In every aspect of their theme parks, Disney goes above and beyond the industry norm to show that they care about their guests. And they treat us like guests instead of customers. The most recent highlight is with their new line of snacks – Snacks with Character. Disney knows how to make people feel special and welcome. They also know how to turn something that is often a struggle into something positive. Ever since finding out that my wife is gluten-sensitive, I’ve been way more attuned to how difficult it can be for people with food allergies to navigate their way safely outside of the comfort of their home when it comes to eating out. It’s not always easy to find places that will accommodate you or even be knowledgeable about what’s in their food. And even in those places where they are more than happy to help, you can’t help but feel like somehow you’re abnormal or out of place. It’s like that Sesame Street song, “One of these things just doesn’t belong here…” Who likes feeling like that?
But in typical Disney fashion, they have approached this issue with flair and style and come up with a way to offer more choices to people with dietary restrictions AND make them feel special at the same time. Introducing Snacks with Character.
This line of pre-packaged snack foods is designed with those with allergy restrictions in mind who might like a tasty bite or a sweet morsel during the course of the day. Want a cookie? No problem. Feel like some chips? Got it covered. Need a snack bar? Different flavors to choose from. Disney makes a point not to call them “Snacks For People With Allergy Restrictions” or “Gluten-Free Cookies” or “Dairy-Free Snack Bars” which only highlight the differences and label people. Instead they just call them Snacks with Character and at least for me it made me feel like I was indulging in a treat not specific for dietary restrictions, but one simply made differently but equally good. On the packaging, however, they make it clear which allergens each food addresses in a simple, easy-to-see, non-obtrusive way. For example, the Chocolate Chip Cookies are gluten-free while the Sugar Crisp Crunchy Cookie is gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and without GMO ingredients.
Location: Candy Palace on Main Street USA
Type: Over the counter snacks
Specialty: Pre-packaged snacks for people with allergy restrictions
Cost: $3-7 depending on the snack
Craig’s Favorite: Toss up between the Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips and the Chocolate Chip Cookies
Personally, I loved the chocolate chip cookies made by WOW (With-Out-Wheat) Baking Company. They were delicious and reminded me of Mrs. Fields Cookies. They had that more soft texture I love. My wife likes a good crunchy cookie so she really enjoyed the sugar crisp cookie by Enjoy Life which had more of a snap to it. My daughter even said they reminded her of her great-grandmas tea cookies (quite a high compliment if you know my wife Cassie’s grandmother). Of the two chip selections, I only tried the Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips made by Way Better Snacks, but they were REALLY good. Even if they weren’t gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and made with 100% whole grain, I would devour them. The snack bars weren’t my favorite, but my daughter liked the Chocolate Sunseed Bar also by Enjoy Life. Both were more of a chewy bar than a crunchy one. There were a few other selections also – a Ricemilk Choco Bar, a Dark Chocolate Bar, Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips, a package of seeds and fruit, a Chocolate Chip Crunchy Cookie, and I believe a bag of lemon cookies.
Disney is always on the forefront of guest service. They have really stepped up their game on dietary restriction service and have gone a step beyond when most theme parks aren’t even at the first step yet. These treats don’t just take into account those with special dietary needs, but are just plain good! Try them next time you’re at a Disney theme park.
- Curious about my other gluten-free experiences? Read about my meal at Smokejumpers Grill and my post about going gluten-free and other dietary special needs offerings at the parks