I would like to say before this post begins that my entire life I have been a Disney fanatic. I love everything about Disney– what they stand for, the experience, the beliefs, anything and everything you name it. I will support Disney with every part of my being, and I would never want to write about an anything less than wonderful experience unless I felt like it was necessary.
What I love most about Disney, as you have probably read in my other Disney World posts, is their ability to make someone with an allergy, especially a child, forget that they even have an allergy or that they are different in any way. For however long they are inside the gates of Disney World, they will feel completely normal. They will enjoy all the same meals as every one else, and have a fantastic experience. Vivian and I always have an amazing time at Disney and we love every second of it. We had a joyous time at Disneyland Paris when we visited last month too, but unfortunately our food experience was a major struggle.
We decided to spend the day, instead of sightseeing through the city, in one of the most magical places on Earth. We took the train from Paris to an hour outside, where Disneyland calls home. We entered the gates and rode some awesome rides (If you ever visit, you must ride Crush’s Coaster! My favorite ride ever!), and were excited to let go of the stress from eating “travel food” and having to try to explain our orders in all kinds of languages for a little while. When we got hungry and wanted a snack, we calmly went up to one of the quick service restaurants, and instead of being given a menu with all the options we could have, we were given three allergy-friendly, top 16 free, frozen meals that could be microwaved; beef with olives, vegetarian pasta, and veal sausages with potato and courgette mash.
There are around 20 restaurants in the two parks I would guess, and every single restaurant only offered these three items.
(Sad Vivian inside of our 7th restaurant visit)
So if I’m coming to Disneyland Paris and staying for 5-7 days, in a resort hotel on property, I would have to eat the exact same three meals every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? I feel like a picky-eater child with an allergy would struggle with that, and even a normal allergy child would get tired of eating the same foods.
Now not to sound all debby downer, I think it’s wonderful that they at least have an option, when so many places do not. It’s awesome that they do their best to cater to people with all sorts of food intolerances/allergies and I’m super thankful for the thought that they have put into doing that.
But I would have expected more from a Disney property, especially considering how well taken care of we are at Disney World.
We ended up going to every.single.restaurant in both the Magic Kingdom park and the Hollywood Studios park and every restaurant said that they could only offer those three meals. Finally, my mom went into Auberge de Cendrillon, AKA Cinderella’s restaurant, and spoke to Cinderella herself! She assured us that we would be offered a meal free of dairy and fresh from the (safe) kitchen like everyone else. When we arrived for dinner later on and repeated the conversation to the waiter, he brought out the three meal options. Then we spoke to another waiter, and the manager, and another waiter.
We ended up speaking to five different people in the restaurant. The manager explained that everything inside all of Disneyland was cooked in one extremely large kitchen and that it would be unsafe for us to have food prepared there in case of cross contamination. My mom and Viv’s mom were extremely firm about the safety practices and how they could create us a meal that would be safe yet fresh and enjoyable. The manager said that he would do his best. Again, I was thankful that he was knowledgable and respected us enough to try. Disney is still magical in terms of their customer service, no matter where in the world you are.
We ended up with some lettuce and proscuitto and plain chicken, and pears for dessert. And after all that, I was happy.
Thankfully Vivian and I don’t actually experience anaphylactic reactions or I don’t know if we would have struggled with our meal. It worked for us and we ended up having a good experience. But do not go way out of your way to visit Disneyland Paris with the promise that the food experience will be like it is at Disney World. Unfortunately, at this time, they are not the same in that regard.
Maybe pack your own cooler to take with you?
All the staff were extremely kind and really doing their best, and we were super thankful for their time and energy. I just hope that the level of food service for people with allergies that are offered will become better in the future. But we made sure to not let any of the food setbacks rain on our beautiful day at Disney!
The rest of our time was spent riding rides and enjoying the parks. We even ate the largest cotton candy I have ever seen in my life, and it was delicious! Vivian also got to meet Disney princesses and characters, including her favorite; Cinderella and Prince Charming. It was such a special experience to share with her, and one that would have taken months ahead booking at Disney World. So I would say the trip was absolutely worth it on that memory alone.
Overall the experience was okay. I hope that by reading this post you can plan your trip to Disneyland Paris with the knowledge of what the food offerings might be like and how to work around them to still be able to enjoy the experience. I also hope that in the future Disney can create a dining plan in all their locations that accommodate people with allergies and make them feel like they are right at home.
I always believe in Disney, where dreams come true.
P.S., I’m actually going to Disney World at the end of September to celebrate my 21st birthday! I can’t wait!