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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Kudos: Disney Takes Lead on Gluten, Food Allergens


    Celiac.com 06/03/2011 - The folks at Disney are earning major kudos from people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and other food allergies. That's because for more than a decade, Disney has worked to provide information and options for guests with food allergies.

    In 2011, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts received an award recognizing its leadership and commitment in the area of food-allergy awareness by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

    Disney's journey from a provider of traditional food offerings to a leader in best practices for food allergies began 12 years ago when a Disneyland Resort chef received phone call from a mother concerned about gluten-free options for her child.

    Since that time, Disney has worked to craft an extensive food program that offers meals to suit the needs of guests with food allergies and other dietary preferences.

    According to Disney network chief executive officer, Julia Bradsher, Disney's Parks and Resorts operation has the most extensive program that she is aware of. She adds that the parks have "been doing this for quite some time, so I think they were ahead of the curve."

    Disneyland Resort recently set up a web page that lists comprehensive information to help guests make informed decisions about where they can find food in the parks meets their needs.

    The company has also set up a special hotline number where park guests can call ahead with specific food requests. That number is 714-781-DINE.  If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World and would like to call ahead to discuss special dietary needs, guests may call 407-824-5967. Certified executive chef Bill Orton says that “the resort helps thousands of visitors" with their dietary needs, and handles most needs immediately.


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    I recently was at Disney World for my birthday and before I ordered they had a representative discuss my gluten allergy with me and tell me what was available at that particular booth. When I chose a different booth the same person helped me there. If you tell them you have an allergy the person at the register will not take your order until you talk to the allergy representative. All good for safety sake. They also had gluten free buns. Marvelous!

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    We go to Disney World for 2 weeks a year, every year and it is the best 2 weeks of my son's life because of his food choices. For those 2 weeks he doesn't feel like a child with celiac.

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    I am glad that Disney is ATTEMPTING to meet the needs of those who cannot take gluten, but I ate at two restaurants at Disneyland that claimed to have gluten free food (after placing my orders with each of the managers) and I was sick for the next three weeks. I haven't trusted them since and now bring my own food to the park.

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    Disneyland in Anaheim, CA also caters to those with celiac disease. When you enter the park, go to the city hall building on main street next to the fire station and pick up a list of all the restaurants within the 2 parks and downtown disney that have gluten-free food. It even lists the items which are safe to order. Simply fabulous. Also, expect a visit to your table from the chef... he or she will assist you in ordering.

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    We recently visited Disney World and I was very impressed. The chef came to our table at every restaurant before we ordered and went over the menu or buffet line with me. They even brought me gluten free bread, rolls and cornbread.

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    On our first day at Disney in the summer of 2011, my son ordered a salad without croutons. The Disney employee asked if he had an allergy and he said he has celiac disease. She explained the gluten-free options and we talked to a manager. My son was grinning ear to ear eating pizza with his cousins. I should have known Disney would think of that too.

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    Best experience ever at Disney in Anaheim. Leave it to Disney to live up to the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!!! I also had a great meal at the Winery in California Grand Adventure. The chef made sure I was SAFE and when the bread came out for my family, she brought me gluten-free rolls and said 'can't let everyone else have the fun'. AWESOME!

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    Our family was in Disney World last week and was looking forward to my 11 year old daughter-with-celiac enjoying a gluten free experience due to the many positive comments about Disney on many websites. For the most part, Disney WAS great, with a chef coming to our table and taking her order for every meal. Unfortunately, at the Spirit of Aloha Luau, the chef didn't come; instead, the waiter told her that the meal was gluten-free (it wasn't) and she ate everything. A chef and a manager came over to our table to tell me what happened, apologize and offer me a free drink (insulting!) as well as their "Claim Center" attorney's card (which I didn't ask for, by the way). I was so upset that she was sick for part of our trip -- just a reminder NEVER to let your guard down, even with the much-exhalted Disney dining.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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