We recently visited Disney World. We were looking forward to this vacation for so long. Not only for the fun and excitement, but also because Disney is SO WELL KNOWN for accommodating food allergies. Our family was looking forward to a vacation with lots of safe food options, and I was looking forward to all the excitement and fun while taking a break from cooking for awhile!
Because of everything I’d heard about Disney and food allergies, I have to admit, I let my guard down a little. Yes, I still packed safe food. Yes, we still used wipes often and before eating anything. Yes, we still carried the EpiPen everywhere and kept it at the right temperature. Yes, we still checked the allergy menus and talked to every waiter/waitress to make sure the food was safe.
So what happened?
Here’s where we went wrong: we assumed there would be something safe to eat at the airport after landing. Now keep in mind we left our house very early that morning, and although we had a lunch packed, we landed right smack dab in the middle of supper time when we were all hungry. So even though we were going to one of the most allergy-friendly places, we still had more than an hour - two hours before we would get there.
Here’s how it played out. After landing and going to the washroom we decided to head over to the food court. I assumed there would be something I could recognize as safe since we’ve been to the US several times before. But no luck. There were only about 6-8 places and after interviewing the staff at the ones we thought might be safe, we still came up with NOTHING. After about 20-30 min of feeling lost (and getting hungrier and less friendly with every minute that passed), I finally remembered that we had our carry-on of safe snacks that my daughter could grab from. Thank goodness! My daughter has a gluten intolerance and peanut and tree nut allergies. She ended up eating a gluten-free muffin from the suitcase and a whole banana and a milk we bought from one of the stores; while the rest of the family ordered from the food court. So disaster averted, and we all ate a semi-healthy meal.
Food Allergy Tips Learned
If I had to do it again, I would go right to the food we packed instead of trying to question every food kiosk while we were all becoming more and more “hangry”. I need to remember that my daughter doesn’t need to eat exactly what we eat and when it comes right down to it, a banana and muffin and milk will do just fine in a pinch. Teaching this to my daughter is important too because it will be her reality more and more.
A second thing we learned was to look for whole fruit in the airport. Even though fruit is not often allowed across borders because of agricultural rules; there are often whole fruits for sale in the airport that can be bought when you arrive at the destination (and they're healthy too)!
What about you? Have you ever forgotten something important when it comes to travelling and safe food? What lessons have you learned through these times when things don’t go exactly like you thought they would?
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