By Erin Malawer
When the weather warms, so does our sense of adventure. It’s a great time to visit an amusement park for a day of fun that everyone can enjoy! You may be surprised to see how many major amusement parks are well-prepared for guests with food allergies.
To ensure a safe visit, begin your research at least a week in advance – giving you time to get questions answered, overcome any foreseeable challenges and coordinate your arrival with a guest representative at the park.
Each amusement park has a set of guidelines regarding outside food policies, dining options, allergen menus and points of contact. Take a few extra minutes to research online the food allergy policies of the amusement park you want to visit and think ahead about your meals for a memorable experience!
Accidental exposures do happen, so always be prepared for emergencies: Carry two epinephrine auto-injectors with you at all times to treat a severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland
Disney is the gold standard for welcoming food-allergic visitors. Guests can review menus and consult with chefs to discuss ingredients and meal prep. Chefs can easily accommodate most allergies, including corn.
Should you have multiple food allergies or an allergy to something beyond the top 8 allergens, contact Disney representatives directly and discuss where to eat and how to bring safe food into the parks.
Walt Disney World has installed epinephrine auto-injector stations throughout the park and marked them on guide maps. And first aid stations have nurses trained to administer epinephrine auto-injectors.
Universal and Legoland
Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood and Legoland all recommend reviewing menus in advance and discussing your allergies with a Guest Services advisor. They also outline how to bring your own food into their parks.
Busch Gardens and Seaworld
Busch Gardens and Seaworld designate at least one restaurant at each park location best suited to handle food allergy requests. Busch Gardens also offers allergy cards for guests to use at their dining facilities. Collapsible coolers are allowed for those with dietary restrictions.
In addition to making allergen menus available, Hershey Park has dining for those with food allergies at the park’s gluten-free, nut-free, fish- and shellfish-free restaurant.
Hershey Park’s staff is very knowledgeable about best practices, noting that every nursing station is equipped with epinephrine auto-injectors. But – as always – remember to bring your own.
There are a variety of food vendors and restaurants at each Six Flags location. Find out which food vendors are present at the park you’ll be visiting and look up their allergen menus individually.
If you plan to eat at one of the parks’ restaurants, be sure to ask questions about ingredients and food preparation, including fry oil and cross contamination. You can also bring your own food into their parks.
• Pack snacks and supplemental items like breakfast goods, hamburger rolls, granola bars and desserts; or ship them to your hotel.
• Bring a collapsible cooler (as well as freezable cooler packs) to tote safe food into the parks and keep epinephrine auto-injectors cool during long, hot days.
• When carrying two epinephrine auto-injectors, consider using a small backpack with a top that closes securely to keep inside your auto-injectors and other essentials, like sunscreen on rides.