'Peanut Allergy Princess' is the story of one mom, one Princess with food allergies (to peanuts and brazil nuts) and our journey through the stress of life with food allergies. Here you will find many recipes, tips on living (and enjoying life) with food allergies, thoughts from a mother of 3 kids (The Brothers and The Princess) and insights into our life. Welcome!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Disneyland.. it is the Happiest Place on Earth - even with Food Allergies

We are Disney freaks... well, The Princess's Daddy and his family are. So, I guess I have inherited this love.  The Brothers and The Princess all first visited before the age of 2 - and this trip was actually The Princess's second visit. So, you can see that there might be a little fanaticism going on.

When we first decided to take The Princess, I was terrified. What would she eat? What might she come in contact with? Would we end up in the hospital there in California (which has actually happened to us the first year we took Brother #1. An untimely asthma attack landed us in the ER for a couple hours - luckily, it all turned out ok)? I had so many questions about how we would manage the trip with The Princess and her dietary restrictions. Now, after 2 trips under our belt, I can say that Disneyland (or any Disney theme park) is probably one of the BEST vacations you can do with a food allergic child.

First, we were allowed to bring our own food into the park (an entire cooler, actually). We have always done it, but now I know that if we were ever questioned it would be allowable.  This not only saves a TON of money (because yes, eating in the park can get very expensive) it allows us to bring in all kinds of food that is safe for The Princess. We brought in sandwiches made with homemade almond butter and nutella, crackers, fresh fruit, cheese sticks, homemade granola bars and a bunch of other stuff. We could eat at our leisure and not worry about finding safe food.

Even though it was cold, she loved the beach

Now, if you do like to eat in the park, it can be easily done with food allergies (although, if there are multiple food allergies it might get a little more difficult). The first time we took The Princess, her Granddad took it upon himself to ask every food vendor we passed about their food. I couldn't believe how much information the food vendors had about the ingredients in their food. It was very easy to pick which ones The Princess could and couldn't eat. I also honestly don't remember anything being contaminated with peanuts (except for the obvious things that actually contained peanuts). We never ate in a sit-down restaurant, but I have read that they do their best to accommodate food allergies. They simply prefer if you call in ahead of time and make requests in advance. 

In the rain with her aunt
We did frequent the IHOP restaurant across the street from the main entrance and they were extremely helpful. Before any food was ordered, we were asked (before we could even bring it up) whether anyone in the party had food allergies. With 3 kids who were sharing parts of their meal, they didn't even bat an eye when we asked them to redo part of an order because something The Princess was going to eat had come in contact with Brother #1's eggs (this happened before The Princess had her negative test to eggs)
(on the Carousel - on of her favorite rides)

Disneyland is probably the cleanest amusement park I have ever been to. Although, the first time we visited with The Princess, I was worried about whether The Princess might come in contact with something by grabbing a wrapper left out or by simply touching a hand rail or another part of a ride, that never happened. It helps to wash hands often and try to get kids to not touch every railing and surface they come in contact with, but we all know that doesn't happen. I  carried 2 epi-pens (and Benadryl) with me at all times and The Princess's daddy carried a 3rd epi-pen (just in case), but we never had to bring them out. 

This is really beginning to sound like an endorsement of Disney theme parks, which it is not. Just my honest opinion about them. It can be hard to travel with a food allergic child, because there are so many unknowns and what-ifs and some people and places are unwilling to work around food allergies and special dietary requests.  I simply want to alleviate some concerns for those who might be considering a vacation to a Disney theme park. 

In light of my last post, it is never too late to make some memories with our families and loved ones (whether they are at a Disney park or somewhere else).

She is a real Princess now


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