Multi-Allergy & Autism Dining Review

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by clanmcculloch, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    We’ve been to Biergarten before and had great experiences both from a food and autism perspective so I was asked to book another ADR here. Of course I agree. DD12’s not the biggest fan but we go to other restaurants that are her request and it’s not like she doesn’t like it, it’s just not among her favourites.

    Biergarten doesn’t open until 12:00 which seems unusual for a WDW restaurant. I like to try to get one of the earliest ADRs so that not only won’t we have to wait to be seated but also so that the restaurant won’t be packed when we’re first going through the buffet with the chef but I also like to not have the very first ADR slot so that we’ll still be eating when the band starts at 1:15 though for us that’s not difficult. Our ADR was at 12:15. We checked in right at 12:00 and we were seated within minutes. There were only a few other tables already seated. So much for not having an opening ADR. Oh well.

    We were seated right by the dance floor. The gate to the dance floor was beside us so I made sure DD15 wasn’t beside it so that she wouldn’t get bumped by people going by. In hindsight, she probably would have been better on that side because it’s wider. The tables are REALLY close together. They’re so close together that it’s impossible for you and the person behind you to get up at the same time as there isn’t enough room for both chairs to push back to get out. VERY tight.

    We were the first seated at our tables followed by two other couples. One was an elderly couple who lives in FL and takes day trips to WDW, in this case specifically to eat at Biergarten. They were definitely in the spirit of sharing a table and having fun. They chatted a lot with us and even got DD15 talking about her art. The other couple was a young couple (looked maybe early-mid 20s) who I know absolutely nothing about as they didn’t look our way even once to nod hello. To each their own.

    It was several minutes before the chef came out. I think he was the same chef we’ve worked with the other times we’ve eaten here but I still don’t remember his name. He moves around very quickly and goes through food options fast. I had to get him to repeat himself several times so I could be sure of what was safe for each of us.

    DD15 loves it here. There are a lot of options for her and she’s a very adventurous eater so she tries a lot of different things. I think what I see here is apple sauce, deli meat, cold sausage/hot dog salad, green beans, chick pea salad, german potato salad, and a couple other kinds of salads that I can’t really identify. She enjoyed pretty much everything she tried. She went back later to try a bit of other stuff but that german potato salad is a definite favourite of hers.
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    This was the first time we ate here since I had to give up pork. Boy was I surprised to find out just how much of the food is pork based. I didn’t feel as though I had many options. I ended up getting beet salad, cabbage salad, red cabbage, german potato salad, green beans, roasted chicken and I believe that’s roasted potatoes but I’m not positive. Yes there are several options but only one protein.
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    The chef did also cook me a piece of fish in the kitchen. The fish on the buffet has a sauce that’s not safe for me. It was beautifully seasoned and perfectly cooked, but it wasn’t brought out until we were almost done our meal so that was kind of disappointing.
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    Like previous times eating here, DD12 didn’t want to try much variety. She ate some of the roast chicken, deli meats, salad without dressing, apple sauce and not a lot of other stuff though I can’t recall what because I seem to have not snapped a picture.

    This is one of the few places at WDW where you get Ener-G buns. My girls can’t eat them but I can so I asked for one. Our server quite a while later, only minutes before the fish was brought out, brought me a plate of the rolls. They were warmed up, I’m guessing steamed, since they were moister than I recall for Ener-G buns. They didn’t have any kind of margarine though.
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    For dessert, the chef brought us out this plate of Enjoy Life goodies.
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    He also brought out some Tofutti ice cream though we did have to ask for it; he didn’t offer. The ice cream is really good with the berries from the buffet but I forgot to get a picture of that.
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    As I said, we were seated right by the dance floor. Here’s the view we had.
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    This guy was fun. He came up to the table and blew his horn at us. This could have been a bad thing for DD15 when she was younger since at one time she had some severe auditory sensory avoidance issues and loud noises could cause a meltdown, but now she’s good with loud noises as long as she’s not surprised by them. She saw him do this to other tables and was smiling so there was no indication for the guy to not do. She laughed along with the rest of us.
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    This really is a great show. So much talent and they really know how to engage their audience.
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    It’s a bit loud so if anybody in your group doesn’t like loud then you want to be out before the show. We enjoy it a lot. None of us got up to dance this time but we were all enchanted by what looked like a grandson spinning his grandmother around the dance floor. Very touching to everybody watching.

    I think because of the whole pork thing, I was less impressed than I had been in the past. The meal was still pretty good and lunch is a good value for an all you can eat buffet, but I’m thinking we’ll probably try somewhere else next time. There was nothing wrong with the meal and everything was well prepared but with 2 of the 4 of us not feeling like we had many options, it’s just no longer one of our top choices.
     
