Anna’s story: Holiday at Disneyland Paris with a nut allergy

Firstly let me introduce us. We are a family of 4. Our daughter C is allergic to tree nuts and celery. She had her first major reaction aged 4 just weeks after starting school. We are now very used to living with her allergies. She was recently re tested on her 8th birthday and sadly reacted to both still quite badly during skin prick tests. Her next tests will be when she is 13.

We have only been abroad once since we discovered her allergies and that was on a P&O cruise ship and our experience with her was first class. This year we braved Disneyland Paris for a long weekend with my family.

We left armed with lots of food snacks and small cereal boxes in our case, along with her epipens and piriton. I had printed some translation cards just in case we needed them for back up but having been to Disney a few years ago English was spoken by nearly all we encountered.

On the Eurostar we had breakfast included with our seats. My mum had made them aware of her allergy – but they weren’t aware. So she couldn’t eat the food on there – but I had packed a small variety sized box of cereal so they got her a bowl and milk and she was happy as Larry. We later found out that the food they served was from Waitrose so if we were to do it again I would check in advance.

We stayed in a Disney hotel – Hotel Cheyenne. At the check in desk we were given a big allergy booklet showing us where we could get the special allergy meals from and what items were served for breakfast.

Included in our room price was breakfast – again I remembered it from last time and so came prepared. Breakfast is a continental buffet. Breadrolls, croissants etc – so a big no no for us. I asked for the allergy safe food – after being passed to 5 members of staff I was shown who could help me. The lady then passed me breads, cakes and biscuits. All individually wrapped. I asked to see the packaging and 2 of the items contained traces of nuts and peanuts!!! ARGHHH – so we stuck to our variety boxes and cereal bars.

In the park itself there are a number of restaurants that serve a special allergy free meal. The choice was pretty poor – a couple of options and not very child friendly. She had a rice and meatball dish. It was a frozen ready meal that I then had to heat in the restaurant microwave for 6 minutes. It was very expensive – 11 euros – but worth it for the peace of mind.

The best restaurants were in Disney Village. We ate twice in Planet Hollywood– both times we were served by an English waitress and everything was checked directly with the chef and she had a great choice. Meals out for us can be harder due to the celery allergy too – but again they were fab at checking everything. We also ate in the Rainforest Cafe – the manager was Irish and they made her a meal that she loved and we felt really happy with. Both restaurants are more pricey than others – but we were happy it gave us peace of mind. One of those nights the rest of my family ate in McDonalds which had been our back up plan before we arrived- but beware in there you order on a terminal yourself and in the UK there is celery present in a lot of their foods so for us it wasn’t an option to eat there.

There are lots of snack outlets in the park. We took our own popcorn as I remembered popcorn was everywhere but she was delighted to be allowed a giant candy floss stick for the night time light show.

Overall I would say preparation is key! I did find it hard work but some of that was due to the fact we were travelling with my parents and sisters and I felt guilty that we all had to eat in places suitable for C – but my family didn’t mind at all. As with all mums on here we all know the types of foods that are risky and when you had a different language in the mix it does make it harder. But we had fun and for me that was all that mattered (once I knew she was safe).

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