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July 2, 2015

Pre-Ordering with Food Allergies? No Problem at Be Our Guest

by Laura Schmitt CNE
AllEars Guest Blogger

With an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, I was excited to try out Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. I was unable to secure a reservation at this popular destination for dinner, but I did manage to grab a lunch reservation. To bypass one step upon ordering, you have the option of selecting your meal in advance. (Note that there is also the option to wait and order at the restaurant.) I was curious if this was something that would work for people with basic food allergies, and here is what I discovered.

When you have a reservation for lunch, you will have the option to choose lunch menus for your party. There is a "Filter" button on the bottom of the ordering screen.

Click that button to see the window titled "Allergens". If your allergies are among this list (corn, peanut, soy, wheat, egg, milk, shellfish, treenut, fish), then you may feel comfortable pre-ordering.

There is an allergen disclaimer at the bottom.


be-our-guest-ordering-1.jpg


I noticed that “gluten” was not listed, and only “wheat”, for example, so a person who has Celiac disease may want to inquire about this.

I selected two filter items, Wheat and Milk.


be-our-guest-ordering-2.jpg


I proceeded to the next screen of entrees where I found several choices that would work for those allergy restrictions. I chose the quinoa salad.

By adding the menu item from this "filter" window, it tags the foods as "wheat free" and "milk free" on the summary page to follow. If you order the same entree item without first applying the filters it will not mark it as "wheat free" or "dairy free". So, I would definitely make sure to mark your filters first. (See photo below for orange triangle followed by warning of "Does not contain: Wheat.")

be-our-guest-ordering-3.jpg


While there was an option for a gluten-free dessert, there was nothing that came up as wheat-free and milk-free. I did find two sorbet options that are marked dairy-free and no sugar added (lemon and raspberry). I felt comfortable with the sorbet, so I ordered that for myself. For my daughter, I ordered the gluten-free cream puff, as she can eat dairy.

When we arrived at Be Our Guest on our reservation date, we found that if you do the pre-order option, a chef will not be sent out for you to consult with, as at other Disney World restaurants. You will have to seek one out immediately upon check-in or your food will be brought to you as pre-ordered. This is another reason why it would likely be best to pre-order only if the current filters work for your allergy needs.

After checking in, we were told to seat ourselves. We found the system a little confusing because no one explained how it would work. For example, no one told us to get a drink, or said that they would come out to find us. I was able to ask a very friendly cast member, though, and we figured it out.

My husband was not excited about the system of ordering and he was already determined to dislike the meal. To his surprise it was his favorite of the trip. My daughter agreed that the wheat-free pork roast was delicious! She absolutely loved her lunch and she proclaimed the green beans and potatoes were also very tasty.


be-our-guest-allergies-2.jpg


I had ordered the quinoa cake and salad, because I knew I would want a lighter lunch option. It was also quite good, but I only ate about half of it after having a huge breakfast. The quinoa cake was well seasoned and the beet cubes on top were delightful. The olives chopped into the salad greens were a nice touch.


be-our-guest-allergies-1.jpg


My daughter has always wanted to try French Onion Soup, but we have never found one that was gluten-free and dairy-free. When you order the soup with the wheat filter, it gives you the option to get the French Onion Soup without the bread crumb and cheese topping. This was confirmed on our receipt, so when I saw all the cheese on the soup they brought out to us, I sent it back. They brought out a second batch without any cheese and they explained that they did make it gluten-free, but they had left the "safe" cheese on for my daughter. It was not clearly labeled this way in ordering, so that was a bit confusing. She ended up eating the cheese-free version (which her tummy appreciated). She loved it, and she was so happy to have tried French Onion Soup at last.


be-our-guest-allergies-3.jpg


The soup and entree were the stars of the show. My daughter was disappointed with the gluten-free cream puff. She said the dough was very hard (rock-like) and that the lemon filling was incredibly tart, which she did not enjoy. As it turns out, a scoop of rice dream would have been a better choice for her, but it was fun to try something new.


be-our-guest-allergies-4.jpg


As I said earlier, I had ordered the only dairy-free option I could find, a lemon sorbet, which turned out to be bitterly tart. I ate a little, but left the rest behind. While Be Our Guest has mastered the lunch entrees, they have room for improvement in the world of gluten-free, dairy-free dessert offerings. We are still disappointed that the French Meadow Bakery items are no longer offered on property, or the Babycakes/Erin McKenna’s in a restaurant like this. I did ask the Special Diet department via email if there were any other options for us, but they did not get back with an answer.

