How to Manage Food Allergies at Disney
Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 13-19, 2018. I remember the first time my daughter had an anaphylactic reaction; it was the scariest day of my life. Now, I work everyday to try to keep her safe. I read food labels, I do a lot of research and I email companies directly with questions. There is a huge risk of cross-contamination, so I make a lot of my daughter’s food from scratch. I have seen my daughter experience an anaphylactic reaction, so I know how serious food allergies are. We have a short list of restaurants that we trust in our community. I worry every time we take her to a restaurant. Honestly, I feel more comfortable about my daughter eating at Disney than anywhere else. They do such a good job with managing food allergies! Let’s look at what you can do to manage food allergies while visiting the most magical place on Earth.
Bring Extra EpiPens
If you are managing food allergies, then this is probably a no-brainer for you! Bring an extra set of EpiPens when you visit Disney World or anywhere else for that matter. You never know when you or your child may ingest an allergen by mistake. Also, if you are traveling during the summer months, be sure to store your epi-pens in an insulated container that will regulate temperature. EpiPens can be ruined if left in extreme temperatures. The Frio and Cool Koozie are some popular brands. You can do a Google search to find the brand that is the best fit for you!
Check the Labels
One way to manage food allergies at Disney is to check all the labels. This is probably a common practice for you already. Unlike many places, Disney is great about food labeling. If you visit any snack cart, just ask to see a food allergy binder. Yes, you heard me right, a food allergy binder! They will give you a binder to look through with the labels for every product that they sell. The labels include “contains” ingredients as well as “may contain” ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised at how accessible food labels were for me to view at every cart that I visited.
Bring Your Own Snacks
Another way to manage food allergies is to bring your own snacks. You know what products are safe better than anyone else. Even though there are an abundance of snack options at Disney, it’s always a good idea to bring your own go-to snack items. I love that Disney allows guests to bring in their own snacks and drinks! These will come in handy while waiting in a long line. You can also use your snack credits for allergy-friendly snacks such as Enjoy Life. If you’re new to the food allergy world, check out Snack Safely to help you pick out safe snacks to bring! https://snacksafely.com/safe-snack-guide/
Make a Special Request
Another way to manage food allergies at Disney is by making a special request. You can do this when you book your dining reservations on https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/. When you are given the option to review your reservation, there is an option for special requests. Once you click on “special requests”, you are then given the option to select all of your allergens. You will do this each time that you make a dining reservation at a table service restaurant. If you are booking your trip with an authorized Disney vacation planner, your agent will do this for you, no worries!
Speak with a Chef
After making your special requests, the next step is to speak with a chef. When you arrive at any table service restaurant at Walt Disney World, let your server know that you have food allergies. Your server will notify the chef, who will come out and speak directly to you. The chef will discuss all the items that are safe based on your allergens. On our last trip, a chef spoke to us at every table service restaurant that we visited. We even told our server that we had eaten at the Rainforest Cafe before, but she still insisted that we speak with the chef. This is amazing to me! At most restaurants where I live, it is nearly impossible to speak directly to a chef.
Use a Vacation Planner
Finally, the best way to manage your food allergies at Disney is to use an authorized Disney vacation planner. As a vacation planner, I will make all of your special dietary requests for you. I will discuss safe options based on my own experience with managing food allergies. If you have any questions that I’m unsure of, I will call and find out for you. I do all of this, free of charge!Do you have questions about managing food allergies at Disney? I would love to answer any questions you have!