FOLLOW-UP – OUTSTANDING TOOL – Gluten Free/Dairy Free Dining at WDW – Now There’s an APP for That!

I recently posted an announcement regarding a new APP to help visitors with dietary restrictions visiting Walt Disney World®. This week my daughter, a food allergy sufferer, used the APP while staying on Disney property. I am re-posting the announcement and explanation of this APP from February 18 because I want anyone that suffers from food allergies to know that this is a wonderful tool! It worked for my daughter even better than she expected. Having food allergies while traveling is always difficult but this APP took the guess work out of eating all meals! It is the best!

REPOST:

Editor’s Note: As the mother of an adult daughter who suffers from severe food allergies, Walt Disney World® has always been an easy choice for vacations for many years because of the attention they gave to guests with food allergies. Long before Gluten Free became a “trend”, it was an allergy concern for many that found very few places to dine out. Disney has been a leader in addressing gluten free and other specialty diets for a long time. Sarah Norris, the creator of Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW has created a site that is a tremendous asset to allergy sufferers like my daughter and now ….there’s an APP to help! And…I couldn’t be more excited or honored to help spread the news!

More Magic for Gluten Free, Dairy Free Diners at Walt Disney World

Sarah Norris Contributes Over 200 Reviews of GF, DF Dishes at Walt Disney World, Encourages Others to Share Their Experiences on YoDish

CHARLOTTE, NC (February 18, 2014) – If you live a life free of gluten or dairy – or both – you’re next trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL just got simpler. YoDish, the startup behind the free iPhone app for restricted diet dining out, has teamed up with Sarah Norris, the leading expert on gluten free, dairy free dining at Walt Disney World, to provide a long list of excellent gluten and dairy free meals across more than 50 resort restaurants. YoDish serves up Sarah’s meal photos and comments for the restaurants closest to the app user with links to Sarah’s full review of each restaurant at www.glutenfreedairyfreewdw.com.

Like many Americans, Sarah fell in love with Walt Disney World at an early age. However, it wasn’t until August 2009 that she made her first special diets trip to the resorts, during which she was amazed at the level of professionalism, compassion, and pure “Disney magic”. Inspired, Sarah began blogging routinely about her dining experiences at the resorts, which she now visits on a monthly basis. Disney is widely recognized by the gluten free and food allergy communities as a leader in specialty diet accommodation, with many families facing dietary challenges choosing to vacation at Walt Disney World for this very reason.

“Before I went to Walt Disney World on a gluten free, dairy free diet for the first time, it was challenging to figure out what I might be able to eat, and, as important, what my meals would look like,” said Sarah. “My blog, now complemented by my YoDish reviews, gives people comfort that they can experience Disney fully, without their dietary restrictions holding them back.”

Justin Cunningham founded YoDish to provide specialty diet communities a platform for sharing dining out experiences, and he immediately recognized the opportunity for YoDish to extend the reach of Sarah’s extensive resource to a new audience looking for restaurant meals on-the-go. Justin and Sarah met at the first annual Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in November 2013 and began working on the joint effort soon thereafter.

“Our vision at YoDish is to show those with restricted diets everywhere the suitable restaurant dishes closest to them,” said Justin. “Sarah’s contribution of gluten free and dairy free meals at Walt Disney World is a huge step toward the realization of that dream.”

Sarah and Justin are now encouraging others who manage dietary restrictions to post reviews to expand the impact of the resource. Anyone with an iPhone can download the app for free, see reviews by folks with similar restrictions, and post reviews of their own dining experiences to “pay it forward”.

“We limit reviews to 250 characters, so it is really very quick to add a picture of your meal and a brief comment. It’s like tweeting or sharing a photo with Instagram.”

“Seeing photos of real meals helps diners start the conversation with Disney’s Special Diets Department in advance of their visit or be better prepared when speaking with Disney Chefs onsite, so it is important for as many people to contribute as possible,” said Sarah.

Depending on your dietary profile and geographic location, you may or may not see many dishes near you right now since YoDish is a relatively new resource. The more reviews you add in your own area, the faster the community will grow. However, you can be sure that many meals will entice you on your next gluten free, dairy free trip to Walt Disney World.

