This year is my first year going on vacation to Disney World with my food sensitivities and I’m kind of scared to go not knowing if there will be food I will be able to eat. I’m scared to try new foods not knowing how it’s made and what’s in it. Of course, my sensitivities aren’t like a common allergy where I can just walk into a restaurant and ask for a gluten-free meal or ask what they have that is allergy-friendly; allergy-friendly doesn’t mean that it’s safe for me to eat, so it will be quite of a challenge. As I find out what happens and see what type of foods are available, I will share my experience down below.
What bothers me and what my body thinks is posoion is rapeseed/ rapeseed oil aka canola oil and soy lecithin.
Airport/ Airplane Food:
At the airport on the way to Florida, there was Johnny Rockets, which I know I can eat since they use soybean oil and I’ve eaten at that restaurant before, so I was excited to see that. Although, our flight was at 11 in the morning, so I didn’t want a sandwich and fries for breakfast plus I already ate before we left in case there wasn’t food I can eat.
We took Southwest and they gave us Wheat Thins for a snack, which I can’t eat since canola oil is the second ingredient listed. Knowing I may not be able to eat the snacks provided, I brought my own snacks.
Enjoy Life Foods
There’s allergy-friendly snacks from Enjoy Life Foods at Disney World! I was so excited when I found this out. I read a blog that was posted on their Facebook page that was about allergy-friendly and Enjoy Life Foods products at the Disney World Theme Parks as well as Disney Resorts. I was able to go to Flordia slightly worry-free knowing that I’ll at least be able to eat some Enjoy Life snacks while staying at a Disney Resort. We stayed at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. They have a market area called, The Artist’s Palette where they have sandwiches and food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as small grocery items. Looking around the place, hoping there will be Enjoy Life snacks, I finally found a small allergy-friendly section for desserts that included Enjoy Life cookies and allergy-friendly brownies and sweets. Yay! I got cookies I can enjoy for the room from my favorite allergy-friendly brand! Thanks to Enjoy Life Foods, I’m able to eat some snacks while on vacation worry-free!
Since my uncle lives in Florida, he’s able to visit us and drive us to the grocery store, so we can buy food for the week. At the grocery store, I found some food I can eat, although there was a small selection. There wasn’t an organic or allergy-friendly section like at the store back home. I did, however see Enjoy Life snacks, so you know I grabbed another box of cookies. I was able to buy bakery bread, fruit and yogurt, although even the bread was challenging because some of them had canola oil in it, but luckily I found some I can eat.
We got pasta, mac n’ cheese, hot dogs, and french fries with soybean and/ or cottonseed oil. What was interesting about the fries is that for the same brand, there was some I can eat and some I couldn’t, so I had to get a certain kind of fries like steak fries, but I couldn’t get crinkles. Why would one brand have different ingredients for different types of fries? Back home I’m able to get any type of fry from that brand, including crinkles. So, I was kind of confused, but luckily I found some fries I can eat. I also saw organic toaster pastries that I get at home that I can eat, but I brought some from home, so I didn’t buy any, otherwise I would have if I didn’t already have some. Those were the only food items I noticed that I can eat, so luckily there was some I can have and I’m able to enjoy some healthy meals while on vacation, worry-free and not having to always go to a restaurant.
At the parks, there’s bananas or cotton candy that I know I can grab and enjoy since there’s no oil in them. I found kettle corn at one of the shops that only had soybean oil, so I was able to get that when I was hungry for a snack. I found Enjoy Life Foods’ mini chocolate chip cookies at Liberty Square Market right next to The Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom. They also had allergy-friendly gummy bears and fresh fruit, so I was able to snag some snacks from there. I got soft serve ice cream with no cone at Animal Kingdom, which was great on a hot day. I can also bring my own snack if I know we’re going to be at the park late and I’ll need something safe to eat.
We also went to Universal Sudios for two days and I was able to get some pizza for lunch. Luckily, we have been finding pizza made from scratch, which means no soy lecithin in the dough and no canola oil in the sauce. That’s fine with me. I’ll eat pizza all week if I have to. At least I know I can eat it and it taste really good.
Like many vacations, you tend to eat out a lot, especially when you are not able to go grocery shopping. The first night we ate at the Artist’s Palette and I was able to get a cheese pizza. We still spoke to the chef and made sure that it was safe for me to eat. We found out that everything is made from scratch just like the pizza at Universal. Since I had a special meal that we had to make sure it was safe, it came out covered unlike the other meals that were not covered, which only makes me feel special.
