Special Dining Needs at Disney: Dining With a Food Allergy

IMG_3811The Walt Disney Company loves to take care of its guests in every possible way they can. One very special way where Disney truly excels is the care that they provide their Guests with special dining needs.

Now as you probably already know, there are so many different options when it comes to dining at any Disney property.  There are table services, quick service, and snack carts located all over properties.  The dining experiences range from fine dining to character dining, buffets, and casual eateries.  Disney loves to provide the very best for their guests at all times.  That includes when guests have all kinds of food allergies.

I have celiac disease, which in the simplest terms means I cannot have gluten, and gluten is in just about everything.  This means I have to do a lot of research when I plan on going anywhere outside of my home to eat.  Others who have food allergies will know what it’s like to travel with a food allergy. 

Disney is a completely different story though.  No matter where you go to eat on Disney property they have an option for those with food allergies.  When you go to eat at a table service restaurant a chef will come out to you to discuss your allergies and the options that they’ll have.  When I was at the 1900 Park Fare for dinner one year the chef actually came out to the table and walked me around the buffet pointing out all of my gluten free options.  He then said that if I preferred he would make me anything I wanted in the kitchen instead. 

At quick service counters throughout the different properties there are food allergy free options as well.  They have dedicated fryers so those with gluten allergies can eat French fries and chicken fingers, among other things for those with other allergies.   Many of the quick service counters have desserts as well.  When you go to order at the quick service just tell the cast member taking your order that you have a food allergy and a manager will come over.  They will give you the menu options that you can have; many times there is quite a selection instead of just one or two options.  The manager then takes your order.  Sometimes is does take a few extra minutes to get your meal but trust me it is well worth it. 

This concern for food allergies by Disney’s culinary staff does not stop on dry land: even on the Disney Cruise ships food allergies are taken seriously and are well taken care of.  Just tell your waiter or waitress that you have a food allergy and the staff will take care of you, even when you step off the ship onto Castaway Cay.  Disney staff wants to make sure that you eat and enjoy what you eat without getting sick.

The best way for you to get the most out of your allergy free dining is to not be afraid to tell the cast members.  If you like to plan ahead of time there are a few options.  You can e-mail whichever property you are going to and see what food allergy options that they will have and what restaurants offer them in certain parks, or you can skip that and just give them a call.  Or if you are planning on making your dining reservations ahead of time (which I highly recommend), if you know where and when you want to eat; tell them what allergy you have when you make that reservation. 

If you aren’t the type to plan ahead that is fine too.  When you walk into a table service restaurant tell the host or hostess that you have a food allergy, it will then be printed on your reservation so your waiter knows.  Then when you sit down tell your waiter.  When the chef comes out don’t be bashful tell them exactly what you are allergic to, ask questions, they are trained for this.  The same goes at any counter service, tell the first cast member you see, then continue telling the cast members that come and talk to you until you have your food in hand.  Don’t be ashamed; be proud of your food allergy.  Give the Cast Members a challenge.  Trust me, they are trained to care for you and to know about the different food allergies.  They take them seriously.

So those of you heading off to one of the many Disney properties with a food allergy you can rest easy.  Disney has taken the worry out of traveling and eating so that you can enjoy your vacation instead of worrying.  Now don’t worry about your next trip, and start planning what ride you’re going to hit first instead of where you can eat.  

Find out how the FREE services of a Disney World travel agent can make planning your Disney vacation simple and STRESS FREE!

Jess was born and raised on Long Island, New York but once college began so did her adventures. She’s lived in Florida, Wisconsin, and now South Carolina. Her family is part of the Disney Vacation Club and has been visiting since she was a little girl, and continuously goes every year. Besides being a big Disney fan she has also been a Disney Cast Member working in Magic Kingdom, and she counts it as one of the most magical experiences. She worked with everyone’s favorite elephant Dumbo, Cinderella’s Carousel, and Mickey’s Philharmagic. Jess has also visited Disneyland, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, and gone on two Disney Cruises. She has so many great memories from Disney besides running half marathons and 5ks, birthday parties, and family reunions. If asked where she would want to go it is almost always Disney, and when asked why, it is almost always because she can eat awesome gluten free food! And it doesn’t hurt that there is always faith, trust, and pixie dust with magic in the air!

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