So what do I mean when I say allergy-friendly at Disney? I'm talking about how I managed the resort, the parks, dining, attractions, rides, etc. with mast cell disease (i.e. random allergic reactions, possible anaphylaxis) and severe food allergies. I went into a bit of detail in the previous posts, but there was a lot that I didn't mention, so that will all be here!
Before we even left for Florida, I had called the resort we would be staying at (All Star Sports) ahead of time to request chemical free cleaning. One of the challenges with mast cell disease is that I have a lot of triggers, but can't specifically pinpoint what it is that triggers me. We DO know that I can be very reactive to bleach-containing products and similar cleaners. Requesting this ahead of time meant that (hopefully) we could avoid this trigger immediately on entry to the room. I am glad to report success on this!
One thing we did not do, which I would seriously look into for future visits is to find where the smoking areas are located. The buildings at the resorts are smoke-free, but there are designated smoking areas (in the parks as well). For us, unfortunately, one of the smoking areas was between our building and the main building that had the registration area and food court. Every time we walked to get food or to talk with someone at registration, we had to run the gauntlet past the smokers. Plus, the one night it POURED, we had to take a long way to get back to our room (and get thoroughly soaked and chilled) because I needed to avoid the smokers (who were safely protected under umbrellas). One of the other smoking areas also happened to be at the other end of our building leading to a pool area which was almost equally as inconvenient...all the smoking areas are posted online on the resort maps, so I would want to check those out after booking and request a specific building or area that I knew would be away from some of these designated contamination zones.
Another thing I briefly mentioned (but you may have just skipped over it) was that Disney is a big fan of fog/smoke machines. Now, I know that in theory fog machines are pretty much just water and should technically be fine, it can be very difficult to determine if it is fog or smoke in the amount of time I might have before my body starts to react. Sometimes the use of these are labeled at the entrance, but other times they are not. If you are also extremely sensitive to these sort of fog/smoke machines, be prepared that the mists may appear out of no where. Many of the shows that use them have vents in the floor that suck the mist back down (to prevent it from obstructing the view for everyone watching). So just be aware and ready to move/leave if needed, but I was surprisingly okay sitting in the back row at one of these shows and had no issues with the fog/smoke.
Disney is also a fan of making their attractions as interactive as possible. This often comes in the form of a 4D theater experience with water being sprayed, seats moving, and the occasional scene-appropriate scent to give you the feeling you're "in the moment." Water was okay, although caught me off guard a number of times, and the seats moving/shaking might have woken Leni up from her snooze, but was otherwise uneventful. Now the scents...those were a bit of an issue. As I've mentioned multiple times throughout the blog (and as is common for many mast cell patients), scents are a HUGE trigger for me. Unfortunately, the worst offender was also the best ride of the whole trip...Soarin'. This was a simulated hang gliding trip through some of the most iconic sites across the world. Certain scents were sprayed at specific times to give you more of a feeling that you were actually in each location. There was nothing posted ahead of time, so we had no idea this was coming. Be aware that while I would HIGHLY recommend this ride, proceed at your own risk and be prepared, whatever that might look like for you. I would go on this again, but wear my mask to avoid fully breathing in the sprayed scents as well as pre-treating with my meds to hopefully keep any reaction at bay. Also, this was the only ride we went on that had this issue, but I'm sure it's not the only ride at Disney that uses scents. Don't be afraid to ask a cast member when you enter the line if they use scents (or a fog/smoke machine) or anything else that could potentially be a trigger for you.
|GF/DF/SF Toast and Butter for Afternoon Tea|
|Such a pretty fruit plate!|
|Pineapple and safe Turkey!|
|Eating an allergy-friendly cookies and cream donut!|
So I think that's everything I wanted to mention! Was this long enough for you?? =P I hope this is helpful for someone else maybe preparing to travel to Disney with various severe allergies. It took some planning and preparation, and we still had to be careful, but we made it work and had a great time!