A benefit of pre-ordering and using our dining plan credits is that we didn’t have to wait in a line to order at a kiosk, nor did we have to wait in a line to pay. Our meal was already paid for, so we could dine and dash. This worked beautifully, minus the confusion here and there. As we look back on our experience, my family all raves about this beautiful restaurant experience as the best of the trip and a definite “must-do” for future visits.

While we felt comfortable with our pre-order options using the filters available, it is clear that each individual will have to consider their own allergies and determine if pre-ordering is a viable option, or if it would be better to wait and ask to speak to a chef upon arrival before ordering. I suspect this will not add a considerable amount of time to your lunchtime, and the atmosphere is very fun to explore.

For a “quick service” lunch credit, I felt quite spoiled by the great options for everyone in my family at Be Our Guest.

July 5, 2015

Disney Collector Plates

Gary Cruise banner

About a year ago Carol said, “I need more room, build me a plate rail.”

The walls in her Disney Room were filled with Disney art and memorabilia and adding new items was becoming a challenge. Her collector plates were hanging in several clusters on the walls and she desperately needed to free up space for some new treasures!

Knowles Collector Plates

I quickly replied “Your wish is my command fair Princess!”

Actually, there was a bit of procrastination and a lot of nagging involved but eventually I got to work building two plate rails in the Disney Room. There are three overhead bulkheads which enclose the steel I-beams spanning the room. They were just the right height to display plates!

Carol claims that she never really wanted to collect plates; she bought her first few out of desperation. It all started back in the early 1990’s . . . Carol was an avid Disney fan and since she is a natural-born collector she craved Disney items. Alas, flying to Walt Disney World every year or two didn’t give her much opportunity to feed her addiction; she couldn’t bring home anything large or fragile!

There were no Disney Stores in the our area at the time; our Canadian department stores had little or no Disney merchandise and online shopping was still decades away. How could she possibly appease that monster within that drove her to collect?

Then one fateful day a mailer from The Knowles China Company arrived. Yes, Disney Collector Plates, the “Disney Treasured Moments” series.

Knowles Plate

There were eight in the series, from different animated features, and she faithfully bought one each month. She didn’t want to collect plates, but what alternative did she have? As each of them arrived it was lovingly added to her display!

The plates were limited in number; no more than 150 firing days. Each plate was individually numbered and came with a Certificate of Authenticity. Naturally Carol still has the original boxes and those ever-so-important certificates!

That series sold very well for the Knowles Company so naturally they followed it with another series, then another . . .

Carol was actually quite selective, after getting the complete set for that first series she only picked out “special” ones from the many offerings that followed.

In less than a decade Carol’s collection of Disneyana had grown to the point that we decided to move it all into one area of our Burlington Ontario home. Our “Disney Room” was born! Those original Knowles plates found a place of honour, hanging beside Carol’s crafting table in a corner of the Disney Room.

Eight Original Plates

By 2006 we had both retired and moved to our new retirement home in Kingston. It wasn’t long before I was busy finishing the basement, creating a new Disney Room. The eight Knowles plates were once again able to hang near the crafting table.

Eight Original Plates

Of course, since we were retired we started taking more frequent trips to our “Happy Place” and most times we were travelling in the motor home. There was no limit to what she could bring home! Big or small, we could fit it all in!

So it was inevitable that she would fill up the available space! It’s actually surprising that it took eight years to happen!

I started with two plate rails, one 11 feet long, the other 17 feet. She moved the plates from the walls and had plenty of room left over for new additions. The 11 foot rail was only half full! “That’s great,” she said, “That’s all the space I’ll ever need.”

Those two plate rails are shown in the picture below.

Plate Rails

She began looking for a few plates to fill up the empty space. Flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores filled the need!

Dayton Disneyana 2014 Plates

She found plates to match the Christmas tree ornaments she picked up years ago!

Plate Collage

Plates commemorating events she had attended . . .

Plate Collage

Plenty of new plates . . . plates for all occasions . . .

Plate Collage

Then came the dreaded words, “I need another plate rail.”

“Yes my Princess!” Sigh!

As I was listing the materials I needed to buy at the lumber store she added, “Could you make two rails and make one of them wide enough to hold glasses and mugs?”

“Anything for you my Princess!” Sigh!

The finished product looks great though, even the mugs and glasses display quite well.

Mug Collage

Mug Collage

The buying continued; several plates came home from Dayton each time we went to the annual Disneyana sale there. Now she has 11 feet of mug rail – FULL - and 39 feet of plate rail – FULL.

