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Allergy-Free Dining At Southern California's Theme Parks

Knott's Berry Farm header
(credit: Knott's Berry Farm)

The weather is warming up, and many families will spend time at one of Southern California's theme parks this summer. But for those who suffer from food allergies, navigating quick-serve restaurants can be a challenge. Here are the best picks for dining with food allergies at the largest amusement parks in Southern California.

Knott's Berry Farm
(credit: Knott's Berry Farm)

Knott's Berry Farm

8039 Beach Boulevard
Buena Park CA 90620

With its origins steeped in food, Knott's Berry Farm is perhaps best known historically for the ever popular chicken dinner. Fried chicken and boysenberry pie are the park's iconic culinary delights, but spruced throughout the park, you'll find quick serve and sit-down dining establishments offering vegetarian and gluten-free foods. In just one week, Knott's Soak City will open for the season. Guests can enjoy gluten-free pizzas and veggie wraps at the beach-themed water park. If you have a special request for vegan wraps, simply call ahead of time and the park will accommodate the request. Inside Knott's Berry Farm, guests can select from the Vegetarian Black Bean Veggie Burger at Ghost Town Grill or the Bruschetta from Spurs.

credit SeaWorld San Diego Shipwreck Reef Cafe
(credit: SeaWorld San Diego)

SeaWorld San Diego

500 Sea World Drive
San Diego, CA 92109

Recognizing the prevalence of food allergies and the challenges families face, particularly on vacation, Sea World partnered with the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network last fall to educate and train their employees. In addition to introducing new allergen-friendly menu items, guests can fill out Chef Cards prior to their visit and the park will work with individuals one-on-one to oversee the preparation of the meals. All three of the park's major dining facilities, Shipwreck Reef Cafe, Calypso Bay Smokehouse, and Seaport Market, carry gluten-free pizza and allergen-friendly, prepackaged snacks from Divvies and Gluten Free to Go. These three venues can also work with guests to create meals that are free from the eight most common food allergens.

(credit: Legoland)

LEGOLAND California

One Legoland Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008

It is one of two LEGO-themed parks in the US, with more than 60 rides, attractions, and shows. LEGOLAND California's target audience is children between the ages of 2 and 12 and the park offers unique, hands-on, educational fun around the theme of everyone's favorite brick. Families visiting the park can visit the resort's website in advance for a snapshot of allergen-friendly dining options. In addition to offering an expansive selection of gluten-free menu items, guests with special dietary needs (i.e. vegetarian, vegan) and allergies to nuts, dairy and/or eggs can use the guide to navigate their food choices. Head to The Market for options like fresh fruit and snacks that are gluten free. If you're looking for a tasty, hearty meal, Knights' Table Barbecue is a nut-free facility and offers gluten-free items including their chicken (ask for their un-marinated version), corn on the cob and salad. Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet will find the best selections at Ristorante Brickolini (Penne Marinara) and Fun Town Market (Vegetable Stir Fry).

(credit: Disneyland)

Disneyland Resort

1313 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802

A visit to the Disneyland Resort is filled with magic and excitement as guests are immersed within the worlds of their favorite characters. An important part of that experience is the opportunity to experience some of the park's culinary delights. The resort is committed to offering guests a variety of food options and works to accommodate dietary requests. Because the chefs at the resort have extensive experience in making gluten-free foods, nearly every venue at the resort offers a gluten-free food or substitute. Pancakes, waffles, pizza, burger buns, and tacos can all be made gluten-free. For those who suffer from food allergies or adhere to a vegetarian diet, the following venues and dishes are a great options: Carnation Cafe (Chef's Vegan Burger), Blue Bayou (Portobello Mushroom and Couscous Macque Choux), and Café Orleans (N'awlins Vegetable Ragoût) at Disneyland Park; Ariel's Grotto (Spinach and Ricotta Agnolotti), Wine Country Trattoria (Vegan Broccolini Aglio Olio) and Flo's V8 Cafe (Veggie Tater Bake). Guests can also frequent the following quick-serve venues for allergen-friendly dining: Village Haus Restaurant, Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante and River Belle Terrace at Disneyland Park; Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill and Lucky Fortune Cookery at Disney California Adventure Park.

Related: Best Places To Eat At Disneyland

Universal Studios credit Caryn Bailey
(credit: Caryn Bailey)

Universal Studios Hollywood

100 Universal City Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 91608

Universal Studios Hollywood is one of the few places the public can go behind the scenes of their favorite films and television shows, delving into the history and magic of filmmaking. As one of the oldest and most famous working studios, guests can enjoy 15 different shows, attractions, and rides along with an eclectic mix of movie-centric dining options. The studio's executive chef oversees all of these venues and the culinary team can be contacted prior to a visit to discuss any concerns regarding food allergens and dietary preferences. Additionally, the studio offers a Dietary Food Guide to help guide dining decisions. Gluten-free and vegetarian items can be found at Flinstone's Bar-B-Q, Jurassic Cafe, Hollywood Grill, Hollywood Cantina, Mel's Diner, and International Cafe.

Related: Guide To Universal Studios Hollywood

six flags magic mountain
(credit: Six Flags Magic Mountain)

Six Flags Magic Mountain

26101 Magic Mountain Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355

Known for giving guests a thrill, Six Flags Magic Mountain is home to more than 100 rides, games, and attractions and easily has one of the most expansive selections of food. Choose from a wide variety of quick-serve or sit-down meals in one of their 25 dining establishments. For those sensitive or allergic to gluten, Cyber Cafe offers the following gluten-free options: Cheese Lasagna, pasta with meatballs, fudge brownies, and muffins. Vegetarians have a wide array of options including meatless cheeseburgers and veggie burgers at Wascal's and Mooseburger Lodge, and meatless Mexican foods at Food, Etc.

Caryn Bailey is a Southern California-based writer and LA native who can be found writing daily on her lifestyle blog Rockin' Mama or on Twitter @RockinMama.

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