So we did it!!! We survived a Disney cruise with multiple severe food allergies, had a blast, wish we had done it sooner, and plan to do it again! I wanted to be sure and post our experience because if it wasn’t for others sharing their success stories, I wouldn’t have found the courage to attempt it. My two are milk/egg/peanut and milk/egg/tree nut. We took the Disney Dream. The first day was a little bumpy. Our servers thick accent and the fact that he threw in “gluten” when he was reading our allergy sheet had us a little nervous. But he got the head server who read the same sheet and they had it right. The head server explained they take our order and the allergy sheet to the chef to make sure it can be done and then the meals are prepared in a separate area of the galley. It took a little longer the first night to get their meals, but then after dinner we pre-ordered breakfast lunch and dinner for the following day every day thereafter. They had steak and french fries with steamed vegetables, chicken tenders, hotdogs, hamburgers, pasta with olive oil, and for breakfast, they had pancakes, bacon, sausage, prepackaged dry cereals and fruit. We did pack a bag of safe snacks for during the day because it was difficult to find safe snacks on the ship without ordering room service which took a bit longer to go through the allergy process. The days that we were on Castaway Cay, their pre ordered lunch was delivered from the ship to a specified location on the island. The day that we were on Nassau, we chose not to try to find safe food at Atlantis, but just brought safe prepackaged snacks for them to eat because fresh food or unsealed food is not allowed to be brought on or off the island. For those that are severely contact allergic to dairy, I would add a cautionary note that there is unlimited soft serve ice cream on the ship and Castaway Cay and occasionally you would run into a puddle of ice cream or someone breaking the rules with ice cream in the hot tub etc. It was nice to meet a few other allergy families while on the ship and I thought it would be cool if we had a pre-planned get together. Future cruise idea I guess. Also, I did notice they had enjoy life cookies in the kids play area. The epinephrine/medication form you have to fill out to leave it with the staff in the play area mentions it should have the original label which we did not bring, however the staff said we could just write their name on the bag. Castaway Cay has the Epi-pen sign on the health building near the gift shops, FYI, but of course bring your own. I think that’s everything! I hope you too can find the courage to go out and find adventure and not let food allergies hold you back!
The only way I can actually relax on vacation, is if I do the cooking myself. For that reason, we try to stay somewhere with a kitchen. We have made do with just a minifridge and microwave, but let’s just say it was no gourmet affair. Every year, I try to make a grocery list ahead of time that will allow us to be in and out quickly once we arrive at the store near our location. This year, I’ve decided to blog it so I don’t have to rewrite the darn thing next year- and also to share with you of course! Some items we prefer Publix brand for, but if you know of another brand substitution that is milk, egg, and peanut free- please share!
This is my list for out of town groceries for 5 days for a family of four, with two children allergic to milk, egg, and peanut. We try to stick to simple recipes that hopefully our kitchen-away-from-home will have the tools to execute and just focus on hitting the basic food groups: protein, produce, carb.
- Frosted brown sugar and cinnamon pop tarts
- +/- a box of cereal: Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Cookie Crisp
- Vanilla soy milk. We prefer Publix Greenwise brand but will use Silk in a pinch.
- 1 loaf of bread. We use Publix honey wheat.
- 1-2 pounds of deli meat. We do not use fresh sliced meat from the store’s deli due to the concern of cross contamination with cheese and meats containing nuts. We use prepackaged Oscar Meyer delifresh honey ham.
- Pepperoni. We use Hormel original.
- 1-2 bags of chips. We like Tostitos original, Rold Gold pretzels, and Lays original or BBQ. We have found milk in some BBQ brands, milk in some Tostitos flavors, and the potential for peanuts with other pretzel brands. Always read the label. The whole label, not just the “Contains” statement.
- Produce: Carrots, baking potatoes, bananas, watermelon, apples, strawberries, blueberries…mmmm.
- Microwave popcorn. At least a 6 pack. We use Orville Redenbacher’s Naturals, Simply Salted variety.
- If we’re lucky: ice cream! We like Tofutti Cuties vanilla ice cream sandwiches, So Delicious brand vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and Purely Decadent’s Cookie Avalanche flavor of dairy free ice cream.
- If not ice cream: popsicles! We like So Delicious brand creamy fudge bars, Popsicle brand plain flavors (although they have recently had a recall where these contained milk so I may be revising my opinion of this brand), PhillySwirlz, and FunPops- the kind grandma always had in her freezer- the all-American brightly colored sugar-in-a-plastic-sleeve type.
- Cookies! We like Oreos. Oreos have recently updated their labeling so that now ONLY the original and double stuffed are safe for us. No more minis or vanilla kind. 😦 We also like Chips Ahoy original chocolate chip cookies. I know the package says contains whey, but for some reason, these have never been a problem for us.
- 1 pound of chicken breast cutlets. 1 pound of lean ground beef. 2 pounds of salmon.
- 1 small box of Bisquick original baking mix (for “breading” oven-baked chicken).
- 1 bottle of Morton Season All, salt and pepper. Or *pack ahead*.
- Canned veggies. We like Green Giant brand green beans and corn.
- Pasta sauce. We use Prego Traditional variety.
- Spaghetti. We use Publix brand.
- Dairy free margarine. We use Earth Balance brand.
- Cooking oil for greasing pans. We use Publix brand vegetable oil, EVOO or canola spray.
- Canned bread. We use Pillsbury brand french loaf or original crescent rolls.
- Tyson brand dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets.
- Oreida brand crispy crowns, waffle fries, or crispers.
- Maybe a frozen pizza for Mom and Dad on nugget night. Yes, we sometimes eat what they can’t. We feel the world will be this way for them, and they will have to learn to adjust and take caution for cross contamination in every circumstance. But that’s a whole other blog topic!
- Hmmm. One night left. What to fix? I think I will *pack ahead* (**= reminding myself) a baggy of Ener-G egg replacer and use the rest of my Bisquick box for pancakes. So you will also need:
- 1 package of Oscar Meyer bacon.
- Oreida brand crispy crowns or hash browns.
- 1 bottle of maple syrup. We use Hungry Jack Lite.
- Bottled water, soda
- Plastic baggies to make snacks portable
I know, this is not the absolute healthiest list, but it’s simple and I’ll rest easy knowing it’s safe and they at least got a few more nutrients than a week of fast food would provide.
Also, when we get to our kitchen-away-from home, I always run the dishwasher first to rewash the dishes. That’s just me. I want to know for sure that they have been cleaned properly and are free of cross-contaminants.