Disney autograph pillow case

Posted on : 15-08-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Misc

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Disney character autographs on a pillow

Disney character autographs on an embroidered pillow

I found this really cute pillowcase on Etsy. Originally offered in red, yellow and black thread, I asked CrossbonesandCastles to change the thread color to Cinderella pink and blue. It matches my daughter’s sheets perfectly!

Not only does it look really cute, it was a lot of fun having the Disney characters sign it. We used a clipboard inside the case and four big paper clips to provide a solid surface to sign. It also kept the fabric markers from bleeding on to the back side of the pillow case. We chose matching colors for each character, where we could, and then positioned the case for each signature, then handed them the pin. Most of them loved it and looked at all of the other autographs. I love Eyore’s signature, and have a special place on the case for him to sign it on our next trip.

Our daughter wants all of the Disney Fairies to sign the back.

We’ve planned our next trip for October for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and we’re going to make a Halloween version for our living room. I’m thinking about a white zipped oblong sofa pillow to have all of the Disney villans sign! We’ll post it once we get back.


Disney – the Gold Standard of food allergy handling and the man who wrote the book

Posted on : 23-06-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Interviews

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Literally. He wrote the book. And it is based on the process he helped create in one of the biggest, most massive food service operations in the world – Disney World. Plus the Disney Cruise Line. It is not a book about the Disney process, but rather a book to help chefs and restaurant owners develop their own processes.

I first communicated with Joel Schaefer via Twitter (@AllergyChefsInc) and then emailed him requesting some information about Disney, since this is a website for Disney fans with food allergies. He suggested we speak and called me.

I already knew about his past “employment” at Disney as part of the Special Diets Program and his involvement with AllergyFree Foods as the Research and Development Chef. But while awaiting his call, I spent some more time on his website, AllergyChefs.com where I discovered his forthcoming book Serving People with Food Allergies: Kitchen Management and Menu Creation. There I learned the real story as I read the Foreword and Introduction for the book on Amazon.com. He was the Culinary Development and Special Dietary Needs Manager for Disney and developed the fabulous Special Diets Request Program.

And, after our conversation, I’m convinced he truly has a heart of gold and is on a mission to bring food allergy preparation into the mainstream and open up new dining experiences to those who have limited dining choices, like our daughter. However, our phone conversation was not about his book, it was about Disney and their food allergy process. But after reading the Amazon preview and talking with him briefly about it and his work, I feel really strongly that this book needs to be shared.

If you know someone who owns a restaurant and may be interested in making life better for food allergic patrons, while also opening up new revenue opportunities, they need to read this book. But they have to go “all in” since food allergy preparation is potentially life threatening for some customers. A restaurateur cannot dabble at creating a food allergy program. And it says this in the book — it’s a full commitment or don’t even start. However, it’s not insurmountable either. It scales for restaurants of all sizes.

The book is also full of really interesting food allergy facts, statistics and medical information as it is meant to educate chefs and restaurant owners about the scope of food allergies, as well as open their eyes to the potential market — food allergic people begging for assistance and increased choices. It also contains some terrific food allergen-free recipes. Check it out.

Need a Stroller? Rent vs. own

Posted on : 25-04-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In :

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Do you need a stroller at Disney? Even for a big kid?

Should you rent or own?

If you have young kids, of course you’re planning to use a stroller at Disney. But, even if your child no longer uses a stroller at home, you may want to consider using one at Disney. Nearing the end of the day, it’s guaranteed your child is going to be exhausted. And you will be, too. Faced with the option of carrying a 6 or 7-year-old or pushing a stroller all day, we prefer the latter.

In fact, we had already sold our daughter’s stroller long before our first trip to Disney, at which time she was 4. Therefore, we decided to buy one for our first Disney trip, and even decided to make it a double, though we only have one child. The extra seat is for our “luggage” including Epi-Pen bag, a bag of wipes and allergen-free snacks, and souvenirs. We found a great umbrella double stroller, new on eBay for $30 or $40.

A double stroller at Disney - literally a life saverWe chose to buy one and haul it down for two reasons. The first was purely economic – we paid $30-40 for a new one vs. $30 a day rental for the same thing. However, the most important reason was our daughter’s food allergy. With a rented stroller, you can’t guarantee the cleanliness. Disney cleans them every day, but we would also have to do our own daily detailing. Additionally, some rentals disappear, at which time Disney will supply you with another at no additional cost. But then you get to detail another stroller.

