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Old 02-03-2013, 02:20 PM   #1
disfan07
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Special Diets question

So from readings these boards lately, I feel like I am the only one who does NOT contact special diets before a trip.

My last trip, I was allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, shellfish, wheat, oats, coconut, sesame, soy, and broccoli. In addition I cant have raw fruits and vegetables.

I had amazing service everywhere. I was able to be accomodated at all TS and QS places. And POP century was outstanding. For me, I was already aware that all snacks (except enjoy life cookies) were off limits for me so there was no need to know what was safe or not. I also knew I couldnt have the GF bread or Amys pizza because its not safe for me so knowing where those things were was not necessary.
I also cant do rice dream or tofutti because of cross contaimnation concerns so knowing about those were unneccesary as well. It just seems like all the information from special diets would be useless for me.

We might go again this sumer or next fall and I was wondering if you really get anything from contacting special diets. In addition to everything I was allergic to this past trip, I have also developed a dairy allergy as well. So 7 of the top 8 allergens plus sesame, oats, coconut and raw fruits and veggies.

My plan is basically the same as when we went this time. We will do half TS and half QS meals and will be staying at POP again (they were so wonderful!). I will also always bring my own snacks with me as well as a sandwich as a back up just in case.

I'm pretty laid back when it comes to my allergies and being accomodated. I have fairly low expectations with being able to be accomodated. I always have a backup plan just in case and if they cant accomodate I go to plan B.

So would I really gain anything by contacting special diets first? Or am I better off just doing this trip the same way we did the last one?
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:17 PM   #2
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My son has Celiac and seems to have less issues than you do...however the last trip we took (aug. 11') I tried to contact special diets but they said just make the notation on your ADR and the chef will accomodate you.....an they did!! We were met by the chef in all the restaurants we went to (or a very knowledgable waitstaff) and everything was great!!!

I think because they do cook it special for you they can make all those different accomodations

The food was amazing because what I found at disney is that they make the food, not just present you with plain food that they just leave everything off!

We are going again and I will make my notations on my ADRs because it worked so well the last time!
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:48 PM   #3
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Contacting special diets is probably just going to make you annoyed... my rant from talking to them this week is in another thread. They will basically send you a list of a bunch of substitutes you cant have then tell you that you can eat anywhere, as per the attached lists. (Which are lists of things you are allergic to because your allergies are almost the same as my son)

What did you eat at hollywood studios? I remember you saying in another thread that you ate there and when we went the managers turned us away except at backlot express, where they accidentally gave my son the regular chicken twice before getting it right.

Special diets is really just there to send lists to people with one or two allergies and tell people not to worry about it until they are there. It seems every so often they say more but I asked about a couple specific items at specific places and was re-emailed an identical message saying they wont release that info so try one of their locations that specialize in allergies- followed by a list of every single quick service location in the parks.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:39 PM   #4
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Because I finally had a minute to sit down and cross reference the lists, I will copy this for you as well. When you contact special diets they send these handy little pdf's. They sent me one for peanut/treenuts, one for gluten/egg/dairy and one for soy. The list is meant to be every "special diets" item at every dining location that would be available to a person with those allergy sets. (anything on the regular menu is not on the list)
Table service has listings, but I will ignore those because they go in the back and use their ingredients to make you things more easily.
As for counter service, if you combine these three lists you are left with:
Animal Kingdom:
Flame tree barbeque: tapioca hot dog bun
Restaurantosaurus: allergy tenders, vanilla rice dream

Blizzard Beach: allergy tenders (no specific location)

Hollywood Studios: ABC commissary: allergy tenders, pacific rice milk, vanilla rice dream
Backlot Express: allergy tenders
Sunset ranch Market: allergy tenders, vanilla rice dream

EPCOT: Elec Umbrella:allergy tenders
Fountain view IC: vanilla rice dream
liberty inn: tapioca hot dog bun, allergy tenders
Sunshine Seasons: enjoy life rice chocolate bar, the big enjoy life cookies

MK: BOG: allergy tenders, Ener-g roll, vanilla rice dream
Col. Harbor House: allergy tenders

Notice that no location in Typhoon Lagoon even makes the gluten/egg/dairy list.

To be fair, Pizzafari, Pinocchio village house and BOG are supposed to have an Amy's pizza, which shows up even on the soy list but according to the website it uses soy cheese? So I left it off the list. I also didn't bother to list the locations where they list ener-g egg replacer as a food item... not sure who is going to eat a fried batch of that.

