Guest Experiences Other Special Diets at WDW

Tammy Rother whose 20 month old son is lactose intolerant.

Here are the places we went that offered Silk soy milk for him.

-Port Orleans (French Quarter and Riverside)
-Chef Mickey's
-50's Prime Time Cafe

Here are a list of other sit-down restaurants we ate that didn't have any soy milk options. (No counter service restaurants we went to had it.)

-The Crystal Palace
-Mama Melrose's
-All Star Cafe
-Planet Hollywood

I hope this helps anyone with a soy milk kid!!

Lydia, whose son Andrew is lactose intolerant, writes:

Some positive and some negative. I went to Guest Services at our resort to inform them that Andrew couldn't have lactose products and asked if they could at least have some Lactaid milk for the Cinderella breakfast. The Cast Member called over to the restaurant and they said NO. After he hung up he suggested that Andrew "just drink something else." (So during our 11 days there, if they don't make it available anywhere in the park, I assume, where is my child supposed to get any calcium?) Obviously we bought Andrew some milk at a store so he could have some, but I was very unhappy. When we came to the Cinderella breakfast, though, I did mention it again and the chef came out and talked with us and he accommodated us by making him essentially celiac pancakes, I believe with water. At Chef Mickey's, in the Contemporary, Andrew couldn't eat any of the desserts, so the chef there gave him rice ice cream and cut some fresh fruit. My final comment? I'm thrilled that the chefs tried to be very accommodating, but I do think life could be much easier if at least a few table service restaurants made Lactaid milk available, especially those open for breakfast. (At home, I make the same homemade pancakes for everyone, I just use Andrew's milk for his and the regular for ours; it is really quite simple.)

Kitty writes about vegetarian foods:

There are a couple items listed that *aren't* actually vegetarian (as far as know, based mostly on info from the wonderful book by Susan Shumaker and Than Saffel): The "vegetable lo mein" from the Lotus Blossum Cafe in China (Epcot) is made with chicken stock. Also, I'm pretty certain that everywhere "chili" is mentioned but not specified as "vegetarian chili" that it is *not* vegetarian. Also, while I'm not sure about the Yakitori House, your page lists Miso Soup, which is also often made with chicken stock.

I'm certainly no expert, but I know that some vegetarians are very serious about making sure they don't eat meat. Your page does, of course, have a disclaimer about asking CM's, but I thought you might still want to know. As a vegetarian myself, I've been learning more and more about "hidden meats" – still amazed that marshmellows aren't vegetarian! (which, of course, I learned from your wonderful interview with Susan and Than.)

Lisa Hahn, who follows a low-fat diet, writes:

We just returned from WDW after another great trip. This trip marked the first time that we went while I was on a diet.

I took some prepackaged food with me for some of the days, but did need to fill in with some milk products, fruits and vegetables. We usually do a lot of sit-down dinners, but this trip we were doing mostly "fast food."

The first night was a little frustrating — tried to find a quick side salad or vegetable in the Boardwalk area. The general store had no salads in their 'frig, did have fresh fruit, and canned vegetables. We ended up buying a can of corn, only to find out that we did not have a can opener in our studio!

The rest of the trip was better. Was happy to find non-fat frozen yogurt at Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland and at the Roaring Forks in Wilderness Lodge. The MK Bakery on Main Street had fruit salad. Liberty Square has fresh fruit, as did each of the parks. The produce area near Tower of Terror even had carrots! Roaring Forks was also great in that it had side salads, with FAT FREE dressing! It was great to find that, as that is totally legal on my diet. It was very frustrating to try and find Skim milk (which Roaring Forks also had). Most everywhere only sells whole and 2% milk. That I don't understand! Whole milk is only 3% — 2% is of no help to me. This is not only at WDW — I am rarely able to order skim milk anywhere when we go out.

Desperate for a quick "salad" one night in the MK — my husband got a hamburger and fries at the Starlight Cafe, and I used the fixings bar to make myself a lettuce, tomato, and onion "salad". The salads they offer there have a lot of extras in them.

