Quick Service at Disney World with Food Allergies

If you haven't heard the recent newsflash, our family went to Disney World for the first time. And ATE OUT! If you live with food allergies, you know what a big deal this is.

While we've already posted about our experiences at the reservation restaurants, I had to make a separate post about our one quick service experience. It was so wonderful, and really unbelievable. This deserves its own post.

Our plan was to not eat at quick service, the word for "fast food" at Disney. But after three successful reservation restaurant days, I was ready to explore this quick service thing. An hour before close at Animal Kingdom, I wondered off by myself to see if I could recognize any food place from my research. When I saw Restaurantosaurus around the corner, I was drawn in. The place was empty so I told the cashier I was a food allergy mom just exploring. He then immediately pushed the button on his register to call the manager. And within minutes, this adorable manager named Jessica appeared ready to help.

I apologized to Jessica, telling her we weren't really going to eat there. I was just looking around. She asked our allergies, proceeded to tell me how there were only nuts in their brownies and showed me where the brownies sat, told me about separate fryers with just soy oil, explained that she would cook allergy-safe food herself and walk it around to the front, and get this...

Jessica said that she really hoped we would decide to come eat before the park closed and let me borrow the menu to make the case to my husband. Jessica was not only confident, but she had the knowledge we allergy parents want backing up that confidence. She definitely knew what she was talking about. 

Wanting to cry happy tears, I thought it would be an amazing end to our trip if we managed even quick service successfully. After all, Miles still had chicken strips on his bucket list and it was our last night. 

In a private conversation, Jeff was convinced. I didn't want to get Miles's hopes up, after all, if Jeff didn't concede. 

So off we headed to Restaurantosaurus, asked for Jessica again, and she hooked us up. She kindly made Miles chicken strips and fries and offered prepackaged Enjoy Life cookies for dessert. 

When I had to figure out ketchup, Jessica willingly offered to go get packages in the Cast Member break room but then realized they had closed for the night. After inspecting the ketchup dispenser and checking the ingredient box with another manager, I pumped ketchup right into his cardboard dish, and Miles was safe and sound. 

To avoid any contamination at the soda fountain, we brought in our own prepackaged soda from a kiosk nearby. 

Jessica wasn't a chef, but she was a knowledgeable and caring manager whom I will never forget. She took genuine interest in knowing Miles's name and the name of our blog and showed willingness to take a photo and proudly accepted the thank-you note we made. 

To say our son was ecstatic would be an understatement. Just look at that smile!

Maybe we just got really lucky with this quick service stop, maybe not. I would certainly recommend that allergy parents do a little exploring themselves and see what they think about trying it once!

One very helpful resource in my research, which gave me the confidence to try quick service, was this Podcast with Pixie Lizzie on Special Mouse. Liz explains how quick service and restaurants are catering to food allergies and all about their allergy binders. 

I'll be honest, I don't think we could live on quick service three meals a day at Disney. But we'll definitely be willing to grab it in a pinch again next time...during an off-time with a caring manager. Hopefully we will see Jessica again someday.

Please leave a comment and let us know about your own quick service experience.




Troy said...

Try Flame Tree at Animal Kingdom. Our daughter who is dairy, egg, and all nuts loves it!

Troy said...

I forgot about Cosmic Rays in Magic Kingdom, and we also did the QS at Blizzard Beach. Along with our Resort POP Century.

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Thanks, Troy, for coming here to post those. Great reference because I'm determined we are going back. :)

Trishatruly said...

We know Jessica personally, as well as her beautiful,loving parents and her brother. This is a super family, with the BEST values possible. It does not surprise us that she took the best care of you and your family possible. That's the kind of young woman she is and we are very proud to know her.
We're SO glad you visited and had such a good experience!!!

Anonymous said...

I know Jessica's parents. They are incredibly proud of their daughter and so am I! They are amazing parents and it shows in their daughter. So happy you had a great experience!

Alesha C. said...

My old work location!! Jessica was my manager there during my DCP and she is amazing!!! Glad you had a great experience at Resto! I miss their black bean burgers!

Jill Kulwicki said...

Thank you for writing such a nice article. Jessica is our daughter and your comments about her made us even prouder than we are every day.
Jill and Walt Kulwicki

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Oh Jill, my heart is so happy that your family saw this post! I'm hopeful then that Jessica knows how much her kindness and hard work meant to our family. My son just had an allergic reaction to a store-bought cookie that was just recalled for milk. We don't take safe food for granted here! Jessica is a gem. We can't get there soon enough because I would love to see her again. :) If she goes anywhere else, can you let us know? You can even email me at info at milk allergy mom dot com anytime. Thank you for raising a real sweetheart. I hope Disney sees this, too.

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Trisha, I believe it! Thanks for attesting to the amazing character and work ethic of your friend. So glad we got to meet her!

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Alesha, black bean burgers?! I should have gotten that! I rarely ate because I was so nervous and excited watching my son eat. Seriously, I didn't order that night, lol. Disney was awesome!

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Anonymous, thank you! It was really amazing. I'm sure Jessica is bound for bigger things in her life but boy do we hope she can help us out again someday! ;) Someone please keep us posted so we can find her, ha ha!

regretnothiing said...

almost every single quick service restaurant on disney property has some sort of allergy friendly menu, typically with multiple options depending on the allergy. you just need to ask a cast member for an allergy menu.

Pixie Lizzie said...

Thanks for the shout out!!! I love your post and that Jessica's parents, colleagues, and friends were able to see the joy that she brings to guests everyday!! She is as magical as the big mouse himself!!

Jamie Kaufmann said...

Our pleasure, Pixie Lizzie. You are an invaluable resource and we appreciate it. I would have been a wreck at Disney if it weren't for helpful people like you!