Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's a Disney World and I'm loving it, Hail to the mouse

To all readers of the Allergic Diner, to make up for 19 days of not posting I will be posting at least once a day for the next several days. Thank you for your patience!~RL

There is nothing like the comfort of going on vacation. There is nothing like the stress of going on vacation, either. On a good vacation, the stress stops the moment you step foot on the plane and does not return until you return to normal life. This, dear readers, was a good vacation.
I say a vacation is stressful because if you share my personality type you worry about packing, about making the flight, about remembering your tickets, etc., up until the very moment you step foot on the plane. For some reason then I quit worrying about whether or not I packed my toothbrush, or remembered the book I've been reading, and just try and relax.
The non-allergic husband and I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Disney World. And no, though this seems to shock my co-workers, we do not have children. What we do have is a desire to enjoy warm weather, gourmet food, exercise, culture (EPCOT, for those of you scoffing, is filled with culture) and fun all in one place. The fact that we manage to do so for an affordable price is even better.
But Disney holds something specific that most other vacation destinations do not for the allergic consumer, a respite from being on allergy-alert. Allergy alert is a little something I've named for the following: "Did I pack my spare epi-pen? Remember the emergency benadryl? Prepare my list of food allergies? Pack allergy-friendly snacks?" These questions tend to start at the beginning of the vacation and continue in the form of: "Did he take me seriously when I explained the tomato allergy? This is a pizza place, what happens if he doesn't listen and touches something with a tomato before touching my food? What if they're all in the kitchen dreaming of ways to put a tomato in the food somewhere that I can't see it? Did I pack my insurance card? I wonder where the closest hospital is...." etc.
Unfortunately, while this sounds like the rant of a paranoid and semi-delusional woman, most severe allergy sufferers have been there. We have been scoffed at or laughed at by wait staff who don't believe or deem it important to care about. We have been told "Oh, I just didn't think it was that big of a deal (??)" by a server who's neck we'd like to ring.
But Disney is a fairy tale land, and not just for the young. Disney provides allergy sufferers with a respite from food worries. Every restaurant, counter-service, sit down, grab-n-go or otherwise has a list of the ingredients of the prepared foods. I kid you not, I once asked the lady at the "all-beef hot dog" stand to prove the hot dogs were all beef. Out came the book. They were obviously telling the truth, but polite about my pain-in-the-behind tendencies all the same. At ANY place in Disney (even the buffets) you can have something made fresh and allergy-free. Every sit down restaurant asked us about my allergies, and every time the meal was perfect. I did not worry about food the entire time we were there (and you can't get much more relaxed as an allergy sufferer). The Disney resort we stayed in had the same Disney policy, and as such, the non-allergic husband and I did a lot of walking to burn off all the eating we did there. It is comical to think that a theme park can be relaxing, but a lake-front resort, countless activities, delicious food, fun rides, and a lack of contact with the outside world was phenomenal :)
Thank you Disney, on behalf of Allergy-sufferers everywhere :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. I am allergic to MSG and carry an epipen as well...and Disney World is the only place I go and eat all week without being fearful. The ingredient books are wonderful and the willingness to give info is too. I wish others would take the clue from them!!