Rainforest Cafe, Babycakes NYC, The Plaza and Backlot Express food allergy reviews

Posted on : 14-07-2012 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Guest, Review

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Kelly shared these reviews with us. Her sons have multiple food allergies, including peanuts, tree nuts, egg, dairy, sesame seeds and bananas.

One of the reasons I initially wanted to take the kids to Disney World was I had heard they accommodate food allergies.  This is always a huge stress for me when we travel.

Disney has food allergy policies in place that really keep there guests safe and relieve some of the stress.  I made restaurant reservations on Disney’s website.  When making the reservation I was asked to check off which allergies are in my party.  Then I was told to contact Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.com and they sent me forms to fill out.  Those forms were sent to each restaurant.  They then sent a confirming email and asked that when we got to restaurant to mention the allergies once again and the chef will come out and talk to us.  The following is our experience at Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Rainforest Cafe

Downtown Disney's Rainforest CafeThe first full day of our vacation we decompressed at the hotel pool and then headed over to Downtown Disney for a late lunch and a little shopping.  We had a reservation at The Rainforest Cafe

Rainforest Cafe has a really fun atmosphere for the kids.  You are surrounded by lifelike jungle animals and huge fish tanks.  Every 20 minutes or so there was a “thunder and lighting storm.”

Chef Richard at the Rainforest Cafe Downtown DisneyWe informed our server, Shawn, that we had two kids at our table with food allergies.  He sent out the chef.

Chef Richard assured us Nolan could have the chicken tenders and that he would make something special for Sean–two plain hamburgers and fries that would cooked in a separate part of the kitchen.

After a long day at the pool, these boys cleaned their plates—so did the adults, the food was good.

Dining with food allergies at Downtown DisneyFood allergies at the Rainforest Cafe Downtown Disney

Babycakes NYCBabycakes NYC Downtown Disney

One of the main reasons I wanted to check out Downtown Disney was Babycakes NYC.  This wonderful bakery is peanut and tree nut free, egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, sesame seed-free.  Correction by AFM: BabyCakesNYC does not claim to be peanut free or tree nut free, due to the way their gluten-free flours are packaged.

I told Sean that this was a very special safe bakery and that he could pick out whatever he wanted.  He couldn’t believe his eyes.

Babycakes NYC delicious allergy freeBabycakes NYC food allergy free treatsSean ended up with two cupcakes, some chocolate chip cookies and chocolate frosted donut.  He has never had a donut!  We brought the box of treats back to the hotel and he saved one for each day.  He was so happy.  Mumma was so happy.


The Plaza Restaurant 

The first day in the parks we went to lunch in Magic Kingdom at The Plaza Restaurant.

A great chef at the PlazaThis time two chefs came right out, armed with a book of everything they served and all the ingredients. Nolan settled on a grilled cheese and Sean once again had a hamburger.  We were again assured that it would be cooked safely in a separate part of the kitchen.

They brought out some apple slices and crayons to keep little hands busy, while we waited for our food.

Sean cleaned his plate once again.

Dairy free dessert at The Plaza in the Magic KingdomThe Plaza restaurant with a food allergyThe Plaza with food allergiesSean could even have dessert.  They had Rice Dream ice cream, a dairy-free treat that he loves, with Enjoy Life cookies for ears!

Backlot Express

The next day we had lunch in Hollywood Studios at The Backlot Express.

The Backlot was an express type restaurant, which I was a bit apprehensive about.

Get Enjoy Life Cookies at Backlot ExpressWhen placing our order with Cody, I informed him of our food allergies.  I have to say it was one of the best experiences.  Cody was so helpful and then Chef Christa came out with that magic book.  This time there were chicken tenders and natural cut french fries that Sean could have.  And more Enjoy Life cookies 🙂

Every restaurant, express and sit-down, has a food allergy book, as well as every snack stand. Even the popcorn stand had a book.  Sean and Nolan could have the popcorn too.

All-in-all we had great experiences eating in Disney World.  Sean and Nolan eat like kings!

Thanks to Kelly Lessard for sharing her Disney food allergy dining experiences. You can read more about her family’s food allergy adventures at her blog. If you found this review useful, please give her a Thumbs Up!

