Tags: Disney Cruise
We were contacted by many of our readers about a little boy that was asked to leave a flight because he was allergic to dogs, and one happened to be on the flight. The plane returned from the runway to the terminal and, sadly, the other passengers applauded as he and his family exited the plan.
Here is the full story as reported by KTVB News in Washington.
As mentioned in the news story, Giovanni and his family traveled to Bellingham, Washington, because his father, George Alvarado, wanted to visit as part of his “bucket list” — he has terminal throat cancer. The reaction by Allegiant Airlines and the other passengers soured what was supposed to be a trip of fond memories.
We want to send this boy and his family on a Disney Cruise and we’re turning to our food allergy community to help, since we all know what it’s like to be excluded from activities, including flying on certain other airlines, due to allergies. We feel a cruise, also on George’s bucket list, would help make up for the mental anguish caused by Allegiant and some of their customers. Plus, Giovanni can meet Pluto on a Disney Cruise, a dog he isn’t allergic to!
Help us make this happen. As you can imagine, time is of the essence. Please visit our GoFundMe page and make a donation. We can show Giovanni and his family that the allergy community is very supportive, when others may not be.
Anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts
Severe dairy intolerance (possible allergy)
Vegetarian (vegan preferred)
Disney Dream – November 2015
On every one of our four Disney cruises, everyone kept telling us that we had to dine a Palo. With food allergies, intolerances, and preferences, we weren’t sure if we could eat anything there or if it would be worth it. Well, we were wrong, and everyone else was right. We made reservations at Palo for our most recent cruise, and will do so for every future Disney cruise we take.
Per our main dining room server’s recommendation, we went to Palo the evening before our reservation to talk to the restaurant manager, Gonzalo. We were able to sit down with Gonzalo to discuss our restrictions. He reviewed some menu ideas with us and assured us that our meals would be perfectly safe. They would even make dessert!
With excitement (and a little hesitation on my part), we arrived for our reservation. We were treated to a spectacular experience; the best food and service on our entire holiday. They made me fresh bread – bread, just for me! – with artichoke hearts and three types of olives, topped with olive oil and 8 year-old balsamic vinegar. Our salad was arugula with grilled asparagus, tomato, courgette, and shredded carrot, again toped with the delightful olive oil and vinegar and a selection of specialty salts. (Smoked salt is my favourite.) The salad has so many flavours. Being an Italian restaurant, the entrée was penne pasta with olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, arugula, garlic, and fresh basil. The flavours complemented each other perfectly. For dessert they made lemon sorbet, strawberry basil sorbet, and fresh berries. We both loved the strawberry basil sorbet! (I would have had seconds if I wasn’t so full.)
Each step of the way, Gonzalo was checking in, explaining ingredients, and making sure everything was perfect. It was a perfect evening and we are counting down the days until we can check in and make Palo reservations for our next Disney cruise (in June 2015).
We had some pretty good food in the main dining rooms on this cruise. However, our schedule didn’t always align with the main dining room hours. After running the Castaway Cay 5K, you get pretty hungry… so I pre-ordered some pancakes and fruit at Cabanas for after the run. (I actually ordered waffles, but they couldn’t make them for allergies due to cross-contact.) It took about ten minutes for the chef to prepare my order, and then I had more pancakes and fruit than I could eat. Thankfully, my husband was willing to help me out.
As usual, I preordered my meal for on the island. This time, I asked for one of my favourite things to eat at home: rice and beans. I think the chefs took it a little too literally, as I had plain rice and plain beans mixed together without any seasonings or vegetables or anything. Not exactly my favourite meal of the trip, but not as bad as the vegetarian chilli I had the day before (also on Castaway Cay, it tasted like ketchup). Thank goodness they had some fresh fruit and plain Lays crisps to munch on. Overall, the food I had on Castaway Cay was less than stellar, but at least it was safe. Next time I’ll be much more specific when I preorder my meal for on the island. (Kyle had some vegetarian options on his plate – much more to choose from, and I was a bit jealous of his mixed rice.)
Just wanted to provided a quick up date to the cruise page based on my recent experience on the Disney Wonder. This page was really helpful before I left so I want to make sure it is for others too!
Lactose Intolerance can be set up on your online check-in by yourself. The menus all have Gluten and Dairy Free options listed now… however you can email SpecialServices@disneycruise.com and they will add GF to your file as well (seems that this is better for serious gluten sensitivity).
For the embarkation lunch, go to the sit down restaurant buffet. Your allergy is attached to your room number so the server will know about you before they even say hi! They will bring over the chef who will walk you through the buffet, but then bring you un-cross-contaminated food from the kitchen (was really quick to do this).
Another option for breakfast and lunch is to pre-order the night before with your server, but take it to go from the main restaurant. That way you can join your party by the pool or in the buffet without having to get food from there (as long as you don’t mind carrying your tray).
At dinner the chef was always making me special desserts (creamy ones with no dairy, they also had chocolate lava cake GF/DF) – lots of choices. Also, they will make you as much as want for any meal – just ask!
