Allergy-free Disney

I do love the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – not so much for the topiaries and concerts as much as for the FOOD. The “Outdoor Kitchen” booths give the park the same vibe as the Food & Wine Festival held at Disney in the fall.

For both events, Disney provides you with a handy “passport” to make sure you can keep track of everything you want to see/do/eat. Conveniently, Disney notes gluten free and vegetarian options with icons right on the menu:

epcot-international-flower-and-garden-festival_full_29691

I wonder why Disney stops there, though. There are so many other common food allergens out there that I think most patrons would appreciate seeing clearly what’s safe for them to try at the F&G or F&W festivals. I did ask Guest Services about an allergen menu while I was at Epcot over the weekend, and they shared no such thing existed. They did mention that cast members at each of the booths would be able to tell me if a specific allergen was present, however.

So I tried out this “ask” method and waited in line at the “La Isla Fresca” booth. The cast member was unsure whether soy or dairy was amongst the ingredients in any of their delicacies, and asked the chefs behind the booth. But I don’t think they knew offhand either, as they also had to check, and quite some time passed before I was given an answer. Everyone was friendly enough about it, and I appreciated they didn’t seem to mind the inconvenience. Still, I think it would have been a better experience for everyone involved had I already had the information in my printed booklet.

I know the “passport” could become very cluttered if they try to identify all allergens. Some foods are easy to identify right in the menu description. For example, it’s very easy to see if a dish contains shellfish, peanuts, or tree nuts. But things like soy, dairy, and eggs could be hiding in sauces or marinades, so maybe Disney could start by listing out the harder-to-see allergens. This would help cut down on lines at the booths and increase sales in the event individuals with allergies are passing on the food booths because they are unsure if the food is safe for consumption.

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