Ordering With Allergies

Recently, Dan and I had dinner with a couple of friends at Shutters at Old Port Royale in Caribbean Beach Resort, and as we were ordering, we noticed something a little … odd … about the menu.

You see, Dan has a shellfish allergy. It’s nothing deadly, but it does ruin the evening if he accidentally eats some shellfish. So I’m always pretty careful to keep an eye on what he orders and letting the servers know of his “special” need.

It used to be, when you alerted the server to your food allergy, you’d get an allergy menu. It would be more or less like the regular menu. A bit shorter, usually. And under each item, there’d be a list of allergies. For example, a dish with a cream sauce might say, “This meal is safe for those with peanut allergy or a shellfish allergy.” (But not, you know, for those with a lactose allergy.)

When you were ready to order, the chef would come out to check in with your allergy sufferer about the items on the menu. And he’d follow the progress of your meal through the kitchen, ensuring the safety of your food. It worked!

On this night at Shutters, though, things were a bit different. Dan’s allergy menu noted that all of the items listed were acceptable for anyone with an allergy. Any allergy. Dan has a shellfish allergy. But there’s no Spicy Peanut Noodles on the menu. Because peanut allergies are common. (Also because spicy peanut sauce wouldn’t be a great fit for Shutters.)

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that the menu is very limited. And as an allergy sufferer, Dan thinks it’s bullshit. And I tend to agree.

If you order off this limited menu, the chef doesn’t come out. He doesn’t take your order or talk about the entrees with you. I guess because he really doesn’t have to. You never see him, although I assume they still take note of your plate in the kitchen. For a company that has a reputation for being so fabulous with special needs (including allergies), I found this new system pretty shitty.

However! On this night, we learned that you can still speak to the chef. You can still order off the regular menu. You just have to ask. And you have to know to ask. So consider this your advance notice. Don’t settle for a castrated menu—just because you have an allergy doesn’t mean you should miss out on the peanut sauce. (Unless you have a peanut allergy.)

Do you order off an allergy menu at WDW? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!

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