« 2013 D23 Expo - Rapidly Approaching | Main | New Village Market Kiosk to Open in Fantasyland »

Allergy Friendly Dining in Animal Kingdom

Deb's Digest Blog

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.)

The previous post in this blog was 2013 D23 Expo - Rapidly Approaching.

The next post in this blog is New Village Market Kiosk to Open in Fantasyland.

Comments (25)

Candace:

This is a great start....I am a Type 2 diabetic who also has a nut allergy, and I seem to have developed gluten intolerance...nice to know that I have more options out there....and on all of our trips, my husband and I have told our servers about my food issues, and the chef has always come out, and recommended what dishes that they thought would work for me. You can't make the changes over night, but it is nice to see that they are trying....other places don't.

Pam:

Wow, this is a msssive undertaking on Disney's part. I applaud the effort to offer dietary suggestions and info. However, there are so many different food allergies out there, that I wonder how they'll maintain this.
I have an allergy to garlic and onions and I'd be amazed if this one is even on their radar. Try finding garic-free entrees at a restaurant - it's very challenging. Garlic is such an easy way to season food that most restaurants use it in EVERYTHING - even melted butter on fish.:-(

Mary Hamilton:

I was so excited when I heard about this kiosk. My little girl was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last summer, and counting carbs at Disney was very difficult. I was really disappointed that this kiosk did not have carb info. It's great that Disney does so much to help guests with food allergies, but I wish they would make more of an effort for those with type 1 diabetes.

Amy:

So happy to see vegan / gluten-free treat options at Animal Kingdom! I can't wait to visit and get a few snacks as AK usually has had limited options (soft pretzel, anyone?!) Though, you would think AK would have the *most* vegetarian / vegan / veggie-based meal options / snacks as it is, after all, all about promoting animal conservation! ;) And @Rachel K, I agree! BBQ tofu or BBQ tempeh would be super yummy!

tim:

Being a recently diagnosed type 2 diabetic I agree sugar free choices are sadly rare at the world. Maybe this will generate enough interest and support to include more options for us, too.

Audrey:

I join the chorus with thanks to Disney for taking such proactive steps to inform those of us with food-related issues. I was disappointed, though, to see the kiosk board list Omission Lager as gluten-free. It's not. It has very low gluten. It's made with barley and processed to "remove" gluten, but a small amount of gluten remains. For those like me who can't tolerate *any* gluten, the label "gluten-free" needs to mean no gluten what so ever. Disney offered New Planet's Raspberry Ale, a true gluten-free beer, at the Flower and Garden Show this past spring. New Planet makes a number of beers and all are very good. I wish Disney would offer one of their beers (or Redbridge as they once did) instead of Omission.

KaseyB:

This is awesome news!! I really can't wait to see this on our upcoming trip!! I have to hand it to Disney for being so accommodating to folks like myself with food allergies.

Heather:

Jerri: Wow! Someone else with the same strange allergy as me! I will say in general that WDW has been FANTASTIC in handling it, but I'm glad to see more specifics being availble than just the dreaded "spices" listing. If you're like Jerri and I and are allergic to capsaicin, this automatically nixes those foods. Although it confirms what I pretty much already knew (can't safely eat the BBQ at Flame Tree), I am very pleased to see such specific ingredient listings. We have had fantastic experiences with TS restaurants in the past, but for QS I've tended to mostly stay with "known safe" items. This'll make me more likely to try things out side of my comfort zone. Great job Disney!

Jerri:

I have been really pleased on my last several trips to Disney when it comes to being accommodating to allergies with the sit down restaurants but I do wish more counter service places were as knowledgeable. I am highly allergic to peppers or anything that has capsaicin in it, this is a huge issue when it comes to rubs and added seasoning, even cross contamination by cooking on the same surface/pans or juices getting mixed will send me into anaphylactic shock. So I am looking forward to checking out the book when I go to Animal Kingdom next time and maybe they will do this for the other parks as well.

Jessica:

I have a question- Are babycakes now being served at all the qs restaurants as a dessert stand in for ppl with food allergies? I ask because we are doing the QSDP in Sept and my son can no longer eat dairy or gluten, which nixes the desserts at Flame Tree which is where we always eat there. I heard a rumor on one of the forums that all the QS restaurants now carry them as a back up? Thanks.

Stacey:

I was just at EPCOT tonight and at the Sunshine Seasons they had a bunch of these snacks on a separate cart for people to purchase. It was just past the Grill section.

