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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:42 am
Posts: 27
I'm sure this has been discussed, but I can't seem to find anything when I search.

We're planning a trip to Disney World in December. We have ever travelled by plane with the kids, or trusted restaurants with DS' allergies. I'm extremely nervous, to say the least!

We've spoken to a trip co-ordinator about DS's allergies and have been reassured that Disney deals with all sorts of allergies everyday and can accommodate them. They sent a sheet with foods restaurants offer that are dairy, egg, tree nut and peanut free, etc. but I still feel nervous. We have booked 2 character meals for our week there and they, like all character meals, are buffets. Am I being paranoid? This seems like a bad idea! I guess I'm torn between keeping him safe and trying to not "hover" too much.

Has anyone travelled to Disney World with their allergic child and have any advice to give?

Also, does have any advice for epipen cases? Which one is best to get for traveling? Which cases are best to keep his epipens safe and at the right temp?

Thanks in advance!

Jenna

_________________
5.5 year old son-no allergies
3.5 year old son- eczema, anaphylactic to milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, shellfish and chickpea allergies.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
You're going to have a great time! Disney is has a great track record for handeling food allergies. I'm sure that they can explain how they'll manage the buffet if yoy call their customer service number.

For travelling, I suggest you learn the policy of the airline you are using. You may have to contact them in advance. http://allergicliving.com/index.php/201 ... -airlines/

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:53 am
Posts: 375
Location: Alberta
We were there this past December and have been to Disneyland twice as well. Sounds like you have already done your homework and planned meals in advance as is recommended. The first time we went we didn't know we could .. and by the time we went again ds just wouldn't trust eating out. However, by our last day of the trip in December (he was 12) we tried a restaurant at Hollywood Studios and they went out of their way to accommodate him! He assured us that the "chicken and fries" (his only real restaurant meal ever) is prepared in a separate fryer in a separate part of the kitchen and is only handled by the manager, who dealt with us directly. Receipt was clearly marked. We deal with ana to milk and tree nuts. It was really wonderful, and he enjoyed every bite. All other times we have rented accommodations that have fridge / kitchenette so we can prepare ds' meals, and we bring only his meal and snacks into the park with us. We had no troubles getting through security - I think as long as it's not a picnic for the whole family they understand.

Also check out Babycakes in Downtown Disney - ds was able to have donuts, cookies - basically anything he wanted! They are free of dairy, egg and soy, and we asked about nuts as the staff was very knowledgeable. Ds had no troubles so we went back 3 times!

http://www.babycakesnyc.com/babycakes-at-downtown-disney-menu.html
There was even a dairy-free ice cream available in the ice cream parlour on main st but ds would not try it, despite being assured that it was prepared and stored away from all the dairy.

Have fun!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
We were there last December and we had a fantastic time. We ate lunch and dinner out each day and had excellent service. Like you, we had never travelled by plane or been in many restaurants but I am glad that we went out of our comfort zone. It was good for all of us.

We had one character meal at the Grand Floridian and the chef came out to consult with us. She prepared a meal especially for my daughter so she could avoid the buffet. I would highly recommend the character meals. It was fun and you get to meet characters without the large line ups!

For all of our table service meals (dinner - sit down restaurants), the chef came to our table and asked our daughter what she wanted. With a large pantry and kitchen, they could prepare basically whatever she wanted. The meals were amazing. Desserts were not all that exciting - same Tofutti and Enjoy life products each time. We picked up treats at Babycakes for her to have in the hotel most nights.

For the quick service meals, we stuck to the restaurants that Disney recommended could accommodate allergies. Each time we were in line the cashier immediately called a manager when I mentioned food allergies. The manager prepared her meal personally and brought it to us. They had a binder of ingredients at the ready also. It was so comforting to have such great service.

We are hoping to go back to Disney again soon. It was such a great holiday. Have fun!

