Top Adventures by Disney Destinations for Special Dietary Needs
About a decade ago, Disney was investigating the opportunity expand their services for families who loved the Disney service model, but wanted to experience it outside of the traditional theme park resort model. As a result, they launched Adventures by Disney to provide a family-centric group travel experience with the Disney level of service in an international setting.
Disney was thoughtful and deliberate in designing the Adventures by Disney line. Each Adventures by Disney fare includes lodging, most meals, all transportation during your trip, and a wide variety of specialized and VIP activities. The activities and experiences are intentionally designed to pull your tween or teen of their smartphone and back to the family experience. Adventures may include overnight stays in castles, immersive local activities such as cooking classes, or privately guided tours of famous (and not so famous, but equally cool) locations. You’re still responsible for your airfare there and back and some meals during “down time”, but the overall value of an Adventures by Disney trip is tough to beat.
In recent years, Disney also added a focus to accommodating a variety of food allergies wherever possible. Within the Adventures by Disney team, there are knowledgeable people to help with the fine details of traveling within these specific locations with food allergies and other special needs, such as physical or developmental limitations.
While some destinations are easier by nature to accommodate at all levels, here are what we find are the top recommended Adventures for those with dietary needs.
Adventure itineraries within the United States are generally viewed as easier to accommodate, and keep those concerned about international travel close to home while still providing a high quality, immersive experience. There are currently 10 different Adventures within the United States, ranging from three to seven nights. Hiking in the Rocky Mountains, taking a private tour of Gettysburg, white river rafting, and a VIP tour of Walt Disney’s Disneyland apartment are just some of the activities you’ll be able to enjoy state-side.
For those considering a dabble in the shorter, more “metropolitan” itineraries at first, check out the 3 night, long weekend Adventure tours in New York City or, for the Star Wars fan, in San Francisco, which includes a tour of Lucasfilm.
European River Cruise Adventures
Sailing either the Rhine or the Danube, Adventures by Disney contracted with river cruise leader AmaWaterways for these 7 night custom cruises. As with many cruise lines, it is a very close to all-inclusive experience, and accommodation of many dietary needs is available with advance notice. Beer and wine at meals is included in your cruise fare, as are your shore excursions. An added bonus to the Adventures by Disney River Cruises is that all of the food is locally sourced. The chefs go in to port every morning to secure the ingredients needed to prepare the meals for the day, so your chances of accommodation are a bit higher.
For the Beauty and the Beast fans in your life, special 2018 sailings on the Rhine include themed on-board activities, meal options (yes, the grey stuff), movie nights, and excursions to one of the provincial towns which inspired the films.
While generally any of the 12 European-based Adventures allow for more accommodation – and every single one is on our bucket list – the top recommendation here would be the 7 night Italy Adventure. This itinerary includes nifty experiences such as a private, after hours tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel (read: your group of 40ish, not your group of 40 plus 40,000 others). It also includes a tour of the Colosseum, a visit to a Tuscan farm, and a private VIP tour of Palazzo Vecchio, the landmark town hall of Florence.
Bonus: Our friends over at Adventures by Disney let us know that this itinerary may be accommodated as gluten-free. You read that right. Gluten. Free. Italy.
There are many other itineraries and locations, but some may be less desirable if you're traveling with food allergies. Adventures on the African continent, as well as those based in South America, Asia and Australia may be more challenging to accommodate due to a variety of local circumstances. South Asian Adventures are especially dicey if you have nut, sesame or shellfish allergies.