We were off to a great start, thanks to the fantastic Virgin team and the successful delivery of my on-line grocery order thanks to gardengrocer.com. Not willing to leave anything to chance that first day, I had booked dinner at our hotel for the evening of arrival rather than facing the challenge of finding somewhere to feed M and G safely whilst struggling with jet-lag. I had left it a little late to book and we ended up with a table in the delightful Jiko restaurant at Jambo House, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Not my first choice for our first evening as I was afraid we wouldn’t enjoy the delicious menu as much as we could when we were slightly less travel-weary, but needs must and I looked forward to seeing what exactly was on offer for M.
No words are going to be able to adequately express just how amazing that first meal at Disney was. I am so used to restaurants struggling to come up with a complete meal for M when we eat out in the UK, that I fully expected to encounter similar problems at WDW. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Our server knew about M and G’s allergies and quickly requested that Chef Tom came to the table to discuss what he could prepare for their dinner. He was happy to cook any meat or fish that they wanted and suggested what sides could be safely offered too. Despite not having sweet potatoes in the restaurant, he went to the other hotel restaurant to find out if their sweet potato fries would be safe for M or not and, when the answer was sadly no, prepared a beautiful dish of plain rice, seared scallops, carrots and green beans for him instead. Both children enjoyed their meals and fell asleep at the table as soon as they had finished their main courses, before dessert became an issue.
What’s even better is that this experience was not a one-off. As promised, every booking at Disney was annotated with their food allergies and as soon as we were seated, the serving staff were made aware that we would need to speak to the chef. During our 2 weeks, G and M enjoyed breakfasts, lunches and dinners unlike any they’ve eaten out in the UK. We tried a variety of restaurants across the 4 Disney parks and the numerous resort hotels and had equal success everywhere. Even the counter service restaurants had allergy information to hand and managers who knew exactly what would be safe for both children to eat. There was no skimping on meals and they were able to enjoy puddings almost everywhere too.
My thanks go to the fantastic staff at WDW – Chefs Tom, Renee, Ricardo, David, Dave, Duane & Brian and serving staff Jamal, Sheldon, Chris and David as well as the others whose names I forgot to note down
the brilliant restaurants – Jiko (Jambo House), Tusker House (Animal Kingdom), Coral Reef (Epcot), Cosmic Rays (Magic Kingdom), Mexico (Epcot), Fulton Crabhouse (Downtown Disney), Mara (Jambo House), Raglan Road Irish Pub (Downtown Disney), Citricios (Grand Floridian), Hoop-dee-doo (Wilderness Lodge), Backlot Express (Hollywood Studios), Fairfax Fare (Hollywood Studios), Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom), Chef Mickeys (Contemporary Hotel), Sunshine Seasons (Epcot) and the many others we never got round to trying
and to Disney itself for the huge efforts it has made to welcome those with food allergies to its resorts and to make their stay as special as it can possibly be.
It truly is a magical place and one we will definitely be planning to revisit in the future.