Dining at Disney World with Food Allergies is one of those things that requires some planning, especially for character meals! You want to be able to enjoy the experience, so the less you have to worry about finding allergen-friendly options, the better!
But thankfully, you also know you have more options at Disney World than most other vacations where they don’t do much to accommodate you at all. (A bowl of lettuce is NOT a meal 😒 but Disney World won’t do you like that!! 🥳)
Disney World Character Meals are some of the most special meals you’ll have on your vacation- seriously- they are a blast! And they can also be an area where you worry, because you want it to be special!
It’s why I’ve created this guide that tells you what you need to know for a successful food allergy friendly vacation. From who to talk to, what to expect (with pictures!) and where to go so you have the most magical (and SAFE!) vacation to Disney World.
Plus at 50 dollars a pop (or closer to 60 for dinner) you want to make sure you get your money’s worth.
So it is worth it? 😎 That’s up to you to decide how many of these you want to do- but I personally really like them in moderation.
The characters come around and hang out for a few minutes each so you can get pictures and signatures, plus you get to eat too! If the weather is crazy you’ll be inside and sitting down for an hour or two, so perfect for taking a break and catching up with family.
Let’s take a look at some Character meal reviews with allergen menus and options at Disney World 😊😊😊😊 Because enjoying character meals with food allergies doesn’t have to be a hassle!
Can every Restaurant accommodate for all top allergies?
Disney World is designed to accommodate the top 8 allergens, and you can watch some more about the Top 9 in this breakdown, but I will readily and publically say that some places are better and some places suck.
Yes- Disney World has great options and I will not deny that- but the lack of communication- the difficulty with planning- and the “talk to a chef when you get there” makes my anxiety skyrocket.
Im sure you can relate.
Let’s translate that to Character meals.
Is there a Risk For Cross Contamination?
In multiple places. Let’s chat about this so you can make an informed decision.
For one, like with any eatery, you have to be aware of the table, the high chair, the menu etc etc. I’m not talking about those.
I’m talking about characters and buffets.
Buffets give me the heebie geebies in general, and Disney World is not any different. You will find that many of the character meals are buffets (not all) and there IS A WORKAROUND.
You can simply wait to speak with a chef, tell them you are far too uncomfortable with the buffet, and ask for them to get your meal from the back. When we do this, it translate to a family style meal because we all manage allergies. But when I go by myself I tend to get very good portion, but not too much food.
For two, there is a very small, but totally possible, chance of Cross Contamination on the characters themselves.
Wild, I know, but consider the small kid with a sticky face giving mickey a hug, passing crumbs and food, and the character not catching it.
This has only ever happened ONE time to me. We just playfully joked that Daisy spilled her breakfast and would come back around because the kids have allergies. They were great about it.
Are Character Meals worth it when you have food allergies and dietary needs?
Great question Dis Friends!
There are a few thoughts here- and I want you to make an informed decision about your individual needs (and some expectations!)
The best meals, by far, are at regular table service restaurants, then character meals, then quick serve. Character Meals are somewhat rushed BUT the difference between these and quick serve are that you get a dedicated server and most of the times, a wider selection of food.
But if we’re being totally honest, you are paying a lot to see the characters too. Character meals allow you to have a more relaxed visit (and see characters sometimes 2-4 times!) and get some much needed rest and A/C.
For my family, with 20+ allergies and the whole top 8, we enjoy character meals.
What should you expect?
Character meals generally require an ADR and will share ingredients in a few different ways (and I talk more about that in this guide)
But at the most basic level, you are going to be seated, most of the times with some sort of allergy menu, and then you can ask to speak with a chef.
For Buffets, please go with your comfort level, but it’s advised to let the chef know you want your items from the back.
For other meals, ask about accommodations, ask for things you see on the regular menu, and if you want dessert- ask the chef the first time you meet them so they can start preparing (or possibly sourcing!) a safe option for you to enjoy.
Sometimes the best part about character meals is that, while your meal may take longer, you get more options to spend time with the Characters!