Gluten-free dining at Disney World – Guest Post

Posted on : 05-09-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Guest, Review

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When one of our Twitter friends, Candice (@Candicerose90), asked us for our favorite Disney Boardwalk restaurant, we had to confess we had never been there. Then, we asked her to share her experience here, and she graciously accepted!

When I first went gluten-free, we had an upcoming trip to Disney planned. I had slowly started to see how the diet had a positive impact on my health, and was concerned with how I was going to maintain the diet away from home. With a little research and hearing from others experiences, I was ensured I would be in good hands.

I had no idea what to expect (it was literally my first dining experience away from home!) Boy, was my bar set high after dining at Disney! From having the chefs come out and personally speak with me to enjoying all the delicious gluten-free meals, I was blown away by how accommodating Disney was. It was an extra special trip, because it was the first vacation that I had experienced in five years without being sick. I truly experienced the “magic of Disney.”

After having a wonderful experience two years ago my family and I recently returned to Orlando knowing that I would be able to enjoy great, safe meals throughout the week (since dining at Disney the first time I am now also dairy-free). Though we came to relax at a resort, and did not specifically go to any Disney parks we dined at many restaurants on Disney’s Boardwalk, Downtown Disney Area, as well as the Grand Floridian Hotel. Below is a breakdown of my experience.

Gluten-free Chicken Tacos at Paridiso 37Paradiso 37, is a hip, but casual South, Central, and North American inspired cuisine restaurant located at Downtown Disney’s Paradise Island. They offered many GF items, and many things could be made without cheese. Items that were fried were off limits because of cross contamination, however instead of frying the items you can request it be grilled. I order chicken tacos, with onions and peppers in a corn tortilla. On the side, I got a salad. The meal was flavorful and very yummy.

Gluten-free pasta at Disney WorldThe next night we dined at Portobello (also at Downtown Disney) restaurant. For dinner I got the “value meal”. It came with a house salad, a giant dish of GF pasta (I chose tomato basil sauce) and a dessert. Though I opted not to have dessert (I allowed my brother to have mine), the GF/ DF dessert option was mixed berries. Note: They do recommend that you make your reservation in advance to guarantee that they will have GF pasta on hand.

It is too hard for me to decide what my favorite meal was when dining at Disney.  However, it would have to be between the Tilapia dish I had at the Flying Fish Café (Disney’s Boardwalk), and the Roasted Chicken Dish I had at the Grand Floridian Café. Not only did I love the atmosphere of the Flying Fish Cafe, but I loved before my meal I was able to enjoy a warm gluten-free roll! This was something I had not been able to enjoy at any of the other restaurants, so it was a really nice treat.

Allergy free bakery at Disney WorldOne of the places I was most excited to visit on our trip was Babycakes NYC! Their newest location is now open in Downtown Disney! I have been to the NYC location, and own both of their cookbooks. Needless to say I think their gluten-free treats are amazing! In addition to being gluten-free Babycakes is casein, wheat, soy, and refined sugar free, and is a kosher and vegan bakery. The bakery is a great new addition to Disney, and adds to the “magical experience” for us with food intolerances and allergies.

To say that I had a wonderful dining experience at all of the restaurants is an understatement. The experience that I had at Disney is one that can bring tears to my eyes. It was so nice knowing that each time I dined at Disney; I would be able to enjoy a safe meal without the worry.

Quick Tips for Dining at Disney with a Food Allergy or Intolerance:

  • Make your reservation in advance! Though many restaurants will accommodate you the day of, booking your reservation will eliminate stress and guarantee they will have the items on hand in order to make you a safe meal.
  • Many Reservations can be made online (some have to be done over the phone). Remember to click the food allergy notification option.
  • Before heading off to Disney, contact a representative regarding your dietary needs.  (SpecialDiets@DisneyWorld.com). They will send additional instructions as to how to request special meals, and will also provide you with a list of safe food items that you can find throughout the parks!
Candice has a fantastic gluten-free living blog called Embrace G-Free. Be sure to read more about her Disney trip there. You can also find her on Twitter at @Candicerose90 and on Facebook.


