No matter the age, Guests from all the world flock to Florida to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party. Between mid August and the first of November, Magic Kingdom hosts one of the “sweetest” events of the season ~ complete with character meet and greets, parades, stage shows and, of course, CANDY! For those Guests with food allergies, however, this is not one of those times of the year where inclusion happens on a regular basis. It takes very special companies, organizations and brands to create some magic in these circumstances. Disney, along with the help of such brands as Enjoy Life Foods, set out to accomplish just that. Over the years, they have become increasingly aware of the need to give Guests who can’t savor ALL candy an opportunity to savor some that are safe.
This sponsored post is in partnership with Enjoy Life Foods. However, all opinions are mine and mine alone. This post does contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Enjoy Life, Walt Disney World and Halloween
We have had the pleasure of attending the seasonal Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party at Magic Kingdom two years in a row now. Each time, we have had a fantastic experience and have walked away with arms full of treats. It has been such a blessing to enjoy the spooky fun with my son not having to worry if he’s going to return home hungry or feel neglected in any way. Heck ~ he doesn’t even have to bring his own snacks to this event!!
The way Disney has stepped up inclusion during the Halloween party has been mind-blowing. With brands such as Enjoy Life providing multiple options for guests with dietary restrictions, it’s almost impossible for those with food allergies to not have a magical time. (Note that I said “almost.” I am fully aware how human we are and that things happen.).
This year, the youngest decided to go on a mission. He had a hypothesis he wanted to prove and was determined to see if his educated guess would pan out. His goal was to bring home as much Enjoy Life loot as possible by doing one specific thing. More on that in a minute. For now, we answer the question – Why Enjoy Life? To be honest, Enjoy Life is a brand that has been our saving grace since our son was able to self-feed. They have some of the most delicious food allergy friendly treats out there ~ with more products coming out each year! To be honest, if I allowed it, our son would sit on the couch and devour Crunchy Mini Double Chocolate Cookies and Ricemilk Chocolate Minis day in and day out.
Nope – not kidding.
Let’s talk about Enjoy Life for a second….
The Enjoy Life brand has been around since 2001. That is around the time our oldest son was first diagnosed with food allergies. Fortunately, he grew out of them. However, the youngest, who came a few years after Enjoy Life was fairly established, never did (or at least has not yet). When he was younger, the list of allergen foods was extensive. Today, we are down to three groups, but they are severe and life-threatening. So, we appreciate brands like Enjoy Life that take the time to create products that are free from the most common of allergens.
Enjoy Life and Disney
While I don’t begin to pretend that I know the specifics about the relationship between these two amazing brands, I cannot be more grateful for the connection they have established together. Over the years, Enjoy Life has been placing more and more products on Disney shelves. Seeing them there gives families who have to manage food allergies during travel (like ours) a huge sigh of relief. We just recently saw them at the Wind and Waves Market at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, showing that their reach is growing within the company.
We had a feeling that it just was a matter of time before Enjoy Life’s presence in the parks penetrated the parties. Just a few months ago, I attended an event as the guest of a friend. While there, another friend was kind enough to grab my attention so she could show me what the chefs had provided her during the reception. As if you couldn’t guess, she herself has food allergies, as well. Of course, she was pretty excited to see that full-sized Enjoy Life Chocolate bar sitting in front of her.
As a family, we have experienced several meals on property where Disney Chefs have created dessert options for our son using Enjoy Life Snickerdoodles, Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Morsels! In fact, one of our dessert pictures showcasing Enjoy Life foods made its way into Visit Florida magazine!!
So, our love and appreciation for the brand just continues to grow and grow year after year.
Okay, Let’s Get Back To Not So Scary
Oops – it’s so easy for me to get carried away when I’m talking about something I love! In any case, my son had a goal and a plan for the evening. With the exception of a few diversions, such as riding Space Mountain with the spooky overlay, listening to Monsters Inc and their Halloween show or watching a few minutes of the Boo To You! parade, the majority of the evening was spent visiting each of the numerous candy locations around the park, collecting teal tokens.
So, what was my son’s plan? Well, he was going to turn in tokens early and turn them in often!
Our son would work to collect about ten to fifteen teal tokens from Cast Members at treat locations. Once he had those, he would then visit one of the two redemption desks.
Redemption locations could be found in Liberty Square and Town Square Center.
I think we may have visited upwards of about five times (hey – how often does a kid with food allergies get to safely go trick or treating and KEEP the candy he collects?).
So, what exactly happens at these redemption locations??
Well, this is where the magic takes place!
