Well friend, there’s worse things we could be addicted to…
but we discovered in recent years that Walt Disney World truly is the happiest place on earth…
and we are hooked!
Not for the rides. Not for the characters.
But for the FOOD.
The dairy-free, nut-free, allergy-friendly food…that I don’t have to cook for days on end.
Our first trip was in 2016, a year after losing my sister.
It was a special way to honor what she would want for us in that difficult time.
The second time was in 2018, for my bestie’s birthday.
And we just returned from our third trip, in 2019, where we decided to try out the dining plan for you!
Could we really make use of the free dining with anaphylactic milk and nut allergies?
We will show you how it turned out!
First off, it was our food allergy kiddo’s birthday.
And after not eating in a restaurant ever for 11 years,
he was so excited to get back to Disney to EAT!
He even got his first store-bought birthday cake, not made by me.
Albeit, we ate it at midnight when we got in from Illinois….
Erin McKenna’s Bakery did not disappoint.
We aren’t even gluten-free, but this cake was so special.
Double-layer is his favorite, and we nibbled on it all week back in our room.
ERIN MCKENNA’S BAKERY
We also had a few other bakery treats waiting when we arrived.
My friend met us at Walt Disney World for this vacation, and she had these goodies ready.
She had stopped at the Disney Springs McKenna’s Bakery earlier in the day,
and grabbed dairy-free, nut-free donuts, muffins, and cinnamon roll for part of the week’s breakfasts.
We didn’t have time to eat much early in the morning for opening parks. 🙂
So these were great.
As I said, this was our first time using the dining plan.
And our first time staying on site, which means we utilized the park buses and all.
I always hesitated to use the Disney transportation with food allergies.
But now we know if there was an emergency, Disney staff would take care of us.
No need to get ourselves to a hospital in a car. Disney would be faster!
We had no problems using the free, handy buses.
Each day included a quick service (fast food), a table service (sit-down meal), and two snacks.
TABLE SERVICE MEALS
We planned for a good mix of meals with our reservations.
Including some yummy brunches, like this one!
My son’s favorite brunch at Garden Grill in Epcot.
There, we even get to meet classic characters like Chip & Dale, Mickey, And Pluto.
And the restaurant slowly rotates around!
It’s especially nice to have sit-down meals in the 10 am hour because restaurants are less busy.
That means you can more easily talk to a chef and avoid the hustle bustle of big crowds.
We like things calm and collected when trying to eat out with severe food allergies.
I’m sure you do, too.
Thanks to my husband’s executive decision to finally get to Ohana at the Polynesian Resort,
I’ve discovered my new love of pot stickers and noodles. Oh boy!
If you make food reservations at Disney,
know you can eat in the resorts, too!
Not just the parks.
Ohana is a new favorite, and I can’t wait to go back.
The chef even made our kiddo a dessert similar to ours, with safe cake and ice cream.
And my son who turned his nose up at the Ohana salad…
decided it was really good after I asked him to please try a bite.
Ohana serves these plates family style…
and we were shocked to learn from the chef that all the food except the dinner bread was safe for our milk and nut allergy kiddo.
Truth be told, I didn’t even love the bread.
And I was so thankful they brought a substitute bread for my son…instead of just leaving him out.
This is the dream of inclusion, and it happens so often at Disney!
Another restaurant we tried for the first time was Be Our Guest.
Now this is where I need your full attention if you are considering Disney for allergy-friendly eating.
Friend, even though Disney is amazing with allergies…
we must ALWAYS remain diligent.
We had our scariest close call when a server brought out this pastry plate especially for our kiddo.
It was the first food brought out, and my family was amazed this plate had an allergy pick…
marking it as allergy safe for my son.
I asked the server if she was SURE this was milk and tree nut free…
because from my Disney experience, it looked way too good to be true.
My husband and son were dazzled, but I wasn’t convinced.
The server said there wouldn’t be a pick if it wasn’t safe, but she would bring out a chef to make sure.
In the meantime, the normal plate of pastries came out and guess what, it looked the same!
Then the chef came with a very different plate in his hand. THIS was the allergy-free plate.
And he apologized for the mix-up.
Had we trusted the server and not my gut, we could have had a huge disaster.
Honestly, I was pretty shaken and anxious the rest of the day.
But there were three lessons to be learned, and I must pass them on to you.
- Don’t pre-order allergy orders!
- Always ask for a chef if you have severe allergies.
- Be diligent and follow your gut.
This experience mostly bothered me because not all allergy moms have 14 years of gut-check experience like I do.