But, then I got the pizza another day at the same place because I knew I could eat it and didn’t want to have to ask again about the other food, but I didn’t say anything about my sensitivites this time. I noticed that the crust was different; it was fluffier, softer and tastier, whereas the the first one was thin, crispy, and not as tastey. So, I had a feeling that he gave me gluten-free crust the first time, which I didn’t need, especially since I had no problems with the second pizza. I’m confused as to why he used gluten-free dough unless he didn’t understand what my sensitivites are. The good news is that they have a gluten-free option for the pizza. It was still a decent pizza and I was able to eat it, so can’t really complain that much, but the second pizza with regular dough tasted a lot better and I knew I would be fine since I was told that everything is made from scratch.
The second night we ate at The Sci-fi Dine-In at Hollywood Studios. They have a separate allergy-friendly menu, which is great and I’m glad to see that they try to satisfy everyone’s needs and have options for everyone, but like I mentioned earlier, allergy-friendly doesn’t mean that the food is safe for me to eat. Everything at the restaurant involved canola oil whether it was in the food or on the food or used to cook the food. So, I had to talk to chef and work everything out and I ended up getting a special meal made by the chef. It was quite similar to a meal on the menu; they had pasta with tomato sauce, a choice of chicken or shrip, and veggies such as red pepper. Well, the pasta sauce has canola oil in it, so I had the pasta with no sauce, but with olive oil and with chicken and the veggies. The meal was kind of bland considering it didn’t have any sauce in it, but the chicken added some flavor. I’m not a big fan of some of the veggies that was in the meal like red peppers, although I still enjoyed the meal; it tasted pretty good and I liked it plus it’s kind of hard to complain when the chef made something special just for me. Of course, we tipped the chef because thanks to her, I was able to enjoy a pretty good meal that didn’t bother me.
One night we went to Universal Studios and we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. They use canola oil for everything, although I was able to get a chicken cooked with olive oil and some broccoli. Luckily, they happened to have a small piece of chicken that wasn’t already pre-marinated in canola oil. Since the chicken was so small, they only charged us for the broccoli, so my meal was only $5.
The fact the canola oil is used in pretty much everything, especially at restaurants is exactly why I don’t like going out to eat. The meals I’ve gotten were impromptu meals that weren’t on the menu, which luckily they had something I could safely eat, but it’s so frustrating and challenging to enjoy a meal at a restaurant.
With a sensitivity to soy lecithin, it was hard to explain that I can eat soy, but not soy lecithin. Soy lecithin is made from the rapeseed plant, which is why I can’t eat it, but I can have soy products such as soybean oil. When I told the chefs that I can’t have soy lecithin, they knocked out everything that had soy in it, which I guess is okay since they’ll eliminate soy lecithin, but if fries are cooked in soybean oil instead of canola oil, then I can eat them and I get excited about that, but not when they automatically eliminate soybean oil. So, it was a little frustrating when people weren’t understanding that soy is okay, but soy lecithin. That’s some of the struggles of having an uncommon sensitivity where people don’t really understand or know what you’re talking about.
End of trip
Although, I had a really fun trip and enjoyed my vacation at Disney World, trying to find something safe for me to eat was kind of a struggle and I didn’t really eat as much as I would at home. Luckily, I was able to at least eat something everyday. When we went out to eat, I pretty much had pizza or chicken everytime, which I’m okay with since I enjoy pizza and I like chicken, plus with pizza no matter where you get it from, it’s all pretty much the same; dough, sauce, and cheese. I was excited to see Enjoy Life in Florida, so I was able to eat dessert and sweets during my trip. Restaurants were more of a struggle and made the trip a little stressful since pretty much every restaurant used canola oil for everything, but at least I was able to get my own impromptu meal made special from the chef. I was able to bring some snacks with me and go grocery shopping, so that worked out well plus I knew that I was able to at least enjoy a snack and not completely starve the whole day.
At the end of the day, it was still a great trip and I wasn’t really thinking about or worried about food until we sat down to get something to eat. That’s when I was like, “oh no, what can I eat?” When you’re at somewhere you love being at like Disney World and enjoy the time going on rides you love while being with family, it’s kind of hard to get down and sad about something when you’re having a great time and thinking about what rides to go on. Even with a food sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy and a struggle to find safe food to eat, you can’t let that bring you down the whole trip, especially when you didn’t have any reactions. I made it through the whole week without having a bad stomachache and that’s what I’m thankful for. So yeah, it was hard to find food to eat, but that wasn’t the main focus of the trip and I still had a smile on my face even when they told me that there wasn’t really food I can eat. I’m not going to let a small thing ruin my whole day and I’m still going to enjoy the trip. It’s always better to look at the bright side of things; I’M AT DISNEY WORLD!!! It doesn’t get any better than that.