We have not travelled for 2 years because of Corey’s food allergies. Even in our home country, we hardly eat out, what more in a foreign country where we don’t speak the native tongue?
How would I communicate what he is allergic to?
What would he eat?
TRAVELLING TO JAPAN AN EASE WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
I love Japan for the food, the people, the great service. Unquestionably, I can now add another thing that I love about Japan.
Without a doubt, the general awareness of food allergies in Japan is PROFOUNDLY better than in Singapore.
My experience with food and beverage establishments in our own country pales in comparison to the easy time I had in Japan.
Nobody looked at me funny when I showed them our pre-written allergy card. Not only were wait staff meticulous in checking every detail down to the sauces, but they also took extra precautions when they were not sure. We even had service staff who proactively called suppliers to check ingredients on the spot!
Having a pre-written allergen card is an ABSOLUTE MUST for anyone travelling to Japan with food allergies. If you can’t find a native speaker to translate one for you, you can copy a simple one found on this really useful article “How to Enjoy Japan Safely with Food Allergies and Intolerances” from LIVE JAPAN.
Despite Corey’s allergies to eggs, dairy and peanut, he still has many dietary options in Japan as wheat and soy are common ingredients.
Crucially, those with other allergies must take extra care when explaining their dietary needs. Besides wheat and soy, seafood and fish are also common in Japan cuisine.
RESEARCH ALLERGEN FRIENDLY MEALS BEFORE ARRIVING
The best part of Disneyland and Disneysea Tokyo? I TOTALLY did not stress over Corey’s meals!
The basic rule of eating out with allergic kids is to research your restaurants in advance.
I started this process even BEFORE our flights were booked. Yup kiasu mummy here had to make sure my food allergic son would not starve while in pursuit of Mickey Mouse.
The Disneyland official website has comprehensive information on “Special Dietary Meals” and where to find them. These meals do not contain the following five major allergens: wheat, dairy products, eggs, buckwheat, and peanuts.
And it’s easy to navigate too. On the website, you can find names of restaurants with microwaves for heating your own food and even equipment to puree foods for the younger tots.
Photographs of the meals are shown clearly so you can save it for reference. While I did this during my research in Singapore, I quickly realised when we got there that I did not need to do this! (read the next section to find out why).
You can find out more at their official website link GUESTS WITH DIETARY LIMITATIONS. Click on the link “More information for guests with food allergies (Japanese only)”, and use Google Translate to see ALL the allergen-friendly meals in both Disneyland and Disneysea (and the restaurants where they are located).
THE SECRET TO FUSS FREE ALLERGEN MEAL PLANNING IN DISNEYLAND? YOUR RESORT MAP!
Remember how I saved pictures of the allergen-friendly meals before we even arrived? Subsequently, I never had to refer to them once!
You just need to remember that the Disneyland/DisneySea MAP is the KEY to planning all your meals. You get this resort map at the entrance.
Under the legend “Available Services”, you can find a red heart that denotes “Special Dietary Meals”. These are the restaurants that have meals that are void of wheat, dairy products, eggs, buckwheat, and peanuts.
DISNEYLAND RESTAURANTS WITH SPECIAL DIETARY MEALS (info as of April 2019):
- EASTSIDE CAFE
- CENTER STREET COFFEE HOUSE
- RESTAURANT HOKUSAI
- CRYSTAL PALACE RESTAURANT (BREAKFAST ONLY)
- BLUE BAYOU RESTAURANT
- HUNGRY BEAR RESTAURANT
- PLAZMA PAVILLION RESTAURANT
- GRANDMA SARA’S KITCHEN
- QUEEN OF HEARTS BANQUET HALL
- PLAZMA RAY’S DINER
DISNEYSEA RESTAURANTS WITH SPECIAL DIETARY MEALS (info as of April 2019)
- CAFE PORTOFINO
- ZAMBINI BROTHERS’ RESTORANTE
- RISTORANTE DI CANALETTO
- S.S COLUMBIA DINING ROOM
- RESTAURANT SAKURA
- HORIZON BAY RESTAURANT
- YUTACAN BASE CAMP GRILL
- CASBAH FOOD COURT
- VULVANIA RESTAURANT
Isn’t it a pretty extensive list? This is a dream come true for this allergy mum. We were literally spoilt for choice!
4 EASY STEPS TO ORDERING ALLERGEN FRIENDLY MEALS AT DISNEYLAND TOKYO
It was extremely easy in my experience. Here’s how it went.
- I showed the wait staff my allergen message.
- After reading my message, the junior staff told me to wait while he summoned the restaurant manager.
- The restaurant manager arrived with a tablet opened to an application. This application had a form indicating a whole list of more than 20 allergens. The manager then indicated to me to click on all the allergens I need to avoid.
- Once my completed list of allergens was submitted, the app generated a list (complete with photographs) of foods available in that restaurant that is void of my chosen allergens.
I really wished I had taken a photo of this tablet and app. It had an extensive list of allergens from tree nuts, to sesame and different kinds of seafood. Oh well, maybe next time (the perfect excuse to go again!)
SPECIAL SIGNAGE for SPECIAL DIETARY ORDERS
For restaurants with table service, red signage was placed at our table. This red signage indicates clearly that we have ordered a special dietary meal. The wait staff who served us would check our order when it arrived. Even with broken English and gestures, they were able to indicate which items were normal, which orders were Corey’s allergen friendly meals.
For the first time, I could relax during a restaurant meal with Corey.
SUMMARY of HUNTING DOWN ALLERGEN FRIENDLY MEALS IN DISNEYLAND & DISNEYSEA TOKYO
1. Research as early as possible.
My research showed that most if not all the allergen meals in Disneyland Tokyo and DisneySea are void of Corey’s allergens. This may not apply to you if you have a special allergy which they cannot cater for. In the event no special meals are available, there are a lot of places that have microwaves where you can heat up your own food.
2. Next, have an allergen message written clearly in both English and Japanese.
3. Book your restaurants early.
Restaurants with table service can be booked out very fast. This was a mistake we made as we only managed to get limited choices as we were very late in the booking. Disney has an online booking system which we had trouble navigating with Google translate. To be honest I’m still not sure how the online system works as everything was in Japanese. Google Translate worked but somehow we could not submit our bookings. We ended up asking for assistance from our hotel concierge to help us book.
4. Bring your own food as a backup.
Some allergy mums said their kids can eat cup noodle which Corey cannot. I brought along precooked pasta in vacuum food bags. I had buns and “paos” which I could steam using a travel pot. Apart from these, biscuits and snacks are a must for the long queues.
I am sure this list is not exhaustive. If anyone has more food allergy tips in Disneyland I would love to hear from you! Please email and connect with me firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s another look at the different meals Corey had. I was so excited at every restaurant, he got so sick of mummy taking photos of him eating (See the last photo below!)
Next week, I’m posting about Corey first Disneyland snack, popcorn!
But first, read my previous posts on Corey’s adventures in Japan 2019: the flight on JAL and Corey’s adventures in Japan 2019: the allergic reaction.
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