We ended up having a great time (of course) and learned a lot more about the food stands than we knew before. And — I came home a half pound lighter (even with my dinners at the castle and Rose and Crown — my two "cheats"). I'm not sure if any of this is what you're looking for on your "special diets" page since it's just me trying to stick to 1200 cals, but thought I would pass it on.

Ahnalira, whose family does not eat sugar, but does use fructose and fruit juices in desserts, shared this letter:

We returned last month and I got an opportunity to explore new avenues. I found calling the food management office for each theme park to work extremely well – they have a person assigned to arranging special dietary requests.

My Fairy Godmother was on hand as well – the Guest Relations person at the Boardwalk Inn that I spoke with just 'happened' to have insulin-dependent Diabetes (She and I exchanged supportive stories of how used the condition to help us live healthy). She was helpful above and beyond in contacting restaurants and requesting special accommodations. We also learned how well it works to contact the restaurant ourselves.

It was such a treat when the restaurant would say, "Koan? Oh, yes. The chef has prepared a delightful special treat for you." The positive results truly enhanced our experience of WDW throughout our stay. Next time, we're staying in a concierge room and anticipate ease and grace in coordinating these accommodations.

Laura Starnes shares:

I am diabetic, with heart and kidney problems. I have found it very useful at wdw to rent a fridge, so I can have fresh fruit in the a.m. in my room before breakfast. Though we eat (and a lot of regulars do this too) most breakfasts in our room. It is convenient for those mornings when we are going to a special breakfast, then mom isn't having a low blood sugar reaction while waiting in line for character breakfast!

Peggy Lunt, whose granddaughter has phenylketonuria, writes:

I wrote you awhile back about my grandaughter Rebecca who has pku. Her family will be going to Disney the beginning of November. Christy (her mother) contacted Disney about her special dietary needs and they have been wonderful. Christy offered to bring the ingredients for her meals (pasta, wheat starch and other) but they said they can't let her provide any of the foods, but that they will be glad to purchase them and have meals for her. There are only 2 stores on the East Coast that handle her products (most people order their foods by mail) and one is the Publix Market in Tampa. They said if they have to they will drive to Tampa to get what she needs. All they need to know is what restaurants they will be eating in and on what days, so they can have meals ready for her. Two different chefs from Disney restaurants have already called Christy and told her not to worry about food, they will do everything to make their visit a wonderful one. We knew they would be supportive, but they are going above and beyond what one could expect. They even contacted the Neumours (sp) Childrens Hospital in Jacksonville, purchased 2 cooks books and have a nutritionist from the hospital standing by to help with the meal planning. That is all so great. Rebecca is only 2 years old, and we sure hope after all this, she eats everything they cook, if not, someone at their table surely will so no feeling get hurt. Both chefs have given Christy their private office phone #'s. The chef from the Liberty Tree Tavern called her yesterday and said they knew there were other dietary needs besides diabetes and lactose intolerance, but no one had every specifically mentioned pku and that all the chefs are now learning about pku and the special needs of people with it. Apparently Christy was the first to call about it. He said he would appreciate any information Christy can give them as they all want to learn more about it.

Well, this is long enough, but I just wanted to let your know how we are making out and how great Disney has been about everything.

Cindee writes:

you asked for "stories" boy have I got one for you! 🙂

Fist I have to say – I am allergic to "weird" things – COOKED onions (not raw), processed apples (cider, pop, juice) and bleach (which I just found out they spray on lounges in WDW – so now I have something else to be careful about :). Anyway, I cannot eat a cooked onion (or any part of a cooked onion) or anything that was made with cooked onions. But here is what I have found out –

  1. WONDERFUL Chef Jen at Movies – told me spaghetti sauce is prepared with onion but not pizza sauce. Also told me almost ANYTHING I wanted could be made without onion – tuna, etc. All I needed to do was ask. She even went so far as to say she would call any chef on property, let them know so they could have something waiting for me. WONDERFUL!
  2. Planet Hollywood is a different story – I went there and ordered a calzone with NO ONION – took one bite – guess what? An ONION. Management did not seem to "get it" that this could be a life threatening situation – "we can bring you something else". Nope sorry – you only get one chance a day to kill me. :).
  3. The character breakfast at Wilderness Lodge – don't believe what you hear – the eggs have onion in them!!!!!
  4. Hoop de Doo Revue – the corn is cooked with onion (why I don't know).
  5. I am not positive but I seem to remember the eggs at Cinderella's in the castle had onion too.

