So you have been dreaming of a Disney Vacation? Does tackling Disney with food allergies seem overwhelming? Does someone in your family have one food allergy dietary restriction or more? Then this article and Disney are for you.
Disney has a reputation for handling food allergies well and for good reason. The staff at each food location are well trained and able to help with any questions you may have. Read more about Disney Festivals with allergies and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party with allergies here.
Each quick service location has an allergy-friendly menu that you can view to get an idea of single allergy options ( dairy, egg, gluten, etc.).
However, in the case of our family, we had one kiddo with multiple food allergies. ( he has outgrown some allergies!) Now my husband is on a restricted diet, you can read about our dining success here. When we reach the cashier, we alert them to our allergies. A manager is called to take our order. The manager will walk us through our options and give us a pager to return to pick up our order. This order is typically placed on a green tray to indicate an allergy. This process typically takes more time than a traditional order but is so worth it to be able to eat safely!
Pro tip: step aside and let the party behind you move ahead in line as you wait for the manager.
If you have any concerns at all… Or just like a typical allergy parent you are used to reading each label with more thoroughness than the FBI, they have you covered. Each food location has a giant binder with each label from every product they use in the food at that location… even the popcorn stands.
If you want to get your feet wet with the sometimes overwhelming task of taking your family member with an allergy out to dinner, consider a table service restaurant. When making a reservation in advance you are able to indicate your allergies either online, in the app, or over the phone. Once arriving at the restaurant, the host and wait staff will confirm your allergies. The chef will be sent to your table to discuss your options unless you feel comfortable ordering off the allergy menu. Additionally, you can still check out that giant binder of ingredients just in case.
Our experiences over the last three years with our son have been amazing. The staff really goes out of their way to make us feel comfortable and give our son a great experience. In full disclosure, I have cried in the middle of The Plaza Restaurant watching my son eat an ice cream sundae.
I was just so thankful and happy.
But wait! We want to experience character dining! The majority of character dining options are buffets. Have no fear! You can also safely navigate a buffet with the help of the chef. The chef will walk you around the buffet and point out all the things that are safe to eat.
Pro tip: take your camera and snap some pictures or video as the chef reviews the options. It is easy to get overwhelmed and forget the safe options especially when you are not familiar with the cuisine ( i.e. me at the Biergarten Restaurant).
In many cases, the Chef will prepare food separate from the buffet to avoid cross contamination and ensure it is safe. Gluten free Mickey waffles for the win!
This level of care and concern can be found at the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. It is magical for our family to be able to enjoy a meal at a restaurant together during our family vacation. I am hopeful you will be able to experience that magic too!