When my daughter developed food allergies a few years ago at the age of 10, our lives changed forever. We were thrown into a
scary and unknown world. Everyday was a learning experience as her allergies changed and got more severe.
I was very nervous the first time we traveled back to Walt Disney World. I had always been able to control the ingredients in all of her meals. I was pleasantly surprised how the cast members handled her allergies. When we made our table service dining reservations, I did inform them of her allergies. When we arrived for our reservation, I double checked to make sure they had her allergies listed and sure enough, they did. At each meal the chef came to our table and went over in great detail what she could and could not have. If necessary, they were willing to make a meal especially for her that was not on the menu. If I had additional questions, especially at a buffet, the chef came back out and was glad to review the items with me. At Teppan Edo, my husband and I ordered an appetizer and the Chef came out to let us know not to have Taylor try it because it contained Sesame. I was impressed, that he kept track of what we were ordering too.
If I had any questions while ordering at a Quick/Counter Service they brought a manager over right away. They have a book with all the ingredients listed for you to look over. We were able to special order many items with a simple substitution. They made her meal in a separate area as to avoid any cross contamination and was served the same time as the rest of our meal. We did have to wait a bit, but was worth it knowing it was safe for my daughter to eat.
Food allergies are so much more common today than they were years ago and because of that, Walt Disney World has a Special Dietary Requests department to handle uncommon or multiple food allergies. They can even accommodate different types of diet such as Kosher, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten free, and Dairy free. We attended a large dessert party last year and when notified of my daughters allergy, they had her dessert ready for her when we arrived, prepared in a separate area. It’s a nice feeling to know that we can visit our favorite vacation destination and be accommodated without fear of a sudden trip to the hospital
A few tips to follow when planning your vacation:
- Let your Dream Come True Vacations travel agent know of any food allergies (they will usually ask you at time of booking) and/or special dietary needs so they can include them when they make your dining reservations.
- When checking in for your reservation, ask to make sure they have the proper allergies listed as a double check.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Cast members are more than helpful to accommodate a food allergy or special dietary need, and they handle these requests numerous times throughout the day.
- Please accompany your child when eating at a buffet, no matter how old your child is. Taylor is now 12 and came back with a Walnut Blondie. After I literally threw it across the table away from her (walnuts will cause a severe airborne reaction), I asked her what was she thinking? She thought it was some kind of cookie dough dessert. The sign was not directly by the Blondie and she had forgotten what the chef said. Now I follow her around at every buffet.
No matter what your dietary needs, Walt Disney World will strive make your meal as magical as possible!
(article by Yvette Veigel)