Our family is planning our annual trip to Walt Disney World in September. We are also excited to be going on the Disney Dream for a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas as part of the trip. While I am looking forward to it, I am also a little anxious as my youngest daughter has food allergies. We have been to WDW before and they are very accommodating. We also have a kitchen and cook many meals in to stay safe and save money. My worry lies in part two of our trip – the cruise.
In advance preparations, I called the Disney Cruise Line and told them of my daughter’s allergies. They noted our record and said there would be a meeting on the first day of the ship with the chef and the dining team. That made me feel a little better. I am still anxious until I speak with the actual Dream cruise staff. I know that we will have the same staff each night for meals and that we will discuss our meals in full detail each time.
I have since been talking to other families with food allergies to find out how their best cruise travel advice with food allergies. I posted a message on the Allergic Living forums and received wonderful advice from Jennifer. I am linking directly to the post as it is detailed and informative. Allergy Mouse has also been in touch with her and they posted her experience on their blog. I will be sure to blog about my experience after our trip as well.
Please share if you also have any travel tips for those with food allergies!
I learned the interesting story of the creation of Disney’s Fast Pass while speaking with a customer service rep. for AT&T, of all things. He was an intern at Disney at the time. An engaging fellow, he proceeded to tell me that the Fast Pass came about because of a fire code.
The Indiana Jones ride in CA had a queue about a mile long. One day there was a fire drill and it took about 25 minutes to get the people out. That was not acceptable and the firefighters told Disney that they needed to shorten response times. When they asked “how?” a firefighter said “how about tickets that save people’s place in line?” And the rest is history.
Disney thought about monetizing Fast Pass but later decided the system was acceptable the way it was. A firefighter. An AT&T customer service rep. Creativity can be anywhere!
By the way, Disney gave credit to the firefighter. And the rep? He wrote the Backlot Tour script and is still credited on the script. That is the sign of a great company that recognizes creativity.
I married into a Disney family. My father in law is a member of the Disney Vacation Club and we have been fortunate to be able to stay at the Old Key West resort for many years. We like to visit Disney a few times a year if we are lucky. We have found ways to see some sights on a budget and I’d like to share some with you. I just sent this to a friend whose family member is going for the first time. I hope it helps!
1) Pick up Disney toys/stuffed animals/clothes at Wal-Mart before trip and hide them/bring out during trip.
2) Bring snacks into the parks – we brought cereal bars, raisins, etc. They check your bag but it’s allowed.
3) Take the monorail around to the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary resorts and walk around each resort to see each theme.
4) Ask to ride the front of the monorail and kids get a monorail operator license!
5) Eat at Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney – great sandwich, low cost – they even have breakfast.
6) Walk on Disney’s boardwalk – it’s just like New Jersey and there are carnival games, etc. Restaurants, a bakery, ESPN zone, a boat ride, you name it! You can see the fireworks at Epcot here too.
7) Make a reservation for character dining and make it the end of the brunch time around 11 – 11:30 before it ends. You have more time for characters and less people by then. (our favorite place is at the Contemporary – Chef Mickey’s)
8) You can get a mini-fridge and stay at the Pop Century or All-Star resort and you can take the bus to the parks.
9) See the characters at the Epcot Character Spot – they are all lined up inside the building and if you go early, there is little wait time.
10) Go “around the world” at Epcot:
– we like to eat at the Rose & Crown in England – make advance reservations – good kids menu,
– pick out an oyster in Japan and get a pearl – under $20 – our girls LOVE this
– sample foods from different countries (cheese plate in France), watch shows
– log flume ride in Norway (a little dark/scary for younger kids – Vikings)
– so much more!
I am interested to get the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine and read their story. They are everywhere right now and are another product of the Disney child marketing machine. As much as my daughter and I love their music, the mom in me wonders if all this success while they are kids will damage their chance at a normal life. They hit the charts two years ago, so they have been doing this for a few years. The hours they have been putting in at this must be unreal.
Their family seems pretty tight which is good. We’ll see how their rollercoaster ride goes.
Jonas Brothers: Sons of a Preacher Man – Rolling Stone magazine
With a hit tour and a new record, the squeaky-clean teen act wants to leap from Disney phenomenon to one of the biggest bands in America. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/21896731/
We are off to Canada next weekend to see my Grandma. My parents are already there and have been on the nut-free food hunt for us. They found bread and Quaker has six new granola bars that are nut-free and made in a nut-free plant in Canada. It seems that Canada is ahead of the game in many aspects of being aware of food allergies and accommodating people.
I am still afraid of flying with her allergy and the snacks on the plane. We are flying Northwest Airlines and they don’t serve peanuts, but the snacks they do serve might have nut in them, so who knows. They will make an announcement at the gate if you ask when you check in as well.
I am still afraid of going to restaurants on our trip. I don’t like confrontation and it is my fear that I will bring up my daughter’s peanut allergy and they will say everything is fine and then there will be cross contamination and she’ll have a reaction. I have restaurant cards that I printed out and hopefully people will be understanding.
I am a new fan of Sunbutter. It does taste just like peanut butter and my older daughter loves it. My allergic one doesn’t like it but that is okay since I don’t want her to get used to it and then accidentally have pb somewhere else when she gets older. She might associate it with her initial reaction which was from pb.
I contacted Disney for our trip in September. They are great. They have an entire division for special diets. They recommend that you make reservations in advance. Then about 2-3 days before, call the restaurant and remind them about your food allergy. Then when you get to the restaurant, talk to the manager and chef and they will prepare a special safe meal for your child. I have read great things about them. Here is one families’ experience with it. I will blog about it after we go.
I bought two books – the Peanut Allergy Handbook which is a small book that you can put with your epi-pen and benedryl. It has pages to put medic-alert info and details on yoru child as well as helpful advice to deal with the allergy and if there is a reaction, what to do. It is also good to give caregivers. I also bought the Peanut Allergy Answer book. I will start reading it this weekend. They are both available on Amazon.
As always, be vigilant and educate everyone! We are in this together. It really does take a village.
Seriously, people. We have child work laws in the US, but no one seems too concerned with the overworking of teen pop stars (see Britney Spears).
Entertainment Lawyer has a great entry about this topic. I do feel sorry for Miley and I hope that she can carve out some sort of normal childhood in this merchandising madness of a tv show, movies, music and tours. The mouse company and those around her just seem to see dollar signs.
She is also a child. Who is working. Way too much. Let’s see what happens in the next five years.
Miley Hurts on the Inside