Ask anyone who has a food restriction if they’ve been accidentally served food they avoid and you’ll get an empathetic ‘Heck yeah I have… it was at <insert blank>’ because you’ll never forget it.
It’s sad that it’s a common occurrence for those of us who have food restrictions to get served our allergen/problem food, but it happens.
Since I eat out at Disney and the Orlando Theme Parks multiple times a week, it happens to me more than most (and sometimes I’m looking for issues so I can correct them!) I call it an occupational hazard because I can go home where I have my comfort station set up and manage my allergies at home and with my preferred medical care team.
But for those on Vacation? It’s an extra layer of anxiety and preplanning in order to have a magical vacation.
Let’s talk about my most recent issue with ordering and what you can do to prepare for something you might encounter on your trip.
✨ First time to Disney World? Discover the secrets to gluten-free dining at Disney. Click to learn more
***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.***
Double Checking to make sure that you’ve received the correct order
I did all the ‘right’ things, and I still got a non-allergy bun TWICE in one meal.
I went to Peco Bills March 31st and ordered at the cash register with Coordinator A. We went over allergies and I double checked everything before I left. It was then that I noticed I was charged for an extra meal (and it was all down here from there!)
With the correct receipt and charge fixed, I now waited over 30 minutes for my order. I wasn’t alone… something was going on in the kitchen as there were two other allergy orders and one regular order who were also waiting. Like any rational person on a Disney vacation whos dehydrated and trying to catch the fireworks show, the other customers were upset, and coordinators B and C (A was nowhere to be found) and Cast Members were hustling to get the orders out.
While I left off identifying information, this occurred the last week of March.
When my food came out, it was wrong on two accounts. The Gluten Free Dairy Free burger bun came out with a regular Gluten Bun with Dairy cheese (and no allergy stick, but the Cast Member told me it was my allergy order) I flagged down a Coordinator B, showed her my receipts and explained what I needed.
In hindsite, maybe I should have canceled… which is generally what I do. If I go anywhere, Disney or not, and they mess up once, I generally don’t give them a second chance with my allergy order.
But this Coordinator B was very helpful, and explained the kitchen got backed up, so we tried again.
And when I tell you I laughed from shock and disbelief when the burger came out with another GLUTEN bun… but this time with no cheese. Again, not sure where the communication issue happened, but I was upset, my kid (whose order this was) was upset, and we agreed to go somewhere else.
So I went back to the Coordinator B, and asked, ‘Is this a Gluten Free Bun?’ (because I’m not here to accuse, I asked, and I was curious if it was a mixup or someone at PecoBills was trying to end MouseEarMemories HA!)
She apologized profusely, and refunded the whole thing, and tried to remake it… which I declined.
Instead, we went to Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe, ordered with a totally different team and Coordinator, and got a burger there, and it looked perfectly Gluten Free.
What happens when you get served your Allergen at Disney?
For starters, I practice a multi-point check.
- Check when you order your food
- Check when they bring you your food
- When in doubt, wait and ask a third time to confirm.
Typically I get a feeling when things are not going well in the kitchen, which is why I always pack snacks and try to avoid restaurants when they are super crowded. Granted- I’ve had restaurants that were not busy that served me a wrong meal, but 3/4 times it’s at a Restaurant that is overly busy.
Now if you think the item isn’t correct, don’t eat it and find a Coordinator, Manager or Chef who will listen to you. Do not take the word of someone dismissive, or who tries to belittle you. Find one that you can explain your concerns to.
You can ask to:
- See the ingredients for items (especially bread products) that look to good to be true
- Ask the Employee if this looks like the normal allergy order
- Have someone in your party try the food to see if they can taste certain things
- Google what these items might look like
Most times, you’ll know that it’s not correct!
For breads, I have a Bread Guide in both the Gluten Free and Food Allergy Guide that provides pictures and descriptions of what to look for. It was born out of my Photos Albums where I keep pictures of Breads to compare (because sometimes I freak my own self out with worry that it’s not the allergy option!)
Most importantly, leave a comment
I take pictures of all my receipts so I can follow up with Guest Services in person or by email.
Anytime you place an allergy order, Disney is keeping records for 2-3 months (including wether or not you spoke with an Allergy Trained Cast Member with the ‘accept’ or ‘decline’ consult).
Most times I get a refund and trash the food, One time the experience was so horrible that Disney went above and beyond.
But that doesn’t restore your trust during your vacation, so please pack snacks and know where to find meals if you find yourself too worried to eat out! You can bring food into Disney, and you deserve the most magical vacation while managing your specific needs.
Everyone should eat well on vacation! Learn more common questions and concerns in the Food Allergy FAQ or the Gluten Free Disney FAQ.
Plus the latest Disney News when it comes to Food Restrictions, eats, and offerings. Connect with the MouseEarMemory Allergy Community at the socials listed below or @Mouse.Ear.Memories