Disney Rocks the Food Allergies
By: Tiffany Morse
September 7, 2017
I have been to Walt Disney World Resort several times, both with and without my kids. Naturally with the kids , things get a little more complicated. For us, that also means life threatening. Daniel has a life-threatening peanut allergy. If you have been to Disney or any public place think about how many peanuts and peanut butter you see. It is everywhere. Daniel’s allergy is so severe that if anyone has had or touched peanut butter and touches him that will set it off. Sometimes it makes me want to keep him in a bubble and never let him go anywhere.
Daniel has had six peanut butter exposures, each one landing us in the hospital and completely terrifying. He says “I feel sick,” then he throws up, breaks out in head to toe hives, with his face and throat swelling and finally has breathing problems. We start with Benadryl, which usually does enough to get him to the hospital, and if that is not enough we typically have 4 EpiPens on hand, just in case.
With all of this you can imagine how scared I was at the thought of taking him somewhere full of potential threats. I started by researching and found on many food allergy websites they all loved Disney and said they did a great job. Then I called Disney to make our reservation. After I made the hotel reservation, I explained about Daniel’s allergy and severity of it and to please put a note on our reservation for the Mousekeeper’s and anyone else that we come in contact with us or our room. Then they sent me to dining and I went through the same procedure with them.
When we arrived at Disney months later, I began to feel anxious. They had the allergy on our room reservation, and at each place we went to eat the allergy was noted. At each restaurant they would seat us, and then the chef would come out and talk to us about the menu and what we wanted to eat. If they did not have what Daniel could or wanted to eat they would make something special for him. The special attention was great and made Daniel feel special instead of bad about the things he could not have.
As for the parks, I wiped down each que line and every ride before he sat on it. The Cast Members loved this and offered me a job. Daniel was two the first time he went to Disney knowing he had the allergy. I only mention this because he licked everything on that trip, even I’m embarrassed to say, a toilet seat . Seriously gross!
So even with him licking everything in sight, we never had a problem. The cast members were very knowledgeable about the food and what every item contained and where it was packaged. They were very careful when they cleaned our room and there was no cross contamination.
We have traveled to many places and often have problems. Most recently we went to New York and had to rush Daniel to the hospital from a cross-contamination from an ice cream scoop at an ice cream store. You do not want to be racing through Manhattan during rush hour traffic on Friday night trying to get your child to the ER.
When we go out in public anywhere Daniel has a small backpack that he carries with his Benadryl and EpiPens. It has a patch on it like this one. It also has my name and phone number on there incase someone finds him and he cannot talk. He also wears a bracelet on his wrist to alert everyone.
The people at Disney are wonderful. They understand and are extremely gracious in helping to keep Daniel safe and give him a sense of normalcy. It is a magical place where we are not scared and we feel safe taking Daniel. The chefs are wonderful at going above and beyond to assist you. Disney is amazing and they truly do rock food allergies.