Disney Cruise Planner & Personalized Navigator

Posted on : 01-06-2013 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Misc

As you may know, we like to plan our Disney World trips using this planning sheet that keeps everything together, concisely organized in a way that facilitates easy access. We put one together for our upcoming Disney Cruise and decided to share it, too.

Disney Cruise PlannerFirst, check out our Disney Cruise section, including lots of tips for sailing with a food allergy. Then download this form and take it with you on your cruise. It will help you plan and manage your cruise itinerary.

Disney Cruise Planner

If you want updates, plus an offer related to the Disney Cruise Planner & Personalized Navigator, use this form to register. (Don’t worry, your information is completely confidential and will only be used for updates and offers related to this Disney Cruise Planner)

Also, if you’ve been on a Disney Cruise and have feedback for our planner, please use the form below and let us know.

Hollywood & Vine food allergy quick review

Posted on : 29-05-2013 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Guest, Misc, Review

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This quick review was provided by Larry, whose son is allergic to milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, and sesame.

Hollywood & Vine with food allergiesI’m very surprised to read the review submitted by Gretchen about this restaurant. We were there back in November 2012 and my son is allergic to milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame. The chef made my son fresh pancakes and waffles, bacon, and fresh fruit. Maybe it all depends on what chef is on duty? Surprising because we’ve eaten at 10-15 different restaurants at Disney and none of them ever offered us
frozen waffles.

Recommend for milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, and sesame : Maybe

If you would like to review Hollywood & Vine or any Disney restaurant, submit a food allergy dining Quick Review.

When Disney disappoints

Posted on : 04-03-2013 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Misc

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We were recently contacted by a guy named Gary, who was planning a Disney World trip with his granddaughter, who has genetic disorder. He needed Silk Soy Milk available for her on the trip. Since they were flying to Orlando and the quantity was above the TSA guideline for carry-on liquids, he wasn’t able to take it on the trip. Disney recommended Goodlings Grocery as one who will deliver. However, their minimum order was way above the quantity he needed. We checked with GardenGrocer.com and, while their minimums are lower, it was still too much to justify when his needs were only 2.5 gallons of soy milk. We even found the product on Amazon.com. However, the option there was for a large quantity of single-serve soy milk — again a bit much for what he needed.

We recommended that he call Special Diets again, requesting to speak with the head chef at the Caribbean Resort where he was staying, and ask for his or her assistance. When the need arrises, a Disney Cast Member will typically go above and beyond for you, if you simply ask and it’s not extravagant. He did just that, and the chef said he would arrange to have plenty of Silk Soy Milk available when arrived.

He even followed up just before leaving for the trip, and all was set.

Unfortunately, when Gary arrived with his family, no one at the Caribbean Resort was aware of the arrangement. They had no record of the request at Special Diets, either.

Out of desperation, Gary rented a car and purchased the Silk Soy Milk for his granddaughter.

We were heartbroken to hear this news. It was a real surprise to us, after all the wonderful stories we hear about Disney, and the experiences we have had while at Disney World and on our Disney Cruise. Had we been in this situation, we probably would have done the same thing, or possibly even paid the price to have a GardenGrocer.com delivery.

Just a few days ago, we learned of another option, Orlando Theme Park Shoppers, who provide a personal shopper service, including special dietary needs. They are a much more economical option. Unfortunately, we were not aware of this service until Gary already had his plan with Disney.

So what went wrong with the plan at Disney? No one will ever know. Disney often delivers magical moments, and are known for their protocol for doing so. They have systems in place that work within the logistics of a massive food service organization. And Joel Schaefer told us that he implemented a protocol for dealing with food allergies, within this giant food service organization, that makes a special dietary need a red alert priority. Everyone takes it very seriously and the operation adjusts accordingly to ensure extreme care is taken. We feel like Gary’s request fell outside of the protocol. It was essentially promised by someone, outside of the normal procedures, and the massive logistical operation at Disney possibly overlooked this promise, since it was not part of the normal process.

It’s a real shame that it happened, but Disney is a huge operation run by people. And people make mistakes and forget things. Therefore, it’s always a great idea to have a backup plan with food allergies. We still do it, but it’s much “lighter” than it used to be. Disney has never let us down, but we still have a plan for it. In fact, we’ve booked our next Disney Cruise, even after the Carnival Triumph. And while we don’t expect any issues like that, we’ve decided to take a week’s worth of dairy-free supplies, just in case. Nothing fancy, but enough for our daughter to have in case things don’t go quite as planned.

Has anyone else ever needed something and found a solution with or without Disney’s help? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section.


Disney Cruises – newer ships may be more accommodating for food allergies

Posted on : 08-01-2013 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Misc

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A reader, Ashlie, sent this to us in response to our Disney Cruise information.