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  3. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    We don’t do a lot of breakfasts because of DD15’s particular list of allergies, but we’ve enjoyed a late breakfast seating at ‘Ohana in the past and we were staying at the Polynesian with an expected DME pickup time of around 1:45 so it seemed like a last breakfast seating would make a perfect way to end our vacation. I was able to get that very latest ADR that they’ll book which is 10:50am.

    We arrived our usual 10 minutes early. There were a few people standing in the stand-by line by the railing but no guests at the check-in counter so we were checked in very quickly. We were immediately ushered over to a CM standing beside a big rack of leis. She tried to put on over DD15’s head which made her jump back with a whiney noise. She doesn’t handle strangers reaching out to her. The CM was understanding when I apologized and let me take the lei for her instead (she wanted it, just didn’t want it put on by a stranger). She didn’t put it on for the picture but she did want it later for her hair. There was no wait for the picture so we went right over to the backdrop and got our photopass picture taken. She even smiled.

    It wasn’t too crowded in the lobby and we had no trouble getting seats for all 4 of us. Good thing we did because we had to wait. And wait. And wait. I was watching family after family get buzzed. I know I said I like the last ADR but I expect to get seated sometime close to my ADR time. It was 11:30 before we were seated. DD15 starts melting down when she gets over hungry. I didn’t have any snacks on me and she’s generally eating either a snack or lunch at 11:15ish so she was getting pretty irritable by the time we were buzzed (frankly, so were the rest of us after waiting so long but she’s the one who has most trouble coping).

    We were brought to a table over by the window facing the Tonga building, near the entrance to the kitchen. I like being by a wall or window because we can put DD15 away from the traffic so she won’t be bumped. Luckily they gave us a table that was meant I think for 6 because we always have a lot more platters than the average family because of needing regular as well as separate allergy platters. It was nice not being crowded at the table.

    Chef Johnny came out pretty quickly. We probably chatted with him a little longer than we should have but we hadn’t seen him in over a year and we were swapping stories. He’s so friendly. He started going over our options with us. While we were talking with him our server brought out the punch and he told her that only DH could have that (I suspect I probably could too but I didn’t care if I had it or not; I know the girls can’t because of citrus). She then brought out the fruit platter with the dipping sauce and he told her me he’d bring us another platter without the sauce since it’s made I think it was with yogurt (definitely dairy based). There was cantaloupe, honeydew, raspberries and pineapple. It was a large platter but by the time I took the picture there was something missing from it so I took a picture of a selection from my own plate. DD12 was really enjoying the raspberries so he brought her out another whole dish later.
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    DD15 was tired of waffles and as I said was also irritable so she wasn’t going to agree to them. She had been eating waffles pretty much every morning including this day. He offered to make her pancakes using the same batter. She jumped at that and it seems that was enough to get her smiling. She chose to get the bacon, sausage and potatoes along with it. She really enjoyed everything she got.
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    DD12 is easy to please. Give her some Mickey waffles and breakfast meat and she’s your friend for life. She’s not a fan of potatoes unless they’re deep fried in stick shape or crispy flat things so she didn’t want any of the potatoes. She polished off her meal and wanted to dig into mine. I think she got more waffles and bacon.
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    I like to think I’m pretty easy to please too but since I can’t eat pork, I asked what other breakfast meat options they might have. He had turkey bacon and blueberry chicken sausage. Yay!! The waffles were good as always. The turkey bacon was better than stuff like Jenny-O which I find have a texture like plastic and it had decent flavour but I think it would have been better if crispy. DD12 took some of it from me and loved it. The sausage was just ok. I found them very dry and I couldn’t taste the blueberry. It was nice to have the option though. The potatoes were delicious. DD12 tried a bit and even she liked it. That’s pretty high praise from a kid who only likes potatoes that are cut into stick shapes and deep fried or else thin sliced and deep fried to crispy. DH tried a piece too and said mine were a lot better than his.
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    Chef Johnny also brought out a plate of scrambled eggs for me and DD12 to share. DD12 never seems to like the scrambled eggs at any WDW restaurant. I ate a bit but not a lot. I agree that they aren’t as good as the ones we make at home but they’re still fine. It’s almost like they taste a bit stale. It’s probably the preservatives (they use premixed eggs that come in a bag; they are real eggs but they have some kind of preservatives).
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    Our food was served with real maple syrup.

    The last (and only one during our meal) parade started after we ordered. My girls weren’t interested in participating but they enjoyed watching the kids. It was pretty loud so it was good that DD15 knew about the parade or she might have started freaking out considering the mood she was in while waiting for her food (she has auditory sensory avoidance issues that she’s learned to cope with but struggles with when she’s over tired or hungry).

    The characters didn’t start coming by until after our food had already been brought out to the table. This was probably a good thing since DD15 wasn’t really out of her funk until she got some food into her.