No food was allowed off the ship for shore excursions due to local customs officers (so plan shorter excursions).
Overall, I never had to worry, the servers were all right on top of things and took it all quite seriously. Even when I ordered a strawberry daiquiri they took the time to check the ingredients (I just figured its rum, strawberries, and sugar but he took the time to double check when I didn’t even give it a second thought!). Both
servers, plus the head server, took the time to come over at every meal and check up on my satisfaction from the food for the day.
If you have an allergy, this is one place you can just let go and enjoy yourself!
Mike from Guelph, Canada
Really exciting news for those with food allergies, and other life-threatening allergies. Mylan, the maker of Epi-Pen, contacted us today to share this information with our readers. They hope to have them available by the end of November at Disney Parks and by the end of the year on Disney Cruise Lines.
We’re excited to announce that Mylan Inc. has entered into a multi-year strategic alliance agreement with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to help enhance access to EpiPen® (epinephrine) and EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors and increase awareness of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening (severe) allergic reaction.
Each year, millions of guests visit Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in the U.S. — many of whom are living with and/or managing severe allergies — so for us, this alliance was the perfect fit.
As you know, food allergies are on the rise and continue to be a serious health issue in America. To date, 46 states have passed policies that allow/require schools to maintain undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors for those who may experience anaphylaxis. Our hope is that the positive trend we have seen in the school setting will expand to other public settings.
The corporate alliance between Mylan and Disney will:
• Provide updated maps in Disney’s domestic theme parks and cruise ships, as well as updated signage in parks, highlighting locations of EpiPen and EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors.
• Introduce educational resources designed to increase awareness of and preparedness for severe allergic reactions. For those living with potentially life-threatening (severe) allergies, it’s critical to have an action plan in place before booking a getaway. Like life, severe allergic reactions are unpredictable:
• Anaphylaxis can progress quickly and without warning.
• Clinical guidelines state that epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, making access critical.
• Families managing known severe allergies are encouraged to follow their individual anaphylaxis action plan, which includes 1) avoiding known allergens, 2) recognizing the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, 3) having access to two epinephrine auto-injectors at all times, such as EpiPen Auto-Injector, and 4) seeking immediate emergency medical care should anaphylaxis occur.
The product made available at the parks is not intended to replace a person’s individual emergency anaphylaxis treatment.
The press release is pasted below and available on the EpiPen Auto-Injector media room.
Mylan Signs Strategic Alliance Agreement with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to Enhance Access to EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors
EpiPen® Auto-Injector Locations Designated on Updated Guide Maps and Signage
New Multi-year Alliance to Increase Anaphylaxis Awareness through Multiple Educational Initiatives
PITTSBURGH – Nov. 7, 2014 – Mylan Inc. (Nasdaq: MYL) today announced it has signed a multi-year strategic alliance agreement with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to help increase awareness of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening (severe) allergic reaction. The agreement includes updated maps in Disney’s domestic theme parks and on its cruise ships as well as updated signage in the parks that highlight locations with EpiPen® (epinephrine) and EpiPen Jr® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors. Over time, the companies also will introduce a variety of educational resources designed to increase awareness of and preparedness for severe allergic reactions.
EpiPen® locations will roll out at Disney parks and on cruise ships beginning in late 2014. In addition to emergency medical services (EMS), nurses trained to administer EpiPen Auto-Injectors are available during First Aid station operating hours to assist guests experiencing a severe allergic reaction. To help guests identify EpiPen locations, Disney’s guide maps will now include an EpiPen Auto-Injector symbol and new signage at First Aid stations.
“Mylan’s mission is to provide the world’s 7 billion people access to high quality medicine and set new standards in health care. In support of this mission, we are committed to enhancing access to EpiPen Auto-Injectors and to increasing awareness of anaphylaxis. Like life, severe allergic reactions are unpredictable, so people need to be prepared,” said Mylan CEO Heather Bresch. “We are very proud to be working with Disney, which already has a strong reputation for meeting the needs of people managing severe allergies, and believe we can further raise awareness of anaphylaxis through this collaboration and our joint commitment to education.”
Anaphylaxis is unpredictable, and can progress quickly and without warning. Clinical guidelines state that epinephrine is the first-line treatment when anaphylaxis occurs, making access critical. For those with a known risk, it is important to be prepared with an anaphylaxis action plan that includes 1) avoiding known allergens, 2) recognizing the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, 3) having immediate access to two epinephrine auto-injectors, such as EpiPen Auto-Injector, and 4) seeking immediate emergency medical care should anaphylaxis occur.
“For our guests who live with severe allergies every day, identifying EpiPen locations is an additional tool they’ll have for their anaphylaxis management plan,” said Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “This new strategic alliance will help raise awareness of EpiPen locations so that our Guests with severe allergies may have the best possible experience at our parks and on our cruise ships.”
Families managing known severe allergies are encouraged to follow their individual anaphylaxis action plans and carry their epinephrine auto-injectors with them at all times.