Basically what I have learned is not many CM's KNOW what is in what they are serving. (Which I can understand they serve a lot of different things). What I have found works best for me is – I eat a lot of hamburgers while in WDW. I don't eat at buffets anymore – no one seems to know what goes into the food. I have even called Food and Beverage managers who were not at all helpful – "what you want me to call the kitchen and see what they put in the food?". And those same managers have never even called me back with the information.

I realize I have a "specialized" problem to some degree – but I would hope that Disney could be more "understanding" in the future. With the exception on Chef Jen (whom I found in April) no one has been very helpful. We are headed back to WDW next month – to Movies again (hope Jen is still there), if you would like an "update" please let me know.

Aiko writes:

Hello, in appreciation for the info you've posted on the wdwig, I wanted to give you a short report on my experiences there last week.

As background, I eat VLF (very low fat) mostly vegetarian (no nuts, no oils, no avocados, no olives, no dairy except skim).

I also found the Dining reps to range from VERY helpful to not helpful at all (or some are just not well trained? Some will put me through to hostess stands, or at least give me the number… others insisted I could not call restaurants directly).

I was surprised that the California Grill was not that helpful. I called ahead and was told they can modify something for me on the spot, so not to worry. What I was offered was their vegetarian sampler plate but substituting veggie sushi for the polenta (which had cheese in it). This would have been fine if I was vegan, but it was NOT lowfat (grilled veggies with oil and the greens had dressing on it). The waitress when she noticed I was not eating the salad, did to her credit bring me a bowl of dry greens. But still this wasn't as good an experience as I had hoped for. Compared to previous visits, my husband wasn't as impressed by them either….

The Hollywood Brown Derby (I also called ahead) was very prepared and a very good experience in comparison. The chef came out to discuss options and made me a veggie pasta dish with garlic and wine, instead of oil. Not the most exciting dish but nicely done.

We really liked Puck's and ate there twice. (My husband and daughter are omnimores and he really wanted to go back for dinner to get the Wiener Schnitzel). Lots of veggie choices, and when requested they had no trouble leaving off cheese/dressings. The chopped salad and grilled cheeseless pizza were good. I also tried the pad thai and found it not too greasy at all although I did splurge and eat some peanuts…. A big dinner tip is to sit outside, it's much quieter there.

We survived eating lunch at the Rainforest Cafe at the Animal Kingdom (I really haven't liked them but at this one we had decent service). Their veggie burger is really decent, I liked it better than the portabello mushroom sandwich which tends to be greasy. The burger has nuts in it, according to the menu, but not much that I noticed and was dry grilled.

An out of Disney recommendation is Pebbles in the Crossroads shopping center. We've eaten there on prior trips and it still seemed to be very good. Quite a few veggie choices, which is nice.

I thought I would mention that Wolfgang Puck's uses PEANUT OIL in their cooking and baking – this was not advertised on a trip in 1998 and we had a little boy with us who had severe peanut allergies. We had already ordered our food and sat down (chicken and fries for the little one) and suddenly realized we better go ask! So, after telling him not to eat for a moment while we checked, they informed us that they use peanut oil – even in the pizza crust! Needless to say, McDonald's had not even opened up yet at the Marketplace so we had to feed the little guy popcorn until we got back to our Ft. Wilderness Cabin!!! Just thought I would let you know to pass onto your readers to ALWAYS ask, just because they don't say they use peanut oil (as they should in bold letters), does not mean that they don't!!!

Email your special-diets stories to Deb Wills, [email protected]