Further Special Diets restrictions?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by CarrieR, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. CarrieR

    CarrieR DIS Veteran

    Jun 10, 2008
    We are preparing to head back to Disney in just under a month, so I sent off my email to special diets. (I am chronically bad about cutting it too close to the trip, so I made sure to do it earlier.)

    Out of a group of three, two of us have "issues" -
    *Vegetarian (lifestyle request, I understand,) no mushrooms, mangoes and limited dairy
    *Latex allergy; no banana, kiwi, avocado, chestnut, hazlenut and maybe some sort of tropical fruit (guava, papaya, and/or passionfruit)

    They are weird allergies, not top 8, and there are multiple of us with multiple allergies.

    Special diets website says (bolding mine):

    Guests with requests associated with the list below should contact Walt Disney World Resort at Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.com at least 14 days prior to arrival and after booking all dining arrangements for their entire visit:

    Allergy or intolerance not listed above under common food allergies
    Phenylketonuria (PKU)
    Metabolic disorders
    A single guest with multiple allergies/intolerances or multiple guests with allergies/intolerances within the same party

    I got an email back with a bunch of copy/paste, no flow to it, starting with this note:

    Please note we have recently enhanced our special dietary request process. Guests no longer need to complete the Special Dietary Request Form unless there is a member in the party with requests associated with the list below:

    - PKU

    - Metabolic disorders

    - A single Guest with 4 or more allergies/intolerances

    That's a major change. I wouldn't mind so much except that we have been told by more than one chef that it makes it easier for them to know we are coming. I have no concerns that we'll be taken care of upon arrival, but seriously - I feel like this is just making it harder on the poor chefs. We are impossible to feed, we know that, and I feel like the least we can do is send warning ahead!

    I replied back and let them know that we DID have someone with 4+ allergies, and the chefs told us that it was helpful if they knew we were coming, so I will see what they say back. What a pain.

    Anyways, this is more of an FYI than anything. BTW, the Special Diets address is rather buried on the new site. You have to expand one of the boxes, but it's not the one I expected it to be - so if you are looking for it, keep digging. :)
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  3. mistysue

    mistysue DIS Veteran

    May 26, 2009
    That is a big change. I am positive though that it is in response to the number of people with an unusual allergy. Even a person with one allergy wants to contact them and get personal responses.

    I was emailing with them trying to ask specific questions a couple months ago and wouldn't be surprised if actual flames were coming off my head after reading a couple of the replies I got. DS has 9 allergies and they basically sent me a gluten list, egg list and dairy list- which were all lists of food that had no overlap... so if I cross referenced I learned that the just notified me that they had nothing he could eat.

    Did they send you the actual form? If so, I would just fill it out, send it back and they will give your information to the chefs which is what you need. If they won't send it, you could call to see if they can send you the form. When I called they were actually nice people, in contrast to the evil people I imagined teasing me from behind their screen.
  4. CarrieR

    CarrieR DIS Veteran

    Jun 10, 2008
    No, the email was essentially refusing to send the form. Said that they "enhanced" the system and only needed the form for PKU/Metabolic and 4+ allergies. (The irony is of course that if bff's sister - who has pku - were attending we would not feel the need to send the form for her! Anyways...)

    I have the form they sent in January, so I could re-edit it (it's a PDF so I need to figure that out.) I don't need a personal response - we've never gotten one, really - I would just like the chefs who prefer a heads up to get one. I just don't know that they'll forward the form on if I send it without "permission."
  5. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Feb 20, 2009
    Sure looks like you've got somebody with more than 4 allergies (each item being avoided because of the latex is a separate allergy IMO). Repy back, including your lists in the email stating that you do meet their criteria for needing to fill out the dietary form.
  6. CarrieR

    CarrieR DIS Veteran

    Jun 10, 2008
    Yep, I agree that the latex cross-tea gives are all different allergies - she's had reactions to at least 3 that I can recall and the others are so highly associated that it's best to avoid them.

    This is what I sent back:

    Hi xxxx,

    We do still fall into this category:

    -A single Guest with 4 or more allergies/intolerances

    The website indicates that multiple allergies in the same party should fill out the form, is that no longer necessary?

    As well, the chefs have indicated that it is helpful to them to know about the latex allergy ahead of time. Is it possible to get this information passed along to them?

    Carrie xxxxxx

    I sent it about five minutes after the email arrived yesterday but have not heard back. I wonder how much issue is being caused by listing myself first in the email, and starting with the fact that I'm a vegetarian. I know they don't want vegetarian sent in, and I understand why, but IMO when you couple it with the mushroom allergy it becomes something they should know about. Anyways, perhaps next trip I will lead with the latex and see if it helps any...
  7. Mama Who

    Mama Who DIS Veteran

    Feb 11, 2011

    Latex allergies prevent one from eating bananas? Wow. I thought that one was just about hospital gloves and prophylactics. Learn something new every day.
  8. CarrieR

    CarrieR DIS Veteran

    Jun 10, 2008
    Latex cross-reacts with a number of foods. I had no idea either - until my latex-allergic best friend had a latex exposure that totally over-filled her "bucket" and caused it to go from a skin-contact allergy to an anaphylactic allergy with cross-reactive foods. Banana, avocado, kiwi, and chestnut are the classic cross-reactive list, sometimes grouped with potato and tomato. She has only reacted to banana, kiwi (and maybe the nuts? Can't recall) since her bucket has gotten back under control. While it was out-of-control she presented as allergic to just about everything. :/ Her symptoms are mostly OAS with heartburn and shortness of breath.

    As for why - latex is a tree sap, whose proteins are very similar to the proteins found in those foods. (Think about a banana peel, same rubbery feel.) Latex is evil stuff, it's in everything, inadequately labeled and something people are totally unaware of and don't understand. Trying to convince places like our church that balloons are deadly does not go over well. :/ Nevermind all of the places that use latex gloves in food service operations. It's a growing allergy; we are innundated with the stuff all the time and no one realizes we should be concerned.

    Anyways... Off my soapbox. No reply from special diets. Guess I'll call them if I don't hear back by Monday.

    MSSANDRA DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 2006
    We are an allergy family and while I understand your frustration, I think you will be fine dealing with the chief once you arrive. Latex allergies, and the foods related to them are becoming more and more common and really, those are not extremely hard to avoid.

    What I would do is to make up business cards listing each person and the allergies and as you explain to the chief, hand them the card:

    Example: allergic to mushrooms, mangoes and dairy. Is also a Vegetarian.

    The biggest issue you may have is the "limited dairy"...If it is an allergy, you will find chiefs that refuse to serve you any foods with any dairy traces etc. We found this with DS and his resolving egg allergy. We know what he is and is not ok with, but some chiefs are not ok with that. We starting just not listing that allergy and monitoring it ourselves. We of course could never do that with other allergies such as his peanuts.

    We have also found chiefs less likely to make special items for allergies that they used to. They will be sure the meal is safe, but for DS last trip, desserts were limited to one brand of ice cream most everywhere and they did not offer to do anything else. Fine with him but maybe not others.

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