Many Disney dining restaurants are reopening at the resorts, parks and Disney Springs on Walt Disney World property, but doing so with limited menus. Here’s what you need to know about the limited menus and allergy-friendly dining for you next visit!
Why the limited menus? There are a few reasons. First, these places are reopening with limited capacity to allow for safe social and physical distancing to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. This limited capacity does not just mean guests, it means Cast Members too. Just as there will be fewer guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort in these beginning phases of reopening, there will also be fewer Cast Members working in the kitchen and preparing food. It makes sense to keep a proper ratio of what is in stock to what is needed for sales. Second, the Disney Culinary and Supply Chain departments are working out supply chain changes with vendors and places where they source their foods and ingredients. Just as you may have noticed a change in stock at your local grocery store, this is also felt throughout food manufacturing and distributing in the hospitality sector. How long will the limited menus continue? We can expect to see these at least through phase one of reopening.
Changes to Expect
Limited Menu offerings- Limited menus and allergy-friendly dining means just that- there will be fewer options available. Allergy-friendly offerings on menus will be limited just as the standard menu options. You can view standard menus on the Disney website or in the My Disney Experience app.
No Shared Menus- You will be provided with a QR Code to scan using your smart phone to view the menu. Paper menus are available for those who need them.
Allergy-Friendly menus available upon request- Previously, many allergy-friendly menus were conveniently found on your My Disney Experience App under Mobile Order. You were able to view Allergy-friendly options for each of the eight top allergens located below the Plant-Based Menu and Kids’ Menu sections. This function appears to be gone for most establishments at this time and has been replaced with a message that “Allergy-Friendly menu (or Allergy Guides) available upon request,” meaning you will have to visit the table-service or quick-service restaurant in person to view the menu. The menus are printed onto single-use paper to prevent shared surfaces between guests.
Enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures- Before the Coronavirus pandemic, it was strongly encouraged to call ahead to your Disney Resort hotel room arrival and request a “VIP Clean” or “Deep Clean” by Mousekeeping when traveling with allergies. This process has now become the standard for all guest stays. You will also find enhanced safety protocols implemented at both quick-service and table-service dining including thorough wipe down of tables between guests, reduction in shared surfaces, and cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as handles and doorknobs. We will see cleaning and wipe down of rides and railings when the parks reopen as well. While it is still best to practice caution, these are welcomed changes for guests who have been carrying out these procedures themselves to limit exposure to allergens during previous visits.
What Will Remain the Same
Flag your dining- You can still note your food allergy in the My Disney Experience App when making Advanced Dining Reservations.
Ability to Speak with a Chef- You should still talk to the Cast Member regarding your dietary restriction when ordering food and consult with the Chef to discuss your options (both on and off the menu) that you feel comfortable with. Discuss your comfort with cross contamination and ingredients used in your dish.
Plant-Based Menus can help guests with select food allergies- Plant-based menus (found my the leaf icon) are still in circulation and visible on the Mobile Order function of the My Disney Experience app for guests with food allergies looking for menu options free of dairy, eggs, seafood and animal proteins.
Disney’s Food Allergy Process- This remains unchanged. You may recall from our previous food allergy-related articles that Disney does not have separate kitchens for allergy-friendly food prep but they work hard to prevent cross-contamination and are willing to share ingredient labels as to best inform each guests of the products they use. It remains the Guest’s discretion to make an informed choice based upon their individual dietary needs.
Use of the Special Diets Team- Access to the Special Diets team remains available and guests should email [email protected] after booking dining arrangements for their visit, and no more than 14 days prior to their arrival, to further discuss their concerns.
Guests can bring their own food- Guests can still pack their own food to bring into parks, order delivery groceries to their Disney resort room, and store them in their mini fridge. Should you need additional cold storage, speak with a Front Desk Cast Member who may be able to accommodate you with an extra mini fridge.
Walt Disney World Resort remains a preferred destination for travel parties with guests who have a food allergy. While there will be inevitable changes during phased reopening, these changes are to be expected and seem to align with what all diners will be experiencing. It seems for the time being there will be a strong reliance on discussing a guest’s allergy-friendly options with the Chef or a Special Diets trained Cast Member upon ordering food at both quick-service and table-service locations, as opposed to relying on pre-printed menus and in-app options. Stay tuned to The Kingdom Insider as we continue to report on updates to limited menus and allergy-friendly dining changes during phased reopening!