Babycakes NYC – allergy friendy bakery in Downtown Disney!

Posted on : 14-06-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Review

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The retail bakery is now called Erin McKenna’s Bakery. You can also find their products at select resort locations and they still supply allergy-friendly cakes to Disney restaurants.

Babycakes NYC in Downtown DisneyA “must” to visit during your Disney vacation. Babycakes NYC is located in Pollo Compero in Downtown Disney, near T-Rex and Lego Imagination Center. We stocked up several times during our last visit and refrigerated our cupcakes and doughnuts in our room. This bakery is a dedicated dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, and soy-free facility! They also have refined-sugar-free options, using agave syrup in place of refined sugar.

Our first visit was our daughter’s first experience at a bakery, period. She was in awe of all the options available! She chose pink frosted doughnuts, a blondie cupcake, chocolate brownies with mint frosting, and a chocolate chip cookie. We were told to refrigerate the treats as soon as possible to prevent the frosting from melting. We went straight to the hotel and placed them in the refrigerator. This may seem inconvenient, but not if your child has never eaten a doughnut or a cupcake fresh from a bakery!

Go early for the best selection. We highly suggest buying several blondie cupcakes and brownies, because even those in your family without food allergies will be begging for more. Thanks to the manager, Emily, and the owner, Erin McKenna, for making it possible for children of all ages and adults to satisfy a sweet tooth at Disney!

Downtown Disney will now be one of our first and last stops when visiting Disney World.

Link to full allergy disclosure: https://www.erinmckennasbakery.com/allergy-info/

Wolfgang Puck Cafe dining review

Posted on : 30-05-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Review

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Tortilla Soup at Wolfgang Puck - the best!On this trip, we had dinner at Downtown Disney’s Wolfgang Puck Cafe on the first night we arrived. We had great experiences here on the last two trips, so we felt it was a safe place to start our Disney dining. They, of course, aren’t owned by Disney, but they have a great food allergy policy. They are included in the Disney Dining Plan.

We checked in and the chef, Christopher, came to our table and discussed the menu options. We felt completely comfortable with his understanding of our daughter’s dairy allergy and we were shocked by the outstanding effort he put into preparing her meal. He told us that it would take some extra time to prepare her meal, because he needed to wash all of the pots and pans first! We couldn’t believe our ears — wash the pots and pans! Yes, he really got it!

A dairy free salad at Wolfgang PuckWhen her meal arrived, everyone wanted her dinner. He pan-grilled her organic chicken and HAND CUT her french fries. She also had a beautiful salad and the meal resulted in the biggest smile. This is what the Disney allergy dining experience is all about!

When we arrived home, we asked our daughter “What was your favorite thing that we did at Disney?” It wasn’t Cinderella, not the Princesses at Akershus, not the gang at Chef Mickey’s, not the Aloha Show, not the theme parks, not even meeting her beloved Rapunzel. Her answer was, and you won’t believe this from a 6-year-old, as she smiled and said, “the best and juicy chicken ever at Wolfgang Pucks!” Wolfgang — we need your picture for our scrapbook! To be a 6-year-old’s favorite at Disney is awesome, Wolfgang!

Dairy free organic chicken

Notice, most of the chicken is GONE!

We had delicious meals, as well. I LOVED the tortilla soup. It’s a perfect blend of spices and heat. It is garnished with crispy tortilla strips and tangy goat cheese. I also had the ravioli and was very satisfied. Wolfgang Puck’s makes one of the best chicken Caesar salads ever! My husband had the Chicken Alfredo and ate every bite.

Afterward, our daughter had her 1st fresh donut for dessert from BabyCakes NYC.

We’ve read about a serious allergic reaction, and even been contacted by a person who had one, at Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe in 2008. Maybe it was this incident that brought about the change at Wolfgang Puck Cafe. In the past 2 years, during multiple visits, we’ve had nothing but great success and feel comfortable with our daughter eating there.

The kid’s menu is included below. Here is a link to the dinner menu.

If you have a food allergy and you’ve dined at Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Wolfgang Puck Express or anywhere else within Downtown Disney, please share your experience with us so that it can help other food allergy diners make informed decisions.