Blogger Street Team member Arianne from Special Alert has a combined passion of spreading awareness of food allergies a love for Walt Disney World. In her post today, she provides travellers with her experience in travelling with anaphylactic food allergies, tips for being at Disney with a special diet, and highlights from her trips. Her blog shares her experiences, knowledge, and insight on the ins and outs of living with food allergies, hoping to make life a little easier for everyone.
Thirty. That is the number of food allergies between myself and big brother. An absolute nightmare for my parents trying to accommodate two very picky eaters with a lot of food allergies. Now my food allergies consist mainly in the most “popular” or common food allergies, peanuts and tree nuts, and my brother makes up the other half of the most common food allergies with eggs and shellfish. My food allergy severity is anaphylactic, where as my brother was a pretty bad intolerance. Needless to say our dietary needs made and still makes it more difficult to eat out and travel as a family while making everyone happy and safe.
Taking vacations as a family when we were kids were complicated and usually consisted of coolers of foods and traveling to places where we could make our own food. We started traveling to Walt Disney World when we were very young. We would all pile into an RV packed solid with food and drive the two days from Ontario to Orlando, Florida in the United States to camp at Fort Wilderness the Disney Campground.
When I was younger my food allergies restricted us from eating out anywhere since the severity was so extreme. But as my saint of a mother starting planning a trip to Disney one year we discovered that not only could they accommodate both our allergies, but they could offer substitutes as good or better for the options we couldn’t have. Suddenly we could eat out at a restaurant as a family without worry. Disney allowed us to feel like a normal family in a beautiful, immersive, safe environment.
The very first restaurant I ate it was Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. It was a big moment for my entire family, and I have to say a little nerve-racking for me. Eating out with food allergies requires confidence, and I wouldn’t be as comfortable asking questions and making my allergens known if I wasn’t introduced to it at a fairly young age, and in such an inviting and safe environment. For this reason I’ve always held Disney in a very special place in my heart. It allowed me to experience the freedoms that had never been offered to me before. Throughout my various travels around the world, it will always be my go-to worry free vacation. So last year when my partner and I discovered we had a week off at the same time, it was an easy decision to pick Walt Disney World. I’ve never planned a trip to Walt Disney myself, and I was overwhelmed by the accessibility of every aspect of trip planning.
When planning a trip to Disney, you have the opportunity to create a profile that stores not only your hotel and park admissions but also restaurant reservations, fast pass passes and any information pertaining to your trip. I was so relieved, having food allergies has taught me to always plan ahead when it comes to meals. This online planning toolallowed me to view every single restaurant Walt Disney World has to offer. I had access to menu’s which allowed me to see what places were safe, and what places offered safe dining experiences. But, here is the thing about Disney, it’s all safe. As I began to look through different restaurants I realized that the dinning staff at every place has substitutions or options for any allergen. I was so relieved, I’ve been restricted my whole life from certain places, but here I felt like a normal traveler, experiencing everything the way everyone else does without limitations. This trip planner not only let me make dining reservations days in advance, but allowed me to inform the restaurant of my allergens before I even step foot in the state of Florida.
Now, as I begin to plan my trip this year I feel more confident and adventures in my restaurant choices. When I became a part of the Food Allergy and Celiac Conference– Celebrating Awareness, as a blogger street team member my mind was immediately filled with new and exciting dining options. I owe my ability to experiment with my taste buds to the confidence Walt Disney World bestowed on me and the opportunities my parents gave me.