The Magic Kingdom | Shaylas First Restaurant Experience

Well they say it is a place where dreams come true.  Our trip to the Magic Kingdom was nothing short of that.  We only spent one and a half days there but they couldn’t have been any more perfect.   We planned and planned, and honestly our biggest challenge was what to do with Shayla’s food.  More on that later.

2016-01-12_0001 After weeks of anticipation the morning had arrived to be ready for the Magic Kingdom.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the girls this genuinely excited and focused on the trip ahead of us.  Jen bought each of them special frames that they can put their favorite photo inside after the journey.  2016-01-12_0002 2016-01-12_0003 Our campground at was only 27 minutes away so our trip in was quite painless and simple.  We stopped off at “Best Friends Pet Care”Screenshot 2016-01-13 14.50.07 best-friends-pet-care-006For $35 we were able to let Cole stay there all day and play/sleep until we got him at 11pm.   He doesn’t really love these types of places but it was so nice to have the option to bring him and not need to find a solution for him in the RV for 14 hours.  2016-01-12_0004Shayla anticipating the Tram arrival.  The wonder in her eyes just kills me.  2016-01-12_0005

At this point I think they would have been happy just riding the Tram.  2016-01-12_0007Mickey and Minnie were finishing up a morning greeting and waved at us.  Look at Shayla’s face…  2016-01-12_0008First on our agenda was  fan favorite on Ariel’s ride.  We FastPassed this ride for sure.   This is the girl’s first encounter with one of their “idols”  2016-01-12_0009Leighton was clearly speechless and possibly wondering what was real and what was animatronics; while Shayla was, well…..  2016-01-12_0010 2016-01-12_0011After the perpetual smile took hold of Shayla’s face, Leighton began to enjoy the time a little more.  We stood in line for and hour for something the girls never expected .  A meeting and interactive experience with Belle… another legend in the Braga house.2016-01-12_0012 It is a little hard to see but you can see their faces in the mirror, (mine as well with the camera) They have NO idea what to expect. 2016-01-12_0013Shayla and Leighton are SO intrigued by Madame Armoire.    All I could do was watch their faces during all this… another character they’ve never seen in person; coming to life.  2016-01-12_0014 2016-01-12_00152016-01-15_00012016-01-12_0020 True to most all of our journey’s I was “destined” to find someone I knew wherever we went.  Our recent bride Brianna was there with her mother for her birthday.   You had to see my face when I heard…”Jerome!”  lol  So great so see you that day!  Happy Birthday!!!! 2016-01-12_0022 2016-01-12_0016One of the many center stage performances that happened that day.  We had a good vantage point for the show even as we arrived to this one late.  The girls again were mesmerized at the sight of Snow White, Cinderella.  2016-01-12_0019During the street parade… we ran to see one of Leighton & Shayla’s “older” favorites “Jessie”.   They were able to break it down for a few songs with them right on the street, but surprisingly they were both so incredibly timid.   2016-01-12_0018 2016-01-12_0017Although SUPER excited to see Jessie, she was SO timid.  It was beyond cute.     No trip to the Magic Kingdom would be complete without the outdated, slightly irritating “Small World”  This song still haunts me in my sleep. 2016-01-12_0023 2016-01-12_0026

