Food Allergies can really impact everything in life- and Vacations are another unwanted side effect from a restricted diet!
I honestly didn’t even know if my family could be “normal” but we attempted a LEGOLAND vacation (with a few follow up days!) with some good success. (And Yes- things were different because of Covid 19)
Here’s a giant post about what we did that went well, what didn’t go well, and if anyone is reading at LEGOLAND- a few key things that would make this experience ‘ok’ to ‘can’t live without’
Table of Contents
***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.***
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Let’s talk about Legoland and What to Expect!
Before we dive into all the Allergy Friendly Stuff, it’s always good to have a basic understanding of the park and what you’re dealing with (especially if your coming from out of state and have never seen this theme park with your own eyes!)
LEGOLAND in Florida (they say Orlando but really its about 45 minutes from Disney and that’s not technically Orlando) is a relatively new park.
That’s cool with me because everything was clean, well functioning and beautifully themed- which made it so fun to enjoy despite some obstacles with eats.
If you’ve followed along on our other Allergy Friendly Theme Park Reviews like Universal Orlando, you’ll know that we avoid lots of foods. Husband is Celiac and Shellfish, I’ve got Latex Fruit Allergy (which has tons of allergic foods for me), Histamine issues and Glutamates.
The kiddos have FPIES and that has been a wild ride! So when we talk about food allergies below- we talk about both options for those with only a few top 8 restrictions- to those that are top 14 plus.
At LEGOLAND Orlando, you technically have two parks inside of one and they also charge you based on where you plan to go. Going to the regular theme park is one price, and then going to both the theme park and water park is another option.
Inside both parks you’ll find lots of different smaller options for food, but no sit down options (those are only in the resorts).
Most Importantly, like all locations in Orlando Theme Parks, many of these locations are seasonal options and may not be open when you visit depending on demand.
When it comes to being Free From Certain Foods, there was *some* understanding of allergens (comparable to other theme parks because most people don’t really get it) and the service was much better at the resort (speaking with a chef) vs. trying to communicate with managers/model citizens (The staff) that didn’t understand severity of allergies.
Since LEGOLAND takes more than a day to complete (I’d argue 3 days if you wanted to see every attraction/show and ride all the rides) talking and planning for food allergies is a must!
While your the only one that knows the extent of your allergens, you can’t help but wonder if you could stay at a resort and not have to worry about getting safe food (like Disney World!)
Here’s what LEGOLAND offers as far as allergies:
They have dedicated top 8 allergen guides that the chefs use.
They have table service restaurants and multiple options for eating.
They do not have allergy friendly food to purchase prepackaged, nor do they have full kitchens.
Where to stay with food allergies?
Likely the number one question, and for a good reason, is where to stay with food allergies! At least it was my number one question- there’s so many other factors when it comes to food allergies.
LEGOLAND is considered a destination vacation, meaning that more people come here from out of town than those that live locally. Good for LEGOLAND but how do you travel with food allergies in this smaller town that doesn’t have many AirBnB options (kitchens are great for us!) and not a lot of clarity online?
Carefully my friends! And that’s what this guide is here for. So starting off- let’s talk about lodging.
Now, you can rent a vehicle and stay local for a kitchen. There’s lots of grocery stores nearby (walmart, target, publix all within a 15 minute drive ) and several Airbnb’s and VRBO’s decently close (like 10-30 minutes).
I’d argue that you could easily and quickly walk over to Publix Grocery Store even with a mobility device, mainly because it’s directly across the street from the theme park (they share a stop light) and right next to the Value LEGOLAND Beach resort. You literally can’t miss it!
We also considered an RV and a campsite that was 5 minutes from LEGOLAND and we still might do that in the future this Christmas time. There are some RV parks that share the lake with LEGOLAND and would be a very quick drive over.
They technically have three resorts, but the Pirate Resort is connected by a lobby with the Regular LEGOLAND resort. And like Disney World, they have their own brand of soaps in the rooms- some that I wouldn’t use because of our allergens.
At the Main Resorts you have Bricks Family or Shipwreck for Buffet Breakfast options (it’s included in the hotel fee), Skyline Lounge for Lunch (it’s the only option besides going into the parks) and then Skyline or Shipwreck for Dinner.
It was nice to have these options, and we ended up eating at several to try them out- but overall- we ended up heading to Publix (it is DIRECTLY across the street and YES you can walk there) for some of our staples that we were familiar with.
I did not get a chance to view the Beach Bungalow Resort or it’s food options- they said it’s closed all of 2020.
