Recently, we took Breezy to Disney World for her 4th birthday. I spent months and months doing research for our trip. I read 4 different books cover to cover. I spent every spare second I had in the weeks prior to the trip cramming every ounce of information from websites and blogs into my brain. I had discovered from the No Nuts Moms Group that Disney World was a popular destination for families with food allergies, but it wasn’t until I discovered Allergyfreemouse.com that I truly got a sense of relief about our upcoming trip. There, I uncovered that every single place, from snack cart to table service restaurant had allergy information on every food item. To say I was thrilled is an understatement. I was beyond excited for my princess-obsessed little one’s first trip to the most magical place on earth. However, we did not stay on Disney property and thus did not purchase a dining package. Part of our trip was spent with my husband’s family, so we did mostly quick service restaurants in the parks. Our only advanced dining reservation was at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot, so Breezy could meet all of the princesses.
Our first day in Orlando was spent mostly in Downtown Disney. We spent the night before at the Holiday Inn within walking distance, so we did some major sleeping in since we were exhausted from traveling the day before, and arrived at Rainforest Cafe’ just as they opened for lunch. I picked this place more for the atmosphere, than just allergies, I admit. Breezy and I were pretty stoked to see the talking tree, and the thunderstorm that occurred every 20 minutes.
I informed the hostess of my daughter’s peanut, tree nut, and egg allergies while giving her our name for a table. They made a note of it, and our waiter was very quick to ask us once we were seated. He explained that he would have the chef come out and go over the menu with us. Already, I was extremely pleased. I walk in most restaurants and try to explain a food allergy, and they look at me like I have a third eye. The chef came out rather quickly, and asked about Breezy’s allergies. She explained how they avoid cross contamination, and pointed out all the things that were safe for her to eat, which were many. Any question I could have had, she answered before I could get it out. What surprised me the most was when she said “There is even a safe, nut-free dessert on the menu: Lava Mud(TM).” I didn’t even care what Lava Mud was, she was getting it. This was a rare occasion that she could safely have dessert in a restaurant. It was happening. Breezy got her usual grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. She is super picky, and loves things plain. The Lava Mud(TM) was definitely Breezy approved! Rainforest Café was a wonderful ice breaker for our trip, and I had high hopes for the next 8 days.
The following day, we began our adventures into the parks with my husband’s family, starting with Animal Kingdom. We ate breakfast at our rental home that morning, but took some snacks for Breezy, and had planned on eating lunch there that day. My father-in-law had also done his homework for this trip, and we agreed Restaurantosaurus would be the best option for all of us. I have only been to Disney World once before: 5 years ago on a penny-pinching honeymoon, and we only did quick service restaurants. I remembered them being very crowded and busy. In my mind, I had no clue how I was supposed to explain to the cashier my daughter had food allergies. I must have also forgot I was in the most magical place on earth.
After a surprisingly short wait, it was our turn to place our order. The very first thing out of my mouth was “My daughter has food allergies.” The cashier told us to just hold on one moment, and the manager would be out to take our order. Within a couple minutes, the manager came out to speak with us. He was very knowledgeable, and just like the chef at Rainforest Café, answered every question I could have before I could ask it. All of us got chicken nuggets and french fries, because Disney World nuggets and fries are delicious! Pretty much everything at Disney World is delicious.
The next park we visited was Hollywood Studios. I had Pizza Planet on my radar since I found out it was an actual place there, and Breezy loves Toy Story. We went there, and just like at Restaurantosaurus, the manager came out and took our order and was completely wonderful. And this pizza was so good !
The next day was the day Breezy had been talking about for months. She was going to “eat lunch with the princesses!” We had a reservation at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway at Epcot. It was such a fun place, and really had me wishing we had done more table service restaurants. They announced our family as we walked in, like we were royals, and Breezy’s first princess encounter was with Belle right inside the restaurant.
When I made the reservation online, the last screen wanted to know of our parties’ food allergies or intolerances before submitting our reservation, so when the waitress came to our table, she already knew of Breezy’s allergies and informed us that the chef would be out to take our order. The chef at Akershus knew his stuff. He named every single thing on the menu and on the cold bar that she could have. Breezy got pizza, but she could hardly concentrate on eating because she was so infatuated with all the princesses walking around.
Breezy got to meet with Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, and her favorite, Ariel! She even got a birthday card that was signed by each of them. When it was time for dessert, there was supposed to be only one plate of three desserts for the whole table to share. However, the chef also sent out a special plate just for Breezy that was free of her allergens with two special desserts. This experience alone makes me want to return to Disney World with a Deluxe Dining plan!
The next several days we went to Magic Kingdom and back to Epcot once. A lot of chicken nuggets were devoured over that time. We continued to have excellent experiences at every place we went to. At Magic Kingdom we ate at Casey’s Corner, Columbia Harbour House, and Pinocchio Village Haus. I was extremely disappointed that I did not get to go to Be Our Guest. I tried for months and could not get advanced dining reservations for dinner, and the one day we had planned on going there for lunch there was a two hour wait to get in. I can use an excuse to try “the grey stuff” as an excuse to do back to Disney World, right? When we went back to Epcot, we attempted “eating around the world”, but by the time we made it to America, we were stuffed! I don’t remember exactly where or what we ate, but there were definitely turkey legs involved.
Overall, our trip was a wonderful experience. It was such a relief to know that any place I could walk into nearly any restaurant in any park, and my little one would have safe options to choose from. We look forward to returning for many years to come!