Disney & The Allergy Friendly Mouse - Michele Drielick

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

As the weekend warrior mother to a 6 and 4 year old, I spent last weekend battling the crowds at Disney World.  Like many Floridians, our family makes the most of a three day weekend by visiting the Mouse.  As a family that deals with a few food allergies, I find navigating theme park restaurants with food allergies or sensitivities can be incredibly frustrating, however, over the last year or so, Disney Parks are making great headway at catering to those with food allergies.

On an allergy-friendly scale, I find Disney World Parks are fairly allergy-friendly destinations.  Considering that each the four Disney World Parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) offer dining options for every purse and palate, they still recognize the value of offering allergy-friendly options across these dining options too.

If dining at a quick counter service restaurant, I might ask if a menu item contains wheat.   Immediately, the counter person asks if I’m asking because of an allergy.  When I reply that I am allergic to wheat, I find him or her flipping diligently through a binder with all ingredients listed.  What a terrific way to relieve my fears of accidentally eating wheat.   My favorite quick service dining location is the Sunshine Seasons Restaurant located in The Land Pavilion at EPCOT.  This location actually brings the chef right to the counter to share ingredients with guests.

When dining in a full service restaurant, I simply ask for gluten free options and find the Head Chef of that restaurant at our table within minutes.  The Chef will point out all of the gluten-free dishes and most of the time they’ll even offer to make something completely original.  The Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom is my absolute favorite restaurant for their creative options.   The Wave located in the Contemporary Resort is another favorite – finer dining that’s family and allergy friendly – WOW!  The Nine Dragons restaurant in EPCOT has also prepared special dishes for us – they even have gluten-free soy sauce! 

Dessert is no exception!  Right down to the sweet endings, you’ll find the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom offers soy ice cream AND rice milk ice cream!

Another exciting service I recently learned about is the Disney Recipe ‘code’.  When dining in any of the restaurants across any of the Disney Parks and Hotels, you can ask your server for the recipe.  They’ll usually take down your email address and you’ll find them in your inbox within a day!  I tried this at BOMA in the Animal Kingdom Lodge….I was a little too excited and asked for 5 of their recipes (BOMA is an African-inspired, gourmet buffet) and sure enough, all 5 of those recipes were emailed to me!  Their Coconut Seafood Curry is not to be missed!!

So…..whether you’re planning to visit Disney World for a week, a day, or a quick jaunt over for dinner….rest assured, there are wonderful, allergy-friendly options throughout the Parks!  Now if I can only figure out how I can spend a night in that darn castle!

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