Having a child with a life-threatening food allergy, I know first hand how scary it is to eat away from home let alone take a vacation. When you no longer have control over the food your child is going to eat and the contaminants it may come in contact with, it’s a lot of stress. There’s great news for parents of children who suffer from severe food allergies like my son. Disney Parks and Cruise Line have teamed up with Mylan Inc. the makes of EpiPen® & EpiPen Jr® to have special EpiPen® locations throughout the parks and cruise ships that began in late 2014. If you’re child suffers from severe food allergies, then you know first hand the anxiety and worry that comes with travel.
My son was first diagnosed with his peanut allergy when he was 2, only a few weeks before our first trip to Walt Disney World. A tiny bite of a peanut butter cupcake immediately sent him to the hospital in full anaphylactic shock. Within in seconds of taking a bite, he began vomiting, broke out in hives and had trouble breathing.
That day was quite possibly the scariest day of my life and his too. He’s ten now and still remembers how scary that day was. He always checks the ingredients and double checks with one of us before he eats anything new.
Within minutes life as we knew it changed. We had to watch everything he ate. We had to make sure no one fed him snacks that weren’t cleared by us first. We had to check ingredients and menus anytime we ate out.
Just a few weeks after this happened, we had our first trip to Walt Disney World. We were looking forward to it for months so there was no way I was canceling. I just knew I had to double and triple check anything we gave to him, I had his EpiPens but I was still nervous. At the time, I had no idea how amazing Disney is dealing with food allergies.
Every trip (and we go every year) Disney has been amazing in handling his allergies. His allergy is noted on our reservation so when the hostess comes to our table, he/she will take our drink order and send the chef right over to talk to us. The chef will go over his allergies, what he can and can’t have and sometimes they even make him a special platter like this one from Ohana. He was so excited to his own platter of waffles and bacon made especially for him.
This is one of many reasons we love Disney. They make traveling with a food allergic child more bearable. Now having access to EpiPens right in the parks and on the cruise ships is just one more reason this food allergy mama loves Disney!
Now Disney Parks and Cruises will have:
- Nurses trained to adminsters EpiPen Auto-Injectors during First Aid Station operating hours to assist guests experiences a severe allergic reaction.
- Disney’s guide maps will now include an EpiPen Auto-Injector symbol and new signage at First Aid Stations throughout the parks
- Updated signage in the parks highlighting EpiPen® locations
I’ll still carry my EpiPens® with me at all times, but just knowing there is this option is so comforting.