Have you heard?! Our family recently went to Disney World with foo allergies for the first time. And ATE OUT!
If you live with food allergies, you know what a big deal this is.
While we’ve already posted about our experiences at the reservation restaurants, I had to make a separate post about our one quick service experience. It was so wonderful and deserves its own post.
We Weren’t Going to Do It
Our plan was to not eat at quick service, the word for “fast food” at Disney. But after three successful reservation restaurant days, I was ready to explore this quick service thing. An hour before close at Animal Kingdom, I wondered off by myself to see if I could recognize any food place from my research. When I saw Restaurantosaurus around the corner, I was drawn in. The place was empty so I told the cashier I was a food allergy mom just exploring. He then immediately pushed the button on his register to call the manager. And within minutes, this adorable manager named Jessica appeared ready to help.
I apologized to Jessica, telling her we weren’t really going to eat there. I was just looking around. She asked our allergies, proceeded to tell me how there were only nuts in their brownies and showed me where the brownies sat, told me about separate fryers with just soy oil, explained that she would cook allergy-safe food herself and walk it around to the front, and get this…
Jessica said that she really hoped we would decide to come eat before the park closed and let me borrow the menu to make the case to my husband. Jessica was not only confident, but she had the knowledge we allergy parents want backing up that confidence. She definitely knew what she was talking about.
Wanting to cry happy tears, I thought it would be an amazing end to our trip if we managed even quick service successfully. After all, Miles still had chicken strips on his bucket list and it was our last night.
In a private conversation, Jeff was convinced. I didn’t want to get Miles’s hopes up, after all, if Jeff didn’t concede.
But We Did It!
So off we headed to Restaurantosaurus, asked for Jessica again, and she hooked us up. She kindly made Miles chicken strips and fries and offered prepackaged Enjoy Life cookies for dessert.
When I had to figure out ketchup, Jessica willingly offered to go get packages in the Cast Member break room but then realized they had closed for the night. After inspecting the ketchup dispenser and checking the ingredient box with another manager, I pumped ketchup right into his cardboard dish, and Miles was safe and sound.
To avoid any contamination at the soda fountain, we brought in our own prepackaged soda from a kiosk nearby.
Jessica wasn’t a chef, but she was a knowledgeable and caring manager whom I will never forget. She took genuine interest in knowing Miles’s name and the name of our blog and showed willingness to take a photo and proudly accepted the thank-you note we made.
To say our son was ecstatic would be an understatement. Just look at that smile!
Maybe we just got really lucky with this quick service stop, maybe not. I would certainly recommend that allergy parents do a little exploring and see what you think about trying it once!
One very helpful resource in my research, which gave me the confidence to try quick service, was this Podcast with Pixie Lizzie on Special Mouse. Liz explains how quick service and restaurants are catering to food allergies and all about their allergy binders.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think we could live on quick service three meals a day at Disney. But we’ll definitely be willing to grab quick service during slow hours with a caring manager next time if we need to. Hopefully we will see Jessica again!
If you’d like to read more about our first Disney experience with food allergies, here are some more posts.
If you have your own Disney quick service experience to share about, please leave a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear!
UPDATE: We did see Jessica again during our 2018 Disney Trip and she made Miles is favorite chicken fingers and fries again. PLUS, she cut up fresh cantaloupe for him upon request and beat him at a game of ski ball in a nearby arcade. Disney is amazing, friends. We hope you get to experience the magic, too!