If you have to fly to Disney, you might need to factor in the cost of paying to check your stroller as luggage. Another option is to ship it ahead of time.

However, the value of having your own, clean stroller is knowing your child isn’t going to run across that one food allergen left by another kid, that both you and Disney failed to find. Plus, you don’t have to carry your 45 lb. child, plus “luggage” out of the park at night.


Princess dress-up

Posted on : 23-04-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In :

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Princess dress-up

Does your little one like to dress as one of the Disney characters while visiting the park? If so, keep in mind that a lot of the costumes aren’t easy, or maybe impossible, to wash. And, after a day at the Magic Kingdom, your little one has probably come into contact with milk, peanuts or some other food allergen.

Food allergies at Disney - buy a good costumeIf your child in sensitive enough to food allergens to cause hives, or worse, on contact, you will need to clean it thoroughly. Therefore, it’s important to get a costume that is machine washable. Chances are, if you’re visiting Disney for several days, they may want to wear it more than once. Also, the machine-washable costumes are more durable and stand-up better to a day (or more) at Disney, plus they’re much softer and not the least bit itchy. The dress in these pictures is about to take its third trip to Disney. And we just bought this one [EDIT: no longer in business 🙁 ] for the next trip, too.

If you’re planning to visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and get the full treatment, you will end up shelling out a ton of money for the hair, costume and accessories, just to have your little Princess begging to take off the costume an hour after leaving. So having a quality costume, that is comfortable and machine washable, is something you might want to consider. If you haven’t taken your Princess to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, try to budget it in. The experience is something she will never forget. And it’s excellent to do this just before a Character Dining event like Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Happy Earth Day!

Posted on : 22-04-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In : Recipe, Snack

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Earth Day snack - dairy free and gluten freeI made yummy gorp for Charlotte’s class. Each one includes Enjoy Life chocolate chips, bunny marshmallows, Newman’s Own organic raisins, Natures Path organic Whole O’s and Snyder’s of Hanover gluten-free pretzel sticks. While gorp typically refers to “good old raisins and peanuts” we’re going with good old raisins and pretzels! Our primary goal was to make this dairy free, but it’s also gluten-free with these ingredients.


Contact problems?

Posted on : 27-03-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In :

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Contact problems with your food allergy?

If your especially sensitive to some foods, so much that even contact with the allergen can create a health issue, here are a few tips.

  • For girls, wear capri pants instead of shorts. They help to stay cool, but avoid allergen contaminants on chairs and rides. For boys, you may want to take a blanket or jacket to sit on.
  • If you’re allergic to dairy, be especially careful during warmer months when ice cream is most likely to be in every other child’s hands.
  • If you’re allergic to peanuts, be aware that animal handlers at the Animal Kingdom may use peanuts as treats and, therefore, have peanut residue on their clothes and hands.
  • Keep baby wipes handy so that you can always wipe down seats and tables in restaurants. While Disney restaurants may be some of the cleanest in the country, sometimes seats are wiped after a table that may have had milk, cheese or peanut ingredients, leaving invisible traces of food behind.
  • Skip the Crocs and sandals. They’re cool, comfortable and convenient, but when you’re around that many other kids, there is bound to be food on the ground or in other places you might not otherwise expect it.
  • Be careful when meeting and hugging Disney Characters at Character Dining events.


Posted on : 27-03-2011 | By : Allergy Free Mouse | In :

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Tips for avoiding food allergies

Here are a tips for avoiding food allergies during your trip to Disney World.

Before going to Disney, be sure to talk to the Special Diets Team to make accommodations for your allergy.

Make sure you inform the hosts at each dining facility and arrange to speak with the chef.

Wipe down tables, booths, and chairs if necessary with your own wipes.

Be cautious when hugging furry characters! We give our daughter a quick wipe after the furry visitor has left the table.

When your food arrives, double-check everything.

Be sure to thank everyone for making your visit allergy free and tip well. They’re already very willing to help, and you want to be sure they know you appreciate it.

If you are especially sensitive to some foods where skin contact can be an issue, be careful when meeting Disney Characters.