At 12 months old, we were shocked to find out that my son has as allergy to peanuts. There isn’t a history of food allergies on either side of our family so dealing with a food allergy is something completely new to us. I always get nervous when ordering him food from a restaurant or going to a party that will be serving food. Most times when I ask waitstaff if there are any peanut or tree nut products in a certain dish, the answer is usually “I don’t think so”. I always feel frustrated when I hear “I don’t think so” because having an allergic reaction could mean life or death so I want the confidence of knowing that the people preparing my son’s food are always being cautious with his meal. When our meal arrives at a table I always wonder if the message was passed along to the chef himself before the meal was prepared.
I was so impressed with the way Disneyland handles food allergies that I had to write a post dedicated to it. I know there are many other parents out there who have a child with a food allergy so I hope you find the information helpful for your vacation planning.
Disneyland Staff is Trained on How to Handle a Food Allergy:
While on vacation in Disneyland, I knew that we’d be eating out a lot so the food allergy was always on my mind. Whenever possible, we stocked up on fresh fruits from markets because we know these are usually a safe meal option for our son. With a mini fridge in our hotel room, we were able to stock up on a few safe food items for him. He can’t eat fruit all day though so we knew we’d have to do a little investigating to see what areas were safe for him to eat in. I was so happy to see how serious Disneyland takes food allergy requests. They offer many dining options to accommodate all of their guests.
Disneyland offers the option of calling restaurants in advance to tell the staff about food allergies so they can be prepared for your visit. They also offer the option of having the chef come right out to your table to talk to you directly about the food allergy before preparing your meal. They really are concerned about doing everything they can to keep your family safe.
Great Service Examples:
While in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, we ordered in room service for breakfast on our first morning. While on the phone with room service, my husband told them about our son’s food allergy. When the meal arrived at our door I was happy to see that they had a little stick that said “Allergy” sticking out of his plate. It was such a relief to see his plate clearly marked so I know the people preparing his food received the message.
We stopped at Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream for a special treat while in Disney California Adventure. I asked the staff if they had an ice cream options that didn’t come in contact with nuts (so not even an ice cream scooper that had been used to scoop a product with nuts in it). The worker at the till was so helpful! Not only did he use the “Allergy” button on his till (something that I found was standard throughout the resort) but he also went to the back to personally tell the other staff members. To make sure his ice cream didn’t come in contact with nut products, they opened a new container in the back of the shop and used a brand new scoop to get his ice cream. I was amazed at how cautious and attentive they were to my son’s food allergy!
For breakfast one morning we went to the Pacific Wharf Cafe and told the front clerk about our son’s allergy. The chef came right out to the till with a pen and a special pad of paper to record all of the information. He made note of our name, the date and time, the specific food allergy and our meal request. He was very knowledgeable about how each of the products was prepared and what may have come in contact with nut products. He then went to the back kitchen area and personally prepared my son’s meal and brought it out to us himself. Amazing service! It’s great to see how much they care about their customers.
At the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, we wanted to grab my son a quick bite to eat but when I entered the restaurant I saw a lot of baked goods (some with nuts) all in a front display area. I wasn’t sure that they would have something safe for my son to eat but the worker at the till was quick to offer me an alternative. They sell individually packaged muffins that are gluten free, soy free, dairy free and nut free. We purchased one for my son and he loved it!
As you can see, there are so many options for people with food allergies and the care the staff puts into your order is great. With that said, there are still some parents who prefer to pack their own meals for their children with a food allergy. Disneyland wants to make it convenient for these families to enjoy their meals as well so they have a dedicated picnic area where your family can sit to enjoy snacks that you have brought from home.
As you can see, I was extremely impressed with the care and attention that all of the staff members gave us during our visit. This really is The Happiest Place on Earth and all the Disney Cast Members want to make sure your stay is a memorable and enjoyable one.
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*Disclosure: My family was invited on a magical vacation to the Disneyland Parks and the beaches of Orange County. My flight, our hotel, park passes, meal vouchers and other various perks were provided to me as part of this adventure. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.