Food allergies can definitely make things harder when you want to go on vacation! I have a lot of experience with allergies/food intolerances that started 4 years ago when I was diagnosed with an intolerance to dairy. I’m currently working on multiple food intolerances, but was still able to go on vacation and have a wonderful time! I want to share with you these allergy friendly tips I recently learned while planning for my Disney vacation. Hopefully, this will save you some time and help you to have less stress and more fun!
1. Check out the park menus online.
Here’s the link to all the dining opportunities at Disney. When you click on the restaurant’s name more specific information will come up including a link to the right that says “View Menu.” The menu gives you an idea of what they serve at that particular spot. Sea World has menus online here (just click on the restaurant you’re interested in).
2. Make reservations.
(This information applies to Disney.) If the restaurant is listed as “Quick Service,” then no reservations are needed. But if the listing says “Table Service” you’ll need to make reservations ahead of time. Even the quick service restaurants might have something that you are able to eat, although the Table Service restaurants are set up to be more accommodating to allergies. That being said, I ate at Quick Service restaurants and was able to find things I could eat.
3. Tell the appropriate person about your allergies as soon as you arrive.
At a quick service restaurant that would be the cashier. The cashier will then promptly call someone to help you. They’ll bring a huge binder and ask you what allergies you have and what you’re interested in ordering. If you know what you might want, they’ll open the binder and show you every ingredient in that particular thing! That was awesome for me because then I didn’t have to question what was in each food!
If you dine at a Table Service restaurant, ask to speak to the chef or supervisor upon arrival. At Sea World you can pick up an allergen friendly card that you can give to an attendant when you arrive at the restaurant. The attendant will give the card to the manager.
4. Disney World and Sea World allow coolers if you have food allergies or intolerances.
Disney prefers coolers with soft sides. Sea World requires carry coolers (meaning not on wheels) and they must be collapsible. Disney doesn’t allow glass containers in coolers so make sure you pack all your food in plastic containers.
5. If you have more specific questions contact the park before you leave for vacation.
Disney can be reached at 1-407-824-5967. FYI-When I called they told me that their hamburger patties were 100% beef and that their fries are fried in a separate fryer for allergy sensitive customers.
Sea World has an email set up to answer specific allergy related questions (firstname.lastname@example.org), however I emailed them and never received a reply. So I called and ended up being directed to the person who opened the Expedition Cafe in SeaWorld and he got a chef for me, too. I ended up talking to both of them on a conference call! They really knew their stuff and I got specific answers on what was in each menu item.
6. Carry your own snacks.
There are some allergy friendly snacks available, but many of them aren’t very healthy. There are some places that have fruit, but we found it easier to just have it available in our cooler (which we stored in the bottom of our stroller). I also brought items to round out my meal if it was needed. You might need to carry your own salt as well because most salts have corn in them as an anti-caking agent.
Both Disney and Sea World have good training for their employees. Simply let them know as soon as possible what your allergens are. (Of course, it’s still good to pay attention because people can make mistakes).
If you plan ahead, it really is possible to have a great time at theme parks when dealing with food allergies! I had an awesome time at the parks even with my limited diet!