Emily:

Great info! I do wish Disney would take it one step further and provide the nutritional info that diabetics need also. My son is a Type 1 Diabetic, and finding carb counts at Disney is nearly impossible!

Mia:

I am headed to Disney next week. My son does not eat sugar. I'm trying to figure out if I can bring in sugar free desserts since it doesn't seem like Disney offers much in that area. Any thoughts?

Deb: Yes, you can bring sugar-free items and even food as long as it is not in a glass container. Not that you asked, but you can't bring alcohol in the parks.

Pamela:

Thank you to Disney for this amazing extra level of service!
Our daughter has multiple life threatening food allergies and Disney is our vacation go to spot.
We will definitely visit on our next vacation.
Keep up the food work.......and thank you!

Jeanne Sullivan-Jones:

My children are allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts and treenuts. We had the opportunity to use the new allergy station last week. It was great to stop by before going to Flametree to look at the safe foods for the girls. When ordering at the counter saying I had already visited the kiosk made ordering quicker and safer for my family. We also loved having the babycakes available.

Nancy E:

So glad to see this kiosk! I too agree with you Deb on the diabetes issue. My 12 year old daughter is a Type 1 Diabetic on a pump also. I have had trouble the last few times we were there finding the carb counts on foods. I have looked at some of the binders as you showed in your pictures. I had to "guesstimate" as best I could. With the uptick of Type 1 diabetes this is something Disney needs to address. Thanks for the great info as we are headed down next friday for a week at the Boardwalk Villas!!

Jenn Bush:

I am so happy about this! I just went vegan and sometimes I think "ok, now what do I eat here?". One of the many reasons I always recommend Disney - ease of finding good things to eat, even if you have dietary restrictions.

Linda L:

Two of my children have allergies to gluten, dairy and soy. We usually eat in a sit down restaurant, but snacks, other than fruit, are really not an option in the park. Babycakes cupcakes are an amazing addition to the snack line up, as well as enjoy life products. I have been disappointed in the past because the new gluten free snacks contained dairy or soy. I recognize these as "safe" snacks. Disney is really a leader in this type of theme park service.

Sheri:

This is wonderful and a very positive step in the right direction. My daughter has severe food allergies and we usually pack a lunch because we never know what we can eat at counter service restaurants and we hate holding up the line for other hungry families asking. This would change that. And we also love babycakes!

Phil :

I knew WDW was good at what they do, but I didn't know they were that good. Being a Cardio-diabetic Type-2 this is very timely information. Thank you.

Rachel K:

Like Terry above, we're a family of vegetarians and Animal Kingdom has in the past been very disappointing foodwise. It's become my least favorite park to visit because of the food choices. The vegetarian options always seem somewhat limited unless you have reservations at Tuskers. I'm glad to see the Babycakes and now hummus available. Perhaps Disney will start offering better veggie/vegan options here now. BBQ tofu would be so amazing or something involving tempeh. <3

Laurene D:

Having a sugar allergy has made eating at AK a real challenge. All of the sauces and BBQs are out. This kiosk will help a lot. Sugar free deserts are still very rare in the Kingdom.

Eric:

As a parent of a child with peanut and tree nut allergies I am curious to visit this kiosk on our next visit. I say that because Deb's lunch jumped out at me. The brochure lists her sandwich as allergy friendly to tree nuts and yet there is a tree nut warning on the bread in the binder itself. I see the clear statement on the cover about taking precautions but can tell you as an allergy parent that this is the kind of thing that scares me - of course I would never order without looking inside the binder at WDW either! And please don't get me wrong - WDW is THE BEST place to let your food allergy kids eat out. They take food allergies very seriously and I think this is a great idea to help plan CS dining.

Linda:

This is a wonderful addition. I frequently travel to WDW with two sisters who suffer with gluten allergies and a nephew with a severe peanut allergy. This new kiosk is a welcome addition from Disney, a company that has always gone above and beyond regarding people with food allergies. I hope to see kiosks popping up in the other parks soon.

This is great to hear. As a vegan, eating at AK was always difficult and very underwhelming compared to the other parks. If all else fails I can now survive on Baby Cakes cupcakes alone.

Post a comment

(All comments must be approved before they appear on the entry.)


By submitting this comment I agree I am bound by the AllEars.net Terms of Use agreement

Return to Blog Central

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 20, 2013 6:13 AM.

The previous post in this blog was 2013 D23 Expo - Rapidly Approaching.

The next post in this blog is New Village Market Kiosk to Open in Fantasyland.

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