Food allergies are increasingly widespread and just because you are on vacation, doesn’t mean that your food allergies are. Leaving the fate of your dinner in someone else’s hands can be fatal to those with severe food allergies. This doesn’t mean you’re out of luck in the dining department, after all it’s Disney we’re talking about!
The first day of college Speech 101 my professor came into the classroom, sat on the desk and said “what do you need to know about giving a speech?” It turned out she wasn’t interested in our ideas of essential elements of speech and instead broke it down to three simple things that I have never forgotten:
#1: “Tell Em’ what you’re gonna tell em’ ”
#2: “Tell Em’ what you want to tell em’”
#3: “Tell Em’ again”
These three tips have come in handy for more than giving speeches and I’ve found it’s a really easy way to remember how to approach Disney dining if you have food allergies.
#1: “Tell Em’ what your’e gonna tell em’ “– If you are worried about getting caught up in the ADR hustle, tell the cast member about your allergies first, so you don’t forget. “Hi, i’d like to make dining reservations and I need to make a note of food allergies on my reservations as well…” If you are booking dining online, there is a section of the screen that will ask about food allergies before you confirm your reservation, so be sure to scroll all the way down and read carefully. If you have a severe or very specific allergy, it’s better to call. Restaurants request a 72 hour advance notice to best prepare for your specific needs, so if you have last minute dining changes, give the restaurant as much notice as possible.
#2: “Tell Em’ what you want to tell em’ “-Just because you made a note on your original ADR’s doesn’t mean your work is done. Don’t forget if you change a reservation to put your allergy notes on the new reservation. Do some research on the menus before you make your dining reservations, this will eliminate unnecessary frustration, cancellations and changes if you find a particular restaurant isn’t suited for your specific food needs. I’m going to add to this and say, “ask em’ what you want to ask em’ “. If you have a severe allergy and aren’t comfortable with your dining options, ask the cast member for a dietary request form or where you can find more information about your food choices.
#3: “Tell Em’ Again”-Tell your server about your food allergies when you arrive at the restaurant. If you are hesitant about ordering a particular dish, generally the chef will come out and speak with you about your specific needs and advise you accordingly. Yes, you’ve already told everyone twice already, but now you are in the home stretch and these are the people who are going to be handling and preparing your food, so don’t rely on a computer system to do it for you, better safe than sorry!
Taking these simple precautions can help guarantee that your Disney dining experience is delightful and delicious and not disastrous or dangerous.
If you are using a Disney Travel Agent, be sure to inform them about your special needs or food allergies as soon as possible. Knowledge is power!
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