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Forum FAQ – Allergy & Special Requests

Posted by Ashley Rae on March 27, 2012

After a long hiatus Ashley is back to answering your most-asked Forum questions.  A former leader in Food and Beverage at Epcot, Ashley is an expert on the standards and practice that SHOULD happen during your dining experience at Walt Disney World. 

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It’s been almost two months that I’ve worked for the Mouse and I’m feeling much more relaxed as things seem to settle down around the house.  Honestly, I needed a tad more time to pass before I could objectively talk about my experiences within the company.  So without further ado…

Many Guests like to brag about the great experiences that they’ve had at Walt Disney World Restaurants when they have a Special Dietary Request.   Although I do not struggle with any allergies, I can relate with having a need for some accommodation.  As a Restaurant Guest Service Manager, I even looked forward to some special occasions if I knew in advance what to expect.  I’m going to now try to walk you though the Special Request process.

Hopefully you have planned for your vacation whether its four weeks or 24 hours. You’ve created your packing lists, picked your resort, and reserved your restaurants.  If you haven’t gotten the latter finished, Disney.com now offers the option of reserving your “Priority Seating” online, Guest Relations or a Concierge can assist you, you can call 407-WDW-Dine (or *88 on any pay phone in the Parks), and most recently Disney Mobile Magic makes reservations easy to access from a Smart Phone.

You can let any podium Cast Member know that you have an Allergy or Intolerance at the Podium of the restaurant of when you book your reservation.  Even if you did tell the reservation line, please confirm with the Podium Cast Member.

Those requests are printed on your seating ticket and passed onto the Server.  It is the Server’s responsibility to confirm the notes on the seating ticket with the party.

The Server than speaks to a Chef (or a Manager in Quick-Service locations) and NORMALLY a Chef should come to the table.  The Management and Chefs have to take an online module to help us better understand your special request.  But if the Allergy is as common as Peanuts or Tree nuts, the Chef might just limit the items you can choose from the menu.

It becomes a matter of how busy the restaurant is.  Of course the Chefs enjoy making something special – it’s why they became chefs – it’s just not always possible.

Most importantly… do NOT pretend you have an allergy!  We are trained to treat all intolerances and allergies with the same respect since you never know when a person might have an allergic reaction to something, but saying you have a tomato allergy when really you do not like tomatoes, takes away from everyone in the situation.  Please just ask your server to not include the tomatoes.

Allergies are big business at Walt Disney World.  I’ve seen Servers get disciplined for not following the guidelines properly.  This ranges from them carrying an allergy dish to a table at the same time as another dish.  (An allergy dish should be carried alone.)  The Server might have forgotten to add the “ALLERGY” detail to the item when they ordered it, but the Guest was never hurt.  Or maybe the Server and Chef did everything they were supposed to, but a Guest can still get hurt.

*Ashley

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