With up to 15 million Americans having food allergies, Walt Disney World has responded with several options for guests traveling to the resorts. The newest resource for guests with dietary restrictions is the Garden Kiosk, which recently opened at the Animal Kingdom Park.
On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I decided to stop by the Garden Kiosk and see what food options they have available to guests. While the Garden Kiosk was difficult to find, and not all Cast Members knew where to direct me, I did finally locate the Garden Kiosk near the exit to the “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” attraction and the Adventurer’s Outpost.
While visiting the Garden Kiosk, I was able to chat with the Cast Member behind the counter. She mentioned that the Garden Kiosk has three main objectives:
First, the kiosk sells pre-packaged snacks, drinks, and fruit that are allergen-free. Guests can also use their Snack Points from the Disney Dining Plan at the Garden Kiosk.
Second, guests can check with the Garden Kiosk for menu ingredients from all of the restaurants at the Animal Kingdom. Behind the counter of the kiosk, the Cast Member has several giant binders with which to refer. Guests can visit the kiosk with questions, and the Cast Member can look in the binders for the restaurant, the dish, the ingredients in that dish, and any allergens that could potentially problems for guests with dietary restrictions. The Garden Kiosk also provides a pamphlet with a listing of menu choices and allergen-free options.
Third, the Garden Kiosk’s aim is to provide Quick-Service options for guests with dietary restrictions. Guest with advanced dining reservations at Table Service Restaurants can contact the Walt Disney World Special Diets department and alert them to the guest’s dietary restrictions and have alternate menu choices available when they arrive to their reservation. For Quick-Service dining, it’s not that easy to know where to eat when a guest has a dietary restriction. The Garden Kiosk hopes to guide guests with those Quick-Service menu choices while still keeping with their dietary needs.
While I visited the Garden Kiosk, a guest came to the counter to ask about the ingredients in cotton candy at one of the snack carts. Her granddaughter had a gluten-allergy and she wanted to make sure there wasn’t any ingredients in the cotton candy that would cause an allergic reaction. The Cast Member checked the reference binders, made sure there wasn’t any allergens in the snack, and assured the woman that it was a safe choice for her granddaughter.
The Garden Kiosk is a pilot program. If guests respond well to the Garden Kiosk at Animal Kingdom, there may be more kiosks installed in other parks at Walt Disney World.
Do you have a food allergy? What has been your experience with dining within the Walt Disney World resorts? Will you visit the Garden Kiosk?