    Lilo came by shortly after our food was served. She gave us a quick high, stood for pictures and was off.
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    Mickey wasn’t too far after. Mickey also gave us a quick hello, stood for pictures and was off.
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    We were nearly done our meal and we still hadn’t seen Pluto or Stitch. Pluto had originally been doing the rounds by our table when Chef Johnny was there and I think he didn’t want to interrupt. I asked our server about the characters and she said she’d make sure they came by.

    Stitch came by shortly after. He goofed around with us a little bit before pictures. I think he might have tried to steal DD12’s hat. Silly Stitch.
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    We were almost done eating so I flagged down a CM to ask about Pluto. He made sure to go get him. Boy was Pluto playful. He was kissing us all and then even tried to eat DD15.
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    I noticed that after Pluto was finished at our table he left the dining room. We were the very last table for him to see that day. Note to everybody: if you have a late breakfast ADR, don’t be shy about asking to see a character because they really want everybody to get a chance to see them all.

    As we were finishing up, one of the dining room CMs (not a server; I’m not sure what she actually does but she wasn’t in uniform) came by and we got chatting. At some point I noticed that there wasn’t another single table in the entire restaurant with guests still sitting. We were literally the last guests in the restaurant. I commented to DH that we’d better hurry up so our server could finish up and go home but we were quickly told to take our time. Our server did still have other tables she was cleaning so I tried not to feel guilty. Everybody really was friendly. You can’t beat the staff at the Polynesian.

    I think I like this as a departure day ADR when we stay at the Polynesian. Hopefully we won’t have the same kind of long wait as this time if we do it again. That was the only real negative. I’ll probably make sure to have a snack in my purse next time so she’ll have something to munch on while waiting.
     
  4. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    I'm finally finished. Phew! I hope anybody reading along enjoyed my dining reviews. If anybody has any questions, I'll gladly answer them.
     
  5. Random Ninja

    Random Ninja DIS Veteran

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    I love reading your reviews. You really put a lot of time into them. Thank you for taking the time to put this together for all of us to goggle at. ^_^

    I have to admit I'm a bit jealous of all the wonderfull places and food. Biergarden has always been on my list of places to go to but I can't due to my allergies. Somehow I've never run across Chef TJ. Did you hear when he might be back?
     
  6. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    Unfortunately I didn't find out when Chef TJ would be returning.

    I'm glad you enjoy my reviews. I enjoy writing them up. To a degree I do it almost like a scrapbook for myself to look back on as much as I do it to share with others the way others shared theirs with me which has helped me so much.
     
  7. Bets19

    Bets19 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for taking the time to write up your reviews. As a recent adult onset allergy to soy & gluten and dairy sensitivities I appreciate the input and tips in handling eating out. I love the pictures and cannot wait to get back to my happy place. pixiedust:
     
  8. bopper

    bopper <font color=green>Which way to the Hundred Acre Wo

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    :artist:
    Having lived in Germany, I believe how much is Pork based...like in the USA our main meat is Beef and Chicken with a bit of pork. In Germany it is Pork and Chicken with a bit of beef.

    And aside from Germans, nobody wants German breakfast. It is just rolls and cold cuts. Go to France for breakfast. :artist:
     
  9. KristenFNJ

    KristenFNJ Mouseketeer

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    Fantastic report!

    I had NO IDEA about the fish and chips and onion rings at DTD!!!! My DH is going to FLIP!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing all of this!!!
     
  10. 3prettyprincesses

    3prettyprincesses "These pretzels are making me thirsty!"

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    Awesome food allergy report! Thank you so much for taking the time and being so detailed.:goodvibes I was especially glad to see the Beirgarten review since that is a place we want to try next. Do you happen to know if they use a lot of paprika in their sausages?

    We've had excellent success at both Ohana (breakfast, dinner) and Kona (breakfast, dinner) at the Poly. Love reading these kinds of reviews, they're so helpful. Thanks again!:thumbsup2
     
  11. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    My pleasure. I'm glad people are enjoying it.

    Personally, I'd rather the cold cuts for breakfast over the pastries. I need protein in the morning. Pastries are dessert, not breakfast. It always seemed weird to me seeing people get things like chocolate croissants or donuts for breakfast.

    I guess I never thought about the pork in Germany because my old family cookbooks that are of German and Russian background are all Jewish cookbooks. You're not going to find pork in those.

    I have no idea about the paprika. I didn't eat any of the sausages and I can't really taste paprika specifically. To me it just adds a nice unidentifiable smokiness to foods. My pallet clearly isn't refined enough to identify individual spices, unless of course it's a spice that just doesn't taste right in the food I'm eating.
     
  12. stackyallred

    stackyallred DIS Veteran

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    Finally got a chance to finish your report! Thanks for all the detail and info you give, it helps a lot! I think this year we may try 'Ohana for breakfast over Chef Mickey's after seeing your review. It looks like I will end up with the same breakfast at either restaurant but this way we will have a different atmosphere and pictures of DS3 with the characters in different attire. :goodvibes Thanks again for sharing!
     

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