that they use Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce if you get that corn.
What I missed
There were multiple restaurants that I missed in Ko’Olina that were Celiac safe: Ama’Ama in Aulani, Longboards at the Marriott, and one at the Four Seasons. Ama’Ama has a beautiful view of the sunset in the evening, but with the amount of food and leftovers I had it just didn’t make sense to spend more $$$. There were also a few restaurants in Waikiki itself that were Celiac safe and you can find those on Find Me Gluten Free that I also skipped for the above reasons.
Get a place with a kitchenette just so you’re not spending a lot of money, but otherwise, O’ahu was totally fun and safe for this Celiac sufferer.