Cruising comes with its own set of rules when you have Allergies or restrictions. Even though both of Disney World and Disney Cruise Line are ‘disney’, they are not equal when it comes to food restrictions. I still feel safest at Disney World, but did enjoy Disney Cruise and will be back!
Let’s look at some tips below that will help you prepare for your trip (or to judge your comfort level if you are curious on booking!) More on the newest Disney Cruise Ship, The Disney Wish, in this cruise guide.
***As Always, please speak to a qualified restaurant employee when ordering food. In order to see the most accurate ingredients and risk assessment, you will need to confirm allergy safety in real-time. This is my personal experience, I am not employed or endorsed by companies or brands mentioned.***
Preprint or Airdrop your Allergy/restriction list to the Head Server
Because I often check ingredients for hidden allergens (like all the different names for my allergies and possible hidden items), I put all of those names in a note on my phone.
Then I airdropped it to a Head Server, who printed it and attached it to my allergy sheet for the trip! It was very helpful as I had zero reactions.
Consider printing you comfort level as clear as possible, or putting it in an iphone note! I wrote simple bullet points under “Strictly avoid- Severe allergy”, “Avoid, cross contact ok, shared facility ok”, “Safe for me”.
So under Strictly Avoid, I listed Soy, Gluten, and all the names for those.
Under Avoid, I listed “natural flavors” “spices that aren’t labeled gluten free” etc. Basically all the stuff you look for on ingredient labels. I also included all legumes here just in case soy was present when those were processed.
On Safe for Me, I listed the stuff I do eat like Dairy, Eggs, Fish and Shellfish.
Preorder several options
You can order multiple appetizers, entrees and desserts for your meals!
Because I wasn’t sure what’s options would be safe with my allergies, I made sure to order more than one entree at each meal. Several times my meal was ‘canceled’ by the Chef, as the allergy menus are just suggestions and don’t take everything into consideration. For example, I told my server team (who told the chef) that I didn’t do items with ‘may contain’ warnings. I also avoided natural flavors on savoring items that weren’t labeled gluten free and I also avoided all legumes just to be safe with my soy allergy.
This meant that some items that were labeled soy and gluten friendly on the menu wouldn’t work for my allergy set, so I made sure to order more than one item!
You can see my trip report for what I was given on my latest Disney Cruise, The Disney Wish.
Bring some snacks!
If you are gluten free and do not tolerate cross contact or shared spaces, bring 2 snacks for each day of your trip, focusing more on sweet items.
If you have a food allergy, bring 2-4 small snacks. Focus on items that are salty and fun to munch on, plus ones that fill a sweet tooth! If you do not use shared toasters or ovens, Consider bringing your own bread or crackers.
Contact Special Diets ahead of time
Disney Cruise Line has accommodations available, though the information is alittle conflicting. On my navigator app, it said to contact them within 30 days of sailing. But after researching for the blog, I saw that you could contact them up to 3 days before sailing.
Either way, it’s a good idea to give them a heads up. There was a significant supply shortage on my trip and it’s helpful for Disney Cruise Line to know things ahead of time to hopefully prepare for them.
Be patient and expect meals to take longer
Often times, my party was some of the last ones to leave a meal (and twice we closed down a restaurant).
I was told that the chef prepares my meal fresh and makes it last, which means it still takes time (even though I preordered). This is not always the case, but it could be on your vacation.
Curious to see what the menus look like? Here’s the allergy menus on the Disney Wish.
Dine at the Table Service options
There are Table service (sit down with waitstaff) and quick service (grab and go) options on Disney Cruise Line. While the Quick Service was able to accommodate me, I was told that the table service is the best option for severe allergies. And when I take my kids who I wouldn’t take risks with, they will only eat at the Table Service locations.
You’ll want to talk with the staff on your first day to know exactly which places are recommended and which options are to be avoided.
Mentally prepare that some items and options may be inconsistent.
On my last cruise, The Disney Wish, I ordered the southern hash for breakfast three days in a row. And all three days, my order looked and tasted differently! This can be concerning to those of us with restrictions as we need some consistency to help us feel safe. All three meals were good (and safe) with no reaction, but it was weird that it wasn’t consistent.
I was told that it’s not always the same Chef making the meal, which is why it’s very important to be clear about your restrictions (including any hidden ingredients and your comfort level) as different Chef’s have different experiences.
Day One Southern Hash
Day Two Southern Hash
Day Three Southern Hash
All in all, cruising is a very different experience. Even though both of Disney World and Disney Cruise Line are ‘disney’, they are not equal when it comes to food restrictions. I still feel safest at Disney World, but did enjoy Disney Cruise and will be back!