Just a few weeks ago we came back from our third trip to Dayton Disneyana and three more plates came home with us! There's no room on the rail for them!

Dayton Disneyana 2015 Plates

I think I know what’s coming in the near future!

Yes, there is room for another 17 foot rail!

I think it’ll be going up soon!

July 19, 2015

Southern Ontario Disney Fans Invade Whitby!

Gary Cruise banner

June 28th was a cool, damp and dreary day in Southern Ontario.

How could we add a bit of warmth to a foul day in early summer?

Carol and I hopped in the car and drove west for two hours to join a group of Canadian Disney fans who were meeting in Whitby Ontario, a small city in the eastern suburbs of Toronto. The group came from far and wide to share their love of all things Disney!

There were 23 adults and 1 child at the first meeting of its kind in the Toronto area. Carol and I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit for a few hours with a half-dozen dear friends and to meet about 15 strangers who share our Disney affliction! It was a wonderful afternoon!

Disney Fans in Whitby Jun 2015

The true roots of the June 2015 get-together can be traced back over a decade to the very early days of Disney Pin Trading! About a dozen years ago Carol was browsing through a “Pin Trading Thread” on one of the popular Internet sites for Disney fans. She said, “Oh, look – there’s a pin trading meet in Toronto in a few weeks.”

We lived about 40 miles west of Toronto at the time and although pin trading was in its infancy, Carol was already an avid collector. We packed some pins into the car on the appointed day; filled with trepidation. This was our first “Disney event”! It was before MouseFest, before MagicMeets, before Reunion and before Carol had gone to any of the Annual EPCOT Pin Celebrations. We had some serious reservations as we drove eastward toward Toronto . . . Who would we meet? How weird would they be?

We had a terrific day! The event was held in one of the meeting rooms at a North York branch of the Toronto Public Library. The crowd was small, but everyone was friendly and we all shared a common interest, our love of all things Disney. Even though I have no interest in pin trading, there was plenty of chatter about many other aspects of our Disney experiences.

Those trading meets carried on for over a year, and we attended every month or two. The group varied, sometimes including a couple of ladies from Buffalo New York. Those dedicated traders crossed an international border then drove about 110 miles to spend a few hours trading pins! That’s dedication!

Alas, over time the crowd diminished. Soon there was just a small core of regulars, Gabe – the chief organizer, Susan, Allison, Carrie, Bob, Juanita, Carol and I. If you’ve read Carol’s blogs about the annual EPCOT Pin Celebrations, you know this group as “The Canadian Connection”.

2010 EPCOT Trade Celebration

2013 EPCOT Trade Celebration

We decided to eliminate the cost of renting a meeting room and began meeting at one of our homes. The trading meets have carried on for a dozen years now; but very little trading takes place any more. Our get-togethers are all about sharing our most recent Disney experiences, and enjoying the good friendships we have developed in the past decade.

About a year ago Gabe said, “Why don’t we try to reach out to other Disney fans in the area?” Everyone agreed to give it a try, so Gabe got to work! The tough part was finding a place to meet. He wanted something close to the freeway, easily accessible and very economical, preferably free! He made stop after stop before he finally found just what he was looking for! A local Denny’s Restaurant had a big area off to one side of the dining room that they only open during peak periods. We were welcome to use it between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.

Broadcasting news of the meet was much easier now than it was back in 2002 or 2003 when we first met. Social media makes it easy to reach out to our fellow fans. Gabe posted an announcement about his meet on a Facebook page titled “You May Be A Canadian Disney Addict If . . .” and the chatter began!

On the appointed day our group of “old-timers” who have been meeting for over ten years met at Denny’s for lunch at 12:30 and kept an eye on the door as the fans, most clad in Disney t-shirts, started to arrive! Before we had finished our lunch a half-dozen strangers wearing Disney inspired fashions were standing around our table. It was as though everyone was in uniform; there were Mickey shirts, Goofy shirts, Disney Cruise Line shirts and a variety of Disney purses. It wasn’t hard to pick out the newbies as they arrived!

Disney Fans in Whitby Jun 2015

They came from far and wide, Eva & Tarek from Brampton, Ann & Robert from Markham, Terence & Sarah from Markham, Ann & Don from Courtice, Dean and Charissa from Jordan Station, Cheryl from Uxbridge, Katie from Port Perry and Collette, it was a pleasure to meet all of you!

