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Old 02-02-2013, 07:05 PM   #1
mistysue
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Yet another special diets rant

I completely understand that sometimes a shipment doesn't come in, or they run out of things or there is a vendor issue and they have a different brand on occasion- but this thing with asking whether a specific CS location can handle certain allergies and them refusing to say if they can do it when things go 100% as planned drives me crazy!

I emailed them before picking out our ADR locations for August just to see if they would be helpful this year and they still basically tell you everywhere can help you, just ask a manager.
Rather than just list every CS location in their emails, they should tell people what locations actually have options for them. That is really not much to ask for. Directing your customers to a location that does not even offer a food they aren't allergic to is just mean. We spent a few meal times last trip running around because CS locations did not have anything to offer us. Places that are on the list- where I am being told to go. If certain locations won't even try, they should be directing people to the locations that are at least most likely to offer something. Last summer 3 of the 4 places in HS they are recommending turned us away. Flat out "no, we can't help you here." So why is the very department whose job it is to tell me where I can go telling me to go there?!?!? I don't want to make food, I don't want to carry around a huge bag of food, so just tell me who might actually have food rather than being completely useless. Their entire job is to figure this stuff out. What the hell do they even do all day? The emails are all cut and paste templates.

I would just really prefer straight answers. Such as "Pizza planet will only feed you if you get a no cheese, no dressing salad" or "the CM's at Beach Club marketplace will treat you like you have three heads." That is so much more helpful than going there, waiting in line, waiting for the chef, waiting for them to think, then figuring out where they should send you... repeat at next place.

A question like "can you tell me what fries they use at X location" should be able to get SOME answer rather than "find out when you go". They could preface it with a warning, but if there is not a chance in hell that DS can eat the food, just tell me that so I'm not running around in circles with a hungry kid. It makes me want to invite them all over for 8 hours and tell them I might give them food, but due to vendor issues I might get a shipment of manure instead, so just ask after you are hungry because I won't look until then!

They are still referring people to the main street bakery... didn't that close?

Ok, now I will follow my own advice, start pretending I never heard back and add more ADR's. (good bye budget)
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:38 AM   #2
Cassandy
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I was just there this past weekend, and I had a similar problem, except that it wasn't that Special Diets had lied, it was that the cashiers I talked to had either a) no idea what they were talking about, or b) just didn't want to be bothered to make a special meal.

I had this happen at Les Halles (and I know for sure they just didn't want to make something gluten-free, because I actually speak French and they were talking about it in French in front of me) where they didn't want to make me a chocolate mousse even though it's made gluten-free and advertised gluten-free (the pre-done ones have croupons on them), and then again at Casey's, where the first CM said that they didn't have anything gluten-free, then the next CM said that they had gluten-free buns but that the hot dogs weren't gluten-free.

At that point I started going into her about how SD had sent me to Casey's specifically, that I knew for a fact they had gluten-free foods, so they'd better grab me a manager because they had no clue what was going on.

And they got me a smiling manager who made me an awesome meal.

I'm finding that everywhere (this happened at HS, luckily I got a good manager at Starring Rolls who helped me at Rosie's, too, ) the cashier CMs are just saying 'no' to dietary requests sometimes, and you really just have to ask for a manager right away to get something safe.

But I've had a 100% success rate of awesome meals when talking to a manager. So I think this is more of a front-line training issue than an SD issue.

What do you think?

Also ADRs just taste better anyway
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:33 AM   #3
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The places at HS that turned us away- those were the managers! When we went to order I asked for a manager before even starting.
The problem my son had last year was that they replaced the allergy foods he could have with ones that were gluten free, but now had egg. So if you were both gluten and egg free, they literally had nothing for you. If you directly state that to special diets, they reply that they are sorry sometimes due to vendor conditions... which doesn't even address the fact that they planned their menu so that everything has something he is allergic to. I don't take that as some sort of personal affront, but just own up to the fact that there is nothing there, don't pretend there might be.

I'm getting from trip reports that they are starting to go back to some of the items he could have at some locations. (the casey's new gf bun might be ok) With one or two allergens, generally you can go anywhere because every place has some substitutes. When you get to a list of allergies(he basically has 7 of the 8 most common allergies plus sesame) they give you the same template response as somebody who just has gluten. So the people at special diets know for a fact that (as an example) Toy Story Pizza planet has not one single thing on their menu or in their kitchen that is safe for my son- but they tell me to just go there and speak to the manager.
They should just be straight forward about this and tell me he can't eat there. I know from last year that he could only eat at Backlot express, so why not just designate Backlot express as the location that deals with allergies, rather than just refusing to give people any information? Denying me that information causes ridiculously stressful in-park situations. It costs people hours of their day and combined with an incompetent cashier could literally kill somebody. It is both rude and reckless.