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
This just in!
Quote:
Beginning August 4, guests with food allergies and intolerances visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom will have an easy way to learn about meal options in the park that can accommodate dietary restrictions – and pick up some healthful, prepackaged snacks.


http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2 ... trictions/

_________________
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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:40 am 
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Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 1:40 pm
Posts: 149
Location: Toronto area
hi Jenna,
We just returned yesterday from a successful two week holiday. One week was spent in Orlando (Disneyworld, LEGOLAND), the other week in Palm Beach ('relaxing' on the beach)

We booked with WestJet and they were fantastic. They allowed us to preboard and wipe the seats (on the way back the flight attendant helped me to wipe the trays). They also made an announcement asking passengers to refrain from eating nutsI My sons wore their epipen and I carried four in my purse. My husband carried four in his carry on. In total we had 10 epipens for 2 boys whose allergies are: dairy, egg, peanuts and treenuts. While at the parks we always had 3 epipens (each) with us - I kept the others at the hotel (I was worried that a bag may have been misplaced (lost) and then I would have extras in case). We brought our own food on the plane.

We each carried a small knapsack that we found at the walmart - it was a perfect size to fit in water, snacks and epipens. We stayed at a hotel that was 10 minutes away from Disney, it had a full kitchen so I did my own cooking. My son wasn't comfortable eating at any of the restaurants, but I heard they are very accommodating - check out the blog - Speedbump Kitchen - she talks about Disney restaurants. Honestly, we would arrive at the parks before 9 and by 1 or 2 - we needed a break. We would return to the hotel to eat, swim and rest and return after 6. My kids are older (10 and 14) and they were exhausted - I can't imagine having stayed all day - there were a lot of overtired kids at the parks!
I brought some food with me in my luggage - tetra packs of So Nice soymilk, soy pudding, bread and bagels. I wasn't sure if I would be able to find certain products in the States. I'm glad I did. We shopped at Publix, Whole Foods and Walmart. My son was surprised that the only nut free icecream was the Tofutti (which we were happy with since my other son is allergic to dairy) We didn't find any nutfree granola bars either.
Overall we had a great time! I really recommend getting the book "The unofficial guide to Disney" It was great since it helped us plan our day and be able to ride all the rides (some rides are so popular that by 10 a.m. the fastpass return was 6 p.m.!) If you have any questions I'd be glad to answer them.

boys' mom


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 405
Hurrah for vacation! We love visiting Disney, and do so often, because they are so good with allergy accommodations. That, and it's a fun and magical place to visit.

We've had great success at Walt Disney World finding safe food to eat. We always stay at a Disney hotel, bring a few snacks to eat, frequent the recommended quick-service venues and many sit-down restaurants as well. We've had excellent service 99% of the time and the remaining 1% was dealt with very seriously by the Disney staff. (They overhauled their entire system for ordering allergy meals for private tours because of me! It's now up to par with any other Disney food venue.)

The hotels all have allergy-friendly venues to eat and many of them have familiar allergy-friendly brands available like Enjoy Life. Our hotel was able to make safe pancakes and waffles for breakfast, among other things.

Every single meal we ate in the hotels and parks we were served by the manager and/or chef, who took our orders, checked ingredients, and customised things as needed. We felt very informed of what was in our meals, how they were prepared, and confident that they would be safe to eat. Many of the chefs were delighted and overly happy to make something special for us, as if they looked forward to guests with allergies. What a treat that was!

You can get a list of places that have a wider variety of allergy-friendly menu items from the Guest Services counter at the entrance of each park. You can get it via email ahead of time to if you email the special diets department. If you sign up for the dining package they will get you to submit a form with your dietary requirements and send it to all of the restaurants ahead of time, which is a nice touch.

The parks have plenty of fresh fruit stands around, which are great for quick safe snacks. They often had Craisins and juice boxes too. The bakery on Main Street has some allergy-friendly options, prepackaged of course, so be sure to ask. Otherwise, the Sunshine Seasons in Epcot's Land Pavillion had so many allergy-friendly options we dined there frequently, even taking the monorail there from another park to eat dinner.