ABOUT YODISH

YoDish, a free iPhone app, enables people with gluten intolerance and food allergies as well as vegetarians and vegans to share their restaurant dining experiences while on-the-go. YoDish is socially driven and leverages FourSquare’s global locations database to provide users an instant list of the restaurants near their current location. Users can post their dish reviews in the app as well as to Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare. Justin and Emily Cunningham, whose daughter has been diagnosed with severe allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, understand the challenges involved in eating out with dietary restrictions. Learn more about and download YoDish at http://bit.ly/YoDish.

ABOUT GLUTEN-FREE & DAIRY-FREE AT WDW

Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW was founded by Sarah Norris in 2009 and is the top source for gluten free and dairy free dining information at the Walt Disney World Resort. Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW contains reviews, tips, tricks and trip planning resources to assist those visiting Disney with a special diet. In addition to resources found on the Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW site, those interested in special diets at Walt Disney World can also find on-the-go information through the site’s podcast, found on iTunes.

Justin Cunningham
Founder and CEO
YoDish
(704) 602-5156
justin@yodish.com




Gluten Free/Dairy Free Dining at WDW – Now There’s an APP for That!

Editor’s Note: As the mother of an adult daughter who suffers from severe food allergies, Walt Disney World® has always been an easy choice for vacations for many years because of the attention they gave to guests with food allergies. Long before Gluten Free became a “trend”, it was an allergy concern for many that found very few places to dine out. Disney has been a leader in addressing gluten free and other specialty diets for a long time. Sarah Norris, the creator of Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW has created a site that is a tremendous asset to allergy sufferers like my daughter and now ….there’s an APP to help! And…I couldn’t be more excited or honored to help spread the news!

 

More Magic for Gluten Free, Dairy Free Diners at Walt Disney World

Sarah Norris Contributes Over 200 Reviews of GF, DF Dishes at Walt Disney World, Encourages Others to Share Their Experiences on YoDish

CHARLOTTE, NC (February 18, 2014) – If you live a life free of gluten or dairy – or both – you’re next trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL just got simpler. YoDish, the startup behind the free iPhone app for restricted diet dining out, has teamed up with Sarah Norris, the leading expert on gluten free, dairy free dining at Walt Disney World, to provide a long list of excellent gluten and dairy free meals across more than 50 resort restaurants. YoDish serves up Sarah’s meal photos and comments for the restaurants closest to the app user with links to Sarah’s full review of each restaurant at www.glutenfreedairyfreewdw.com.

Like many Americans, Sarah fell in love with Walt Disney World at an early age. However, it wasn’t until August 2009 that she made her first special diets trip to the resorts, during which she was amazed at the level of professionalism, compassion, and pure “Disney magic”. Inspired, Sarah began blogging routinely about her dining experiences at the resorts, which she now visits on a monthly basis. Disney is widely recognized by the gluten free and food allergy communities as a leader in specialty diet accommodation, with many families facing dietary challenges choosing to vacation at Walt Disney World for this very reason.

“Before I went to Walt Disney World on a gluten free, dairy free diet for the first time, it was challenging to figure out what I might be able to eat, and, as important, what my meals would look like,” said Sarah. “My blog, now complemented by my YoDish reviews, gives people comfort that they can experience Disney fully, without their dietary restrictions holding them back.”

Justin Cunningham founded YoDish to provide specialty diet communities a platform for sharing dining out experiences, and he immediately recognized the opportunity for YoDish to extend the reach of Sarah’s extensive resource to a new audience looking for restaurant meals on-the-go. Justin and Sarah met at the first annual Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in November 2013 and began working on the joint effort soon thereafter.

“Our vision at YoDish is to show those with restricted diets everywhere the suitable restaurant dishes closest to them,” said Justin. “Sarah’s contribution of gluten free and dairy free meals at Walt Disney World is a huge step toward the realization of that dream.”

Sarah and Justin are now encouraging others who manage dietary restrictions to post reviews to expand the impact of the resource. Anyone with an iPhone can download the app for free, see reviews by folks with similar restrictions, and post reviews of their own dining experiences to “pay it forward”.

“We limit reviews to 250 characters, so it is really very quick to add a picture of your meal and a brief comment. It’s like tweeting or sharing a photo with Instagram.”