This list may speak for itself why I'm a bit touchy about the diets crew right now. There are locations that there are zero items on their regular menu, and zero items on this list, so why would they be recommended along side locations that plan to have something there?
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:14 PM   #5
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There's a version of the Amy's gluten free pizza that uses regular cheese, and I think we've successfully gotten that version at WDW before.

I can't recall, because none of us have been willing to eat it again.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnball View Post
There's a version of the Amy's gluten free pizza that uses regular cheese, and I think we've successfully gotten that version at WDW before.

I can't recall, because none of us have been willing to eat it again.
The pizza on the list is on the wheat/egg/dairy list and the soy list- which is why I am a bit confused. It looks like they use dairy and they use soy, so it can't simultaneously be safe for both unless it is a pizza I haven't found on their site.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:56 PM   #7
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Do they maybe have the soy-cheese and the regular cheese version available? That would explain it showing up on all three lists, but not being free of all three allergens. However, it also sounds like a mistake waiting to happen.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:10 AM   #8
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I think they have a version that uses Daiya cheese, but I don't know if it's also gluten free.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:13 AM   #9
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I do contact special diets though I no longer count on them doing their job. If it was just for me I doubt I'd do it at all. I contact them because sometimes with advanced notice, chefs will create something special. Because it's my kids, having that opportunity for the occasional different dessert is nice. Also, if we'll be eating a lot of meals at our resort, I do like to give chefs a heads up that they may want to order extras of some things or maybe even order in things that they don't normally have at their location but are available at other locations around WDW. I also email if I have specific questions. This trip I didn't have any specific questions but I did want the lists since they're finally sending them out again. I submitted my form but I'm not expecting to hear from chefs this time because as I said I don't have specific questions this time. I know my kids will get fun desserts at 1900 Park Fare and I know that Biergarten typically has the Enjoy Life chocolate bars and last I heard Sci-Fi Dine In had a dedicated milk free milkshake machine and I know Cousin Ken will come up with some kind of decadent dessert at the Plaza so I really am not worried about making sure that chefs are prepared ahead of time this time.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nfceagles View Post
I think they have a version that uses Daiya cheese, but I don't know if it's also gluten free.
The Daiya cheese one is on whole wheat.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistysue View Post
Because I finally had a minute to sit down and cross reference the lists, I will copy this for you as well. When you contact special diets they send these handy little pdf's. They sent me one for peanut/treenuts, one for gluten/egg/dairy and one for soy. The list is meant to be every "special diets" item at every dining location that would be available to a person with those allergy sets. (anything on the regular menu is not on the list)
Table service has listings, but I will ignore those because they go in the back and use their ingredients to make you things more easily.
As for counter service, if you combine these three lists you are left with:
Animal Kingdom:
Flame tree barbeque: tapioca hot dog bun
Restaurantosaurus: allergy tenders, vanilla rice dream

Blizzard Beach: allergy tenders (no specific location)

Hollywood Studios: ABC commissary: allergy tenders, pacific rice milk, vanilla rice dream
Backlot Express: allergy tenders
Sunset ranch Market: allergy tenders, vanilla rice dream

EPCOT: Elec Umbrella:allergy tenders
Fountain view IC: vanilla rice dream
liberty inn: tapioca hot dog bun, allergy tenders
Sunshine Seasons: enjoy life rice chocolate bar, the big enjoy life cookies

MK: BOG: allergy tenders, Ener-g roll, vanilla rice dream
Col. Harbor House: allergy tenders

Notice that no location in Typhoon Lagoon even makes the gluten/egg/dairy list.

To be fair, Pizzafari, Pinocchio village house and BOG are supposed to have an Amy's pizza, which shows up even on the soy list but according to the website it uses soy cheese? So I left it off the list. I also didn't bother to list the locations where they list ener-g egg replacer as a food item... not sure who is going to eat a fried batch of that.

This list may speak for itself why I'm a bit touchy about the diets crew right now. There are locations that there are zero items on their regular menu, and zero items on this list, so why would they be recommended along side locations that plan to have something there?
I wonder if they are counting rice dream as being peanut/tree nut free. I'm not allowed to have it because of possible cross contamination.

Same thing with pacific rice milk. Cross contamination possibility with almond milk.

