How to Eat At Walt Disney World If You Have Dietary Restrictions

Electric Umbrella

Every year Walt Disney World attracts a diverse range of countless visitors from all around the globe. And with this great variation comes a significant amount of specific dietary needs to fulfill. Speaking from personal experience as a vegetarian with a host of food allergies and limitations, who has a family that includes members with diabetes and celiac disease among other things, I consider myself an authority on navigating the ropes on dietary restrictions while traveling. And I can confirm Disney’s commitment to caring for and catering to our specific needs. Here are a few helpful pointers I have compiled detailing how to eat at Disney if you too have dietary restrictions.

1. Know in advance

While still in my planning phase for any vacation, Disney or otherwise, I always do my research well in advance before deciding on any place I choose to dine at. I go online and learn what I can about the available dining spots in regards to convenience and proximity with the locations in which I will be on a specific day, and most importantly, what they serve (and how they serve it). Knowledge is key to planning out accordingly what you’re going to eat and where, especially if you already know your limitations. Fortunately, the Disney website is a very helpful and thorough indicator that even lists most menus online, some of which even include links or statements indicating that there are also separate allergy menus available upon request. Advance insight like knowing where to eat and what to eat can make all the difference when creating a working itinerary as well as a compatible meal plan to fit into your agenda.

2. Make requests known beforehand

This is a very important point I cannot stress enough. Even if you’ve read the menu and decided that a place works for you, always make your requests known beforehand. I always book any and all dining well in advance, which is great advice in general for anyone hoping to score a meal at a particular venue. But with specific dietary restrictions it is imperative to your overall dining experience that you do so within 14 days prior to arrival, in order to ensure that the kitchens are stocked with anything special (substitutions, ingredients, etc.) that you may require. For my family, we always make our dining arrangements within 180 days of arrival. Then we contact Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.comto make our requests known. Then, just to play it safe, we double check again within two weeks prior to our vacation to be sure that our restrictions have been noted on our dining reservations.

3. Speak with the chef directly

After you’ve made dining reservations, noting that you have a food allergy or intolerance, there should be a ticket on your table upon arrival marked with the words “Allergy” in red. This is to give notice to the wait staff that you either require that restaurant’s specialized menu (if applicable) or to speak with the chef directly about your limitations. Because I have multiple limitations, from my personal experience I have never found any restaurant’s specified “allergy menu” to be all that accommodating, so it’s always been in my best interest to speak with the chef directly. In fact, I highly recommend doing so in general, as direct human communication can weed out all the specifics and leave no doubts or uncertainties that your requests will be carried out safely and accurately.

4. Safe snacking

As I mentioned before, when deciding on where to dine for meals I always make advance reservations. However, there are a number of delightful quick service snack offerings all around the parks and different resorts that also provide safe options for those with food restrictions. Whether you’re grabbing fresh fruit or a pickle from Prince Eric’s Village Market in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland or Harambe Fruit Market at Animal Kingdom Park or one of many like-minded stops, you’ll find plenty of safe snacking picks. And as always, you can check with the cast members working within each location for allergy and ingredient information. Many kiosks now even serve up specified gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan, and other cuisine specifications as well. And in these cases you can rest assured that your spur-of-the-moment snacking decision accommodates your specific needs.

Left 1 of 3 right

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!