I saw your post about the Disney Magic with food allergies. I just wanted to share with you my experiences with DCL and food allergies. I have Celiac Disease so I’m gluten free and my mom also has Celiac and has a soy allergy.

I sailed on the Wonder (sister ship to the Magic) and I found experiences similar to yours. I’ve also sailed on the Dream three times and on the Fantasy once. I’m going on my second Fantasy cruise in March.

I’ve found the newer ships the Dream and the Fantasy much more accommodating with our special dietary needs. They seemed more willing to customize meals and make things special just for us. Besides pre-ordering our meals, we could also go up on the pool deck and get a safe meal.

We spoke to AllergyFree Foods about this. It was a distribution issue that affected Texas-based Disney Cruises, and should be corrected now.

They had the gluten-free chicken tenders you were talking about. They had a dedicated fryer so you could get chicken fingers and fries by the pool. They could also do gluten free pizzas (not sure if the crusts were dairy free) I’m extremely sensitive to gluten and I never got sick from eating at the pool deck.

If you ever decide to sail DCL in the future, I’d highly recommend the newer ships over the older ships for the way they accommodate special dietary requests.

FASTPASS for dining – New automation with options for food allergies

Posted on : 07-01-2013 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Misc, News

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Disney FASTPASS dining with food allergy options

Disney is testing a new FASTPASS type system for dining reservations. In a way, this almost turns a dine-in restaurant into a quick service restaurant. It allows you to pick a time, order your food and, when you arrive, you are allowed right into the dining room and your food is delivered to your table. They tested this briefly at Be Our Guest and said it was a big success.

This is not the big news, though.

Back in February of 2012, Disney tested interactive menus at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios. And, if you specified a food allergy, the menu eliminated those foods that contained your allergen. This was very limiting for some diners. In the end, if you had a food allergy, you would speak to chef as normal, which was much more reassuring anyway. The interactive menu simply presented some options to make you aware of the options the chef might offer.

So, the new system may be a combination of the “FASTPASS dining” and the interactive menu, with one key difference; instead of removing the menu items that contain your food allergen, it can keep those items with ingredient substitutions. This is much better than the Brown Derby test since it gives you even more options. However, like the Brown Derby scenario, you will still speak to a chef, which is the protocol for all dine-in restaurants.

According to the food service manager we spoke to, this is still very preliminary and is about to begin testing, along with many new automation options, like FASTPASS+, testing now. We can’t wait to give it a try! Let us know if you get to participate.

UPDATE: After a Facebook comment, I thought I should clarify one point. In the BOG test, you had the option to order your food ahead of time if you knew exactly what you wanted. It wasn’t a requirement of the service. The reservation priority is a big seller since, especially at BOG, there has been quite a wait, even with a reservation time.

Big news! Dole Whips are now dairy free, maybe

Posted on : 03-01-2013 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Misc, News

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Visit this page for the latest info on Dole Whip at Disney World.

Dole Whip - Now dairy-free

We’re still researching this, but a reader notified us of Dole pineapple soft serve ingredient changes on the Precision Foods website. Basically, they have reformulated it removing the sodium caseinate (a derivative of the milk protein) which now qualifies it as truly dairy-free, lactose-free and gluten-free, as well as free of the other food allergy ingredients in the “big 8 food allergens” by the FDA. In fact, the ingredients also state it is vegan.

Here is the latest Pineapple Dole Whip ingredient list. Dole tells us this also applies to the orange soft serve, too.

However, while the ingredients are dairy free, Disney Special Diets tells us that it may be served on the same equipment as the vanilla soft serve, which does contain dairy. Therefore, cross-contamination is a potential hazard. Additionally, Aloha Isle may not have the necessary preparation space to prevent cross-contamination.

UPDATE: The equipment used to dispense the Dole Whip product has a nozzle for each flavor. However, while this is good news, you should still mention your food allergies to the Cast Member at the Aloha Isle, making sure they take precautions to avoid cross contamination. You might even request a fresh cup from an unopened package.

Again, proceed with caution if you are allergic to dairy and go with your gut instinct if you feel uncomfortable — walk away, it’s just a Dole Whip.

If you have any firsthand experience and can let us know, please contact us.

