Special Dining Needs at Disney: It’s A Whole New World Showcase, With Food!

With the weather warming up people are venturing out more and festivals are starting to pop up to draw out the crowds.  Disney is no different.  Starting in March Epcot is hosting the annual Flower and Garden Festival for all of the ticket holding guests.  There is no extra fee for the Flower and Garden Festival, just the cost of a regular admission park ticket.  However there is more to enjoy than just the beautiful topiaries.  Like the Food and Wine Festival, the Flower and Garden Festival boasts food booths around the world showcase.  This could be someone with a food allergy’s worst night mare, having to see the glorious mouth watering food and unable to eat it. However Disney has your back, you can eat at the food kiosks too!

Having not enjoyed the Flower and Garden Festival pre-gluten free, I feel like I’m missing nothing by going around and eating the gluten free food.  They are not substitutions, some of the foods are already gluten free or they just leave a small something off the plate.  Either way I was stuffed after going around the world showcase and didn’t feel cheated because of my food allergy. 

Let me explain how this works.  First I went to the expo center, located near Mission Space, or the lesser-known Ellen’s Energy Adventure.  There you can find a passport, or little book explaining what the kiosks have to offer and where they are located.  By visiting the main headquarters of the Flower and Garden Festival you can also talk to someone about your specific food allergy and what the protocol is for visiting the kiosks with an allergy.  Each time I’ve gone during a festival I’ve been told to go up to the kiosk and let them know my allergy.  If the chef is there he or she will let you know what your options are.  If the chef is not there each kiosk has a radio and can get one to you in a heartbeat.  Depending on the staff at the kiosk and the frequency of those with the same allergy some may know your options with out the chef.  However it’s nice to know that there is a chef around that can come by and answer any questions you have.

It’s a beautiful time to visit Epcot and enjoy the magical topiaries and see the characters strolling about.  However when food is involved I want to be in the center of it and not feel like I’m missing out.  Disney always has my back, providing delicious and safe foods for me to eat that doesn’t seem like it’s missing anything just to accommodate my needs. 

The best part about the festivals is that the food is served appetizer size, so you don’t fill up just at one kiosk!  Trust me, I ate my way around the world and was in gluten free heaven. 

Why would Disney, who is always good with food allergies, be any different during a festival?  They’re always looking out for us, and they do it in a big way.  No head ache, no stomachache, no worries.  So the next time you’re debating going to one of these festivals, don’t think twice, do it!  Until next time friends, have faith, trust, an empty stomach, and Tinkerbell will sprinkle on the finishing pixie dust!

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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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