Q: Julea – I am lucky enough to be going to Walt Disney World for 9 days … do you know of any books or websites that have Disney dining options for dairy-free or ingredient lists for the restaurants and the parks? I have been able to find menus for each of the restaurants, but figured it is best to be as prepared as I can before arriving.
A: Alisa – The dining options for special diets at Walt Disney World, and to some extent Disneyland, have grown significantly over the years, with everything from grab ‘n go snacks to table side waffles and burgers throughout the park. To help real it all in, I’ve grouped resources, available snacks, and personal stories below as an outline for dairy-free Disney dining options.
Magical Disney Dining Resources
Disney World Special Diet Information Page – A must read resource when heading to the Florida park.
Disneyland Special Diet Information Page – Heading to California? Disneyland still has you covered.
AllergyEats Disney – This top allergy restaurant search website has created a Disney dining micro-site within their website specifically for reviews and recommendations within Walt Disney World.
Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Walt Disney World – No one knows gluten-free and dairy-free dining options at this massive park better than Sarah. She is an avid Disney season pass holder and shares her experiences, recommendations, etc. on her blog.
Allergy Free Mouse – I’m not sure how often this website is updated, some of their allergen product and restaurant info seemed a bit outdated, but they still offer a good base to look for Disney dining choices with food allergies and do still update the blog with new reviews.
Taking Holidays: Dining in Disneyworld with Food Allergies and Special Diets – A fabulous resource article written by Loretta Jay.
Disney World Food Allergy Pioneer Trains Chefs on Becoming Allergy-Friendly – To learn how the Disney food allergy crusade began and how their chefs are trained.
Destination Disney – Balancing Fun & Food Allergies – An interview with the man who founded the Disney food allergy training program with Q&A on top allergy concerns and how Disney handles them.
Disney is the Gold Standard for Serving Kids with Food Allergies – A few more helpful tidbits, including how far in advance you can actually make those park restaurant reservations.
Disney Dining on the Go: Prepackaged Foods
Who has time for sitting down with all of the fun to be head? Kiosks throughout the park, and even several of the casual restaurants, offer pre-made allergy-friendly brands to keep things safe. The following includes some of the foods that have been offered at Disney World and/or Disneyland:
- Divvies Popcorn, and possibly their Chocolate, Cookies, and other Sweets – www.divvies.com
- Enjoy Life Cookies (even if you aren’t gluten-free, these are yummy) – www.enjoylifefoods.com
- Rice Dream Treats (they also serve Tofutti, but this would be out for soy protein issues) – www.tastethedream.com
- Ener-G Breads – They can serve Ener-G rolls at some of the restaurants. These are usually free of dairy, soy, and gluten – www.ener-g.com
- Go Raw Granola Bars – This top 8 free company is a great healthy and vegan option. – www.goraw.com
- Babycakes Desserts (now Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC) – In late 2010, Disney added vegan and allergen-free cupcakes from this popular NYC bakery to their menu offerings. At one point, Babycakes also opened a storefront at Walt Disney World, but it has closed. – www.babycakesnyc.com
Dairy-Free Disney Dining Stories (from readers)
I have received feedback from several food allergic parents, ranging from just dairy-free to multiple food concerns, and all has been positive for Disney World. Some, such as viewer Frederique, have even indicated that the staff at some of the restaurants goes above and beyond to please. They made his son a special breakfast of Mickey Mouse waffles that made the other non-allergic kids jealous! Here are a few others:
Charity ~ “Last year I took my 4 year severally allergic child to Disney World. He is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts. It was by far the BEST vacation for all of us. I was not stressing about feeding him and he was excited he could eat pretty much anything. You can make arrangements before hand to let Disney of your allergies, then you can rest assure that out will be taken care of. If you let the waitress/waiter know about your food allergies he/she will get the chef. The chef will come to your table to talk to you. I assure you we had a fabulous time. After the first day I did not worry as much. Disney went ABOVE and BEYOND for my son and he still thinks about often.”
Barb ~ “We stayed at the Disney World Dolphin Resort in Epcot. I can not say enough good things about the staff and the resort. Our dining experience got off to a rocky start, but after chatting with the Concierge at our hotel, we figured dinner out. The Restaurant Manager (Angela) in Dolphin Hotel went above and beyond to make sure the kids had meals they could eat. We mostly ate our main dinner meal in the hotel and a few places outside of Disney World (McDonalds and The Outback). We shopped at the local grocery store and stocked up on cold cuts, soda, water and snacks. Knowing ahead of time that bread maybe an issue, I packed our carryon full of hamburger rolls and bagels so we would be well prepared. We browned bagged it to the park everyday. Meals which tend to be our hot topic of conversation and stress for me seem to fade away. This past week, the kids were asking if we can go back. I find myself looking online for a great deal for the fall. Hopefully we will go back and enjoy a long weekend again.” [Barb’s children have multiple food allergies, including a life-threatening nut allergy and milk and egg allergies]
Top 5 Dairy-Free Disney Treats – A guest post at Milk Allergy Mom with some surprise delights. She shares that Mickey soft pretzels, Dole Whip, and buttery popcorn abound without milk!
Dairy-Free Dining at Disney – Steph of The Dairy-Free Omnivore shares her family’s trip to the Orlando theme park.
Dining Allergy-Free in Disney World: The Magic Kingdom – The Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery tackled Disney dining with multiple food allergies and a paleo diet on board!
My ‘Healthy’ Trip To Walt Disney World – Andrea at Naturally Savvy sought out the healthiest gluten-free and dairy-free foods that Disney had to offer.
The Disney Chronicles – 7 Days of Dining with 3 Food Allergic Children – 7 days, 7 posts, all filled with informational experience from one family with food allergies.
Chef Amber, A True Disney Princess – Speedbump Kitchen shares her family’s experience of Disney with multiple food allergies (eggs, dairy, and nuts).
Vegan Eating at Disney – Diana at Philly Vegan Life shares her vegan take on eating at Disney World.
Walt Disney World Vacation – Steph at No Grain No Pain gives mini reviews of their dining out experiences at Disney World without dairy and gluten. Some of the reviews are a little dated, but others persist!
Got a Story? If you have a relevant Disney experience on your blog or site to share here, feel free to contact us.
Reservations Required? Though it isn’t necessarily required with Disney World, it doesn’t hurt to call ahead and advise of a food allergy (or more) in your party. I am sure they appreciate the heads up, and chefs are better able to cater to special diets with advanced notice.