I took my wife and kids to Disney World last week. We traveled with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. We had a ball, an absolute blast. The last time I was at Disney, I was 16 years old, and I drove with my parents & brother. I remember loving it but making a mental note that I don’t have to come back here for 22 years – which is exactly what I did.
Disney has changed, for the better. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom. My kid’s scream made my tinnitus worse when they saw giraffes and an array of animals, just feet from our hotel room. I really can rest at ease that I will never have to go on an actual safari for the rest of my life. I’m OK with this. I always have Disney.
One thing that really stood out during my trip was the strides Disney has made at their restaurants. For my entire life, I have been severely limited to food. I am highly, HIGHLY allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, tomatoes, avocado, eggplant, and chickpeas. My niece is allergic to dairy, eggs, and chickpeas, and my nephew is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs. We’re allergic kids, what can we say?
I have always been uneasy walking into a restaurant. Any restaurant I have ever been too, ANY restaurant, I have to repeat my order to the server a few times and stress that no nuts or tomatoes (or any other foods I can’t eat) touch my plate. So far, I have a pretty good track record and have never gone into anaphylactic shock in a public place, which I intend to keep that way.
We got to the Rainforest Café and ordered. The server stopped me in my tracks the minute I said, “I have an allergy too…” She said the chef would come out and take my order, and that’s exactly what he did. AT EVERY SINGLE RESTAURANT I ATE AT DURING MY DISNEY TRIP. Even The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Every chef, no matter where we ate, came out and assured my family and me that my food would be prepared on a brand new table that was not cross-contaminated with any food from the rest of the kitchen. They even had allergy-free menus!
It was one of the biggest sighs of relief I have ever had in my life. Disney takes allergies seriously, and they want you to feel comfortable.
I only hope this spreads to other restaurants around the country. Not just for me, but for my niece and nephew, who have rarely, if ever, ordered food in a restaurant due to possible cross contamination.
Disney will have my business for decades to come. I felt safe and knew that my food was not cross- contaminated. I certainly won’t be waiting another 22 years to visit. My kids are already begging to go back for President’s week vacation.