Eating at Disney World Restaurants with Food Allergies!



Oh my goodness, you guys...I could not write this post about our recent trip to Disney World fast enough. But I also needed some time to first digest the wonderful time we experienced.

Seriously, I'm completely obsessed now. I never, ever thought that Disney would be that "magical" for my family. But it was, and mostly for the safe food and incredible food staff. We can't wait to go back now!





My anaphylactic food allergy son ate safely in reservation restaurants, a quick service restaurant, and a bakery. Not only did I pay attention to the safety of the food, but I watched and listened for knowledge of the staff and chefs. And I came away impressed. Very impressed.

Get this, we literally booked just a little over a month in advance! Totally a last-minute decision that I'm so glad we made.

We stayed off-site at a condo with a kitchen, and cooked one meal a day usually. Then we had a second meal at a Disney park. And lots of snacks in between.


DISNEY WORLD WITH FOOD ALLERGIES 


We did one day at each of these parks:  Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. 

Booking a reservation meal at each park, we tried to give my son (who has never eaten in a restaurant) a good variety of experiences and foods. The plan was to stick with reservation places and official chefs who would carefully make my son's food safe for him. But as I will tell you about in upcoming posts, we deterred a bit once we got comfortable!

When we made reservations online for meals, we noted our allergens. Then when we arrived at the restaurant, the staff knew of our allergies per their computer system and put a special ticket on our table. At that point they would tell us a little about the allergy menu, and we would ask to meet with the chef personally. They always obliged, and the chefs accommodated us well. 

Incredibly, food staff and chefs weren't even phased by our "simple" list of 2-3 allergens. Once they knew our situation after speaking to us personally, they were ready roll. To us it was a huge deal being in restaurants for the first time and knowing our son's response is life-threatening at even trace amounts of his allergens. So it took a little adjusting to have such knowledgeable and careful people serving of us. The experience ended up being a huge blessing. 


Liberty Tree ~ Magic Kingdom ~ Reservations


At Magic Kingdom, we reserved Liberty Tree for 2:00 late lunch to avoid crowds. It was very quiet and calm there as we had hoped. Chef Brian, from our home state, ended up being our son's favorite meal chef. 

Miles devoured a huge hamburger with a side of fries made specially by Chef Brian. His first restaurant meal ever. Then chef surprised Miles with Enjoy Life cookies and a chocolate soy milk shake for dessert using Tofutti ice cream and Silk soy milk. I cried. 




Plaza Restaurant ~ Magic Kingdom ~ Walk-In


To end our first day of Disney, we met with Chef Ken at the walk-in Plaza Restaurant for dessert. Chef Ken enthusiastically made our whole family soy chocolate milk shakes with Tofutti ice cream and Enjoy Life cookies mixed in. So much milk shake that we left with literally all our stomachs bursting. No dinner needed that night! Chef Ken is a complete gem.




Garden Grill ~ Epcot ~ Reservations


At Epcot, we reserved Garden Grill for 2:00 pm. This was a little more chaotic because it was a character meal with Mickey, Pluto, Chip, & Dale. We didn't book it for the characters, but wanted to experience the family style meal with our son. It's also a revolving restaurant. Cool! The food was amazing, but Miles said later it was his least favorite place because he wanted to order his own dish. Now we know, I guess.  

Together, we all enjoyed a big salad with oil and vinegar dressing, roast beef, turkey, sweet potato fries, green beans, sauteed onions and peppers, and gluten-free rolls. Chef Tom came out once to take our order, but the staff took good care of us the rest of the time. For dessert, Chef sent out Enjoy Life soft and crunchy cookies arranged in Mickey-looking display.




Tusker House ~ Animal Kingdom ~ Reservations


I really wanted Miles to experience a restaurant breakfast so we ate at Tusker House for their extensive breakfast buffet. As with all the restaurants, we met with the chef, and she personally made Miles his own two plates fresh in the kitchen. Not from the buffet. This again was a character meal, and Mickey, Donald, Goofey, and Daisy paraded into our dining room for photos and autographs. Staying mindful of characters and allergen contamination from all the kids, Miles sort of kept his distance and wet wipes were used liberally. 

Chef Renee made Miles two plates full of Kinnickkinnick donuts, Udi's muffins, probably a pound of bacon, loads of eggs, delicious fruit, and the infamous mickey waffles made dairy-free. 



Terra Treats ~ Animal Kingdom ~ Allergy-Friendly Kiosk

 


Animal Kingdom also had this allergy-friendly kiosk that we knew to keep our eyes out for. It's been updated since 2015 and isn't as bright and colorful as I have seen in pictures on Pinterest so I was a little confused at first. We honestly didn't even order anything because we always had snacks in our bag. I can't wait to go back and order up now!


Disney & Food Allergy Resources



Thankfully, even with only 30 days to plan, there were a ton of helpful sites for me to research doing Disney with food allergies. I can't possibly cover all there is to tell, but these resources will have you well on your way to a safe trip to Disney with food allergies. I hope you get a chance to go!







Please leave a comment letting us know your best Disney tips for food allergy families or any questions you might have.

8 comments:

June K said...

What a wonderful story, Jamie. It's great that the Disney chefs so accommodated and made sure everything was safe for your son. Glad you had a wonderful vacation. We love DisneyWorld.

Anonymous said...

Chef Ken at The Plaza is the BEST!!! He made my lunch when I was there in August, and I had my first milkshake in YEARS! (I have a dairy allergy too) I'm glad you guys had such an enjoyable trip in Disney, there truly is nothing like their service, they go so far above and beyond to help everyone! So happy for your son!

-Emily

Jamie Kaufmann said...

June, I always love to hear from you. It was amazing. :) Thanks for the sweet note.

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Emily, thanks for sharing that with us! I would have loved to have food made by Chef Ken. Hopefully next time! :) Glad you got to have the experience. Let's go back!

Rachel Anderson said...

Our 5 year old son is allergic to 9 different foods. Anaphylactic to at least 5, including milk. We went to Disney last Spring and also had a great experience with food! The peace of mind with Disney's superior customer service/food safety and all the fun left us no choice but to go again this Spring!

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Wow, Rachel, that is so so encouraging. I am so happy for you guys! Can we go with you? ;)

Angie said...

I'm so glad your family had a wonderful trip! Thank you so much for posting this! I literally cried all the way through it! We hope to go to Disneyland someday, and your experience gives me so much hope. I appreciate all the help you offer on your site. We had our first bout of anaphylaxis almost a year ago, and I was kind of a mess as we tried to figure out our new life balance. Then one night as I was up late researching food allergies, I came across your website. What an answer to prayer! I read and read, and felt so much peace. Your site is such a safe landing place for moms and families who are dealing with food allergies. Thank you for empowering us with knowledge and for the amazing support you offer.

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Thank you, Angie, for sharing in our joy and leaving such a kind note. It means the world that we have encouraged you. You are so welcome. Hope to get to know you more. Be sure to hang out on FB with us! Hope you make it to Disney sooner than we did!