For those of us with severe allergies, going out to eat or to a theme park can be a dreadful experience. The fear of cross contamination can ruin even the nicest of days and the best of meals. I will admit that Disney is one of the only places I always feel safe at with my severe allergy to all nuts and nut products. They go above and beyond for all types of food allergies to ensure that every person who visits the Happiest Place on Earth has an amazing experience.
Chris and I first went to Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival a few years ago, and I was so nervous about it because I didn’t know what to expect. In truth, I thought that there would be very little I could eat so I wasn’t looking forward to going. I should have known that Disney would make it possible for me to enjoy myself without being worried about how the food was prepped and what it was cooked with. Because of that first great experience at the festival, Chris and I have continued to go back and enjoy ourselves year after year. And today, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips for a stress-free visit to Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival with food allergies.
1. Always ask a Cast Member about the food when you get up to the front of the line! Even if you’d had the food on previous trips, it never hurts to double check. They’ll probably call out a chef and have them talk to you (which does take some time), but Disney really does want to make sure you’re not in danger when eating their food.
2. Know that (specifically at any of the Epcot Festival’s where they offer food) the Cast Member’s cannot alter any food that they serve. Meaning, if you really want that cheese plate from Greece but can’t because it has nuts on it you’ll just have to skip it. For me, there are a few stands that I don’t go near because of this, which is a shame because I’d love to try the food!
3. Go to the Festival during the week. The weekends are overly crowed and full of annoying drunks who are loud, obnoxious, and they act like buffoons. It’ll be easier to take your time and ask questions if you have any allergy concerns when there aren’t drunks behind you wondering (quite loudly) why it’s taking so long for them to get their next beverage.
4. Allergy concerns aren’t just about the food! If you’re drinking alcohol make sure you ask about that too! I can’t have coconut rum, so I have to be careful when getting drinks sometimes because of that. Honestly, it’s better to ask and know exactly what’s going into your beverage than be sorry about it later.
5. Cast Members are there to help. They want to do whatever they can to give you peace of mind while you’re on vacation. Do not feel bad that they have to get on the phone and call a chef to come talk to you. Do not feel bad if they don’t know an answer to a question you’ve asked and they have to go look it up. It is their job. They can get in a lot of trouble if they don’t address your concerns and something happens.
Have you ever been to a food festival before? What was your experience like?