The Disney Chronicles: Dining out with 3 food-allergic children – Day 5

The Disney Chronicles: Dining out with 3 food-allergic children - Day 5

Allergy-Friendly Dining at Animal Kingdom and Epcot

Whether you’re taking the little ones through Dino-Land at Animal Kingdom or looking for a nice, sit-down meal at EPCOT, I’ve got two excellent recommendations to share today!

DAY 5:

Breakfast… yada yada yada… cereal, yogurt… we’ve been through this.

We spent the morning and early afternoon at Animal Kingdom today and worked up quite an appetite.  Just as my older kids were ready to break off from the pack for Everest, leaving the little ones with me in Dino-Land, we decided to stop for lunch at a nice, quick-serve restaurant called Restaurantosaurus.

Restaurantosaurus, like the Comic Strip Cafe at Universal (from Day 3), is the kind where you walk in, line up at a register, place your order and pay at the cashier, and then pick up your meals at the front as they’re delivered on trays.

As I said on Day 3, this type of restaurant doesn’t usually inspire confidence in me – but I may have to change my tune after today!

What a great experience!  As soon as we walked in, I mentioned to the greeter that we had food allergies in the family.  Without blinking, she asked us to go to the first lane where they would be able to answer all our questions and take care of us.  The manager, Alex (from St.Louis), came out with binder in hand, ready to help immediately.

First, nuts. They are only in desserts and will not be near our food. Check. Next, the oil in the fryers.  It’s canola oil and thus safe for my 2 nut-allergic children.  HOWEVER, given the chance of cross-contamination with dairy from chicken nuggets, which could trigger a reaction in my middle son, Alex decided he would fry ALL our fries (in case any get mixed up) in a special “allergy” fryer.  That gets 2 thumbs up!

But it gets better.  My middle son wanted a kids hamburger meal.  Alex immediately noted that the kids hamburger buns have dairy in them; however, the adult burger buns do not.  So we agreed to have the kids burger on the adult bun.  Now generally we don’t need to inquire about sesame seeds on the buns because we’ll see them, but I did ask in this case.  Good thing!  While there weren’t sesame seeds ON the buns, Alex whipped open the book to the ingredients and I noticed sesame seeds IN the buns.  Turns out they were whole grain.  (We would’ve caught this anyway, but how much better it was to find out from the start – please consider this a good lesson).  However, once again Alex came to the rescue with tapioca buns that were dairy-free and I believe he said gluten-free as well.

But wait, there’s more!  THIS is service!  Once we worked out what my kids could eat, Alex walked over to the cashier and helped her enter the information.  We then placed the rest of the family’s order.  Alex quickly brought out the drinks and told us to find a table – he would take care of everything.  He personally oversaw the cooking process, brought the food out to us himself (making sure we knew exactly what was what), and came back again to check that everything came out alright.

Outstanding service!  And all this from a quick-serve restaurant!  Alex, you get HUGE kudos from me!  Show your boss this and demand a raise!

Could dinner surpass this experience?  Maybe not surpass it, but we had another nice, safe meal.

We went back to EPCOT to dine at another “country.”  I wasn’t about to consider our disappointing experience at “Mexico” (Day 3) the standard for EPCOT’s countries.  So tonight it was “Italy” – Via Napoli to be exact.

As we were seated, we mentioned our food allergies to the host.  Immediately, a manager was sent over who took good care of us.  Fernando (from Westbury, NY) answered all our questions knowledgeably and confidently.  There would be no nuts near our children’s food.  There was plenty of non-egg-based pasta if we chose that for our baby girl (though we ended up breaking off tiny bits of pizza for her).  And as for our middle son’s dairy allergy, the spaghetti was obviously fine, but the meatballs weren’t.  Further, the bread was from an outside source and Fernando was not comfortable enough to assure us, so we simply kept that away.  No loss.

We had an excellent meal… and our two food-allergic boys even had seconds!  I would throw in one important cautionary note, however.  As one AllergyEats Blog reader commented after my “Mexico” experience, a lot of the wait staff are from the foreign countries represented by the various lands in EPCOT.  Tonight, our waiter was an Italian native.  His English wasn’t great and, despite my Italian heritage, I had some trouble with his accent (though this was all made much more difficult by the VERY loud atmosphere in Via Napoli).  We had some communications problems which led to a wrong meal being brought out and another forgotten (unrelated to food allergies).  In fairness, though, I think the problem was more on my end than the waiter’s, though he was gracious to an extreme and resolved everything almost instantaneously (and yes, he got a good tip!).  The bottom line here, however, is that I highly recommend you review the allergy orders more than once!  Unless you speak fluent Italian, it is prudent to take the extra minute.

So there you have it – TWO positive recommendations for you!  What do you think?  A quick serve that can be that helpful?  A safe “country” meal?  I’m curious if any of you have dined at these locations and have had similar or differing experiences.  Whether you have or haven’t, please share your thoughts by clicking Reply below.  I believe readers of this blog are getting as much out of the fantastic and enlightening comments from fellow readers as from my own scribblings.  I know I am!

