Editor: I am delighted to welcome Ellie to our team of wonderful writers here at The Affordable Mouse. Ellie will be writing on the topic of Disney with special needs each month. Thanks Ellie for sharing your experiences with us!
Are Dietary Restrictions or Food Allergies keeping you from venturing to the house of mouse? Well get ready to make some reservations to visit the Happiest Place on Earth because I’m going to give you some absolutely wonderful news.
A little over four years ago we learned my husband has a serious cardiac condition, which requires him to take life easy and maintain a strict diet which should be low in fat and sodium free. Yes, you read that right – SALT FREE. As someone who loves to cook, I was floored by this news because I know almost every single recipe calls for salt and many everyday ingredients already have sodium in them. I knew I could control his sodium intake at home, but what on earth was I going to do when we venture out to a restaurant or even more important when we head out on vacation? I was mortified thinking that he may never be able to enjoy a meal at the Parks or the Resorts. I felt even worse thinking about how he would feel seeing that he wouldn’t be able to do the things he used to do at his favorite place.
As soon as we were cleared to travel, I kicked into gear and started to research how Walt Disney World went about handling Dietary Restrictions and if this was even something they could accommodate. I was able to find several articles about food allergies; how they are very good about working with people who had allergies of all sorts ranging from peanuts, seafood, dairy, gluten and so many more but absolutely nothing about salt. Needless to say this worried me, but it prompted me to pick up the phone and call Disney to see if they were able to cater to someone with a No Sodium/Very Low Sodium Diet.
Much to my surprise I spoke to someone who advised me that they could and would be able to accommodate my husband at several restaurants throughout WDW. I was immediately given the number to the Special Diets line as well as emailed the Restriction/Allergies Form to complete & send back so that they could alert the restaurants we would be visiting on our trip.
I can’t tell you that we weren’t worried that this would somehow fall through the cracks, because we were, but we were delighted to arrive at every restaurant, be greeted by the wait staff whom immediately informed us they knew of the Dietary Restriction and that a Chef would be out to visit us shortly to see what my husband wanted to eat & give him options. We were so excited and honored to be waiting on a Disney culinary master to visit us at our table, it really made us feel special.
What can you expect? Upon the chefs arrival he/she immediately identifies him or herself, making you feel really comfortable that they understand your needs and are ready to take good care of you. Once you discuss your restriction or allergy they immediately start reviewing things that can be cooked for you that have not been prepared, marinated or pre-seasoned. Within minutes they put together this amazing meal in their head which just sounds so delicious your mouth waters and you’re anxiously awaiting its arrival at your table. Once your meal arrives it looks & smells absolutely wonderful and tastes oh so magical, you’d never know there’s no salt in it.
They can do this at restaurants everywhere throughout WDW, from The Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios, to Cinderella’s Royal Table at MK and even LeCellier at Epcot – they are ready and willing to cater to your dietary needs. Please keep in mind that there are certain things that they cannot do for you and certain places you should steer clear of such as buffets, but if you plan well in advance you will be able to set up what will be an excellent Disney dining adventure without having to worry about your allergies or eating restrictions.
Once you’re ready to start planning your next Disney trip, you can contact Disney Special Diets at 407-824-5967 to speak to a cast member about your dietary needs or e-mail them at Special.diets@DisneyWorld.com. Bon appetit!
Ellie was born & raised in beautiful Miami, Florida where she still resides today with her husband Carlos. Her first trip to Walt Disney World was when she was only two years old, but little did she know then this would be the first of many. Growing up in a family of Seasonal Passholders, her parents made sure Ellie & her sisters would visit WDW as often as possible and it really was as often as possible, every two to three months. All these frequent visits earned her one of her favorite nicknames of all time ”Miss Disney World,” she was so dubbed by her 5th grade teacher for being a regular at the house of mouse. It should be no surprise that she married someone who shares her deep love of all things Disney, Ellie introduced her husband to the wonders of being a Passholder and they have both been proud passholders for several years visiting any chance they get (4 to 8 times a year). Having experienced almost everything Disney, there are a few things left on her Disney wish list but at the top of that list; going on a Disney Cruise! Ellie’s favorite Disney moment: that feeling she gets when she walks down Main Street in MK and sees Cinderella’s Castle, those chills - it’s like she’s seeing it for the very first time all over again!