Back to the topic of Food.   For lunch we brought with us two packages of frozen sandwich meat which we ate as turkey and ham rolls.  This is a common lunch staple for us.  It is wheat free, dairy free so it is an easy grab and go.  Take it with us frozen and by the time we get to our location, it is thawed and still cold.   We also brought some home made popcorn in sandwich bags.  And bottled water.  Remember there isn’t anything we could really buy at Disney World that would be prepared for us which Shayla could eat so we opted to bring our own EVERYTHING.     2016-01-12_0024At a street vendor cart, near Gaston’s Pub; we did find an assortment of Enjoy Life chocolate bars.  Bravo Disney!  Dream coming true step one.  Also we paused for a mid afternoon snack with Sabra hummus, and packaged Pickles.   All Shayla Safe.  🙂  Thank you again Disney for giving us these options!   We aren’t big snackers so this was more than enough to help us make it until our dinner reservation at 6:30 2016-01-12_0025Now that we were refreshed we headed to Peter Pan’s ride as our FastPass #2 of 3.   It got stuck however and we were in it for about 5 minutes without movement.  Meh.  #notimpressed  but the girls enjoyed it.  2016-01-12_0031By far the most talked about ride of the whole trip was the Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train.  They LOVED it.  As you can tell by the Disney Photo Pass Pictures.  2016-01-12_0034 2016-01-12_0032 2016-01-12_0033This picture pretty much sums it up for us.    2016-01-12_0027So after all the waiting of the hour and a half for the Mine train line and the 30 minutes of the Go Carts (which THEY got to “drive”)  we told the girls we had a surprise.   They didn’t know about the next FastPass experience.  Fast Pass #3 of 3 was a meet and great with their all time favorite princess Rapunzel followed by their number two favorite Cinderella.   Glad we fast passed this one because the line was 70 minutes long and growing and we walked right into the private room for the meet and greet.   2016-01-12_0028The girls were truly in heaven.    Although Cinderella was perfectly in character and not too funny or interactive, Rapunzel stole the show with her joking and comedy, as well as her compliments of the girls.  They fell in love with her even more.  2016-01-12_0030 2016-01-12_0029I’m not sure if this is normal but I think Rapunzel spent nearly 5 minutes with the girls in a one on one greeting.  They had smiles from ear to ear.   Next up was… DINNER.

Ugh… This was one of the toughest things to go through as an allergy parent.  We went back and forth about whether to or not to give the restaurant a try at making safe food for Shayla.  We said yes, then NO WAY, then maybe, then No, then yes….. for weeks we deliberated this choice.  My only argument for the experience was that if ANY company can pull it off ; Disney can.  They have SO much to lose by having bad press and SO much to gain by being the place where Dreams can come true.

Shayla's Wheat Challenge Test and Results
Regardless of whether we would or not, we packed Shayla her FAVORITE food (Chicken Avocado & Chips) and carried ice packs, containers, cookies for desert, etc.  We carried what was a pretty heavy backpack of food for nearly 10 hours, with the slightest hope that we might not even need it.  We weren’t going to make a final decision on whether she would eat from the famed Be Our Guest restaurant until we actually placed our orders.   Everything we’ve read about Be Our Guest says that they will have a chef come out, and specially prepare SOMETHING for your child with allergies…  When it is your kid’s life, however… that is NEVER enough.
Shayla's Wheat Challenge Test and Results
We were seated in the Gallery room, and upon being greeted by our server she quickly noted that our situation should have the Chef’s personal involvement.    And so the Chef came out to talk to us.  My 15 years of restaurant experience gave me so many questions to fire at him, like what was previously cooked on the grills before non allergy food hits it.  Will the tongs that grab the meat be in contact with meat or garnish that had previously had allergens on it.  Cutting surfaces?  Are there virgin cutting boards for her food or will they be the same boards used previously.  Will the servers have freshly cleaned hands prior to handling the plates?  Does the ice for the apple juice come from a “bar” where dairy could have been previously poured etc.  Does the meat come in a brine solution, or a marinade, or the veggies microwaved in the same ovens that had cheese in it.    All of these and many more were answered to my satisfaction as they all weren’t issues with regards to Disney’s food handling procedures.   From there I went back to my first thought… They have SO SO Much to gain by doing the right thing and making this a reality for us.    So with that being the determining factor and my confidence in the Chef; he personally took Shayla’s order from her and cooked it himself.  She started with a fresh fruit cup appetizer, and had Steak and steamed green beans for dinner.
Shayla's Wheat Challenge Test and Results
Here is the little princess having her VERY first restaurant meal.   Her dream came true.  The Steak came out slightly under cooked.  We didn’t want  to send it back for fear of it being mishandled and cross contaminated but the chef insisted he would personally take care of it.  So after a short wait… out came another ENTIRE dinner.  Exceeding expectations and Shayla ate BOTH dinners.    We thought our experience was perfect and was going to end there, but they wanted to surprise her with desert.   We scoffed because there really aren’t many things that she can have for desert.  The chef came out with a photo of the Coconut Iced Cream label and said he can deliver that to her.   We were blown away.    Truly magical.  Upon exiting the restaurant we were able to jump into a short line and get a photo with the one and only Beast.   Look How happy her face is.
Shayla's Wheat Challenge Test and Results
Thank you Disney for making this a truly memorable and magical experience for our daughters.