/ Friday, November 2nd, 2012

by Angie Carriero

By the time this is posted, I’ll be getting ready to board a plane from the northeastern United States to MCO! As you’re reading this, I might be enjoying some complimentary, “accidentally-vegan” popcorn chips from JetBlue, watching the welcome video on Magical Express, stuffing my face with goodies from Babycakes, or maybe even admiring Wishes in awe from the Polynesian!

A lot of preparation goes into my plans for any WDW trip; packing clothing, outlining itineraries, deciding where to find good vegan/gluten-free food, etc. Not only will this trip be as extensive as all of my past trips, but perhaps it will be even more so because this year I will be taking a Disney Cruise for the first time! That’s right, after spending 2 days in WDW, I’ll be joining the WDWRadio community on the WDWRadio Dream Cruise 2.0!

I’m currently in a transition period in my life. For the past 2 1/2 years, I worked in upstate NY at a wonderful shelter for rescued farm animals called Farm Sanctuary, but 2 weeks ago, I moved back to Massachusetts to be closer to family. Professionally, I was an Animal Caregiver and I thought I was going to work there for the rest of my life, part of a team that is taking care of over 500 animals on the property. It was a highly rewarding job, and I feel like I was leaving a lot of loved ones behind; not only people that I grew to know as family, but animals that I shared many different, special, unique relationships and experiences with. When you rescue an animal, like Viva the chicken who would have otherwise died on the side of the road, bottle-feed Blitzen the calf back to health so he can have a long, joyful life, or help Julia sow give birth to 16 piglets that would have otherwise been destined for slaughter, you form a special bond with them, just like I have formed with my 3 dogs. Leaving was a tough decision; being an Animal Caregiver was and is still is my dream job, but it was a move I had to make. Since I left, I haven’t had a paying job for the past 2 weeks, so I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands, something I’ve been able to fill with vacation planning, but this trip I decided I didn’t want to plan ahead too much. I still made myself a vacation-planner-scrapbook, but I’m trying not to spoil any surprises of what might come on the cruise! The scrapbook I made is actually pretty cool and I’m hoping to fill it with lots of notes about food for this blog and the many memories I know we will make together on the cruise!

I’m always conflicted with the decision of how much to plan ahead for my WDW vacations. On one hand, I want my vacation to be relaxing and care-free. On the other hand, more intense planning might give me the opportunity to experience more. It’s always a battle between more or less planning, and the question of which will actually give me more peace-of-mind while on vacation in WDW.

Because this will be my first time on a Disney Cruise, I am very tempted to research, research, research, as many special-dieters might be. I am taking a different approach this year for a couple of reasons. One, I want to see how it goes; doing a little experiment by finding things to eat without knowing what I will be able to eat ahead of time. Two, I know Disney’s got me covered; unlike most destinations, Disney would do anything to make a guest happy, even if they aren’t complaining. I briefly searched “vegan gluten free Disney Cruise” in Google and a few great results came up, so I knew I’d be able to find SOMETHING, and decided to search no further. I also sent an email to DCL Guest Communications just to let them know there will be people dining on the cruise with these special diets.

Setting food-planning to the back burner has allowed me to focus more on WDWRadio event planning. I convinced my boyfriend, Kevin, to take a large suitcase for his things, rather than the small backpack he usually takes, and fill half of it with the fish extender gifts I have been working on. I don’t want to give any hints away in case my fish extender group mates are reading this, but it’s been fun dedicating full days to crafting the adult presents and planning the kids’ presents! The fish extender exchange is something that I’ve never had the pleasure of doing, since this is my first DCL cruise, and it’s really something that’s been satisfying my creative juices! (Hey Fran Cassano, I might have to share some of my crafting ideas with you!)

Vowing that I wouldn’t plan too much in advance has just been driving me crazy, so instead of planning an itinerary or where I will eat, I’ve been studying the WDWRadio cruise itinerary! Special events and parties are never usually my thing, but I just can’t wait for the ones that are coming up on the cruise, whether they be DCL’s events or our special WDWRadio events! I’ve picked out my pirate costume, got together an outfit for the pajama party, and put together my party dresses for the adult night outings!

I do have to admit to breaking the rules a little bit. It’s hard not to plan when it just gets me so excited! I have brainstormed some new blog research ideas for the upcoming trip; 5 VEGAN snacks under 5, New Fantasyland Expansion vegan eats, and obviously, eating vegan on the Disney Dream!

So, with my fish-extender, gifts, MEI-luggage tags, pirate costumes, and pajamas in tow, I will journey over to Walt Disney World, then on-board the Disney Dream to meet all of my Box People; my Wednesday-nighters; my friends, for the WDWRadio Dream Cruise 2.0! See ya real soon!

Angie has been a WDW addict since her first visit at age 8, and since then her life has never been the same! She lives in upstate NY with her boyfriend, Kevin (fellow Disney lover), and their 3 dogs, Flip, Josie, and Hildy, where she works at Farm Sanctuary as an animal caregiver. Please join Angie every week in “Fish Are Friends, Not Food: Eating Vegan in WDW!” Angie believes that WDW is the most magical place for people with special diets, so, should you have any special diet questions (especially about vegan and gluten-free dining) she’d be happy to help!

4 Responses to "Fish are Friends, not Food: Preparing for a Disney Vacation"

  1. Fran Cassano says:

    Angie,

    You totally read my mind because I wanted to propose a joint craft with you for one of my articles. Like a virtual crafting/crop! Let me know what u think!

    See u in the Dream!

    : ) Fran

  2. Safe travels Angie. I’m excited to read a report from your trip!

  3. Me and you Fran, we are just always on the same page.

  4. Josh! Glad you’re excited, because I am, too! But don’t get too excited, because I am TIRED, it might take me 3 months to recover from this trip and start writing! haah!

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