I never want to bash the amazing work Disney does for us food allergy families.
But it’s my duty as Milk Allergy Mom to share this experience so that you all can learn from it,
and be reminded to never let your guard down.
Disney chefs, managers, and servers are wonderful…
but they are also human. Mistakes still happen.
Below is our NOT SAFE pastry plate, so you can take note.
Below is the CORRECT allergy-friendly pastry plate the chef brought to us at Be Our Guest.
Slices of chocolate, lemon, and cinnamon bread.
The lemon was so moist and yummy.
And I appreciated they had an allergy alternative to the pastry plate.
But dang that was a very close call…and a good learning experience for my teen with allergies.
Now one place that always makes me nervous but always turns out great,
is Sci Fi Drive-In at Hollywood Studios.
We have gone every trip, and it’s my son’s very favorite.
He always orders ribs!
But this time the chef said barbecue chicken and shredded pork must also be served with it.
What makes me nervous is how dark the restaurant is.
And sitting in cars, not all sitting around a table gets me antsy.
But the chefs and servers have always been some of the friendliest and most helpful.
I’d request a table and not a car if you want to have a good number of eyes on your food allergy kiddo.
Gladly, we took the real table this time around instead of a car.
A big draw besides the ribs for my kiddo…
is also a huge chocolate dairy-free milkshake.
Since my other son ordered a dairy one just the same…
mom gave them the old taste test first to make sure they weren’t mixed up.
You can never be too sure!
Thankfully, the chef and waitress got it right.
A new place we tried, per the recommendation of our Disney Planner,
was Trattoria al forno.
You have to walk outside of Epcot and to the Boardwalk to get there.
But it wasn’t too far.
And it was worth it!
Although it’s Italian and known for all the cheese,
the chef came out and told us he could make anything good without cheese.
Then my silly children proceeded to order pizza. Bwahahaha!
Chef was so accommodating, making delicious pizza with Daiya cheese.
I loved that the kitchen was open, and we could watch him at work!
But of course I didn’t do that, what allergy mom would stare over a chef cooking food for her kid. HA!
Not only did he make our son an authentic Italian pizza,
but he also surprised him with a special birthday dessert.
On the meal plan, these reservation dinners also come with a drink and dessert.
Enjoy life cookies, safe ice cream, stacked and decked out with a birthday candle.
The last table service restaurant we dined at was Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom.
This was a new choice made by me and my friend because we like Winnie the Poo.
And you can meet Poo, Tigger, Eyore, and Piglet there!
I never knew I could be so into meeting characters, but once again Disney proved me wrong.
We loved it!
We did brunch again, and it was a lot of the same breakfast choices for my allergy kiddo.
Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes.
But they mixed it up with allergy-friendly donuts and brownies.
The brownies were the biggest treat for my son. Brownies for breakfast, ok!
Oh, and my kiddo will always go nuts with a fruit bowl.
The rest of us ate off an amazing buffet.
I just wish my kiddo could have tried the french toast pastries, they were my favorite the whole trip!
MILK ALLERGY MOM MEET-UP
While we are on pastries,
we had to hit up Disney Springs again later in the week for more Erin McKenna’s of course!
AND for our very sweet Milk Allergy Mom Member Meet-Up!!!
It was so grand meeting four of our member families face-to-face.
This is what Milk Allergy Mom is all about. Special connections and friendship.
With husbands and kids, 19 of us enjoyed incredible food together.
There’s nothing better than enjoying safe food with allergy friends!
My kiddo and I both enjoyed Erin McKenna’s coconut milk soft serve ice cream.
Sadly, they no longer make milkshakes or sundaes.
But still, having a choice of chocolate or vanilla soft serve topped with brownies or cookies is divine.
Sorry I didn’t get a picture!
It was so hot and melting fast…we had to eat up!
How about a picture of coffee cake, instead?
Plus, I had to try these whoopie pies.
And these eclairs!
Just be careful getting frosted treats in extreme Florida heat. They melt!
Ask me how I know.
A little more Erin McKenna’s love for ya!
See more about our first bakery visits here.
Basically, we’ve tried everything.
My husband says I have no self-control. Truth.
EATING AT DISNEY RESORTS
Now if you’re still with me,
let’s chat more about resorts, shall we?
We stayed at two this time, switching from a lower budget to a moderate budget for two days.
And I cannot stress how amazing it can be to connect with food managers and chefs at your resort!
Even though we were at the lowest end resort most of our days there…
these incredible cast members can make it feel like a 5-star hotel.