I don't really know why I hoped they might help me at all after last year, but I just tried to email them to see if they might have anything different they could tell me, instead I just got that much more annoyed.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:18 AM   #4
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I totally understand where you're coming from. I'm really glad that they're sending out the lists again. Yes it's a pain in the rear to consolidate info when you have multiple allergies, but at least it gives us an idea if there will even be anything safe to eat at a location. Based on the info we've gotten over the years, we don't even bother setting foot in Pizza Planet or Casey's and nothing has changed in that regard. It is frustrating that Special Diets makes it seem as though anybody with any allergy can go up to any of the listed CS locations and have all sorts of options when this simply isn't true. We'll continue to frequent the same select few CS locations in the parks and stick with mostly TS on park days. The majority of our CS meals will be at our resort where they have a lot more ability and frankly a lot more desire to help us.

I do agree that cashiers tend to be poorly trained in allergies. I always just ask for the manager immediately. Mistysue I do get that it was managers who you were dealing with and that these locations just didn't have anything and I really do get your frustration. I'm more referring to what Cassandy was saying. I've had several occasions where cashiers have told me that certainly things aren't carried at their location but when I ask for the manager, the manager shows the cashier where to find it to ring it up. I now just always ask for the manager to keep it simple and make it faster.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:37 AM   #5
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Emailing them right now feels like watching a train wreck. It's so frustrating to ask somebody a question and have them come back with a huge load of information which is almost, but not really, related to the question.

I noticed they list an Amy's brand pizza with the same wording on both the wheat/egg/dairy list and also on the soy list. I got excited when I saw this but when I look on Amy's site the only pizza I'm seeing with a non-dairy and non-soy cheese has a whole wheat crust. I asked if they had a pizza I wasn't noticing on their site and I was sent the list of wheat-free foods. I'm just trying to ask a real question. I would prefer being told she doesn't know what pizza it is to having the question avoided. At least then I would feel like she was being honest and trying to help, instead I feel like somebody is standing behind the computer toying with me.

Consolidating the lists tells me that DS can have chicken tenders at between 1 and 3 places per park, ice cream 1-2 places per park and at 3 of the 4 parks he can have a roll or hot dog bun. Then whatever raw produce they have. Adding a pizza would be cool, so I don't want to go thinking it exists just to get there and find out it doesn't.

Honestly, I'm suspecting that somebody didn't notice there is soy in the wheat/egg/dairy free pizza, which if asking made them notice could save somebody a LOT of trouble.

With my daughter turning 10 before our trip I was trying to save some money, but don't think I can handle the stress of not being able to figure out where to eat. Last year we pretty much just ate TS all the time so that is what I am going to do again.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:02 PM   #6
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I have allergies to dairy, mango and shellfish plus aspartame (equal) I can usually work with the CS places and find something I can eat but sometimes they cannot change things because they are premade. An example are the bread sticks at AK Pizzafari. They already have cheese in them from the factory. There is only 2 things I can have to drink in any of the parks. Unsweet iced tea and water. Everyone of their diet drinks contain aspartame. Starring Rolls sandwiches are all premade so no getting one made without dairy. I just have learned to work around things to eat safe. Fortunately I do not have a peanut allergy but one daughter does so I also have to be aware of that if she is with me. I find that depending on special diets can be really iffy so I depend on myself and my own judgement
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:23 PM   #7
Cassandy
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I totally had gluten-free/dairy-free pizza in 2012

Mistysue - I had the Amy's gluten-free pizza at Pizzafari in DAK back in 2012. They take an Amy's gluten-free crust, add tomato sauce, and then they put on the cheese (soy or daiya, depending on what you want, I chose the daiya) on before they cook it. It's delicious and safe (well, safe for me, I only have celiac).

The key is that they use pre-made crust, but not pre-made pizza. That's why you can't find it on the website.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassandy View Post
Mistysue - I had the Amy's gluten-free pizza at Pizzafari in DAK back in 2012. They take an Amy's gluten-free crust, add tomato sauce, and then they put on the cheese (soy or daiya, depending on what you want, I chose the daiya) on before they cook it. It's delicious and safe (well, safe for me, I only have celiac).

The key is that they use pre-made crust, but not pre-made pizza. That's why you can't find it on the website.
I need to look into that pizza. Any idea what it is in the sauce?

My 6 yr old son is allergic to over 20 foods including most meats (only can have lamb and seafood) and most of the top 8. We were on the dining plan last time in Aug. 2011. He was treated like a Prince everywhere we went. Both at Flame Tree and Cosmic Ray's there was nothing that he could eat. The managers went to Columbia Harbor House and Tusker House, and brought him back something he could eat. We always had his long list of allergies and all the info special diets sent us with us to pass on the the managers and chefs. I am sorrying OP that you had such a hard time, and I agree TS is so much easier and less stress.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:11 PM   #9
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I'm even more curious about that pizza now.

In the last email special diets sent me they gave me a number which I called as I was leaving work today. When I called she told me that they didn't answer my email question about which pizza because they didn't know. The restaurants are ordering the pizza (or the crust apparently) and the department isn't told what one they are actually getting so they don't know if the two lists are referring to the same one or two different pizzas.
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