And we’re back with day #3 in our “Walt Disney World the Food Allergy Way” series. The past two days we’ve covered Epcot and my personal favorite, Magic Kingdom. But today we are sharing our food allergy experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With this being the newest of the Walt Disney World Parks, you might be surprised to find that it is the most allergy friendly, in my opinion. Check out what we found…
I was SUPER excited to take my little men to Disney’s Animal Kingdom as they had never been. And to be honest, it had been 5 years since I’d been there myself. My little men love going to the zoo here in Indy and so I knew that they’d love walking around and looking at all of the animals. Plus, the Kilimanjaro Safaris is my all time favorite ride at this park. You actually hop onto a large open-sided safari truck and get to ride through the African savannah in search of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, and so much more. Don’t miss your chance to ride this ride if you’re at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
All of that being said, our day started with Donald’s Dining Safari Breakfast at Africa’s Tusker House Restaurant. This was a character breakfast featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Daisy Duck. You can find out more information about character dining by reading about the Disney Dining Plan. This was no different than our experience at The Crystal Palace at Disney’s Magic Kindom. The food was served buffet-style – every food allergy parent’s nightmare due to the risk of cross-contamination. However, the chef came out to the table, listened and took notes on the boys’ allergies, and then escorted me to the buffet to walk me through the buffet line explaining each and every food. Once I told him what foods the boys would like to eat, he went back and brought me plates full of their favorite things: Mickey waffles with pure maple syrup, bacon, roasted potatoes and bowls of fruit.
Growing up a Disney child, Mickey waffles were a big deal to me. A Disney trip wasn’t complete until I had Mickey waffles and that was something that I wanted for my little men. I can’t express how much it meant that they were able to make these allergy-free for them. As you may have read in another post, we’ve been to Walt Disney World three times since my youngest was born and each time we’ve had Mickey waffles. From the moment we announced that we’d be heading back to Disney World (a.k.a Mickey’s House, according to my oldest), my youngest began asking me with big, bright eyes if he’d be having Mickey waffles. I guess you could say that I’ve officially passed-on the Mickey waffle tradition!
One side note about character dining, I do worry a bit about the characters themselves passing food proteins from one table to the next. So as the characters come by to interact with us, sign our autograph books and snap photos I don’t allow my little men to eat until after the character has moved to a new table. I bust out my wipes and wipe their hands down again. I know it may sound a bit extreme but the last thing that I want is a severe reaction to take place at Disney.
Once we finished eating and met all of the characters, we headed out to ride some rides. The Animal Kingdom is divided into seven parts: the Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, and DinoLand U.S.A. In Africa, we rode, my favorite, the Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Wildlife Express Train that takes you to and from Rafiki’s Planet Watch where you can learn about conservation and visit a petting zoo, and we walked the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and got to see a variety of animals (most of which we don’t have at our zoo). The boys had a blast! Of course the two things that my little men are most into right now are volcanos, which you probably read about in my post about Epcot, and dinosaurs. So they couldn’t wait to visit DinoLand U.S.A.
On our way there we passed through Discovery Island and came across the Gardens Kiosk. It was the BEST THING EVER! The Gardens Kiosk sells allergy-friendly snacks and can give you information on special dietary options for the entire park. The man running the booth was incredibly informative and pulled out a binder to show me, based on allergy, where we could find food to eat. He even had lists of ingredients for many of the items served at each restaurant. AH-MAZING. I’m just going to say it now…they need one of these at EVERY park! We were able to purchase Enjoy Life Cookies for my little men to snack on and they also had a variety of other items that were gluten-free and/or vegan, including Babycakes NYC cupcakes. Be sure to stop here and stock up!
Once we landed in DionLand U.S.A, my little men had a blast running around and “finding” dinosaur bones at The Boneyard. To end our trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we hopped on the TriceraTop Spin (much like Dumbo the Flying Elephant at the Magic Kindgom) and soared through the sky in our very on dinosaur. We all had a blast and although we didn’t get to visit Asia during this trip, it will leave something new for us to experience the next time we come. I truly hope Disney considers putting a kiosk at each park that is just like the Gardens Kiosk at Animal Kingdom. It was such a blessing for our family and every food allergy family that was in search of safe food at the park.
Have you been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom? What was your favorite part of the park? Did you stop by the Gardens Kiosk?