My kids not only loved the free fountain drinks in their meal plan mugs…
but they also loved ALL the new creations these chefs and managers made especially for them.
They become like family!
At our lower budget resort, my son had this sweet creation of pancakes, bacon, and fruit.
How cute is that?!
They also used a new vegan brownie batter to give us the whole “nutella” experience!
This was my son’s favorite breakfast…as he was kinda over the Mickey waffles.
Pancakes were a great idea, and not ours!
These two amazing people also collaborated and came up with a safe breakfast smoothie.
And while they also made him a classic chicken fingers, fries, and fruit for lunch one day…
He also got to have, for the first time ever, chicken and waffles!
He. Is. A. Fan!
And not just because they served it with a dairy-free root beer float!
Oh my gosh. Pinch me.
Also around the resorts and even in the parks…
pre-packaged snacks can be found.
Many are made by Enjoy Life, and if you look on the back sides…you will see their logo.
So glad they now have our favorite Enjoy Life Protein Bites around Disney!
Great for on-the-go and quick breakfasts or snacks.
The special Disney theming makes me want to buy up so much and take them home!
See more pre-packaged snacks from our first trip.
During our two nights at the moderate resort in Port Orleans,
we also had some new special foods to try compliments of more amazing chefs.
One chef made my son his first restaurant BLT and lunch meat Hoagie. We split both those. 🙂
Kiddo liked the BLT best.
I couldn’t believe both sandwiches already came on dairy-free, nut-free bread. SWEET!
But always ask a chef when you’re there as they change ingredients and brands sometimes.
What I most love about these Disney chefs,
is that they are all so creative and have their own specialty treats for food allergy kids.
In this case,
the Port Orleans chef used prepacked giant cookies and dairy-free ice cream to make my kiddo his first…
cookie ice cream sandwich.
And it was MASSIVE!
Like three huge scoops of ice cream massive and two giant cookies the size of my hand!
My son was in heaven.
Plus, they told him the treat was “on Mickey” because of his Disney birthday button.
Lest my kid ever felt left out because of food allergies, this was NOT one of those days.
A dream come true.
My gosh, this post is already over 2,000 words long.
So let’s move onto those snack credits we had with the dining plan.
Two a day!
Not surprisingly, I was really concerned about if we could really use those up with milk and nut allergies.
Of course, we DID! But you may be wondering how!
DAIRY-FREE & NUT-FREE DISNEY SNACKS
I tried this smoothie in Future World at Magic Kingdom.
Supposedly, they can have some pretty amazing seasonal flavors, but mine was just strawberry.
Really sweet, kids would like it.
Since my son didn’t test it for you, I took a pic of the ingredients.
Always ask for the allergy binder when you are looking for safe snacks at Disney!
Also at Magic Kingdom, my son tore it up on these Dole Whips by the Tiki Room!
We had a lucky day where dairy-free pineapple and raspberry were running from a same machine…
without vanilla ice cream.
So my kiddo thoroughly enjoyed this swirled Dole Whip in a cup.
I asked for the wafer on the side and ate it myself…the wafer contains milk.
Things got a little more wild when my son dived into this Dole Whip in Animal Kingdom,
complete with a watermelon, strawberry, coconut syrup.
It’s called a Simba.
We are currently milk OIT patients…
so a Dole Whip served from the same machine as vanilla ice cream is now ok for us.
Be sure you know that cross contamination is a possibility with these Dole Whips if you are extremely allergic.
I still like to scope out the machines to know what our risks may be.
For something cold and pre-packaged with a clear label…
We can also easily find three flavors of Minute Maid frozen treats at carts around Disney.
My son enjoyed this lemon one and another orange one later.
Also with snack credits,
my kids ate their weight in Mickey Pretzels.
I was glad to see the optional cheese cups were sealed and attendants weren’t dripping cheese everywhere.
However, again those with severe allergies may want to investigate possible contamination issues at carts that carry the dairy-free, nut-free Mickey pretzels.
And pretzel ingredients may change anytime.
Consult the allergy binder, attendant, and manager if need be.
With our milk OIT, we could be a little more lax about getting these at various stands.
Another snack we heard we had to try…
was the vegan, gluten-free beignets at the French Quarters Resort.
And as luck would have it,
we learned a day in advance that we could earn them for free!
By running a 1.5 mile race.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Hilarious.
But of course we did it!
I had no tennis shoes so Keen sandals had to do.
And we had so much fun!
Yep, the beignets were worth it!
The chef made them fresh for my kiddo, including a seasonal pumpkin flavor!
