Our local roving Nerd reporter, Sofee has recently experienced some changes in the way guests can follow their special diets, and we are so excited to have her write her experiences for us. Do you or one of your travel partners need additional accommodations when it comes to eating? Then this article is for you! Check out Sofee’s review below!
Are you a Special Meal person?
by Sofee Kravitz
If you are on a unique or special diet – yes, there is a way to eat healthy while in WDW. I myself have such unique requirements that I worry every time I go and for me, that’s a lot as I am local Annual Passholder. It just requires planning…planning….and a little more planning.
Here is what the Walt Disney World website says about it:
“Special dietary requests—including food allergies, food intolerances, medically restricted diets, kosher and halal meals—can often be accommodated at table-service restaurants and select quick-service locations.”
Always request any special requirements during your reservation – if you go online and use MyDisneyExperience.com there is an opportunity to do just that. Calling (407) WDW-DINE direct? Yes, tell them your specifics. And when being seated for any table service at any sit down restaurants – tell your server! Often one of the chefs will come out to talk to you specifically….don’t be shy, let people know.
I recently attended a conference at Walt Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort where there were over 2000 attendees. When I went to the buffet line for lunch which was included, I realized that there was little I could eat and I must have audibly sighed out loud. A Cast Member said, “excuse me, can I help?” – well, color my face red – I replied that I didn’t see anything I can eat and indicated that I would head out front to counter-service restaurant, The Pepper Market and just buy something for lunch there. She said, “Oh no, your host wouldn’t want you to do that!” Please wait right here.”
She brought out a chef and when I told him what I needed, he made me offerings and said, whatever you need, we will do. Oh happy day! There was another guest who overheard and asked him if he could request something special and it was handled professionally and no embarrassment (yes, I get embarrassed telling people)…Always Always ask!
Recently I made a reservation online for Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and noted one of my many restrictions. When I arrived to check in – they handed me a folder entitled Allergen Guide. My diet isn’t allergy related, being a medical diet, but upon opening the folder – each of the food stations was labeled Gluten/Wheat, Eggs, Fish, Milk/Dairy, Peanut/Tree Nut, Shellfish. The list of foods were identified with a red circle line through it to say the item contains the allergen above and a green check mark indicated the item is not made with the allergen above. Be sure to read – ask if you have questions.
While walking through to do a little looking or “grazing” as I call it – a chef saw the Allergen guide in my hand and asked if he could walk me through the buffet line? I told him my medical diet and he quickly showed me what I could have (it isn’t listed on the Allergen guide). I asked if I could have just plain iceberg lettuce for a salad (yes, can’t eat green leafy things). He replied that they don’t have iceberg lettuce but understood what I needed, and asked me to please wait a moment. He later came back out with romaine lettuce – all the darker green leaves removed – and asked if this would be okay for me? YES!
According to the WDW website under Special Dietary Restrictions:
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/special-dietary-requests/. It states that “Our buffet restaurants are able to provide allergen guides and alternate meal options. Please indicate any food allergies or intolerances when making dining reservations, and again upon arrival at the dining location.
When you arrive at the restaurant, please speak with a chef or special diets-trained Cast Member to discuss any food allergies or intolerances. Chefs are available to walk Guests through the buffet to explain what can be eaten based on specific dietary requirements. Please note that we cannot always guarantee we will be able to meet all dietary requests.”
Be sure to understand that while WDW does everything entirely possible to be sure to accommodate your needs, they do say “we cannot guarantee that they will be able to meet all requests.” If you are concerned, always email special.diets@DisneyWorld.com. You too will have a magical meal!
And for Disneyland Resort – guess what? All the above applies! https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/special-dietary-requests/ Their unique email to ask is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, at Disneyland Resort – if you see a red Mickey Check – it means that it is a quick and easy way for families to identify healthier food options. The Mickey Check can be found in stores, online, on-air, at Disney theme parks, and other places where Disney products are sold. Foods and recipes that feature the Mickey Check meet Disney Nutrition Guidelines, which are continually updated to remain best in class to contribute to a nutritious diet.
At either location – if you have a specific religious requirement such as Kosher, be sure to make your reservations via phone 24 hours in advance. For Disneyland: (714) 781-DINE and for Walt Disney World 407) WDW-DINE
For both Walt Disney World and Disneyland: Personal Food Items – Guests with food allergies or intolerances are allowed to bring food into Disneyland Resort theme parks and dining locations. When passing through the park’s security bag check, simply inform a Cast Member that someone in the party has special dietary needs.
Please note that Cast Members are prohibited from storing, preparing, cooking or reheating food brought into our Resort hotels or theme parks by Guests.
Refrigerating and Heating Food Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World hotel Guests bringing items that need refrigeration can use the small refrigerator in their room or call housekeeping to request a refrigerator (subject to availability). Additional charges may apply.
Vacationing while on a special diet is no problem at Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts. Feel comfortable in knowing that your individual dietary needs can and will be met, all with that magical customer service we expect from the awesome Cast Members.
Special thanks to Sofee for this great report on the new allergen guides at Walt Disney World. Don’t forget to check us out on the Disney Nerds LIVE! show every Tuesday night on Facebook, listen to our podcast and join our group!
Thanks for joining us, and remember…
Just keep swimming!