Carol and I drove the longest distance, about 135 miles, but our dedication pales in comparison to Dean and Charissa who drove about 110 miles from Jordan Station, near Niagara Falls. Our drive was all on the freeway with no big cities; we cruised at 75 miles per hour. Dean and Charissa drove through about 60 miles of congested traffic as they came directly through the heart of Metropolitan Toronto. Believe me, Toronto traffic can be nasty; worse than New York City, worse than Los Angeles! They win the award for determination and grit!

So what happens at a Disney Fan Meet? Well, you never know for sure what to expect, but at this one there was lots of chatter, some pin trading, some Sorcerers of that Magic Kingdom card trading and lots of information sharing!

Disney Fans chat about pin trading Jun 2015

Comments overheard included:

• “We’re thinking about going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party for the fist time. Is it worth it?”
• “We’ll be going to the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival in October; any tips for us?”
• “I’m just getting started in pin trading. Do you have any advice?”

There were lots of experienced Disney fans and pin traders there to answer all the questions raised. It was fun to simply stand back and watch it all happen!

What a terrific way to keep the “Disney magic” alive between trips to that happy place we all share!

Terence and Sarah were married just a few weeks ago and will be honeymooning aboard the Disney Dream in September. Many of us are veteran Disney cruisers so we had plenty of tips to help them enjoy the cruise.

Some of us scoured nooks, crannies and closets to find some Disney trinkets which we donated as door prizes. There was a prize for everyone, and enough booty left over to cover our next meet in November!

The draw brought out some moments of Disney magic right there in Whitby!

Katie and Cheryl

Katie was thrilled with her snow globe, Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. Cheryl can’t wait to fill up her new Pirates of the Caribbean themed post-it note holder/desk organizer and find a special place for it on her desk at home!

Terence and Sarah

Terence and Sarah were thrilled with the set of Walt Disney World prints that Carol found at the bottom of her Tickle Trunk! Do you see the sparkle in their eyes? That’s Disney magic! They were planning to frame those prints and hang them as soon as they got home!

The crowd had begun to thin as folks left to head home when Carol said, “Are you about ready to go?” I was shocked when I looked at my watch! It was 5:45 . . . where had the last two hours gone! Time really does fly when you’re having fun!

We plan to get together again, at the same Denny’s Restaurant from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday November 22nd. If you live within driving distance of Whitby please come on out and join in the fun!

If our little group is too far away, why not organize your own Disney Fan meet! It’s as easy as finding a place to meet and then publicizing it on one of the many social media sites!

That Facebook page I mentioned earlier is already buzzing with discussion about similar get-togethers in London Ontario and Vancouver British Columbia.

Why don’t you make some Disney magic happen in your home town? Get busy and organize something magical . . . just like Gabe did!

July 20, 2015

Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler - July 2015

Riddle

THE MOUSY MINDBOGGLER

If you subscribe to the AllEars® Weekly Newsletter, you'll know that we run a little game called the Mousy Mindboggler. Sometimes it's a word game, sometimes it's a riddle, sometimes it's some other brain-teasing challenge -- but it's always fun!

Once each month, in the AllEars® Bits and Bites issue, our friend James Dezern (known as "dzneynut" around several Disney discussion forums) supplies us with a puzzle of his own design.

Around the middle of each month, James Shares the Magic in another way -- by posting an all-new puzzle here in this AllEars.Net Guest Blog. The subject of the puzzle will vary, and James will award the winner of the challenge a collectible Disney pin!

This month, James writes:

Here's the answer key to the June Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler:

http://allears.net/ae/mb061515-key.pdf

There were just 34 correct responses to the word search puzzle on Animal Kingdom attractions.

The first 10 unused letters in the puzzle were PTWAIFANBS.

The winner of a Sulley pin was Sharon G. of Allentown, PA Thanks to everyone for playing!

This month we are going to finish looking at extinct attractions at the Walt Disney Resort. The last area we will take a look at will be the Downtown Disney district.

Next month we are going to change gears and start with a photo quiz with a twist. Stay tuned!

Here's the link to the new puzzle:

http://allears.net/ae/mb071915.pdf

The object is, as always, to have fun, but if you'd like a chance to win a Disney collectible pin: There's no need to send me the completed puzzle, just list the first 10 unused letters, starting with the first row, IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF AN EMAIL addressed to dzneynut.puzzle@gmail.com.

Send your entries no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on August 19, 2015. All correct answers will be entered into a random drawing, and the winner will be awarded a Disney pin. The answers and drawing winner will be posted in this Guest Blog in mid-August.

As always, any feedback on the puzzle format or topics would be appreciated! Drop me a line at dzneynut.puzzle@gmail.com.

Thanks!

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About July 2015

This page contains all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in July 2015. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2015 is the previous archive.

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