Also, please help us keep building our base of ratings and of restaurant raters over at the core AllergyEats site (  From the home page, you can rate any restaurant you’ve dined at recently – it takes just a minute and only requires answering 3 questions – or you can click the box on the right-hand side to Refer a Friend to AllergyEats.  The more people who participate, the more valuable AllergyEats will be for all of us.

As a side note, to the woman who so enthusiastically embraced our site after seeing my father in his AllergyEats T-shirt, yes – a T-shirt is coming your way!

Tomorrow:  Typhoon Lagoon midday and once again back to EPCOT for dinner and late-night fun.  I won’t say which EPCOT restaurant just yet – don’t want to tip anyone there off!  Find out tomorrow morning.


    Mary Finlay

    So glad to hear about all of your positive experiences. We went to Disney years ago and stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and had excellent allergy related service there. I can’t recall the other places we went (for breakfast, mostly).


    Wow, you are really inspiring me! The only type of vacation we have taken with my 3 year old with dairy, egg, and nut allergies has been one in which we had our own full kitchen in the motel and never go out to eat, other than OJ and fries from McD’s. You are opening my eyes to see that dining out with allergies is possible, and it seems like the Disney area has lots of good options. Thank you!


    We ate at the Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Magic Kingdom and had the same level of attention as you did at Restaurantosaurus. It was great – we were very impressed!


    Thank you so much for detailing your experiences. We have plans to go to Disney next spring with my in-laws. I was already getting nervous about my 3 year old daughter’s various food allergies. The information you are providing will be so helpful, and it will keep my anxiety in check. Thank you so much!!


    I’ve been reading this blog with great interest, as we will be heading to Disney in about a month.

    My family of 5 (9 year-old twins & a 6 year old) has only eaten in a restaurant together 3 times EVER, and those 3 times were on our 2 previous vists to Disney. A breakfast at the Crystal Palace & lunch at the Garden Grill (Epcot) the first time, and a breakfast at 1900 Park Fair at the Grand Floridian the 2nd time. Only my 9 yearold son has food allergies (peanuts, tree nuts andanaphylaxis to dairy).

    We ALL eat totally dairy free, when we are together. We have not had milk in our home in over 8 years, and don’t buy yogurt or cheese, etc. etc. Because of this, finding “safe” food that ALL my picky kids, who have never even eaten a slice of pizza before, will eat is certainly challenging. My kids would never try Mexican or Moroccan or even Italian food. The staff at the Garden Grill was very accomodating & made us special dishes and an apple crisp that was not on the menu. Unfortunately, my kids barely touched any of this $100 meal put in front of them. So we carry around a cooler full of sun butter & jelly sandwiches and safe snacks everywhere we go. Both breakfasts were terrific & we received the royal treatment… although I wasn’t too happy about cream & butter placed on the table, but obviously all families don’t keep dairy off the table, even with a dairy-allergic child.

    We have reservations for a Breakfast at the Polynesian Resort & are confident that it will work out as well as our previous breakfasts at Disney. But, besides that… I can say I’ve read anything that makes me want go to any specific Disney restauants (maybe the Dinosaur place, if we go to the Animal Kingdom).


    I am so glad to hear of your good experiences. We are huge Disney fans and have always had experiences like the ones you wrote about today. As the parent of a food allergic child, Disney is so fantastic. My son loves going there because of the special treatment he gets from the chefs and no one ever makes him feel weird for inquiring about ingredients -everything is so matter of fact there (as it should be everywhere). Enjoy the rest of your trip!


    This continues to be a great series!! You make a great point – I always tell my food allergic clients to take special care at the countries in Epcot because of the potential language barrier. The one thing I haven’t seen you mention is the importance of working with the Special Diets Team in advance of your trip. There are forms that you should fill out to make sure that all of your dining locations know of your visit in advance and will have appropriate supplies on hand. This is definitely recommended by Disney and as I work with this team all the time, I can wholeheartedly say that they go above and beyond to make sure your experience is safe and magical. Unfortunately, most guests don’t know about this step and skip it, which can result in some disappointment.

    Melinda Joseph

    Can you tell me if Restaurantosaurus carried the Amy’s Dairyfree/Soyfree macaroni and cheese or was it just gluten free? I ask because on the info. Disney sent me it shows this restaurant carrying Amy mac and cheese but it fails to specify which type. My children are allergic to Dairy and Soy so I’m anxious to find out. I have truly enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you very much for the helpful information!


      Hi Melinda –
      Sorry, but I don’t know the answer to your question about whether or not Restaurantosaurus carries Amy’s Mac & Cheese. Give Disney a call. Unfortunately, they don’t let you call individual restaurants (or frankly anywhere individually), but you should be able to get an answer from customer service.
      Good luck!

    Jeanette Bradley

    We also had a great experience at restaurantasaurus! My daughter is allergic to soy, nuts, barley and palm oil – we filled out a special dining request form before going to Disney and consulted their list of safe foods. Turned out they have great chicken strips that are soy-free. The manager walked our order through the process, and my daughter loved the chicken nuggets.

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