They do the race every Sunday, and we will PLAN our next trip to include dashing for free beignets. lol
Back to Disney Springs late one night,
we did another first.
We marched to the top of the Coke Store and enjoyed Coke and Lemonade slushies…
along with the magnificent overhead view of the the Springs!
That’s right, we closed the place down at midnight.
We do nothing half-hearted on Kaufmann vacation.
Yep, my child may be falling asleep in this picture.
DAIRY-FREE & NUT-FREE DISNEY QUICK SERVICE
A quick note on our daily fast food credits…or quick service as it’s called at Disney.
We tried a couple new places,
including Sunshine Cafe at Epcot.
We spoke to a chef and he looked to make sure the BBQ pork my kiddo wanted was ok for us.
It was, bun included!
And my kids shared it because it was huge.
We skipped the sides of unsafe salads and instead got a bag of chips per chef’s suggestion.
They have some great packaged snacks like Enjoy Life and Surf Sweets there along with fresh fruit if you just need a snack while in the park.
And don’t forget the free water from the soda fountain!
I will spare you all the other quick service pictures, they are always so dark.
But my son also ate:
Barbecue from Flame Tree at Animal Kingdom
Chicken Fingers & Fries from Restaurantasaurus at Animal Kingdom
DISNEY WORLD DESSERT PARTY
For some final thoughts,
let’s talk a Disney dessert party!
We did not plan to do this.
But it was gifted to us, and we are so glad we can share this with you, as well!
It was so fun to check out the after hours dessert party at Magic Kingdom,
where we were assured there would be an allergy-friendly plate for my kiddo.
And there was!
Plus there were many fun drinks, like juices and flavored water.
I personally enjoyed the Joffrey’s iced coffee. 😉
However, like with the Be Our Guest incident…
my allergy mom radar went off when I saw the allergy plate.
It included chocolate covered strawberries, and I HAD to know what chocolate was used.
I asked a chef, and she said the chef who created the plates was not at the event.
He only prepared the plates ahead of time.
So she had a server investigate, and I’m so grateful the server came back with a photo of the chocolate ingredients.
The brand was unknown to me with a “may contain milk and nut statement”.
Definitely a no-go for us, as many allergy moms know how unsafe any old dark chocolate can be for milk allergy.
So even though kiddo couldn’t enjoy the strawberries,
he had a wonderful plate of cookies, sweet breads, mini cupcakes, and Surf Sweets gummies.
And the server said she’d refill anything…but at 10pm that wasn’t necessary, lol.
Because of our milk OIT, I was able to grab some fresh fruit on the bar for our kiddo, too.
Overall it was a good experience.
But always be diligent, mamas!
When in doubt, always ask.
And don’t be afraid to pass.
THANK DISNEY CHEFS
Now, I have a special treat to share with you.
We are known by the Disney chefs
for leaving these notes of gratitude in our path of gorging destruction.
And so many times we are told that this is the “yeti” of food allergy dining.
In other words, it’s unheard of to show a Disney chef such gratitude.
I’m shocked to know that their extra work and training goes unappreciated so often.
But the Milk Allergy Mom community is not like that.
So we would love to share this FREE printable with you, to print as many times as you’d like.
Then YOU can also thank the chefs on your next trip to Disney.
It’s the least we can do, and they appreciate it so much.
Just like we appreciate them.
Click here to get the free Disney Chef Thank-You Cards, no strings attached.
See our quick video here in this post for tips about using these thank-you cards.
We genuinely want these to be part of your Disney trip, like ours!
I pack them in our day bag with a pen. 🙂
as a special bonus for those who actually read to the bottom of this 3500-word post…
I’m going to let you in on a big secret.
After the All Star Music food court manager and chef made my kiddo a DIY Mickey pancake that he loved,
I went to the resort gift shop…
and bought them their own pancake Mickey mold.
Now they can easily make more allergy-friendly pancakes for our food allergy friends!
And they are ready to do so!
SO, if your kiddo starts getting tired of Mickey Waffles,
head to All Star Music Food Court and ask the chef for the Milk Allergy Mom Mickey Pancake.
Tell them I sent you.
DISNEY RESTAURANT RANKINGS
And that is IT, my friend!
Thanks for letting us share our 2019 Walt Disney World Trip,
where we ate our way through the parks and resorts dairy-free and nut-free on the dining plan.
We hope you got some great ideas for planning your next trip.
And if you’re in our membership, stay tuned for my son’s Disney restaurant rankings!
It’s going to be fun!