It’s been a crazy few months for us. We decided to move 5 months ago and managed to sell our house in a tough market. Moves are never easy, but we made the move in time to start our daughter in school. Next up, Liz needed to have surgery, which became our priority over the past 6 weeks. Everything is progressing very well, but it’s been extremely difficult to update the website on a regular basis since she is the creative source for our website, which has become a labor of love.
Now we’re back. Our next Disney trip is in late November and we’ve also booked another Disney Cruise in April.
And we’re going to be posting more of our reviews, and we’re ready for more guest reviews and quick reviews from our readers.
If you’ve ever found yourself fortunate enough to visit any Disney theme park, hotel or cruise ship, you know that “Disney Magic” can be found in some of the extraordinary Cast Members. We have met many incredible chefs, waiters, photographers, ride attendants, mousekeepers and bell staff.
Well, our our Disney Cruise aboard the Magic, we met the incredible Efrain Perez. He was always a joy to talk to and loves the whole Disney experience. He was stationed at the Guest Services desk and always extremely professional, but had a “good friend” vibe. One day, after rough weather on an excursion, I told him about our experience and about how we couldn’t get a refund, and he just listened to me. My daughter and I both just adored how he lent an ear and just listened with concern, even though there was nothing he could do about it. We all laughed at the end of my rant. Later that day, we got a knock at the stateroom door. It was the concierge with a gift from Efrain for our daughter — a giant stuffed Lotso Bear, from Toy Story 3. She was so taken by his kindness, that she wrapped her AllergyFreeMouse bear in a bow to give to him. Wow! Talk about beautiful and rewarding experience. You just can’t find this level of service and caring anywhere else!
Efrain, we love you and hope to see you soon!
What in the world is a fish extender?
A fish extender is a set of pockets that hang from your brass message hook (which is shaped like a fish) next to each stateroom door. You can make them yourself, or buy them online. Etsy has several talented shops that make and sell them. You can find all sorts of designs and personalization options.
But, this is very important, you have to join an Fish Extender or “FE” group to get gifts delivered to your FE pockets. If you’re traveling with a large group, you can create your own FE group — schedule the days for certain people, etc. Or, if traveling with just your family or a couple of friends, join an FE group on the DISboards, the discussion board service. To do this on the DISboards, simply search for the thread for your cruise. Then, search for the Fish Extender organizer on that thread and join. The Fish Extender organizer will send out a list of cabins with names of guests, and each of the children’s age, gender, food allergies (list yours if not asked!), special events being celebrated, and more. Some cruises have large Fish Extender groups, and are broken down into several groups.
Now for the Fish Extender gifts…
You will only be obligated to pass out your Fish Extender gifts on one day. However, you may want to do Pirate Night, Christmas or any other occasion, too.
Fish Extender tips
- Keep them small — remember, people have to pack them to take home.
- Visit the Allergy Free Mouse Pinterest board for more Fish Extender ideas.
- Have fun – get the whole family involved in making them.
Fish Extender Gift ideas
- Christmas ornaments with ship name and date. We loved ours and hung them on our tree last year, and will forever.
- Pirate coins, eye patches, bandanas
- Magnets for the doors — see examples on Etsy
- Dry erase board and markers
- Personalized highlighters to mark their Navigators
- Cute pads of paper with pencils and crayons for the little ones
- Barrets for little girls
- Door hangers (photo 3236)
- Goodie bags with all sorts of cute items
- Decorated wooden clothespins with magnetic backing
- Gold coins (non-chocolate for those with food allergies) in gold mesh bag with leather tie
- Disney soap favors in ribbon tied bag
- Magic wands
- Glow sticks for pirate night
- Little packets of hand sanitizer with your a personalized label, like with Mickey Mouse’s hand! (see pinterest)
- Little bottles
- Disney themed luggage tags
- Miniature shadow box fridge maget
- Post-it note holders
- Disney homemade coasters using maps
- Posit clip boards
- Homemade bookmarks
Disney Cruise – Port Adventures with food allergies
Port Adventures bring a whole new challenge to the food allergy equation. You cannot take dairy, meat, or fruit to other countries. In fact, you may not take food that is not pre-packaged by the manufacturer. I wish I had known this. I was planning to take a lunch prepared by the kitchen, packing a lunch bag to go. But, that was not an option. And it is way too risky and dangerous to even entertain the thought of preparing food for her in unfamiliar restaurants. She can only eat in a few restaurants near our home — there’s no way I would try something new in a foreign country. So, plan your port adventures and your meals on board, or take allergy free snacks or meals to get you through.
Suggestions for the Disney Cruise Line
Here are a few suggestions that we have for DCL after taking a Disney Cruise with a food allergy. Comment below with yours.
- AllergyFree Foods chicken tenders (actually, we spoke to AlleryFree Foods and they are available on all DCL ships now)
- Allergy-free Mickey waffles
- More options for the grilled chicken – sauces would be great, like teriyaki, BBQ, pesto, etc.
- Allergy-free rolls and bread
- Enjoy Life Foods cookies, and allergy-free snacks and candy.
We had a great trip, but adding options like these would have made it just as magical as Disney World for food allergies.