My husband, daughter, and I traveled to Walt Disney World with a high school marching band. Because we were traveling with a school group, we had special meal vouchers to use for our meals. I know a lot of students travel to Walt Disney World with bands, orchestras, choirs, and other groups, so I thought it might be helpful to write about how we navigated the school trip meal voucher system with a dairy allergy.
Eating Dairy-Free at Disney World with Meal Vouchers
The Youth and Sports Program meal vouchers are similar to the ones included with certain vacation packages but not identical. There are specific meal vouchers for breakfasts and other vouchers for lunches and dinners. The back of each voucher lists the quick-service restaurants that accept them in each park. Each voucher is good for a main dish, side or dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage.
We came prepared to spend additional money for safe meals. We were pleased to discover that it was fairly easy to successfully navigate the voucher system with a dairy allergy.
Our group spent one day at each park, which meant a lot of moving around and acclimating ourselves to new restaurants every day. Each quick-service restaurant we chose was well-versed in food allergy cooking. However, the presentation of allergen information varied widely.
Some quick-service restaurants had printed allergen menus, some had allergen-free items marked on the menu, some had a staff person come chat with us, and some had binders with information about each dish.
In addition, some quick-service restaurants have you continue through the line, and others handle your order completely separately and give you a pager. In our experience, both of the quick-service restaurants that used pagers were pizza places.
I am also providing information about the All-Star Music Resort. That is where we stayed and ate breakfast every day, as well as one dinner.
All-Star Music Resort Rolls Out the Dairy-Free Red Carpet
We stayed at the All-Star Music Resort, which is a popular place for performing arts groups to stay. We ate breakfast there every morning. I went to talk to the staff the first night we were there to alert them to our presence and to order a late night dinner.
The chef on duty came out to talk to me after I asked a cashier who I needed to speak to. He told me that all we needed to do was to ask a staff person to get the chef when we were ready to order each morning. He then ran down all of the dairy-free items on the evening menu, plus told me which dishes he could alter to be dairy free.
Since the rest of the band was eating delivery pizza for dinner, I went with an order of chicken fingers and fries. He promptly went back, prepared them, and brought them out in a covered dish. This was the one meal on our trip not covered by a voucher.
The next morning, we asked for the chef on duty for breakfast. He was so helpful, as was another chef who also helped us a few of the mornings. They listed the dairy-free breakfast items that were readily available. They also offered to make custom items if my daughter would like. One of the chefs even greeted her by name in the morning!
My daughter especially enjoyed the dairy-free Mickey Mouse waffles and chose those for several breakfasts. She also tried dairy-free pancakes, bacon, orange juice, and a custom-made dairy-free smoothie.
Dairy-Free Fast Food at Walt Disney World Park Restaurants
Here is a list of what we ordered at quick-service restaurants in each park. Of course, menus are always changing and restaurants are sometimes closed or under renovation. But I hope this gives you an idea of the variety of dairy-free food available at the quick-service restaurants.
- Fairfax Fare–Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Rice
- Backlot Express–Dairy-Free Chicken Fingers and Carrots
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe –Rice Bowl with Chicken, Beans, and Rice
- Pinocchio’s Village Haus – Dairy-Free Pizza, French Fries, and Enjoy Life Cookies
- Sunshine Seasons Food Court – Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice
- Katsura Grill – Teriyaki Chicken and Shrimp with Rice, Salad, and Edamame
- Flame Tree Barbecue – Barbecued Chicken and Grapes
- Pizzafari – Dairy-Free Pepperoni Pizza and Salad
- Bonus Item: Dole Whip
I have traveled extensively including lots of cruises. No company is as accommodating as Disney when it comes to food allergies. They are WONDERFUL!! Great selection, never a hassle and they make every effort to have items that most people crave. Bravo, Disney. You are the tops in my book!!
I agree, Marv! I was very impressed with our experiences at Disney World.
Thank you for providing this information! My 13-year old daughter is going on her first trip away from us (her parents) and has dairy allergies, as well as peanut, tree nut and shellfish allergies! I am a wreck thinking about it 🙁 She does not want me (mom) to go at all, as she wants her independence, but I will be going to stay in a nearby hotel so I can be close in the event of an emergency. Thank you for sharing this information! It makes me feel a little more comfortable, and hopeful that she will have a safe trip.
It’s so hard isn’t it? My daughter didn’t have issues with any of her meals at Disney. I hope your trip is equally uneventful. Please let me know how it goes!
I have traveled far and wide around the world and Walt Disney World was the absolute best in accommodating a dairy allergy. Every one is trained and aware of allergies and go beyond to see that you have a great variety to select from. I was in a group touring behind the scenes and every morning the allergy question was posed so they could special order the noon meal. It was a joy!! It was one vacation I didn’t have to worry about if my requests were going to be handled properly.
I’m so glad to hear about your experiences, Marv! Thank you for sharing. We were impressed by Disney as well.
I am going to Disney in Orlando later this month, and want to know where i can use lunch and dinner food vouchers in the parks. Anything helps 🙂
I hope this list was helpful, David! The vouchers will have a full list of eligible restaurants printed on them.
Ok, you are speaking to me, we checked in last night and guess where we are staying? Allstar Music! Thanks for the info. It’s gonna be a great week!
That’s fabulous! Enjoy the trip.
Oh my gosh, that is so exciting! I hope everything goes as well for you as it did for us!