Walt Disney World Special Diet Planning
A Walt Disney World special diet can interfere with enjoying a relaxing meal at the House of Mouse. Whenever we eat out, we are nervous that the allergy and its severity is not taken seriously by the food and beverage staff. For many, this is the difference between an allergic reaction or a fun night out. What does this mean for a parent planning for a child with a Walt Disney World special diet? In a nutshell: Don’t let that discomfort sour your time at the happiest place on earth!
The spectacular news is that Walt Disney World takes dietary restrictions more seriously than your fairy Godmother. They have dedicated cooktops, fryers, and always change their gloves for the special order. Their chefs and menus will tell you precisely what menu items are safe, and they will even send out a separate food runner to bring it to you.
The Walt Disney World Special Diet Reservation
Disney dining is incredibly popular due to the wild success of the Disney Dining Plan. We are not huge fans of the dining plan, but I digress.
You can make meal reservations as early as six months in advance to guarantee a seat. If you wait too long, the best restaurants book up quickly. Most popular restaurants book up immediately at the six-month mark.
If you are staying on property, you can make them for your entire vacation at six months out from the first day of your trip. Also known as Advance Dining Reservations, it is essential to make a note of the dietary request when you create it.
Call Disney Dining Reservations (407-WDW-DINE). Notify the Cast Member of any special dietary restrictions while booking your reservation.
Are you booking on the Walt Disney World Resort Dining website?
- Select your restaurant, party size, and time.
- Book the reservation by clicking on the reservation time.
- Put the names of the guests that will be attending the reservation on the first screen that pops up. Click next.
- Put in your credit card information.
- On the third screen, it will want a phone number. Below that, there is a screen called Special requests. Click “Add.”
- An additional screen will pop up, prompting you to insert the Special Dietary Information or Accessibility requirements.
- There is a section at the bottom of the page where you can note special dietary restrictions.
Consequently, if you have made your reservations, but did not tell the Cast Members at the time of booking, fear not! You can always let them know at the check-in counter, but if you have an unusual dietary request, the advance notice enables Disney World the opportunity to give you the best possible service.
Be sure to email email@example.com for further information.
Our Experience with Food Allergies
My oldest son, who is on the spectrum for Autism, is gluten-free. Hence, dining out is often challenging. We noted our allergies on each reservation as we booked them online or over the phone. A few weeks before we went, I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for specific information and recommendations.
They flagged our dietary request upon check-in to the host desk. Once seated, the host hands a small piece of paper off to the server that describes the allergy. As a result, the server usually avoids taking our order until the chef comes out to greet us personally. Do not go to the restaurant starving because this has happened consistently at every table service restaurant.
Despite having limited options, we enjoy having a safe place to eat together and enjoy the ambiance. Disney does an excellent job of being inclusive and making all guests feel welcomed. We tremendously enjoyed our relaxing dinner at Magic Kingdom’s restaurant, Be Our Guest. Try the grey stuff it’s delicious– and gluten-free.
Also, at buffets, they led us around and pointed out which were safe for my children to eat. At the sit-down restaurants, they made menu recommendations. The staff is very flexible with side dishes. They made genuinely magical modifications for our child.
At counter (quick) service restaurants, the chef came out to present our options. If the chef was not available, a manager brought the special allergy menu or binder out to show us specific allergens. After we paid, they gave us a buzzer.
After buzzing, we came directly to the grill to pick up our allergy-safe meal. The meals were tasty and were always a fair representation of the typical menu. Also, they brought us allergy-safe desserts like bagged cookies or brownies if the restaurant desserts were not compliant.
Best of all? Regardless of age, Disney will accommodate dietary needs. When our son was two years old, he was free of charge at the buffets. The restaurants provided gluten-free toddler-friendly foods for him, despite the lack of cost.
What Allergies does Disney World accommodate?
At Walt Disney World restaurants, chefs may substitute ingredients, so you get a balanced and delicious meal. Disney World restaurants accommodate the following food allergies:
- Gluten or wheat
- Lactose or dairy
- Peanuts and tree nuts
Disney World special diet
Always be sure to tell your server about specific lifestyle requests and dietary modifications. Disney World will accommodate you if you need the following:
- No Sugar Added
Finally, the following may require advance two weeks notice:
- Allergy or intolerance not listed under common food allergies
- Phenylketonuria (PKU)
- Metabolic disorders
- Multiple allergies in one guest or numerous guests within the same party
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Gluten-Free for Cheap at Disney
Unable to eat out three meals a day in the Walt Disney World parks? Unless you’ve saved for this trip for years or you are on a dining plan, most can’t afford it. We don’t eat out often either, but we have created many ways to save money so we can continue to enjoy Walt Disney World regularly.
- Stay off-property at a house or condo with a giant kitchen and local access to lots of grocery stores.
- Stay on Resort property at a Disney Vacation Club to have access to a kitchen.
- Pre-order specialty items on Amazon Pantry from Amazon Prime and deliver them to the hotel on the day you arrive. We address it to the hotel, put our names and dates of stay on the package, and they’ve always held it for us at the front desk.
- Take advantage of same-day Amazon Prime delivery with Amazon Prime Now. You must be a member of Amazon Prime to use Amazon Prime Now at the Walt Disney World Resort. Not a member? Sign up for Amazon Prime 30-day Free Trial and start using Amazon Prime Now.
- Order from a local grocery delivery service by ordering online a few weeks in advance and coordinate the delivery with your time of arrival.
- If you have access to a vehicle, major grocery stores like Target, Walmart, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have locations nearby.
- If you are a smartphone aficionado, request a ride with an app like Minnie Van Services through Lyft to pick you up and get you to the store. (Unfortunately, Minnie van has paused during the pandemic. We hope they resume soon!)
Guests who require Walt Disney World special diet planning can get the full Disney Dining experience. The Cast Members and chefs truly go out of their way to make sure that you are comfortable, healthy and safe. Walt Disney World special diet planning is beneficial for guests with a variety of food allergies, special diets, and food intolerances.
Are you looking for a gluten-free brew at Disney? You can also dive into our 5 Best Gluten-Free Snacks in Walt Disney World list!