Hi friends! I am fresh off the plane from my first EVER trip to Disneyland and I am so excited to jump right into blogging all about my experience. I’m kicking things off today with a Cove Bar Gluten Free Review since it’s such an iconic, fun spot, but also highlights the unfortunate frustrations I had on this trip as a gluten intolerant guest.
First things first, let’s talk about the location itself. The Cove Bar is located on Paradise Pier in Disney’s California Adventure. It’s an incredibly popular spot that does NOT take reservations so you have to wait (or have a member of your party) wait in line for a table. They are very strict about this and the line gets very long so make sure you know how many people you’ll have (they told me they will not add an extra chair so err on the side of more people). My wait was about an hour, I did have a large group though, it took about 40 minutes to get to the front of the line and then another 20 because they needed two tables for us.
The view from The Cove Bar is stunning, even on the cloudy day we had it was so cool to sit and watch California Screaming and Mickey’s Fun Wheel and of course the boardwalk. Even if you’re not seated up at the rail the view is great.
The Cove Bar serves a small menu of unique eats as well as a few signature drinks. By far the best part of the Cove Bar was my cotton candy lemonade. It’s a fruity cotton candy flavored Odwalla lemonade served with plenty of extra cotton candy. You can also add your choice of spirits to make it an adult drink! I had originally ordered my cotton candy lemonade with raspberry vodka but the chef informed me the vodka was not safe so they remade the drink with a gluten free vodka. The drink starts tart but that’s what the cotton candy is for haha! It’s so fun to watch the cotton candy melt in the drink and I have to admit I might have gotten carried away on the added sugar. (The second drink pictured is called a Fun Wheel, it’s a secret menu drink with pineapple, passion fruit vodka, blue curacao, and rum. I haven’t tried it but my friends loved it although they did suggest you mix before enjoying haha!). There’s a few other “Secret Menu” drinks so if you’re into trying new fun things I suggest looking it up!
The food was a different story for me. I had actually gone to guest services before we went to have them talk to the Cove Bar and make sure I would be able to eat (before waiting in what I knew would be a long line!). They gave me three options that would be safe out of the menu of 6 items. Unfortunately when I got there the first chef I talked to said no there was nothing safe for me! He then went to get two more chefs who proceeded to honestly lecture me about how nothing in Disneyland would ever be totally safe for me because of shared kitchens. To make a long story short, they made ordering extremely difficult and honestly just made me feel awful. It was stressful and we thought they were just trying to make sure they wouldn’t be blamed if I did get sick but it was a really sad and upsetting experience. In the end they said my best bet would be the Spinach and Artichoke dip but with gluten free rolls instead of chips.
The dip was okay although I wasn’t told it would be served without the cheese topping (there was no gluten in the cheese topping but apparently the cheese was kept too close to bread and they didn’t think it would be safe). It was extremely frustrating coming from a lifetime of Disney World where the chefs work with you and honestly want you to have a good experience to be treated the way they treated me.
In the end, my friends made the experience a good one. If you’re going just for drinks and fun with friends I’d say go ahead and try it but if you’re gluten intolerant I would absolutely NEVER recommend this place for food. It’s also worth noting that my gluten-eating friends had difficulty with the service as well and while we all enjoyed our time together we all left frustrated with the Cove Bar and our very un-magical experience.