Quick eats versus sit down
There are three types of places to eat at LEGOLAND.
The first would be the ‘store’ type places that offer only a few options. These are anything from the ice cream shop to the main legoland store to all the little shops. Inside (or outside if they only serve you through a window) you’ll find limited options- so we aren’t talking much about those in this section.
Next is Quick Serve (borrowing that term from Disney World quick service options) and it’s where you get food, but it’s not a formal sit down restaurant.
These are like the ‘fast food’ options at theme parks. You can go inside to order, you can speak with a manager, but you won’t be getting 5 star Allergy service. They try with the booklets but their options are limited by kitchen space and prep areas.
Inside LEGOLAND you’ll find a few quick service options (even more during the peak summer and Christmas season).
The other option is the sit down options- and these would be where you would speak with a chef and have a server assist you!
Sit down options tend to have the best options for food allergies– and this is true at LEGOLAND as well! Next up we’ll talk about the options inside the parks and what you can eat there!
Eating in the parks
Eating inside a ticketed event with food allergies is always a new experience- even though you aren’t technically ‘trapped’, your brain likes to play tricks on you!
Thankfully, we’ve got some good options for allergy friendly finds inside the parks (and some close options we’ll talk about in just a second)
But I’m sure you’d like to know about bringing food inside the parks.
If you’ve followed along with any of the other food allergy guides for Central Florida, you’ll know that I’m a HUGE advocate of making sure that you have snacks with you at all times. Sure you can bring chips, but make sure you have a meal replacement with you in case things go sideways. (and yes, at least one meal will likely run late or have to be remade. We’re about safety here and 1/30 meals is going to have issues!)
I know you already know this and bring snacks with you everywhere else you go- just don’t get lulled into a false sense of security because you are on vacation! Bring the snacks.
And YES, you can bring food inside LEGOLAND. They have a cooler size limit and since I bring my snacks/meals in with a soft sided cooler or bookbag, they haven’t ever said anything to me. Soft sided without ice is the preferred option for all major theme parks in Orlando and something you can easily bring with you.
So there are technically TWO parks at LEGOLAND. The regular theme park and at the very back, the water park.
We’ve had a lot of fun about both, but The water park is smaller and only has one ‘true’ allergy friendly option for food. Therefore I’d recommend eating at the resorts or the main park (or at least bring a backup with you!)
Food options at LEGOLAND are very seasonal- if you email Legoland Special Diets- they can give you a better idea of the options that will be open for your visit! LFF-Food@legoland.com
Just keep in mind that there is a ‘lag’ of information from the special diets email and what really happens in the parks. Twice now I’ve emailed and twice their information was only about 85% correct. I know they are trying (and I’m thankful for the service) just make sure that you take their advice with a grain of salt and always have a safe and free from allergy backup option!
My favorite places for allergy friendly food
Let’s talk about FOOD- one of my all time favorite subjects (well really it’s a love hate relationship- but it’s vacation so let’s make it memorable and fun!)
Without a doubt, I can’t recommend this location enough. It’s low key, easy to get into, fun for the kiddos (there’s a giant pirate ship!) and has enough options that you hopefully won’t get bored with what you have to eat! It’s nice to that you get to speak with a chef!
For dessert, some of us got to try the Granny Apple Fries! These can come with or without dairy, and are safe for many of the top allergens. Without a doubt one of my Husband’s Favorite gluten free treats at LEGOLAND!
Inside the park towards the middle we’ve enjoyed Burger Kitchen– but I wouldn’t call it a ‘favorite’. Maybe ‘best under the circumstances’ would be a better description.
There’s only so many burgers and fruit cups the kids and I want to eat… and well, Burger Kitchen is only those options!
Panini Grill is another ‘Ok’ option inside the parks and I highly recommend it if you are trying to find a sweet allergy friendly treat at LEGOLAND!
Speaking of so fruity… There’s a great place to get some safe ice cream/sorbet!
FireHouse Ice Cream has the So Fruit snacks above (which are top 8 friendly and GF certified) as well as Sorbet and Plain Ice Creams. For the Sorbet I asked for a new scoop that wasn’t stored with the other dairy used ones and they had no problem accomadating me!
FireHouse Ice Cream is toward the back of the park (almost right before you get to the water park) And I think the location is SO perfect because you can grab a treat to have while you chill out in the water park or just for cooling down during the 10 months of Florida’s summer!
Snacks Snacks Snacks
Snacks are the bain of someone with food allergies. I don’t know why snacks are so hard to find- but they can be a real pain.
So for starters, you can (and should) bring snacks with you.
