« July 2013 | Main | September 2013 »

August 2013 Archives

August 20, 2013

Allergy Friendly Dining in Animal Kingdom

Deb's Digest Blog

EDITOR'S NOTE: In 2015, the allergy free menu items were moved to the Discovery Island Kiosk, located on the right just past Pizzafari.

I think most of us with food allergies or special dietary concerns would agree that Walt Disney World is more accommodating than most places outside of Mouse World. Now, the folks at Walt Disney World have taken another step to reach out to those with concerns with more accessible information.

Animal Kingdom recently introduced a new kiosk that focuses on Allergy Dining Tips. When I first heard about it, I was quite excited. In addition to having a shellfish allergy, I am also a Type 1 insulin-pumping diabetic, which means I really have to watch what I eat.

So, I made a visit to Animal Kingdom to learn for myself. The kiosk is located to the right of the Tip Board toward Asia, just before the new Mickey and Minnie meet-and-greet location. At park opening, a cast member was standing outside the kiosk. Later in the day, I saw a different cast member inside.

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

Outside the kiosk is a display of various snacks that you can purchase right there -- many gluten-free and some vegetarian. I wonder how many folks see the Allergy Dining Tips sign and stop. While I was there, though, I only saw one family inquire about gluten-free options.

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

If the words Allergy Dining Tips don't get your attention, perhaps the display of non-typical snacks will. In addition to the fresh fruit, there also are fresh gluten-free and vegan offerings from Downtown Disney's babycakes, packages of gluten-free rice chips, cookies, popcorn, and even beer.

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

The cast member working at the kiosk was friendly, knowledgeable and eager to answer my questions. I asked if she was a dietician or had nutrition training, but she had not.

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

At the kiosk, there is a huge binder for each section of Animal Kingdom. Inside it, each dining location has its own tab.

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

I decided to check out Flame Tree Barbecue, one of my favorite places to enjoy lunch. Usually I order the turkey sandwich on multigrain bread, sometimes with beans and sometimes with cole slaw, so those were the foods I checked out.

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

Each page is full of information, ingredients and food labels. (Who knew Disney used Ken's Dressings?)

To help you focus on your "need" there are small yellow boxes that highlight "wheat," "corn," "egg," "soy" and other allergens you may want to be aware of.

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

You can see which products are used and exactly what the ingredients are, even for things like the "dry rub" Flame Tree uses.

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

There also is a pamphlet you can take with you called "Allergy Friendly Dining Tips." Inside, three dining locations are highlighted with "allergy-friendly" notes to help guide your decision on what to eat.

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

Allergy Friendly Dining Tips Kiosk at Animal Kingdom

I applaud Disney World's Food and Beverage team for taking the next step in helping folks with food allergies and dietary needs enjoy their dining experiences in the park! As I said in the beginning, there are few regular places that go the extra mile like Disney does. (Try asking for a no-sugar-added or sugar-free dessert sometime!)

I was, however, disappointed to see how many times the words "high fructose corn syrup" jumped out at me. But perhaps that's a conversation for another day!

The one thing I really hoped for, as a diabetic, is to see the actual nutritional information. How many calories, carbs, grams of fat, fiber, etc. make up each item? I realize this is difficult to do for products made from scratch by Disney chefs, but for prepackaged items it would seem to be easy enough to include.

That said, I encourage those of you with allergy or dietary concerns to stop by the kiosk in Animal Kingdom and ask questions. Also let Guest Services know what you think of the information. If all goes well with this Animal Kingdom trial (no idea how long it will be here) the other parks will be getting similar kiosks, too.

Let me know what you think of the new allergy-friendly kiosk and share your experience if you are able to stop by.

(Click on any of the photos for a larger image.)

August 27, 2013

New Village Market Kiosk to Open in Fantasyland

Deb's Digest Blog

A new Village Market Kiosk will open soon at the base of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.


Frozen beverages, natural lemonade and fresh snacks will be available. All items appear to be part of the Disney Dining Plan Snack Program.


Frozen Lemonade $3.99
Shaved Ice (various flavors) $3.99
All Natural Lemonade $2.99
All Natural Strawberry Lemonade $3.99

Pickle $1.39
Apple Slices $1.99
Pineapple Spear $3.29
Mixed Fruit $3.59
Watermelon $3.19
Grapes $3.59


August 30, 2013

2014 Guide Books at Hitting the Shelves

Deb's Digest Blog

It's that time of year again.... Summer is ending, most family vacations are over, the kids are back in school, and the 2014 Walt Disney World Guide Books are starting to arrive in stores (real and online).

Listed below are my perennial favorites. The current copy of each sits on my desk within easy reach.

#1) The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa.

This book has been the bible for many fans, including myself, since it arrived on the scene in the 80s. In fact, many of the editions take up an entire shelf in my book library. (I am missing the first 2 if anyone happens to have a spare :) It is irreverent and as tells it like it is. It is THE unofficial guide.

Just about anything you'd want to know about Walt Disney World is in this book. If you want to do in-depth research prior to your trip, the Unofficial Guide is for you!

#1A) The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2014 By Bob Sehlinger, Liliane J. Opsomer, Len Testa

Much like the regular guide (#1 above) this book targets kids and families, offering great suggestions on this to do, avoid or do better, quicker, faster.

#2) PassPorter's Walt Disney World 2014: The Unique Travel Guide, Planner, Organizer, Journal, and Keepsake! By Jennifer Marx, Dave Marx, Alexander Marx

Another unofficial guide book, the PassPorter series offer a viable alternative (or companion if you must read them all) to the Unofficial Guide. It's a unique travel guide, organizer, planner, and journal all in one. The back section of the guide contains "Pass Pockets" which allow you to jot planning notes, record what you actually did, and even has a pocket for keepsakes and receipts. And say, there are stickers too! Very family friendly and the format makes it easy for everyone to get involved.

#3) Finally, there is the official Disney World Guide Book, Steven Birnbaum's Walt Disney World, The Official Guide. If you are looking for information straight from the mouse himself, then this is the guide book for you. The 2014 guide also has a Birnbaum exclusive: A brand-new Kingdom Keepers Quest from bestselling author Ridley Pearson.

#3A) Walt Disney World for Kids: The Official Guide:

Designed with families in mind, this book makes fun reading for young ones!

There are dozens of other guide books on the market. I wish I had time to read them all, but it's near impossible to keep up with "everything" Walt Disney World these days. You won't go wrong with one or a combination of the above guide books.

What is your favorite WDW guide book and why? Leave a comment below!

Happy Planning!

Return to Blog Central

About August 2013

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in August 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2013 is the previous archive.

September 2013 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.