If you’ve been reading our blog posts over the previous few years, you know we like to have a great time, share a few laughs and pick light-hearted topics so that you can enjoy your Disney vacation. However, we realize that for some families, traveling outside of the routines of home might provide more challenges than a normal vacation-goer would experience. This includes families who travel with members who have food allergies. Dining is a large part of the overall Disney experience. But what are the options is you have food allergies?
Welcome to Believe Vacations’ Weekly Post where today, we will share with you how a family with food allergies can do Disney. Today, Brian has invited Kim Gregorio (Florida) to share her secrets and tips to navigate the menus and still find incredible food options. The full interview is in the video above but highlights and answers to the more commonly asked questions are below:
What are some of the food allergies Disney can cater towards (i.e., eggs, wheat, nuts)?
Disney will cater to almost any allergy you present to them. They are widely cater to the Most Common Allergies: Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Soy, Wheat, Tree Nut, Shellfish, Fish and Sesame. There are Binders at each quick service location that tells you the ingredients of the items. Most places have an allergy menu. This menu references these 9 ingredients. However, if you have an allergy to something not on this list all you need to do is ask to speak to a chef. My son has a garlic allergy among others and it has always been so simple we talk to the chef at the quick service they make him a special meal and everyone wins. Even during times of COVID we have found the mobile ordering has the allergy menu and when we still needed to speak with the chef we just told the cast member at the mobile order sign what we needed and they helped get the chef right away. Disney Chefs are heroes in our house.
Can you bring your own food into the park and if so, what do you bring?
You can bring your own food into Disney. You can bring a small cooler with as much as you want. For us, we usually only brought a small amount of food in because Disney was literally the ONLY place we ever feel safe eating out at. So it’s a vacation from all our meal prepping when we go.
Once you book a trip, how/where do you indicate your specific allergy and is this something you or your agent should do?
You should definitely inform your TA of any dietary restrictions. When booking dining reservations there is a box to check if there is a dietary restriction and a place to fill in what that is. You can also add it as a note to the room booking incase the room doesn’t have a microwave/refrigerator that can be added for food allergies.
Regarding mobile ordering and quick service restaurants, is there a way to search to see which locations offer items for your dietary concerns or do you have to indicate any substitutes on your own?
I sort of mentioned this above but at quick service locations they have an allergy menu. Now that it is all mobile ordering you can find the allergy menu on the app for most places but those you can’t you can just ask the cast member and they can get it for you. If you need more than the most common you can always request a chef at the quick service locations.
For sit-down, do they have special menus or how do you have a conversation with your waiter/waitress about your dietary needs?
Sit down restaurants also have an allergy menu for the Most Common Allergies. If you feel more comfortable you can always ask your server to speak with a chef. I always felt that Disney had a secret lair of safe food. I remember the first time we EVER ate in a restaurant with my son was at the Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom. The chef made him whatever he wanted, I cried tears of joy over French fries. It was so special. The chefs at the sit-down restaurants have a sort of cult following among the allergy community. If you ever happen to meet Chef TJ (Now at Cape May Café) you will not be disappointed. He takes so much care and goes above and beyond for with food allergies they allergy community nominated him for a FARE award and he won.
How does Disney handle food allergies at Special Events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
You may think events like MNSSHP are off limits for Allergy families but that is not true. Disney in true Disney fashion doesn’t skip a beat here. Where everyone gets candy those with food allergies collect tokens and there are 2 trading location where you can exchange the tokens for safe treats or non food items. They even have allergy friendly seasonal treats at the parties
How does Disney handle Food Allergies on cruises?
Disney Cruise Line was equally as good about food allergies. They took extra care at every meal. When we showed up at Cabanas for breakfast they would have my sons safe food all ready for him. When we would wrap up dinner each night they would ask what our plans for the next day were and what he wanted for lunch and dinner. If we planned to get off the boat they would pack him a to go lunch so we didn’t have to worry on the Island. At castaway Cay they have all the allergy food on the island that was pre ordered the night before. The cruise was so easy and even kids club made it seamless.
EPCOT is famous for restaurants and festivals around food. Do you have issues there?
Even though most of the restaurants in Epcot are not technically Disney they uphold the Disney standard as far as allergies and we have never had any issues there.
With all that being said, let’s do some quick hitters regarding your family’s particular dietary needs:
Best Snack – Pre OIT – Popcorn (butter is coconut oil not dairy) or post OIT Mickey Bar (it was a graduation gift again mom cried)
Best quick service meal – Breakfast anywhere Egg-free Mickey Waffles
Best table service location – All have been phenomenal but Crystal Palace will always be special because it was our first restaurant ever. Or anywhere Chef TJ is.
Finally, what is the best overall piece of advice you can give people about doing Disney with food allergies?
TAKE THAT VACATION! As a parent who has to meal prep every meal, every day, trust in Disney. They will do everything for your family to have a safe and wonderful meal. That is a vacation to my family!
For more information on doing Disney with food allergies, we encourage you to visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/special-dietary-requests/