Do you have a child with food allergies and find yourself torn on whether or not you should make the trip to Disney? Hopefully, this can help you make a decision, but first a few local stops along the way…

My son Luke is allergic to all things dairy, eggs and peanuts. If you are in the same allergic boat, I would love to hear how you work around it when you are out of the house. The obvious thing to do is pack his food every time we go out, but what about those impromptu times you are stuck in traffic and decide to just pull over at the nearest eating spot?

Even planned trips to local restaurants can be a problem. You hear how common food allergies are, yet, when you ask a couple of questions such as “do you cook in peanut oil”, the waitress would usually panic and say “let me go ask the lawyer, I mean the chef”.  You also have the ever-changing menus of chain restaurants (i.e. Applebee’s, Chili’s, TGIF’s) where you should never take anything for granted. With the changing menu comes the changing staff. We ate at Applebee’s one day; only to find out they cooked with peanut oil the next.  We haven’t been back in 2 years, so hopefully that has changed. There are a few local spots we frequent often that have been accommodating such as, Halligans Public House in Warwick, the Barn Cider in Sugar Loaf and Fetch, also in Warwick.

We go to birthday parties of 20-30 kids and my son is the only one eating at the end of the bench away from everyone else. My wife and I have both slapped numerous cookies and cakes out of people’s hands and honestly it’s annoying. You can’t blame other people who are not accustomed to this and really can’t blame other kids. We’ve had issues where we warned people about his allergies, and still had a problem which ended up with an Epi-pen injection or a trip to the ER. For now this is life.

For Luke’s 10th birthday, we substituted the traditional birthday cake with Rice Krispie Treats and some Enjoy Life brownie cookies, which are “allergy friendly”.

"Birthday Cake" brought to you by Rice Krispies & Enjoy Life

“Birthday Cake” brought to you by Rice Krispies & Enjoy Life

Enjoy Life has many allergy free treats

Enjoy Life has many allergy friendly treats

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Amusement Parks can also be a concern. All was well at Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA, but taking our dairy free son to Hershey would be kind of cruel for the obvious reasons. Have you been to the Land of Make Believe in Hope, NJ? If your child is allergic to peanuts, I’ll either save you the trip (depending on how severe the allergy is) or help you prepare. In their defense, this information is posted on their web site, but like many people we went there based on word of mouth. We didn’t become aware of this until after we paid the admission fees. After that point, there are signs posted all over the park.

So that brings us to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, but you’ll have to hold your plans until next week. Stay tuned….

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