Me & Frank @ EPCOT
Over Spring Break, my family packed our bags and headed off for our big vacation! Usually our trips consist of the beach or the mountains. Hey, I’m from North Carolina, those are your only options. We finally decided to go as big as possible and head to meet “The Mouse in Chief” at Walt Disney World.
*Commence motherly freak out* Why the major panic attack?…
When my four year old Frank was sixteen months old, he was diagnosed with a rare gastrointestinal disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE). It is an autoimmune disease where the white blood cells attack the esophagus when certain food proteins enter the body. The only treatments available as of now are steroids, formulas, or food eliminations. Some children, and adults as well, are allergic to so many foods that the only solution for them is placement of a gastrointestinal feeding tube. For Frank, we chose a combination of food elimination and steroids. He also has environmental induced EOE along with 10+ food allergies.
For the first time, I was taking my son to a place I had absolutely no clue about, especially in regards to where and what to eat! I was freaking out! How would he eat safely? Our hotel doesn’t have a kitchen in the room. What am I going to do?
Disney Jr. Play n’ Dine Breakfast
I started my research and came across an online group just for food allergies at Disney World. Amazing, right?! It surely was. I mean, these people really seemed to know what they were talking about. We even received chef cards with Franks’ picture and a list of his allergens to give to each chef, right before our trip. So helpful!
As I made my reservations, I noticed allergy notes and boxes to check, letting them know ahead of time that someone had an allergy or allergies. When we arrived to each restaurant, it was like I had stepped out of my own “allergy mom” dream. Real life is totally better! There it was, every time…ALLERGY… stamped in bright red ink across our ticket. I’m pretty sure my face looked like Goofy at this point.
I’ve never met so many chefs in Franks’ entire little life! I was blown away at how safe they were making him. They each came out to talk to me and they walked me through buffets. They brought out huge plates from the kitchen. All prepared safely and piled high with all of his favorite things. They even brought out cupcakes! What four year old doesn’t love cupcakes? I have never felt so comfortable and safe about food. Frank was normal. For once, he was just a regular boy, eating regular food. For once, his meals didn’t look any different from his brothers’ or his cousins’.
Best. Cookie. EVER.
When we returned home, I asked him what was his favorite part of the trip. I couldn’t believe the answer he gave me! It wasn’t “meeting Mickey” or “going on safari to see the animals,” he responded with “the big chocolate cookie!” Let me just take the time to say that I am not gluten free, soy free, nor vegan, even though I probably should be…BUT… Erin McKennas’ Bakery is amazing! One of the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted and I like to consider myself a “Cookie Connoisseur.” Erin McKennas is a completely soy free, gluten free, vegan bakery located at Disney Springs. Here’s another tid bit of magic for you…They ship! If you order a birthday cake, they will get it to you overnight. Just give them at least 48 hours notice. They’re not fairy godmothers; although, from what I experienced there, I could be very wrong about that!
If you’re still nervous about it or on the fence about this trip, I 100% recommend Walt Disney World if you or your children have food allergies. We had a magical time. Now I know not everyone is the same or can eat the same so remember to always ask if you’re not sure and ALWAYS read your labels!
Like this sign at the bakery states… “We Can Not Please Everyone. But We Try.” They do indeed.
I have so much more to share with ya’ll. Stay tuned… The Adventures of Frank & Murph: “At the House of Mouse” is coming soon! 🙂
-If you would like any information regarding something I’ve mentioned here, please feel free to contact me! Comment. E-mail. If you’re curious to know more about EOE and other eosinophilic related diseases, you can visit apfed.org.-
*Opinions and experiences are strictly my own and not affiliated with brand.*