You will be in good hands with Disney. Make your allergies known at every meal and they will make sure you have a safe and happy experience. When in doubt, ask to see the ingredient lists. Thy are very transparent and will be able to answer any questions you may have.

As for EpiPen holders, I've always used the SPIbelt for mine so I can keep them with me all the time, along with my Key to the World card (hotel key, payment card for in the parks), although every ride has room to keep a small backpack or purse with you if you are carrying water bottles, snacks, and whatever else. If you are going in the summer, when it is hot, I'd use the Frio wallet, as it keeps the contents at room temperature even on the hottest of days.

Hope that helps! Have a wonderful and magical trip!

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
I forgot to mention that there are lockers in each park that you can rent (unlimited access) . When you get the key and receipt, ask for a piece of tape and tape the receipt to the back of the locker. You get $5.00 back when you return the receipt with the key. You'll be too tired to sift through you stuff to look for it!

We brought a softsided cooler filled with drinks and snacks and left it in the locker. Obviously, we brought our epinephrine with us!

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:25 pm
Posts: 238
Location: Thornhill
Hi there,

I know our experience is in the minority and my DD's sensitivity seems to be greater than some others however we had variable experience when we went to Disney World. We only went to the full service restaurants (no buffets etc - Disney advised us against the buffets).

Our first restaurant, the hostess was very off-putting when we refused to sit a table that had crumbs on it from the last occupants. She was even more upset when the crumbs were brushed off and we were advised to sit and I requested fresh place-settings for the kids (Disney did give us some special ride passes given this situation however both our kids 'felt' like they were an inconvenience to the restaurant which was not magical).

Our daughter anaphylaxed in a full service restaurant at one of the parks on our third day (the EMS service took over 20 minutes to arrive but the hospital treatment at Celebration Health was phenomenal). While she had only one small bite of rice, she required two epis prior to EMS arrival and full intervention with EMS & in hospital to stabilise. We had variable cell reception and had to rely on the restaurant phone line.
Believe it or not, she was taken out of the restaurant on the stretcher THROUGH THE KITCHEN which really didn't help her anxiety.

With these experiences, two chefs (where my daughter had safely eaten previously) counselled us that each establishment is unique at Disney and may have variable practices. I will say that the head chef at the Wilderness Lodge and at Tony's Town Square made every effort to make the remaining meals magical for my daughter.

I am not sharing this to frighten but I do think that sometime the positive Disney experiences are the only ones that are shared - we all want the successful and inclusive experiences and the magic.

I'd say have the epis, trust your instinct and your own family-specialty knowledge. Don't deviate from what is acceptable for you and your family (I think in my case I was personally caught up in the happy-hype and stepped beyond my comfort zone).
I do believe it can be done safely - just like every other day it just requires the right vigilance for your family and then the smiles and memories are wonderful.

_________________
renie
daughter: ana for egg, sesame, dairy, pistachio/cashew/hazelnut. on contact. allergic+ to soy protein isolate, environmental allergies (e.g. dogs, dust mites). asthma. eczema.
son: peanuts, tree-nuts, OAS, environmental allergies. asthma.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 405
renie wrote:

I am not sharing this to frighten but I do think that sometime the positive Disney experiences are the only ones that are shared - we all want the successful and inclusive experiences and the magic.


I'm sad to hear your had an unfortunate experience at Disney. It happens. People are people and mistakes happen. We cannot let go of our comfort zone, even at Disney. Great point, and one that needs to be emphasised!