“Seeing photos of real meals helps diners start the conversation with Disney’s Special Diets Department in advance of their visit or be better prepared when speaking with Disney Chefs onsite, so it is important for as many people to contribute as possible,” said Sarah.

Depending on your dietary profile and geographic location, you may or may not see many dishes near you right now since YoDish is a relatively new resource. The more reviews you add in your own area, the faster the community will grow. However, you can be sure that many meals will entice you on your next gluten free, dairy free trip to Walt Disney World.

ABOUT YODISH

YoDish, a free iPhone app, enables people with gluten intolerance and food allergies as well as vegetarians and vegans to share their restaurant dining experiences while on-the-go. YoDish is socially driven and leverages FourSquare’s global locations database to provide users an instant list of the restaurants near their current location. Users can post their dish reviews in the app as well as to Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare. Justin and Emily Cunningham, whose daughter has been diagnosed with severe allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, understand the challenges involved in eating out with dietary restrictions. Learn more about and download YoDish at http://bit.ly/YoDish.

ABOUT GLUTEN-FREE & DAIRY-FREE AT WDW

Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW was founded by Sarah Norris in 2009 and is the top source for gluten free and dairy free dining information at the Walt Disney World Resort. Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW contains reviews, tips, tricks and trip planning resources to assist those visiting Disney with a special diet. In addition to resources found on the Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW site, those interested in special diets at Walt Disney World can also find on-the-go information through the site’s podcast, found on iTunes.

Justin Cunningham
Founder and CEO
YoDish
(704) 602-5156
justin@yodish.com

 




Disney on Wheels by Corey Applegate

There is a picture of me from 1982 visiting Epcot® Center for the very first time right after it opened and I am sitting in a red checked umbrella stroller.  Fast forward five years, and my brother is in that same stroller while my sisters and I stand next to him.  I can tell you from experience that a trip to Walt Disney World® is not easy on six year old legs.  Now, my sisters and I have children of our own. My husband and I spent the first few years bringing our stroller from home, but we also lived about four hours away from the park. When our daughter was two, we had moved further away and we had to fly. We brought our own stroller on that trip also, but it was a little more difficult. There’s nothing easy about gate checking one of those big, bulky strollers. However, we learned over the years that the storage space offered by having a stroller is invaluable, and couldn’t figure out how we got through a trip without one before we had our daughter.

Photo0220FourBySix
Annabelle standing backwards on one side of the double rental watching the show in front of Cinderella Castle

Now, she’s getting bigger, as kids do, and she’s a bit big for our old stroller. We have also noticed that our trips tend to get longer as we try to visit family in addition to going to Florida, so that stroller takes up a lot of room that we don’t have. So, we have turned to rental. It would be unfair to immediately discount Disney’s strollers. You can rent a single stroller at the gate of every park and at Downtown Disney® for $15 or a double stroller for $31 per day. If you rent at Downtown Disney®, you also need to leave a $100 refundable deposit. You can also pre-pay for the length of your stay at $13 a day for a single stroller and $27 a day for double strollers. The prices aren’t terrible and that isn’t why I don’t rent my stroller from Disney. Disney strollers are hard plastic and uncomfortable for kids. Napping in them is almost impossible. If you go in warm enough weather, the plastic heats up, and it gets too hot for little legs. There are also about a million of them, and they all look the same except for your name. There’s also not a whole lot of storage and you can’t remove the stroller from its park.

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Isabella Haley in the City Elite Single rental

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The City Elite Double rental with Annabelle Applegate and Isabella watching fireworks

 

Last year, Disney made a list of approved vendors for outside sources for strollers. Approved means you do not have to be present for the vendor to drop off your rental and pick up your rental when you go home. It will all be done through bell services. It also means Disney has found these vendors to be most reliable for their guests. The approved vendors are:

Personally, I prefer Kingdom Strollers, but they are all good. You can go to the website of the company you choose, or call to reserve your stroller. You can get a single or a double from all three companies. You give the company your travel dates and the name of your hotel. Upon arrival, go to bell services, give them your name, and they’ll direct you to your stroller. It will have your name on it and it is yours until you check out of your hotel. That is actually the part I love the most about not renting from Disney, because my sleeping child can stay in her stroller until we get on the bus, and then I can put her back in the stroller when we get to the hotel. 40 pounds may not seem heavy for a minute or two, but from the bus stop to your hotel room is a totally different story.

