UPDATE: 11/17/13: I’ve had a few questions from people who have received information from employees at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that the butterbeer may not be gluten-free. To be safe, I emailed Food Services at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, to confirm that the butterbeer AND butterbeer foam is gluten-free. Chef Bob Burdick confirmed that both ARE, at the time of writing, gluten-free.
Sounds like it may be a matter of miscommunication among park employees. However, if you’re planning a trip in the future, I’d recommend confirming with Food Service before you go, as menus and suppliers may change. Continue reading for the original post…
It was Day 2 in Orlando. (See post on Day 1 at Disney here). And I was pee-my-pants excited. We were heading to the only thing that really matters at Universal Islands of Adventure, Harry Potter’s Wizarding World of Adventure. Universal is darn lucky to have that area of the park on its roster.
And let’s talk about the one thing AT Wizarding World that Harry Potter freaks have dreamed about their whole lives: Butterbeer. And YES, it is gluten-free. More on that later.
Gluten-free options were limited at Universal; however, because we only stayed one day at the park, it wasn’t an issue.
We had breakfast at the Three Broomsticks. While the level of attention to detail for food allergies wasn’t as meticulous as Disney, the staff at Three Broomsticks was knowledgeable about their menu and had allergy info and menus on hand at the register. I got the American breakfast without toast, and everything on the plate was gluten-free – eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes and the accompanying artery blockage.
If you’re staying for lunch at Three Broomsticks, they’ll be able to accommodate – just make sure to have them walk you through the allergen information. (Also see email from Universal chef at the bottom of this post.) Just make sure you make reservations ahead of time.
Mid-morning rolled around, and the butterbeer summoned us. The woman working the cart confirmed that both varieties of butterbeer (frozen or soda) and the cream/foam they serve on top are gluten-free, PRAISE BE.
For lunch we moved into the Jurassic Park territory and dined at Thunder Falls. The servers knew what items on their menu were gluten-free and directed me to a plate that should be illegal to eat because of its sheer enormity: Turkey leg, fries, and corn on the cob. (Insert food coma here). Like a true T-rex, I tore my way through, slightly grossed out by the situation.
We somehow stumbled back to Harry Potter that afternoon. While our insulin levels couldn’t handle anymore butterbeer, it did seem about time for a brew at the Hog’s Head Pub.
Hog’s Head Pub makes their own signature ale and has a variety of beer on tap. For the non-beer drinkers, they also have Strongbow on tap, pumpkin juice, and a great non-alcoholic pear cider.
Strongbow, butterbeer and Harry Potter? I really couldn’t ask for anything better. Cheers!
My friend was just at Universal Studios for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter where she was DENIED Butterbeer because they would not take the foam off the top for her. She is gluten intolerant. The Butterbeer IS gluten free but the foam on top is not.
Universal found out employees were serving it to people without foam and made them stop.
Hi Jessica – Thanks for the note. I sent a note to Food Services at Islands of Adventure. Chef Bob Burdick replied on Nov. 16 and confirmed that the butterbeer and butterbeer foam is gluten-free. So, sounds like there may be some miscommunication down on the ground among employees. Thanks for the heads-up!
Butter beer is gluten free, but the foam in particular is not dairy free. I had a lactose intolerance issue a few years ago and couldn’t have the butter beer at all because they won’t serve it without the foam.
Good to know, Sarah! Thanks for sharing. Super helpful for all our dairy-free friends!