See the issue I see with the special diets email is that they just list the "allergy free" products but I have found that if I just say I have allergies, they get me a manager/chef and they have always been able to accommodate me based on the original menu (sandwiches/burgers without buns, roasted veggies from the roasted veggie sandwich, grilled chicken, etc)

The only special allergy foods I ordered were the chicken tenders, the waffles and the enjoy life cookies. Otherwise it was just altered food from the menu.

I was very impressed with the chefs at POP because when I asked about waffles with JUST Namaste mix instead of Bobs Red Mill, they knew it was because of my tree nut allergy.

I just know I got amazing service last time and ended up with way too much food. So I guess if we go again I'll just do the same thing....note allergies on ADRs and hope for the best!

Oh....and I know Amy's kitchen used to have a GF/DF/SF pizza but I don't know if they still make it or not (I can't eat Amy's band for other reasons.)
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:40 PM   #12
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Their lists don't account for cross contamination. I think somebody in their office just reads they actual ingredient list and puts the list together.
I emailed to ask about the Amy's pizza and if they had a manufacturer or ingredient list for the chicken tenders and got back a form letter.

We loved POP too, it makes me a bit scared to go to YC- but really it just means we are going to be running to Kouzzina for breakfast a lot. At least our food will be amazing. (I will just try to ignore the price!)
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:15 PM   #13
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SD is Awesome - Especially for Not-Food-Allergies!

I find Special Diets most helpful when I have something wrong that's off the normal - not necessarily food allergies, but other eating issues.

I used to have issues with dysphagia and aspiration, so back in 2011 when I went I was on a soft food diet, and then in 2012 I was on purees and thick liquids. I still have some issues, but now I'm back on solids. Whoo hoo!

But seriously, SD was absolutely amazing when I had non-food-allergy issues. They also managed to accommodate purees and soft foods while I was gluten and dairy free, as well (now just gluten-free, yay for healed stomachs!).

This time around (2013) I was only gluten-free, so I didn't need them at all.

But back when I had texture needs they were amazing about contacting all of the chefs and making sure they called me, and making sure everyone knew what soft foods and purees were, and special blenders. The chef at Hoop-De-Doo Revue even knew that it meant that I didn't taste as much, and made sure everything was super-seasoned! It was such a treat.

I remember one particular meal at Liberty Tree Tavern, I think they had about 10 dishes of pureed meat and veggies and thickened (gluten/dairy free!!) gravy and breads, it was the most amazing thing. And Tortuga Tavern at one point ran across the park to make sure they could make me a gluten/dairy free soft diet burger (added tons of ketchup and mayo to make the textures work!) and it was quite possibly the most fantastic burger I've ever eaten.

So maybe for food allergies SD isn't super-necessary, but definitely for texture diets, or PKU, or ketogenic diet, or things like that, they're so great!

Cheers!
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:29 AM   #14
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I'm glad they could help you!

I know I sound angry on here (after the first questions I sent SD last week you probably would have seen flames shooting up from my head I was so annoyed!) but in person I am actually very quiet and polite about things. A manager or chef saying they can't help me is met with "are you sure?" and then proceeding to our next stop- I feel sort of left out with everybody's stories of chefs going so far out of their way for them. When we asked if they could help get my son something to eat we really were brushed off.
His allergies aren't even unusual ones, like it's too complicated to be easy, and too basic to be exciting.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistysue
I'm glad they could help you!

I know I sound angry on here (after the first questions I sent SD last week you probably would have seen flames shooting up from my head I was so annoyed!) but in person I am actually very quiet and polite about things. A manager or chef saying they can't help me is met with "are you sure?" and then proceeding to our next stop- I feel sort of left out with everybody's stories of chefs going so far out of their way for them. When we asked if they could help get my son something to eat we really were brushed off.
His allergies aren't even unusual ones, like it's too complicated to be easy, and too basic to be exciting.
I just want to say it might not always be the special diets fault they don't email you or answer your question. And just send you form letter because they may not know what the restaurants order to be able to give you a better list. They my just have what Disney gives them and that what they give you. So yes it must be frustrating and feel like their no help but they may not have all the info to give so that why they may tell you to go to the qs and talk to a manager. That might e no help and cause you to waste time but in their eyes that might be the safest thing to tell you I am sure they don't want to get you sick.

I sorry i am not really trying to defend them just trying to point out that they may not be at fault. The real problem is the chefs order what they want so the menu and items do change where one item might been safe for one trip might not be safe another due to switch in vendors. Not every vendor will carry the same items as the other vendor did or not for the same price.
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