Strollers are not the only wheels you might need in Walt Disney World®.  My grandmother began to have difficulty breathing as she got older, and walking long distances was out of the question, but she loved visiting Walt Disney World®. So, she chose to rent an Electric Conveyance Vehicle (ECV) in the park. Wheelchair rentals from Disney are $12 a day, or $10 a day for the length of stay option. Downtown Disney® also has the $100 deposit requirement they have for strollers. For the ECV rental it is $50 a day with a $20 a day refundable deposit. There is no length of stay option for ECVs. My grandmother used to save for months beforehand to make sure she had enough money to cover her ECV rental in addition to the rest of the money she needed for the trip.

Now, Disney also has approved vendors for wheelchair and ECV rentals, with the same rules as strollers for using approved vs. non-approved vendors. The approved vendors are:

I have not had occasion to rent a wheelchair or ECV since my grandmother passed away ten years ago, so I don’t have any experience with any of these companies, but the best reviews I have read were for Apple Scooter. With any of these vendors, the deal is the same as with the strollers. Give your length of stay and the name of your hotel, and you have a wheelchair or ECV for the length of your stay that is approved for Disney buses and doesn’t have to be left in the park at the end of the day. In both cases, strollers and wheelchairs, the prices for the off property vendors are considerably better than the in park prices.  Whatever you choose, make sure you do your research to make sure you get the best deal for your money. It’s your vacation.

I did not receive compensation from Kingdom Strollers or Apple Scooter. My opinions are my own.




A Baby’s Best Friend Can Also Be Yours by Rachel Horsley

playzoneIt’s inevitable, our children grow-up…usually faster than we’d care to admit. Eventually, the day will come when the Enchanted Tiki Room and It’s a Small World no longer hold their attention the way they once did. My little dude is only three, and already we are moving away from Peter Pan and towards the Pirates of the Caribbean.

If you, like me, vacation at the Walt Disney World® Resort to capture precious moments of their youth in magical memories, you may have taken (or plan to take) your children when they are babies or toddlers. We are fortunate enough that, at only three years of age, my son will visit Walt Disney World® for his fifth and sixth time in 2014.

For the first three years we made use of several local delivery services during our vacations. The Garden Grocer and Turner Drugs both delivered to us on more than one occasion.  But, there is a less well-known rental/delivery service, of which resort (and area) guests can take advantage.

While it is, mostly, common knowledge that you can rent strollers (outside of the parks) for delivery to your resort…many do not know that other baby/toddler essentials are available for rent.

In searching, I found several baby equipment providers online. However, after a good deal of research, we trusted our needs to A Baby’s Best Friend. We’ve continued to use their services for the last three years.

A Baby's Best Friend 1

They advise they are the only rental provider to steam clean and sanitize all equipment between uses. We’ve always been pleased with the quality and cleanliness of products delivered.

I only managed to get the corner of the crib in this shot.
I only managed to get the corner of the crib in this shot.

We’ve rented cribs, a toddler bed, highchair, Boppy pillow, bath accessories, and (best of all) toys from A Baby’s Best Friend. Among their many items, strollers are offered for rent. But we always bring our own beloved (and pimped out) City Mini.

Anyway, toys…I try to fly with as few bags as possible (although my husband would tell you differently,) and packing space for toys was never part of the plan.  I added them to our first order as an afterthought. Boy, am I glad we did! They came in a large plastic bin, and consisted of nine brand-name and age appropriate interactive toys. These kept our son occupied & entertained while I packed/unpacked and every morning while I was getting ready.

Toys - 1 year
Toys offered for a one-year-old

Toys - 2 years
Toys offered for a two-year-old

Subsequent orders always included toys, available to cater to different ages (6 months to 2 years.) My son was never disappointed with the selection.

The whole process is simple and friendly. Place your order online. When the order is delivered to the resort they send notification via text or voice-mail. Bell Services then delivers the equipment to your room.

