What To Know Before Visiting Disney World With Food Allergies

Traveling with food allergies can be stressful, frustrating, and downright daunting. According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), 32 million Americans have a food allergy. "Each year in the U.S., 200,000 people require emergency medical care for allergic reactions to food," FARE says. But a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a vacation option that might just offer peace of mind and relaxation to travelers fearful of venturing too far from home.

Walt Disney World is exciting, entertaining, and even a little magical. But while there are certain pitfalls to avoid when planning a trip to Disney World, those with food allergies have more to consider. Not only do allergy sufferers need to always carry medications with them, especially auto-injectable epinephrine, they need to know who to contact in the area in case of allergic exposure. And unfortunately, individuals with food allergies don't have the luxury of ordering any delicious item they lay eyes on. Luckily, Walt Disney World takes food allergies seriously. According to the Disney Parks Blog, "Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is the recipient of a FARE ... Award for dedication to providing a safe and enjoyable dining experience for vacationing families and our chefs have been recognized for their commitment to food allergy awareness, education and management." 

Perhaps you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World and you or someone in your group has a food allergy. In that case, it's worth it to become familiar with dining options ahead of time. The official Walt Disney World app can help.

Understand different dining options

Like many theme parks, Disney World offers table-service restaurants and quick-service counters, according to Magical Vacation Planner. While processes are different between the two, both types have nutritional guidebooks on site. Table service is probably the best option for guests with food allergies. It may be pricier, but they offer the luxury of time to talk to servers to discuss allergies, and some table service restaurants even have specific allergy-free menus. Consider making reservations in advance, if possible. Advanced planning allows guests to alert the restaurant to any food allergies before arriving.

Alternatively, on the plus side, quick-serve eateries are often less expensive, but they don't have the advanced reservation option, and sometimes their smaller kitchens have limited menu items. Also, when reviewing the menu for allergy-friendly meals with someone standing behind you in an inevitable long line (this is Disney World, after all), guests may feel rushed when deciding what to order.

Whether you choose quick service or table service, it's advised to always communicate with a cast member or chef to confirm dietary concerns. Disney World also has a department where you can make special dietary requests. Consider contacting them for any dietary questions before arrival.

Utilize the official Walt Disney World app

One of Disney World's must-have apps can also help you if you're concerned about food allergies. My Disney Experience offers detailed information about all types of eateries throughout Disney World. Filters allow guests to select locations, such as Magic Kingdom Park; types of restaurants, such as table service or quick service; and essential details regarding allergy-friendly menus.

Most eateries in Disney World have allergy-friendly menu information listed on the app. And many restaurants will also accommodate allergy requests in person upon request. However, don't wait until you arrive to request special culinary accommodations. Planning and researching possible food allergens in the My Disney Experience app saves time and ensures guests frequent the best eateries for not only their allergies, but also for their dining enjoyment.

Accessing menu and allergy information on the app is easy — just search by individual restaurant. Quick-service restaurants often have a button titled "Allergy Friendly," where users can search for options suitable for different food allergies. To see allergy information for table service restaurants on the app, check out the full restaurant menu. Allergy-friendly options are clearly labeled. And don't forget, no matter how you order or where you dine, always confirm allergy-friendly snacks and meals with a cast member or chef. Enjoy dining at the Most Magical Place on Earth!