Planning a Disney Trip with a Special Diet: What To Pack

Folks who are privy to following a special diet (or any kind of modified lifestyle, whether it is medically-driven or by choice) are often accustomed to having be prepared in advance. Our luggage is often indicative of that… I know that when I travel, my suitcase is probably 40% full of food/medications to get me through my trip!

overloaded luggage

 

Lucky for us, Disney World covers a lot of our needs. There are plenty of safe food options, loads of snack choices, and they’re pretty good at stocking the necessities in gift shops and stores around the World. Plus, it’s within driving distance to various grocery stores (including a Whole Foods Market), so in the worst scenarios, you’re likely taken care of.

 

That being said, when you have food allergies, celiac disease, or other ailments, chances are, you like to play it safe–even if you go back home with all of your stuff you packed! Here are some of our top tips for what to keep in mind when you’re prepping for your trip.

Airline Travel

If you’re flying in, you might want to bring some snacks for the airport and plane, depending on the time of day you’ll be there. A couple of hours at the airport, 3 hour flight, trip on the Magical Express… well, that can certainly start those hunger cues! Most airlines offer a snack, though the likely hood of it being safe is probably slim. My go-to options are small and easy to carry, without taking up a lot of room in my purse or carry-on. Snack bars, homemade muffins, trail mix, candy… whatever I have on hand. I also always pack Ginger Chews (to combat my nausea and keep my ears from popping–double win!). I’ve never had a problem bringing anything through security… even once a small Tupperware of soy yogurt and fresh strawberries. If you’re bringing citrus, peel it first.

At the Resort

The resort will be a snack haven, with plenty of options in the Food Court. If you have the Dining Plan, you’ll have one or two snack credits per day, but it’s best for your finances to use it on more expensive items (we’ll get to that in future Dining Plan and Snack Options posts). Some resorts have more options than others, but if you contact yours in advance, you can let them know things you might want and they can likely get it in from another resort if they have it in the parks. There are some default items available at all resorts, too, most of which are completely allergen-free. All of the resorts have fresh fruit (oranges, apples, and bananas are most common; some have grapefruit). Most stock Chex cereal in snack size. The Gift Shops have a Mickey’s Kettle Corn that does contain soy, though only soy oil (not the protein). Some folks are fine with Fritos and Lays, both of which are available in the Gift Shops. The Disney potato chips–in regular and BBQ–both are listed as gluten-free and vegan. And, of course, these don’t even include the allergy options that are often available. Do keep in mind… some allergy-friendly options are not on display; it’s best to speak to the chef.

At the Parks

We often get the question… is food allowed in the parks? emphatically, yes! You are welcome to bring your own snacks into the park, so it’s easy to plan ahead if you want to have some on hand. We’re going to break down what is available from an allergy-friendly point of view at each of the parks, but bringing your own in is no hassle, too. Similarly, all of the parks carry the same aforementioned-generally-allergy-friendly items listed above: fruit, chips, kettle corn. The popcorn available through all the parks is (of this posting) allergen-free (though you can always ask to see the binder), and there are plenty of frozen Minute Maid and Nestle treats available. Really, you won’t be without, and you can definitely bring your own.

Non-Food Items

There are a few non-food items that are potentially essential for those who have a modified lifestyle. In addition to any medications or ailments, keep in mind that refrigerators aren’t offered in all of the resorts (ie Value), so anything that needs refrigeration might require you to put in a request beforehand. Other things you might find handy include your own soap, shampoo, and conditioner, a kettle for boiling water for tea (an essential for medication that might need to be dissolved in warm liquid), and stocking up on any remedies that might not be available in Disney or the surrounding area.

When making my “to pack” list, I’m definitely crossing off a lot of items that are related to staying safe at the park! What are your must pack items that are essential to keeping you safe when you travel?

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9 thoughts on “Planning a Disney Trip with a Special Diet: What To Pack

  1. Pingback: Planning a Disney Trip with a Special Diet: an overview | Food Allergy & Celiac Convention
  2. An excellent article ! A note about the Gin-Gins Ginger chews… The packages of it available where I am all have the allergen statement “Made in a facility that also processes milks, soy, and peanuts.” Looking at the selection available at my local store, some of the company’s other products have peanuts in them, though I don’t know if they are all made in the same facility. I plan on contacting the company and asking about their allergen practices, as I really want to find a ginger candy-type product that I can use (most others I have found don’t just have a “made in a facility” statement, but actual “contains” or “may contain” warnings.

    • Interesting, thanks for your comment! Mine doesn’t have that statement; it just says “peanuts” on them (they do make a peanut product). I can’t have dairy, and generally, I wouldn’t buy it if it could contain dairy. Please let us know what you find out!

  3. Pingback: Planning a Disney Trip with a Special Diet: Moderate Resorts | Food Allergy & Celiac Convention
  4. Great content! Thanks for the tips though, since we’re planning to have a vacation and the diet is important during travel, I really find this article very helpful. I’m allergic to sweets anyway.

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