To mention a bad experience at Disney, that 1% I talked about in my previous post, it was dealt with so well I rarely mention it, especially because their whole system was overhauled and improved because of what happened. My allergy meal, which was packaged in a separate container with a red tag on it stating free of my allergens/intolerances (with a list of those allergens/intolerances), contained cashews in the trail mix, M&Ms, cake with almonds, and yoghurt. It was a disaster! Thankfully, I didn't eat any of it and told the tour guide right away, who was on her radio immediately reporting the incident, asking if I needed help (in case I ate anything), and getting supervisors involved. I was paralysed with fear and refused to eat anything (even fresh fruit) for the rest of the afternoon. It was a hot day and I was becoming lethargic from not eating or drinking, in combination with the fear, so we went back to the hotel, where my husband ordered some safe food and forced me to eat. We were fortunate that every other meal we've eaten at Disney has been excellent and we were able to enjoy the rest of our vacation.

It's difficult to recover from trust being broken in such a life critical manner. We received a refund for what we did that day at the park, along with several apologies from managers, supervisors, and chefs, as well as updates on how they were assessing the problem and fixing it. Disney suspended special meals on their tours until they could sort out what went wrong. They now use a very detailed system to track allergy meals (for tours) and communicate with the chefs who make them. A few of my relatives with food allergies have gone on tours since and noticed the improvements.

So, yes, mistakes happen at Disney but overall they are very accommodating to those with allergies, more so than anywhere else I've been, and, this incident aside, I feel very safe eating there. Again, always ask for ingredients, talk to the chef, and remain hyper vigilant. And be cautious of hugging characters... residue on their costumes can cause hives. Been there, done that too.

Have a great time at Disney!

_________________
anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
A member of my local support group shared an experience his family had at Disney when his child had an anaphylaxis reaction.

Quote:

Hey all, just to let you know that if anyone DOES start having a reaction at Disney, you can call the medics to your location (i.e., no need to run to first aid station with your kid in your arms)!

Anyone interested about logistics might be interested in knowing that Disney covers the cost of the ambulance, and can take you to the brand new(and very slick) children's hospital called Nemours. It's about 25 mins and 2x $1.50 tolls each way, and does not exist yet for most GPS devices -get directions from Google before you go. Disney drove the rest of us back to our onsite resort in one of their staff cars, and made arrangements for ECV rental deposit return without us having to bring it back to the entrance.

Nemours' Emerg has free parking at the door for patients. Their treatment protocol is a little odd - really not as user-friendly or efficient as what we're used to in Ottawa, but still works. They do not serve patients anyfood, and their cafeteria closes at 7pm. Once discharged, they send you on your way with prescriptions to fill at any pharmacy - you should expect to wait about an hour for the scripts to be ready from the time you drop them off, even if the hospital already phoned them in.

The reaction itself was pretty routine (for us): slow progression from sore stomach, extreme fatigue and flush face, to hives all over torso, over two hours. Gave him a melt-away strip as soon as we noticed and walked briskly to first aid station. At the first aid station, nurses suggested always to give lots of water to "flush the allergen out" - which I found odd. (They later revised that doesn't apply anymore if an epi and hospital are required). Only once at the first aid station did he say throat was itchy; I asked him if he wanted the epi, and he said yes (wise boy). Gave it matter of factly, he did wince a bit. It helped, but wasn't enough to put out the systemic reaction. EMTs were already on their way, checked vitals(all clear), and recommended "where there is a doubt, and especially based on history" that we go to the hospital. The hospital gave some syrups and stuff orally, which he threw up of course within the hour, along with snacks, lunch, and breakfast. What little of his meds he absorbed wore off, of course, and he flared right back up again. We insisted (gently) that they give him more intramuscular, which apparently burns a lot for quite a while.

As I said, this was pretty routine for us and I don't think I would have done anything differently except review EVERYTHING with the chef when she brought out the food. We don't want him to think that his allergies necessarily limit the opportunities he has in front of him or make him feel guilty that it is limiting us either. (the ordeal was a lot tougher for grandma though - she stayed at the room with DS2 and felt powerless.)

I view these as learning opportunities, and want to close the loop with the restaurant manager. not sure how to approach it or if its even a worthwhile idea.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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