If you’re an allergy parent, going any where can be anxiety inducing. At some point though, you want to maintain some sort of normalcy in your child’s life, like going to Disney. I remember our first trip, in fact even the next trip following, to Walt Disney World. Both resulted in my son, Marcus, in the emergency room. Marcus has severe allergies. In addition to being allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soybean, sesame and shrimp he is also diagnosed with a rare disease called idiopathic anaphylaxis. What this diagnosis means is that he has unknown triggers, possibly random occurrences of anaphylaxis. It can happen any time and any where. To describe the craziness of this diagnosis, our home which is completely allergen-free, as he sat on the couch, playing on his iPad, he blew up. He had not eaten anything. He hadn’t touched anything. He had dinner hours ago, it was the weekend and he was relishing in a later bedtime. It’s terrifying. My son, now 5 years old, in his short life, has been hospitalized way more than anyone should be, and many times more than many people have in their entire lifetime. People have said to me, they wouldn’t blame me if I never took him out. Fearing daily for your son’s life is knuckle-white scary. There was a period of time he was our boy in the bubble, and in that time, nothing changed. He still had random reactions, multiple hospitalizations, too many epi-pens to count. At a certain point it occurred to me that our lives were going on without us. My son missed birthday parties, family dinners. He didn’t go to day care or camp. He never went to the movies, we never dared to go to a grocery store. We most certainly did not go on vacations. It wasn’t a life, sitting at home, his only friends were his family. I was sad for my little boy. I was sad for our family too. My daughter who adores her little brother, tried to be a good sport, but sometimes wanted ice cream and her favorite mac and cheese was no longer allowed. It wasn’t fair to anyone.
I had heard from many people that Disney was amazing with allergies. I read many blog posts about the “magic” of Disney with allergy families and I was hopeful. My husband was hopeful and we were both excited. Our children were huge Disney fans and going to Disney would be a dream come true, if we could do it safely. I did my research, called the hotline, packed our med kit and as I mentioned above, we still made TWO trips to the emergency room at Celebration Hospital. I would still say Disney is our safe place.
Disney goes above and beyond to create a magical and seamless experience for allergy kids and their families. From their dedicated Special Dietary Request Hotline (407) 824-2634 or email them at [email protected].
WDW has an allergy hotline that you can call to find out more information about dining with special needs that include Gluten and Dairy free in addition to other needs like Vegan, Kosher, Sugar-Free, and allergies such as soy, egg, and tree nuts. You can call them at: (407) 824-2634.