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Do you have questions? We have answers! Each week, a Diva or Devo will share some of our best tips with you as we answer five of your questions. This week, Cruisin’ Diva shares with you her tips on some of your questions regarding Dietary and Health Restrictions.

Of course everyone usually diets BEFORE vacation, but there have been some, husband and I included, that have dieted during vacation and have been quite successful. Now, some may view my food choices as a “diet”, but these days, it’s a lifestyle. It’s no different than someone who may be Gluten-Free and can no longer have Gluten. We choose to eat as healthy as possible because we know that is what our body needs.

If I have a specific food allergy, should I notify any of the sit-down restaurants and will they work with me to find something I can eat?

As soon as you make the reservation for a table service, notify the restaurant immediately. If you are making reservations online, there will be a place for dietary restriction where you can notate the allergy/restriction. Most table service restaurants will accommodate your needs. They will even go as far as cooking/preparing the food in a separate area, especially for those with food allergies. If you are reserving on the phone, make sure to tell them at the time of the reservation request. Disney requests at least a  14 day notification (and a follow-up call never hurt to make sure they your needs were still notated). Most of the time, you will have a server, or even the chef, come to your table to help you with the menu choices and help with any changes that may need to be made so you can have the best experience possible. You can also read an article written by a former Diva here, who went on a Gluten Free Disney Trip and check out Meg the Clever Disney Diva’s article on Food Allergies – Tips for Dining at Walt Disney World. Also, don’t miss out on the former Aspiring Diva’s Disney Dining with a Shellfish Allergy.

Do you recommend using the Disney Dining Plan if you have dietary restrictions?

Absolutely! As stated in the last question/answer, for table service meals, a knowledgeable manager and/or chef will visit your table and review the menu with you. For counter service restaurant, notify the cashier immediately and a manger and/or cast member will bring “the book”. Each counter/table/cart service is supposed to have a book filled with every menu item and their ingredients. It also contains nutritional value for each item on the menu, in case your restrictions are voluntary. As cumbersome as you think it seems up front, this will only guarantee a much better experience in the long run. If you have specific allergies, you definitely don’t want to mess around with cross-contamination, so take the time to let someone know that you have an allergy or a restriction. The cast members will be more than happy to assist you in choosing the right menu items to suit your needs.

Here was my dinner from Be Our Guest and this option is great for many diets/allergy restrictions. Just make sure to mark dietary restriction when making the reservation so cross-contamination doesn’t occur.

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My child/spouse can’t have gluten/nuts/dairy/etc. Will they be able to eat at a buffet style meals without fear of cross contamination?

Yes! Make sure that you let the restaurant know when you make the initial reservation. When you arrive for your reservation, I would definitely check that they still have it notated. A manager and/or chef will then come and meet you and walk you through the entire buffet line letting you know what foods to stay away from and what foods are safe according to your allergies.

My father is diabetic. Can you recommend any safe snacks he could enjoy?

There are literally tons of snacks that he would be able to enjoy. Resorts and parks alike have many sugar-free options and even fruit and veggies. So many table and counter services have at least one sugar free option on their menu. While on my last vacation, I would always choose fruit or veggies for my snack and dessert where available because it was super healthy and normally I put it back in the fridge in the room to save for later. While many people have no choice in the desserts/snacks they eat, I did, but I realized that I can still enjoy Disney World without the trip revolving around food.

Veggies shown below is a common snack/dessert option that can be found in most of the resort counter service restaurants.

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Can I really diet at Disney and still have a good time? 

Absolutely!!! For many years, my life revolved around food and what I put in my body. We went to Disney on this last trip with a totally different mindset. Life is not about food, but the people who you are surrounded by. We spent more time enjoying the company of our family and focused on that, more than when the next meal was. Now, we still eat (and we eat 5 to 6 times a day), but it was making smart choices and taking the time to read the menu than ordering in haste and regretting it later.

Here is my breakfast from Be Our Guest at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and it was yummy. Scrambled egg whites, whole grain croissants, fresh fruit and roasted tomatoes.

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My favorite lunch was an Asian Salad from the ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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And I had two favorites for dinner. My chicken and veggies from Be Our Guest (shown above) or my Fish of the Day with turnip greens and veggies from Sassagoula Floatworks located at Port Orleans French Quarter.

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If you are traveling to Disney soon, and you may have an allergy or dietary restriction, please take the time to plan ahead. A little extra time in the beginning with save a headache when you actually get there. Don’t think that you’re being a “bother”. Disney takes pride in making sure that their guests have everything they need to have the most memorable experience. All you have to do is ask!

My name is Kai and I live in Alabama with my husband, Joey and three beautiful boys. I work as a Work from home Mom and I love all things Disney! I've been going to Disney World my entire life. My husband was introduced to Disney through me and now has more knowledge than I do! We joined Disney Vacation Club on our honeymoon and we are so thankful we did. Our oldest sons love the Disney Channel (we do as well, shhh!) and collect every Disney movie possible. We try to go to WDW at least once a year and try to throw a Disney cruise in there somewhere as well. My dad is a retired cast member, so Disney is in my blood. I fear my passion for Disney is as huge as the love for my family!!! It's my second home!!