Today is the last day of school and my mind is already wandering about possible vacation scenarios. It’s already unbearably hot and dry in Texas, so I’m thinking somewhere close to the water where the sand is white and the water is blue. Ahhh….yes…I can just picture it!
For those of us with food allergies in the family, I think we start to plan vacation and then quickly stop and think there’s no way we could ever make vacation to a strange place allergy-friendly. Sometimes a foreign destination can be just as challenging as a domestic destination when it comes to food allergies.
So where are some good places to go? Over the next few weeks I hope to give you a few great ideas of some vacation spots for families with food allergies.
This week the spotlight today will be on Walt Disney World. Over the years, I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about how Walt Disney World is truly the happiest place on earth…even for people with food allergies. Families just like ours that are dealing with multiple food allergies have successfully visited the amusement park without incident and have given rave reviews on their experiences.
I have to say, that makes me feel a little bit better about considering Walt Disney World as a potential vacation for my family. Still, I wanted to do a little research first…
My first line of defense was to email Disney World about dietary accommodations and I received the below email:
Dear Food Allergy Mom:
Thank you for contacting the Walt Disney World® Resort.
We appreciate your interest in learning what arrangements might be possible in our theme park and resort restaurants for guests with specific dietary restrictions. First, please know that the chefs and managers in our full-service restaurants are always happy to provide information regarding not only the ingredients of menu selections, but also how items are prepared. In many instances, food may be specially prepared to accommodate particular dietary restrictions.
It is also sometimes possible for our restaurants to prepare food items using special ingredients (gluten-free flour, for example). For this reason, we encourage you to make your particular restriction known when booking advanced reservations arrangements for our full-service restaurants, so that the appropriate notation may be made. Reservations may be arranged up to 180 days in advance for selected restaurants by calling 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463), or reserve online at Disneyworld.com, by clicking “Discover”, and then “Dining” in the far right hand column.
We now have special dietary information on the disneyworld.com website at the following links.
If you have specific inquiries regarding the food served at the park restaurants, guests may contact our special dietary assistants at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We would also like to mention that as an exception to our standard policy, guests who have specific food allergies are welcome to bring a cooler smaller than 24″ length x 15″ width x 18″ height (which mirrors the large locker size) into the park with snacks that require no cooking or reheating. Coolers will be inspected for glass and alcoholic beverages which are not permitted. Picnic baskets, ice chests, and larger coolers are not permitted.
We hope this information will be of help to you and we look forward to your visit with us and hope that it will be magical.
If you have questions or need further assistance, feel free to contact us.
Stan Palmer, WDW Online Communications
Initially, I am so impressed with Disney’s communication and willingness to work around families with food allergies. I’m dreaming of a vacation where my son, who is allergic to nuts and peanuts, and myself (I have celiac) will be able to visit an amusement park and restaurants and KNOW there will be something for my whole family to eat. What a treat!
Tune in again later this week for more information on vacationing with food allergies at Walt Disney World!