After church a couple of weeks ago, someone gave our daughter a piece of candy. It was a miniature peanut butter cup. Typically, our daughter avoids peanut butter; she just doesn’t like it. But this particular Sunday was Easter. Candy flowed from the children’s classrooms like water from Splash Mountain. My husband opened it and handed it to our two year old who immediately ate it. She spit it out faster than she put it in. There was mushed chocolate and peanut butter all over her hands. “Daddy, this is yucky,” she said. He cleaned her hands, threw the candy away, put on her coat and headed to the car.
Minutes later, our daughter began to get sick. She threw up everywhere, she started to wheeze and cough, hives appeared all over her hands, and the eye she had been rubbing was starting to swell shut. This had not happened before. Prior to Easter Sunday, we just thought she didn’t like peanut butter. A test a couple days later confirmed that she had an allergy to most tree nuts as well as peanuts. Our two year old is the new owner of an Epipen.
My husband has food allergies as well. He is allergic to seafood, both fish and shellfish. (Click here for my husband’s post on how we’ve handled his allergies.) This allergy has been pretty easy to maneuver a menu around, he just orders beef. How would we manage our upcoming trip to Disney World with a child who has a nut allergy? Nuts are seen and unseen. Almond extract is in baked goods, could be in the cake we order for her birthday celebration in the parks. Some people fry foods in peanut oil, one glimpse at a cookie does not always reveal the walnuts baked inside.
On previous trips, we have added a note on our dining reservations that informed cast members of my husband’s seafood allergy. Now, we will add our daughter’s peanut allergy. Disney Parks recently announced that beginning April 14, 2015, they are introducing allergy friendly menus. All restaurants should have the revised menus by fall 2015. These menus are supposed to make it easier, especially at counter service locations, for those with allergies to have more food options and also have a full list of ingredients available for every menu item. These menus highlight meals that are for people with the most common food allergies, wheat/gluten, nuts, fish and milk. Those with less common allergies should still discuss meals with culinary staff before ordering. You should also be aware that they do not offer separate dining areas or are able to prepare the food in separate kitchens, for those with airborne food allergies.
While she is content with typical toddler fare of dirt and crayons, I am reading the ingredient list of everything else, looking for ingredients that may cause a reaction. These new menus could not have come at a better time. Hopefully, this means I will worry less when we travel. Details like the new allergy friendly menus are reasons why we regularly vacation at Disney Parks. Even this preposterous peanut problem will be handled with pixie dust!