I developed an autoimmune disorder about 5 years ago. It’s been life changing to say the least, with travel being right up there in all the ways I’ve had to adapt to my circumstances. Ever since I was a child, well before I developed the disorder, I always loved traveling to Walt Disney World. And while my relationship with travel has changed, what with all the lengths and measures I now have to take, my appreciation for Disney has actually only grown. Although I could never imagine expecting others to make accommodations for me at the inconvenience of themselves or anyone else, I have come to learn that Disney goes above and beyond in providing ways in which everyone can experience a magical stay. Here are 6 of the top ways Disney makes it possible for you to take the chomp out of dietary restrictions.
If you’ve ever tried to eat at one of Walt Disney World’s popular dine-in restaurants, you’ve learned that reservations are almost always a requirement! But making those advanced reservations is even more helpful to those with dietary restrictions. By notifying the Disney dining team of your particular needs in advance, you can ensure that the chef is ready to accommodate you according to your specific needs.
I suggest making reservations online through the My Disney Experience tool. Start by browsing over menu options at the various restaurants you’d like to try. Once you’ve made your selection, click on the link to make a reservation. Just before confirming your reservation, make sure to click on the button to “add” a special request. This will bring up a page on which you can check all the foods to which you’re intolerant/allergic. After confirming the reservation, the request will be noted on your ticket. However, if the list of restricted foods doesn’t cover your specific needs, you can call or email the dining specialists to discuss your condition in more depth. Online, by phone, or via email—however you choose—just make sure to set up your reservations to put the chomp in your dietary restrictions. You can contact the Disney dining team by email at [email protected] or call (407) 824-5967.
Another way Disney makes it possible to take a chomp out of dietary restrictions is with an extensive list of gluten- and/or allergy-free options. It’ll require some homework on your part, but take some time to study the restaurants and menus and know where you can find foods that meet your needs! Though not all of them do, there are many quick-service stations that also feature gluten-/allergy-free items. The best part of these special menus is that they make it possible for guests to still indulge in all those yummy Disney offerings, but without compromising on taste!
For those with diabetes or other conditions requiring a careful watch on sugar intake, Disney provides a sweet solution with sugar-free dining and treats. Most stores with snack items offer sugar-free options, as well: The sugar-free Disney gummies and other candies are particularly popular with guests!
Speak With the Chef
Whether you’ve already made special dietary reservations or not, ask to speak with the chef after being seated at your table. Even with the special requests I’ve submitted in advance, my condition is one that leaves little room for variation in my diet. On the few occasions when we’ve actually dared to eat in a restaurant, this was only made possible by the wonderful chefs who offered to speak with me personally to get a better understanding of my needs. I couldn’t have had these fun experiences if our chefs weren’t so committed to bringing the magic of Disney to life—and to the table! When it comes to the difference between spending a vacation sick in the restroom or out on adventures, don’t hesitate to ask your server to speak with the chef!
Ordering groceries has been the single most powerful way I’ve been able to take a chomp of out of my dietary restrictions while traveling at Disney! This room-delivery service has made it possible for me to get the food and nutrients I need while also taking the stress out of having my foods prepared by people who don’t fully understand my needs, as well-intentioned as they may be.
My favorite grocery delivery service is Orlando’s Garden Grocer. You can order online or call ahead (866-855-4350) to take advantage of this service. Though they are lacking some products, I’m also always impressed by just how much they do have to offer. Also, when I’ve called to speak with a grocer on the phone, they’ve been more than willing to do their best to locate any item(s) they don’t have available on hand. Just be sure to place your order and schedule a delivery date/time in advance, as their delivery slots fill up fast. Groceries are delivered directly to the hotel concierge, where they will be kept for you until you inquire for them. Make sure you’re staying in a room that includes a mini fridge to help keep your groceries fresh. My favorite is to stay in the villas that come with a kitchenette to help keep and prepare my foods.
Other grocery delivery options include Amazon Fresh and Goodings, another grocer located in Orlando. These other options do offer some additional products that Garden Grocer does not, but overall, I’ve found that no one beats Garden Grocer when it comes to quality, service and efficiency.
A final option for taking a chomp out of dietary restrictions at Disney World is opting for Club Level at your deluxe hotel. One of the perks to Club Level is that you have access to a 24/7 lounge area near your room that’s stocked with small bites and treats. They do have set food items they prepare and serve, but we found upon asking that they were also unbelievably happy to work with my dietary needs. Not that I expect it every time, but the dining team even went out of their way to prepare and hand deliver some foods for me that I could have found no where else on Disney grounds.
Club Level rooms do, of course, cost more, and we don’t always choose this option. But when we do, the service is well worth the extra expense! The money lost on a trip spent being unwell is far greater than the extra expense of booking a room with such amazing service! To me, it’s well worth the money!
Although these are my Top 6 ways to take the chomp out of dietary restrictions on my Disney vacations, I’m sure there are other great ideas, as well. What suggestions and tips do you have that help make your Disney trips more magical?