Disney Parks truly are the happiest places on earth for many parents of children with potentially life-threatening (severe) allergies, thanks to resources like allergy-friendly meals and epinephrine auto-injector (EAI) stations. Here’s what families with severe allergies need to know about enjoying the parks and resorts.
Preparing to go: Check the expiration dates of your child’s EAIs (and get prescriptions renewed if they’ve expired). Make sure your child’s anaphylaxis action plan is current and print out copies to bring, along with any relevant notes from your child’s doctor. Have your child wear a medical alert bracelet as well, in case he or she ever becomes separated from you at the parks.
Dining in restaurants: There’s no shortage of food options at Disney Parks, including alternatives for people with severe food allergies. Most of Disney Parks’ table-service restaurants that accept reservations are able to provide allergy-friendly meals, and many now offer special menus printed with allergen information for each dish. Bring up any dietary restrictions when making advance reservations, and again upon your arrival. A chef will discuss possible menu options and explain what measures can be taken to reduce cross-contact allergen risks. Looking for something more casual? Many of Disney Parks’ quick-service dining options may also offer special menus and/or be able to accommodate dietary restrictions upon request. To get more information on navigating special dietary needs, click here for Disneyland Resort and here for Walt Disney World Resort.
Packing your own food: Disney Parks allow people with food allergies and intolerances to bring their own snacks and meals and to eat these at Disney Parks dining locations. (Medications including EAIs are also allowed.) Simply inform the security team at bag check that someone in your group has a severe allergy. If your child has a severe latex allergy, let the security team know this as well; they wear latex gloves, so they’ll make sure to avoid your child. If you’re staying at a Disney Parks resort, you can also request a refrigerator for your room to store your child’s food (you may be charged a service fee).
Managing emergencies: New EAI stations were recently introduced at Disney Parks and on Disney’s cruise ships. Guide maps now feature the EAI symbol, and the first aid stations throughout the park feature signage. In addition to emergency medical services, nurses trained to administer EAIs are available during first aid station operating hours. Families are still advised to follow their individual anaphylaxis action plans and carry their own EAIs at all times.
While Disney Parks offer many resources for families with severe allergies, it’s still important to stay aware of your child’s risk. Stay vigilant by carefully questioning the chef and always reading food labels to check for allergens.
Now take a deep breath — and get ready to experience some magic!