Disney Cruise: Aboard the Magic

Posted on : 17-10-2012 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Misc

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The Magic Disney Cruise LinerSince we learned so much on this Disney Cruise, and we collected so much useful information, we’ll be putting together a few different categories over the coming weeks. They include:

  • Restaurant tips
  • Restaurant reviews
  • Restaurant menus
  • Dining times – you must pick early (5:45) or late (8:15)
  • UPDATE: Here is the new section of our Disney Cruise section
  • Food safety
  • Tipping
  • Special order cakes

Also, we will be adding:

  • Port Adventure tips (especially food tips!)
  • Adult-only experiences
  • Shutters (the on-board photo shop)
  • The Magic Disney Cruise Line ship map
  • The ship directory
  • Entertainment on the ship (with an example of what to expect at the Buena Vista theatre)
  • Oceaneers Club & Lab and other kid’s clubs, explained with photos
  • Must-dos on the ship
  • Fish extenders, explained by photos
  • Alcohol policies
  • Character experiences
  • Decorating state room doors
  • Packing, with lists
  • Autograph ideas
  • Guest Services drop-off policies
  • Pirate Night
  • Our itineraries
  • Ship’s Navigator for each day
  • Vista spa options

Check back soon, and often, for updates. Or, follow us on FacebookTwitter or subscribe in the sidebar to get the latest. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions do so below or in our Disney Food Allergy forum.

Back from the Disney Cruise

Posted on : 14-10-2012 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Misc

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Disney Cruise Food Allergy FreeWe’re back from our first Disney Cruise, aboard the Disney Magic. And it was magical!

I learned tons of information and want to share it with you, your families and friends. The trip was a complete success – not one food allergy incident at all! Not one!

I will be sharing allergy tips related to dining experiences, adult dining, dining menus, characters, 1st day must-dos, packing tips & lists, port adventures, the Disney Kid’s Club & labs, and more.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe in the sidebar to get the latest. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions do so below or in our Disney Food Allergy forum.

The Plaza Restaurant

Posted on : 16-08-2012 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Guest, Misc, Quick Review, Review

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This quick review was provided by Laura, whose daughter is allergic to peanuts and avoids tree nuts.

Peanut allergy dining at The Plaza RestaurantOur family is lucky enough to travel to Disney World at least two times a year and until this last trip we have avoided the Plaza restaurant because I was convinced they would not be able to properly handle my 6yo daughter’s peanut allergy. I was aware that the menu featured ice cream sundae’s for dessert and didn’t want to take the risks that usually accompany ice cream parlors. However, one evening we did not make dining reservations in advance and were faced with heading back to our resort, a walk-up, or giving The Plaza a try. We asked the hostess if they could accommodate my daughter’s allergy without advance notice and of course they could.

The hostess took extra time to clean our table in my presence after I voiced my concerns and informed our waitress of my daughter’s allergies. While taking our drink orders she informed us the Chef would be out shortly to talk with us about our allergy concerns. I am very familiar with the allergy policy and practices at Disney and was extremely impressed with the extra time and attention Chef Ken gave to my daughter and our whole party.

Peanut allergy at Disney World's Plaza RestaurantWhen the Chef came to our table he asked my daughter’s cousin what my daughter’s allergy was and explained to them both that it was very important that they both understood what her allergy was and what it meant to have a life-threatening peanut allergy. After discussing this with the girls he asked my daughter what she would like to eat and she replied by asking what she could have. Chef Ken again asked first what she would like to have and when she answered with a sandwich (which
she could have) he continued to offer more options that you can imagine for sides. She was so excited to be able to have a ham and cheese sandwich with fruit and her cousin ordered with the chef at the same time to make her feel special as well. Her cousin chose a turkey sandwich and had soup as her side. The adults in the party had a mixture of burgers, sandwiches and salads which we all thought were very good.

Then the inevitable question came, What would she like for dessert and I was just waiting for my daughter’s disappointment when she was told she could not have ice cream….again. To my surprise Chef Ken said that she could have ice cream and not only that she could have chocolate and have it in a CONE, her first ice cream cone ever! She was all smiles from ear to ear! After many questions from me to Chef Ken assured me that it was peanut free. He even visited our table multiple times to make sure she was okay and enjoying everything. The memory of her being able to share an ice cream sundae in a restaurant is one I never thought I would be able to have, how could I have doubted Disney Magic? I can’t thank Chef Ken enough, that dinner was our best memory of the trip!

Recommend for peanuts and tree nuts: Yes

If you would like to review The Plaza Restaurant, or any Disney restaurant, submit a food allergy dining Quick Review.

Guest Review Contest Winner

Posted on : 24-04-2012 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Misc

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Disney food allergy guest review contestWe have a winner!

And her name is Danielle. She shared her food allergy dining experiences at Nine Dragons in Epcot and Backlot Express in Hollywood Studios. Danielle is allergic to dairy, but had no problems dining at Disney.

For sharing her experiences, and earning the most “thumbs-ups” and “Likes” on Facebook, Danielle has won a $100 Disney Gift Card, to be used at the Disney Store, online or in person.

Thank you, Danielle, as well as our other contestants. We hope you all continue to share your Disney food allergy dining experiences with our readers. The thumbs-ups and Likes all prove that others are benefiting from these shared experiences.

A new contest is coming soon. So start writing today for the next one!