As a mother to a son who has a life-threatening peanut allergy, I know all too well of the stresses that dining out can bring. Many concerns run through your head; does the server as well as the chef know the severity of food allergies, can you trust the staff to handle your food without contamination, and will they have options for meals you are able to eat? I have to be honest, when I am at Disney those concerns never run through my mind.
Dining at a Disney Theme Park and Resort
When we arrive to any restaurant at Disney, whether it is a quick service location or table service, I always make it known right away that there is a food allergy.
Quick Service Dining
At quick service locations they will make the order separately to avoid contamination. They use different burners and fryers for these orders. This sometimes makes for longer wait times. Your order will come out on a different color tray as well. This is their way to make the staff aware of a food allergy and to handle the order accordingly.
Table Service Dining
At table service locations the chef will come to the table and talk to you about the menu. They will go over what foods are safe/unsafe to eat depending on the food allergy. This goes for buffet style restaurants as well.
But before any of that ever happens, I make sure to note the type of allergy when I am making the dining reservations. This way the staff is aware prior to you arriving.
Dining on a Disney Cruise
An amazing thing about a Disney Cruise is that you have the same servers for the duration of your cruise. They follow you from restaurant to restaurant as you make the rotation for dinner. Once again, the chef will come out and talk to you about what foods are safe/unsafe to eat depending on the food allergy. They even have a special form for taking the order of the person with the food allergy to make sure it is prepared accordingly.
For buffet style locations, the chefs go over what foods may or might contain allergens. They are extremely knowledgeable in what foods they prepare verse what foods are processed at a different location and brought in.
Dining at a Kids Club on a Disney Cruise
If you plan on having your child with food allergies eat while they are at a Kids Club, you should make accommodations with your head server the day prior. I wasn’t aware that we had to do that the day prior, but the staff and chefs on the Disney Cruise made it possible for my son to have a safe meal the day of.
You are responsible to supply your own EpiPen/AUVI-Q while your child is using the Kids Club. They put it in a bag with the child’s name and stateroom number on it. They do return it to you each time you check your child out of the club. The allergy information is also in your child’s file when they check in to the Kids Club.
EpiPens/AUVI-Q and Disney
Disney allows you to bring in EpiPens or AUVI-Qs into the parks. We have visited the parks with three EpiPens in my backpack and was never questioned. I do however carry a note from my son’s allergist explaining his life-threatening allergy and why he must carry an EpiPen when I fly/travel. I would suggest keeping the EpiPens or AUVI-Qs in the original prescription boxes just in case you are questioned. All first-aid stations on Disney property carry EpiPens.
Disney takes food allergies very seriously. They received honors for Allergy-Friendly Fare. For more information about Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) honors visit here.