I mean, is she the cutest or what?
Vivian and I are in Disney World with our families for a week-long vacation! While we are here, we are writing about some of our favorite places to eat, tips when dining in Disney, and the overall experience of being at the Most Magical Place on Earth with an allergy!
This is part 2 of a 4 part post series all about Disney, Disney, Disney! Read our first post about Epcot here.
Like I said in our previous post, the Disney cast members, chefs, and anyone who works for Disney World does an excellent job of being well informed about our allergy and taking all the precautions necessary to allow Viv and me to enjoy our trip to the fullest without any worries of a reaction. I even think I forgot that I had an allergy a few times, and for someone who deals with an allergy, you know that we never get a break from checking every little thing that we eat, so it was very nice!
I recommend making reservations for everywhere you’d like to eat because it gives the restaurant time to prepare for your arrival. And, when you are going to a restaurant with special requests it’s courteous to let the establishment know ahead of time, but I also just showed up at a few places (especially for lunch) and the service was the same. I also emailed Disney at firstname.lastname@example.org a few days before our trip (they ask you to email them at least two weeks ahead of when you are going if you have multiple allergies or more than one person in your party with allergies) and they emailed me an awesome list of most of the restaurants and parks on property and what they might have that is dairy-free. It was the perfect go-to when deciding where to eat and I often referred to it when ordering dessert. If I knew that a restaurant had Enjoy Life cookies on the list, then I would specifically ask for them for dessert.
In this blog post, we have decided to share our experience at Hollywood Studios (or MGM, as I will always call it in my heart). This is the movie park, centered around all the big Hollywood films, and also home to two of Disney’s biggest thrill-seeking rides: Rock N’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.
My personal favorite things to do at this park are The Great Movie Ride, Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream exhibit, and Lights, Motors, Action!
Toy Story Pizza Planet
Funny story– Vivian and I were Starving, with a capital S, and knew of dairy-free pizza at Pizza Planet (it was recommended in our handy dandy guidebook that Disney sent me when I emailed them about our allergy’s) so we ran over to get some pizzas before our fast passes for Disney Junior – Live on Stage!
This was going to be our first official meal on Disney property, and we were ready to see how it went.
Of course, the service was excellent. The ah-mazing manager came out and went over everything we could eat. She even showed us the official ingredients list for the dough and “cheese”. We were all set and ready to go, the only hitch… it takes fifteen minutes to cook.
We all looked at each other (Vivian, Ms. Mara, and me), starving and all, and knew that we wouldn’t make it to the show Viv really wanted to see if we got the pizza. So we ran back across the park just in time to see Disney Junior. It was a great show, of course! Vivian knew the words to all the songs and danced along.
After the show, as we were heading back to Pizza Planet to order our awesome pizza that I couldn’t stop thinking about through the whole show, I mean my mouth was really watering my now. I was parched, so hungry, just ready to eat. Vivian was in the same boat as I was until… she sees the one and only Sophie the First, in all her glory, talking to some kids and taking pictures. Vivian went into total character sighting mode, jumping up and down and had a huge smile on her face. I tried to join in on the enthusiasm train, but was too hungry to think.
Viv’s incredible super hero mom, Ms. Mara, ran to order our pizzas for us while I stood in line with Viv for her to see Sophie the First. And then we ended up eating our DELICIOUS pizza while watching one of my favorite shows at Disney: Lights, Motors, Action. So it all worked out in the end– Vivian got to hug Sophie the First, I got my pizza, all was good in our Disney dining world.
Pepperoni pizza with soy cheese and marinara sauce… the best.
It looked and tasted so good that Anne Margaret, Vivian’s sister, even thought it was real. As Viv was chowing down, Marge freaked out, “Vivian! Don’t eat that! It’s cheese pizza!!!”
Vivian says the pizza is one of her favorite Disney treats. Every day she’d ask two questions:
1. Can we get that pizza again today?
2. Have you put that amazing pizza on the blog yet? That pizza really needs to go on the blog.
Vivian and I use a little rating chart to provide all you guys with an easy visual of how we would rate each place we ate at:
Kids Options: 10/10
Adult Options: 10/10
Taste of Food: 10/10
Overall Experience: 10/10
Would we recommend? YEP WE WOULD. Amazing pizza, great service, we LOVE pizza planet for vegan pizza! (yeah, it’s totally vegan on top of being downright awesome.)
The Hollywood Brown Derby
Another one of my favorites. The Hollywood Brown Derby hands down has the best Chopped Cobb Salad on this planet. It actually invented the Cobb salad, read the back of the menu when you sit down to learn about the story behind the original Cobb salad.
I would also highly recommend the vegan dish that they offer, with tofu and noodles. But when I went to the Brown Derby I really just wanted the salad. You can get an appetizer or entree portion, and I got the entree portion without cheese or bacon. The chef came out (per usual) and told me how the dressing was dairy-free and everything would be prepared in it’s own, safe area in the kitchen. Vivian wasn’t feeling too hungry either and so she ordered mahi-mahi with broccoli.
She was a happy lady. The perfect portion size for her and she loved it!
My Cobb was as amazing as usual. Seriously, best salad in the world.
(Sorry for the stinky lighting. Unfortunately, the Brown Derby won worst photography lighting during the whole trip.)
Vivian’s dad, Dr. Reese, also ordered the salad and I think he liked it, judging from the snippets I heard from him in between his giant bites. It sounded something like, “this is the best salad I’ve ever had. Yum. So good. Oh my gosh I didn’t know a salad could be this good. Best salad ever. Try this Mara, it’s so good. Such a good salad.”
Yeah, something like that.
For dessert, we had Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookies, and they were yumtastic (I’m trying to find new words to describe food, comment below if you have any ideas.)
The plain chocolate chip ones are crunchy, while the other flavors are smaller in size and soft.
I love how we have options!
Kids Options: 9/10
Adult Options: 10/10
Taste of Food: 10/10
Overall Experience: 10/10
Would we recommend? I absolutely would, and I do!
As I was editing the photos in this post, I realized that I have a ton of pictures of Vivian and her sisters, and not a single one of my sister, Hannah. She’s not really interested in the spotlight, and revolts against photos in general. Hopefully I’ll find one of her from the trip to post though!
In the meantime…
Your Awesomeness (our nickname for Evelyn) sported her birthday button the entire week we were at Disney. She loveddd getting birthday congrats from people all over the park; cast members and bystanders were all wishing her a happy, happy birthday. Make sure to pick up a birthday button at check-in if you are celebrating while there, or in Ev’s case, the month you are there. Ha ha. Love you Ev!
And this is Vivian’s oldest sister, Anne Margaret.. isn’t she beautiful? I adore this picture of her in front of “New York” at Hollywood Studios.