SeaWorld Theme Parks Offer Allergen-Aware Options

By Emily

Photo from

My childhood memories of theme parks are generally pleasant ones: a dolphin flinging a carnation into the crowd — and right into my lap — at SeaWorld; the giant bouncy castle at Sesame Place (I think it was Ernie’s bed); etc etc. Of course, these memories are BGF — before gluten-free — and I wonder how my experiences would have been if I were on a special diet.

Happily, for those kids (and big kids) with allergies or intolerances who are visiting SeaWorld, Sesame Place, Busch Gardens, or any of the other parks in the SeaWorld family, the menu options have just grown drastically.

SeaWorld has teamed up with the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) to introduce a comprehensive set of guidelines for all of their various locations. According to the press release blog post, more than 6,000 staff members have been trained to assist guests. There are some really nice touches here, not least that the program is designed to suit gluten-free guests as well as those with multiple sensitivities.

New programs include:

  • Chef Cards, a downloadable template allowing you to fill in the foods to be avoided while still at home, and then simply present the card when eating in the parks. Especially when field trip season rolls around, this is a nice way to ensure that children’s needs are communicated clearly.
  • New options, “ranging from gluten-free pizza to an allergen-friendly Shamu-shaped chocolate bar,” and also pre-packaged snacks from companies like Gluten Free To Go and the (not-GF) Divvies.
  • Additional information on-site to help you plan your visit
  • Location-specific extras

From glancing at the SeaWorld San Diego website’s Dining page (and clicking on Allergen Information), I was quickly able to see plenty of helpful information. I also appreciated their note about cross contact:

“Not all of our meal facilities are free from cross contact. In order to ensure your meal is safe, please discuss the preparation process for your meal with the supervisor as you place your order to ensure no cross-contact takes place.”

This note would be par for the course if it weren’t for the follow-up on the Designated Facilities tab:

“SeaWorld San Diego’s Designated Allergen Friendly Location is Shipwreck Reef Cafe. Although all of our meal facilities are prepared to assist you with your allergen needs, Shipwreck Reef Cafe has been designated as the most fit restaurant to serve your special meal. With the largest variety of menu options, Shipwreck Reef Cafe is the best location to offer you a safe option for your dietary needs!”

The FAQ go into more detail, and also indicate that you are still welcome to bring your own collapsible carriable cooler full of snacks if you would prefer not to dine at their locations.

The Special Dietary Needs page on Sesame Place’s site has comparable information. They, too, are carrying including lists of which Gluten Free to Go packs are being carried and which restaurants on site have them. In addition, at least two of their restaurants are stocking the Conte’s gluten-free bake-in-bag pizza, which first came to our attention when Chuck E Cheese started carrying it. Busch Gardens in Tampa, similarly comprehensive overview.

Have you been to any of the SeaWorld parks as a food-aware guest? Will you go now that their menu has changed?


4 thoughts on “SeaWorld Theme Parks Offer Allergen-Aware Options”

  1. I went to Sea World about ten years ago and got really frustrated with the kitchen staff that kept insisting there was no wheat in any of their breads because it was all white bread. Hopefully that won’t happen any more. Disney is great with food allergies.

  2. Haha Frank. My daughter got the same treatment at a Mexican Food restaurant. My daughter said, “Can you please make sure my corn tortillas don’t touch the same surfaces as the others, I’m allergic to wheat.” The waitresses response, “We don’t have wheat tortillas. Only corn and flour.” After she left, my daughter looked at me and said, “What does she think flour tortillas are made out of? Flowers?” Unbelievable. You don’t have to be a foodie to know that there is wheat in white flour.

  3. We went to SeaWorld a year and a half ago. They were very kind when we mentioned that my daughter had to have GF food. So I’m sure they’ll run with this, if my previous experience reflects their general customer service toward those of us with celiac.

    Disneyland was also very accommodating.

    Now, if we can just get Universal Studios on board!


  4. We are retired and volunteer in the National Parks. The ones we have visited have been surprisingly accomodating. The Grand Canyon lodges will help, with the North Rim lodge having a GF menu including pancakes! The Grand Teton lodge’s have GF menus, Leeks Landing on Jackson Lake has a Pizza Parlor with GF pizza and GF Beer. Yellowstone accomodates GF . I know that the Grant area lodge has a GF menu. Most surrounding areas have multiple GF restaurants. Zion lodge will help and Springdale has some very good eateries! Check with the park for who is running the lodges and contact them about it. Forever Resorts ( N Rim Grand Canyon, Tetons ) have really gotten on board with GF. At Grand Teton many of the sauces, stew, chili etc. are made GF, with GF bread as an option. Since many of the parks are in remote areas I know that many people probably worry about the food options. The National Parks are amazing, check them out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2010-2015 Triumph Dining