Planning a Disney Cruise with allergies is a little simpler that Disney World, as there’s no reservations required! The options are slightly more limited, and there’s no conversations with the chef.
I just completed a 3 night trip on the Disney Wish, the newest Disney ship and the first in a new line. There was a lot I learned, and some snafus that I hope to avoid the next time I go (As I will be back!)
Let’s look at what is involved with a trip aboard the Disney Wish with Food Allergies, Gluten Free or with Food Restrictions. (or You can skip straight to my Trip Report for everything I ate and experienced)
***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.***
Planning for the Disney Wish
When planning for the Disney Wish, it’s important to know that there is rotational dining in the evenings and then you can also opt out of the rotational Dining if you do a paid option for adults only.
In the evenings, the dining options are chosen for you. There are three options, and you will rotate through the dining options keeping the same waitstaff and table number. On my cruise, we were table 216, and we started in the Marvel Dining room, then Arrendale, then 1923 Walt Disney Side.
Breakfast and Lunch are not rotational.
Table Service options include:
- 1923 for breakfast and lunch.
- Arendelles, Marvel and 1923 for dinner.
- Adult only Paid Options Enchante and Palo.
Quick Service includes:
- Marceline Market (Lunch option every day, but especially on opening day)
- Marceline Market Breakfast
- Mickey and Friends quick serve (did not eat here and was warned that cross contact is hard to avoid here).
- Castaway Cay (I preordered my food for the Cookies Two quick serve).
After that, you can purchase snacks in the shops when they are open (only when out to sea). But there wasn’t a lot as far as souvenir snacks. Most of the snacks will be at the Theaters, Inside Out Sweet Shop or ordered through Room Service. I did not find the allergy friendly line, Snacks with Characters, on the ship or at Castaway Cay.
💕Some notes about the menus.
- Regular Menus come with gf/df markings.
- Kids menus rarely have gf/df marked.
- Dessert is often not marked- would need an allergy menu for that.
- Menus are in the app, and allergy menus can be requested ahead of time.
- I airdropped my note, and it was printed and attached to my allergy slip!
💕Every restaurant has themed items but also default items like:
- Grilled Grain-fed Sirloin Steak
- Slow-roasted Breast of Chicken
- Oven-baked Fillet of Salmon
Check the Menus
You’ll want to check over the menus ahead of time, even if it’s a few days or the day of embarkation. Getting familiar with the menus (all the menus) helps you with ordering, modifications, and preordering. Plus asking for other items that might not be on the specific restaurant menu (but are available on the ship).
I preordered off the Allergy menus before each meal, and I also customized a few things! Because I was dealing with several allergies, I ordered more food than I normally would, as options would be ‘canceled’ by the Chef as they didn’t fit my allergen requests.
Clearly Communicate to staff
Note that a similar disclaimer used at Disney World is also used for the Disney Cruise Line. The difference is that you can’t talk to a ‘specially trained’ special diets cast member. Instead, they just give you the may contain warning, it’s at your own risk, and there’s not much else you can do to prepare.
I highly recommend that you write down all the steps ahead of time, even the stuff you are so used to looking for that you don’t normally say it out loud.
Explain it like you would a kindergarten student.
If you don’t do shared fryers, may contains, or shared surfaces… you need to tell them that.
If you do do those things, and you just need “light” gluten or only have an allergy to say, Tomatoes, let them know that without over complicating it.
At the end of the day, the more clearly you can communicate to your server, the better your chances are of not having a reaction. See examples for what I did to communicate in this post here.
Consider Snacks and Prep Snacks
You know your body best, and you know that a cruise ship isn’t the same as a Grocery Store.
While I did end up finding some snacks, it required some effort on my end. I’m glad I packed some snacks and it made me feel comfortable if I needed to turn away any food (which I didn’t).
I like to call my snacks, my ’emotional support anti-anxiety’ snacks because I know they are safe for me!
Consider snacks that travel well, and snacks that you’ve already had before. I brought most of my snacks home, and it was a ‘better safe than sorry’ type of situation.
Prep anything you might need
For me, that’s my meds, an emergency ice pack set in case of migraine, electrolytes and back up snacks!
For you, it will be different, but get them prepared ahead of time. Check expiration dates on meds, get a carry bag for epinephrine pens.
There is an EpiPen emergency case on the Ship and on Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay.
Consider Travel Insurance, especially with a good medical policy, should you or your party need to be airlifted or cared for in a foreign country.
A cruise is one area where I would highly recommend a Nima or other food allergy sensor (anxiously awaiting the allergy amulet to come out so I can test for gluten and soy!). Since I am so sensitive with a severe allergy, it would help to have another layer of protection for the ship!
Watch videos to prepare for the experiences
Disney doesn’t reveal too much about the cruise before hand- which is fine for most folks- but some of us want to have a general idea of what to expect! Youtube is a great way to learn about some of the options, learn some tips, and prioritize those items that are most important to you.
I really enjoyed Shannon Ford’s video on her Disney Wish experience while dining Gluten Free (and it’s funny that we had almost opposite experiences on our rotational dining!) It’s good to get several opinions and experiences to have well rounded expectations for your trip.
Also waiting to see what experiences Sarah and Brandon have on their Disney Wish Trip coming up soon!
While not an allergy, Melissa at Vegan Disney World shared about her experiences with eating vegan on the Disney Wish. In my party, there were two pescatarians and it was sometimes hard to understand what items were safe. With any food restriction, it’s helpful to plan ahead the best you can, and then feel comfortable asking questions when you get there.