Lou’s email inbox is often full-to-overflowing with questions from listeners. As such, he has enlisted the WDW Radio Blog writers to assist him in answering some of your questions.
This is a question from WDW Radio listener Jim Plumb:
Jim writes to us traveling to Walt Disney World with a picky eater:
“Hi Lou, we are a couple in our mid 30s, and we are taking my mother in law with us. She will be dining with us for the whole 19 nights. Problem. She is a picky eater, while my wife and I love to eat at all restaurants on property. The issue is this. Steaks are expensive at places like Sanaa. What else could we do? Love the show. Jim Plumb, Nottingham England”
Hi Jim! My name is Kristin, and I am part of the WDW Blog Team. Thank you so much for your question about special dietary needs and dining at Walt Disney World, and thanks for your support of the the WDW Radio Podcast.
You are in luck, as the culinary team at Walt Disney World is quite adept at addressing a multitude of food requests. Dietary concerns that arise from both allergies and food preferences are readily accommodated by all the resort restaurant teams.
I hope that these tips will help you navigate your mealtimes at Walt Disney World so that you and your family can enjoy the diverse and delicious foods that the resort has to offer.
- Reservations: When you use the My Disney Experience app to book your reservations, you can input all of your family’s dietary requests, including any special needs in a designated reservation field. This gives the staff at your chosen restaurant a “heads-up” about your requests. Upon arrival, the host will take note of your requests and alert your server.
- Menu Review: All of the Walt Disney World Resort dining menus are available online for your review. You and your family can look at the dishes that are offered and plan your selections and reservations based on what looks good to you (and what is within your budget). You can also review menus that outline ingredients and allergens like gluten, calorie count, nuts, shellfish, salt and sugar content, etc.
- Communication with staff: For special dietary needs and food preferences, your mother-in-law’s requests could be made to the staff upon ordering or in advance. We hear countless stories from guests who chose Disney Resorts specifically for the fact that all dietary needs are easy to navigate. Sally Ekus from Western Massachusetts states: “I am unable to eat gluten or dairy and each time we ate out, the chef would come and speak with me directly. I loved how they asked what I could eat, versus telling me what to choose from the menu. I felt like I was respected. My meals were always delicious.” We have found that the Cast Members are a great ally in food selection. You can also call Disney Dining and request assistance at (407) WDW-DINE or email them at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Emotions: Vacations are both fun (and at times, a bit stressful). Let’s face it: a Walt Disney World vacation takes a lot of planning and forethought. We get excited and we build anticipation about the kind of fun (and types of food!) we want to experience. I suggest taking the time to communicate with all of your family members about what they would like to eat and how to best serve everyone’s needs and budget. This way, when you are on vacation, you can enjoy the moment armed with the knowledge on how to navigate the restaurant scene and menu options.
Jim, thank you for reaching out to us and we hope that you and your family have a wonderful vacation. Happy eating!
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)
Kristin is a food writer and social media manager in the great State of Maine. When she is not seeking out the next-best-thing-she-ever-ate, she is busy planning for her runDisney vacations and cooking with her family. She can be found at @kafcooks.