If you or someone you love lives with food allergies, dining out can be an anxiety-inducing event. Some food allergies are mild, sure, but there are so many that are incredibly serious, even fatal. Disney Destinations, including the theme parks, cruise line, and more, are fantastic with food allergies!
Families can feel safe traveling to Disney Destinations! I have celiac, and I can honestly say I have never had any kind of reaction from food while visiting any Disney Destination. And my favorite part of traveling is definitely the eating! So what do you do if you’re traveling with Disney and you have a food allergy? Let’s talk about it!
First and foremost, the internet is your friend. Spend time perusing all the menus you can. You can find menus for nearly every restaurant, table service, quick service, snacks, etc, at both Disney World and Disneyland, and many of them also list allergy menus.
If the menu item says “For Egg,” etc, then it is safe to order. Simple as that. But what do you do if you want, say, french fries instead of mashed potatoes with your pork shank? Always ask to speak with a chef. Disney chefs are fantastic with food allergies, and will gladly talk with you about your allergies and what you want to eat. In many instances, you will find that menu items can easily be adjusted to suit your allergy needs just by asking. The chef will prepare the meal and it will be brought out to you separately, and clearly marked. IF YOU EVER GET YOUR FOOD AND THE ALLERGY MARKER IS MISSING, DO NOT EAT IT!!
Again, it is incredibly important to speak to a chef or manager about your food allergies, especially if you are anaphylactic. Not only for safety reasons, but for SECRET MENUS! Like I said, many times the chefs are able to accommodate what you want, and there are actually many things available that may not be on the menu. For example, at Kona Cafe in the Polynesian, they serve the amazing Tonga Toast. But it is not on the allergy menu.
By speaking to the chef, I was able to actually order gluten free Tonga Toast. And it was absolutely delicious! They will actually just take gluten free dinner rolls from either Kona or across the hall at Ohana, and make the Tonga Toast from those! It never ever hurts to ask!
But, gluten allergy is fairly easy to accommodate. What do you do if you have an allergy outside the main 8, like mango, or you have multiple allergies, like egg, wheat, and tree nuts?
- Mark your allergy when making your table service reservation. When making your reservation, you should see “Add a food allergy request.”
- Ask to speak to a chef or manager when you arrive (or when you go to order at a quick service restaurant)
- If you have 4 or more allergies, have 4 or more people with allergies, have allergies outside of the top 8, or have special dietary needs (including diabetes, gastric bypass, vegan/vegetarian, PKU/dysphagia, metabolic disorders, etc), you should contact special diets AT LEAST 14 days in advance of your trip. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Occasionally, you can email special diets, and special order something that isn’t available on the regular allergy menu, like fried chicken at 50s Prime Time Cafe at Walt Disney World or, pictured here, the Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans at Disneyland. Again, it does not hurt to ask! And there are many things that are simple to make substitutions, they just need advanced notice to actually make it!
In this case, let’s say you have a reservation for Cafe Orleans on your next trip to Disneyland, and you KNOW you want to have the Monte Cristo for lunch when your family dines in the restaurant. With your reservation number, send an email to Special Diets at Disneyland, give them your name, the date and time of your reservation, and the confirmation number from your email. Tell them you want to order a gluten free Monte Cristo. And make sure you do this at least 14 days in advance. Special Diets will get back to you about whether or not they will grant your request, and, if approved, when you show up for lunch, your sandwich will be ready for you!
You can also use this same process to order Kosher and Halal meals, should you require them. Disney is fantastic with food allergies. Contact me today for your free, no obligation vacation quote, and then ask me about dining with food allergies!