Question: My child/travel partner has a food allergy. Does Disney Cruise Line do anything to accommodate this in terms of dining?
Answer: When you book your Disney cruise, know that you are in great hands. Disney Cruise Line (DCL) is known for its exceptional service, both on land and at sea. As you are aware already, going out to eat can be tricky. But rest assured knowing that Disney has plans in place to make sure your cruise dining is satisfactory and downright delicious!
First off, make sure you or your travel agent makes a note on your reservation about any allergy or dining restrictions anyone in your party may have. You will want to make sure DCL is notified PRIOR to leaving port….because once the ship has sailed…well, the ship has sailed!
Did you know that DCL allow you to bring factory-sealed, unopened snack on board. So if there are things that work for you at home, bring them along to enjoy!
If your kiddos have allergies and you plan to have them spend time in the Oceaneer Club, be sure to let the counselors know about any allergies or special needs your child has. They take this very seriously and will ask about foods, ingredients, reactions, form of allergy and other anticipated issues with certain activities. They will also ask if your child has an EPIpen. Be prepared for counselors to review this information each time your kiddo comes to the club. Better to be safe than sorry! And be sure to carry your Wave Phone (found in your stateroom) with you just in case of an emergency.
If you are dining at one of the buffets, be careful. Cross-contaminated items may appear. You can mention any dietary concerns to your server and most times they will have a chef come out to talk to you and prepare a plate from the kitchen that has not been cross-contaminated. While this may take a little extra time, you can relax knowing that you or your child’s meal will be edible and not cause a negative reaction.
Double check with your dining staff once you are onboard. There will be a designated meeting place listed in your Personal Navigator to make sure the allergy is noted with your team. Also be sure that any allergies are noted on your Palo and Remy reservations. Meeting with your team gives a great opportunity to review and allow them to become aware of any allergies.
The DCL Room Service menu has allergy-free items on the menu. This is always another option as it is included with your fare! Just allow a little extra time for your order to arrive and be sure to mention any allergies when placing your order.
Throughout the ship, you will find quick-service counters that have fruit and other items that can accommodate any allergies. Just like in the Disney Parks, you can ask for ingredient lists and the staff and chefs will work with you to prepare a meal suited for you.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. If there are issues with particular foods, then your dining team needs to know this information. Dinner may take a little longer the first night as the team preps allergy-free food on request, but, it should be smooth sailing going forward!
Did you know that you can pre-order the next day’s meal? After each dinner, stay and talk to your server. You can ask for specific meals, see what’s on the menu for the next day, or just put in a request for a general food type (vegan, gluten-free, etc.). Your servers can make sure your child’s lunch will arrive at the Oceaneer Club at lunchtime (if that is where they are going to be) and that dinner is ready for you in the main dining room.
Finally, if you are heading out on a port excursion through Disney, be sure that Guest Services or the Port Adventures Desk arranges for your allergy-free meals ashore. I would recommend the evening prior to your excursion making sure everything is lined up. One thing to remember is that you cannot bring food ashore, as this violates health and agricultural quarantine rules in each port. Instead of risking hefty fines, just take an extra step and make sure everything is lined up prior.
As you can see, there are many ways for Disney to accommodate special dietary concerns while at sea. Hopefully these tips make you more comfortable with your upcoming cruise. If you are still in the planning phase, I’d love to talk to you and help you plan to make sure you have the most comfortable cruise possible. Email me at email@example.com and be sure to follow me on Facebook to keep up with the latest Disney news, promotions and events. Happy Sailing!!
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