Finding quick snacks can be hard to find at the parks depending on your allergies. The issue is that they don’t have a lot of options in the first place, and add in food allergies and it’s a bigger problem.
In the MAIN legoland store directly inside the entrance, you’ll find a few treats that are Food Allergy Friendly. For starters we’ve got some dedicated nut free candies, and a certified gluten free potato chip. There’s also Pirates Booty! And some frozen options (not top 8).
Sometimes the stores will have these options, sometimes the quick serve will have these options- but I’ll be honest. They move these snacks around. I don’t know why and I’ve asked management who says they constantly rearrange the stores for new merchandise. So while I’d like to tell you exactly where to find each option, I can only tell you through personal experience that you’ll need to keep your eye out for snack inside the parks!
My favorite snacks to bring to theme parks (because I’m there… like a lot a lot) are these ✨super allergy friendly bars✨ that come with or without protein (and some are FODMAP friendly), these top 14 free allergy cookies in individual baggies (because… dessert!) and some gum of choice.
I steer towards the sweeter snacks because finding something like chips is a easier than dessert/sweet treats.
There’s also ✨these electrolyte packets I swear by.✨ They make it easier to stay hydrated when your grinding at the theme parks… especially the 10 months outa the year where it’s hot.
Ohh and of course, these electrolyte packets are preferred over other options because they are allergen friendly! ✨Little individual packets you can throw in your bag ✨and give to your entire family to stay on your A game while at the parks.
Trust me- ✨bringing in some snacks, electrolyte packets, cooler bag and bandaids will take you a long way to a happy (and healthy!) allergy friendly vacation. ✨
What I wish I would have brought and what I’ll do Next Visit!
I wish I would have:
brought MORE snacks into the parks
Reserved the restaurant’s a few days ahead of time
Grabbed a Microwave while staying at the resort since they don’t come standard ( I didn’t know it was an option) and pack some microwavable favorites
Not eaten at the water park (there so far removed I just don’t think they get a lot of people with food allergies and it showed in the service)
Yes! You can have groceries delivered- just know that fridge space can be limited based on room type.
Fridge in room
Yes! They do have a mini fridge in the room, and it kept things nice and cool. It is not stocked (but they did have smart waters in the room you could buy!)
Resort food policy
In order for you to get it straight with no confusion, you’ll find their official statement below.
You can bring in outside food, and it has to be under certain conditions.
Any food for medical purposes and medically indicated nutritional supplements, any food for special needs, baby food/baby formula.
It’s a pretty generous policy, but the restrictions lies in the size of the bag you can bring in.
I have brought in bags larger than the recommended size, and told them it was medically needy for the 5 of us, and they let us in without a problem. It was a soft sided cooler.
AND you can also request a microwave- so have a few self stable options that you heat up would be a great idea! That’s our plan for our next visit. Some options like rice, certified oatmeal, Udi’s Mug cakes etc would be a welcome addition!
Best food allergy snacks
Going to include this here for those of you that haven’t been to Florida recently (or a theme park). It gets very hot and space is quite limited when you have to lug everything around.
I recommend individually packed items (even with a large family!) and snacks that have substance.
We typically bring:
Protein Bars. Husband loves the ONE brand, and there are a few safe flavors of GoMacro Bars for the kiddos and I. We also bring LaraBars.
Individual Chips/Pretzels/salty snacks.
A bag of apples, a bundle of bananas, and a bag of avocados. These are safe, easy to snack on, and don’t need refrigeration.
Shelf Stable Milk. Shelf Stable Bread.
I bring the Ener-G allergy friendly bread with prepackaged sunflower butter and prepackaged jam for a pb&j. I would HIGHLY recommend you have a “meal” backup because some places might not have options for you- or it’s the middle of the night and you are hungry!
Face Paint Allergens
Another one most people don’t think about- but I got you Allergy Fam! Check out the ingredients and the locations for face paint options at LEGOLAND so you can preplan with a solid NO or a resounding YES when your kiddos ask you about it!
Basically. LEGOLAND was enjoyable, moderately easy with food allergies, and we will be back for more adventures soon!
I highly recommend going to Skyline Lounge for a solid Lunch, and bringing your own snacks in.
For those staying at the Resort, plan to stop by Publix on your way in to grab some options for snacks and light meals. Eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch and dinner isn’t super fun!
Lastly, GO! Have a blast. My kids had a wonderful time despite several hiccups, and even though the ‘NO’s were frustrating, no one had a reaction of any kind- and that my allergy family- is the best kind of vacation!