Everything comes wrapped and in bags (which you will have to save for return – the only con in my opinion) and assembly is super simple and requires no tools. I did bring my own bedding because I’m a bit obsessive about things like that, but I’m willing to bet (from the look of everything else in the orders) their bedding would have been just fine.

When you checkout, put everything back into the bags and ask Bell Services to pick it up from your room and hold for A Baby’s Best Friend to pick up later in the day.

That’s it.

Our first year, Bell Services missed some of the items and only delivered half the order to our room. Irate, I called A Baby’s Best Friend at 9:30 at night (and got a human being) thinking they had messed up our order. They were exceedingly patient with me, and contacted Bell Services directly to remind them on which shelves the items were stored. They promptly called me back, apologized, (despite it not being their fault) and promised that Bell Services would have the rest of the order to me right away.

The next year, when I was unsure if we needed a crib or a toddler bed, they advised me to reserve the toddler bed (they book faster than cribs) and if, when the time came, we felt a crib would be a better fit they would be happy to change the order for me.

Sadly, in what seems like a blink of my eyes, my little man has outgrown many of their offerings and I don’t anticipate needing their service this year. I do hope, however, that this review of my experience may help others find and make a new friend with A Baby’s Best Friend rental and delivery service.

*Please note, each use of the Baby’s Best Friend service was at regular cost, and no special treatment or service was given to the reviewer.




Boggy Creek Airboat Rides by Contributing Author Jane Glanville-Duckworth aka British Disney Diva

boggy1The majority of visitors to the Orlando area won’t appreciate that the Central Florida Everglades in-fact form the head waters of the world-famous Florida Everglades!
Making an exhilarating 40 MPH wind torn, hair flapping, nature adventure on an airboat much closer than you first believed; Boggy Creek awaits only 20 miles distant from the fantasy creations of both Walt Disney World® and Sea World® Orlando. 
 
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides has sites in two locations on the 22,000 acre Lake Tohopekaliga and on East Lake Fish Camp or as the locals prefer call it Lake Toho.  Interestingly the lakes are interconnected by small bayous and sleepy backwaters. 
 
boggy2Airboat Rides are fully accessible for the less-abled traveler and absolutely will provide both fun and education for each and every generation. 
 
Speaking as a British tourist, a drive out into the wide open agricultural spaces of the countryside surrounding the city of Kissimmee is quite a revelation in itself!  It’s almost worth it for just those vistas alone. 
 
We arrived at the rather rustic looking Boggy Creek Airboat Rides location on Lake Toho and to be quite honest found it to be a very welcome break from all the razzmatazz of the theme parks.  There are plenty of free parking spots and some shaded picnic tables just to sit at and take in the natural beauty of the lake. 
 
boggy4You do NOT need to make reservations for either location as scenic nature tours leave every 30 minutes, 364 days a year, from 9am – 5pm. 
 
A visit to the small gift shop is a great way to pass the time as you wait for the next available airboat ride.  The ever-present and obligatory souvenir photographs are also available to purchase here. 
 
A good tip would be to pre-purchase and print your tour tickets on-line before you leave home.  Tickets purchased this way are often at discounted rates. 
 
However, if you are an after dark adventurer and wish to explore for American alligators by search light you will need to call ahead and make reservations for this swampy 1 hour night tour! 
 
boggy5As you board your airboat and meet your U.S Coast Guard Captain it will be apparent how safety conscience the folks at Boggy Creek are.  Children are obliged to wear life vests at all times and everyone on board is duty-bound to sport the very necessary, but quite unglamorous ear protectors.  
 
boggy3During our 1/2 hour scenic tour we were lucky enough to see baby American alligators, American bald eagles, egrets and many other types of water fowl.  Because nature is so unpredictable there’s no guarantee that you’ll witness some ‘gators lazing around Lake Toho, but I have it on good authority that the best time to spot them is the first thing in the morning!  
 
I assure you a trip on the airboats at Boggy Creek is the most fun that you can have outside of the Orlando theme parks and in my opinion can only be described as ‘the real Florida’s most natural thrill ride!’ 
 
Check out the Boggy Creek Airboats website here – http://www.bcairboats.com
 
This is a fully independent review for which I received no payment or incentive.