Each of these two locations are staffed with Cast Members who have been educated on how to manage these situations. They ask each child / parent / guest what food allergies are involved. From there, they can make a determination as to what products can be safely placed in each of the candy bags. For us, our son’s allergies are to eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. Pretty basic, which enables him to have every single one of the Enjoy Life options plus some.
This year, Enjoy Life had six products to offer: Dark Chocolate Morsels, Dark Chocolate Minis, Ricemilk Chocolate Minis, Seed & Fruit (Mountain Mambo), Soft Baked Mini Snickerdoodle Cookies and Crunchy Mini Double Chocolate Cookies.
Our son walked away with soooo much and I can not describe to you the smile on his face. What’s funny is that the Liberty Square team was almost chuckling when they saw him walk in the third time. .
NOTE: Don’t worry ~ he’s not eating all of that candy. We have a few very special ideas for some of it.
By the end of the night, his arms were tired and my feet hurt, but it was a fun evening. What I forgot to mention was the fact that our son went to the party dressed as Waldo (Where’s Waldo?). I cannot tell you the number of Cast Members who had fun blurting out, “I found him!!” throughout the night. Oh, my goodness – it was absolutely hilarious!!!
Leaving You With a Few Tips
So – here are my personal tips for food allergy families who may be considering Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in the future (and here’s hoping Enjoy Life products return to the party next year!)
- Prepare your personal bag before you leave your home or hotel room.
- The last thing you want to do is come unprepared. Things happen and other children will be around eating their non-food-allergy-friendly items throughout the night.
- Things to remember: epinephrine auto-injector (x2), antihistamine, wipes of some kind, gloves if you feel this is necessary, bags (if you have one who vomits with reactions – not saying it’s going to happen, but it’s always good to be prepared), an index card that includes allergies, medications, parents’ / guardians’ names, allergist / primary care provider’s phone numbers and whatever else you think might be necessary.
- As you enter through the party entrance, be sure to notify the Cast Member handing out bags that someone in your party has food allergies. They will then provide you with the designated special teal colored bag.
- When you approach the first candy stop (which is literally right after you receive your bag), be sure to hold up your bag so they see it. The Cast Member there will hand over the very first teal token of your evening.
- With every candy location, show you teal bag to the Cast Member standing at the treat location entrance. Sometimes they have tokens, too. Some Guests may not feel safe traveling back to the larger candy barrels in fear of cross contamination or some form of contact (we have never had an issue). Having tokens at the beginning of the line helps alleviate that fear.
- Should you take the walk to the candy barrel (others in your party may not have food allergies), you can let the Cast Members there see the teal bag and perhaps they will give an extra token. Just be aware that they are handing out handfuls of candy to others. Those same hands will be touching those tokens. Again, we have had no issues in the past…but this is a good reason to carry wipes.
- Go early, Go often…
- The more often you go to the redemption locations, the more treats you will ultimately bring home with you. I would not recommend, however, that you go with one or two tokens. At least show you’ve put some effort into it.
Please note, though…
There are so many things to do during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party. Don’t be afraid to experience any and all of that!! There are unique character meet and greets, a parade only guests at the party can view and stage shows that just keep getting better and better as the years go by! The candy is fantastic and such a treat for food allergy guests, but there are other things to enjoy, as well. It’s time to Enjoy Life – in more ways than one!
Closing out our evening
The evening was a huge success for us, though we did leave just shy of the clock striking midnight. Because of that, we didn’t get the chance to experience everything this year. Nonetheless, it was a special memory I had the chance to create with my son.
Words cannot express how grateful I am that Disney partners with companies such as Enjoy Life. Together, they are sprinkling pixie dust out onto kids who normally don’t see this kind of positive attention or special treatment.
Halloween is Days Away
As you get ready to entertain ghosts, goblins and superheroes this Halloween season, give some thought to how you can make a child with food allergies feel included. Enjoy Life has chocolate minis and snack bags of mini cookies that might make a good option. There are several other options out there that are safe, too. Our biggest request is that you consider making a ghost, goblin or superhero with food allergies smile this Halloween.
PS – FINAL TIP!!
When we get home from an event like this, we not only divide the candy into chocolates and sweets. We also take the chocolate batch and freeze it!! They last soooo much longer this way – both in the long run and when you are savoring them as a snack.
Are you a family with food allergies? Have you heard of Enjoy Life Foods? Check out their website at https://enjoylifefoods.com/.
For those who do not have food allergies, maybe you have friends or family members with them. Be sure to check out the site, as well. They even have a page containing recipes where you can find something to bake or cook during a visit. For starters, here’s something that may come in handy as we quickly approach the holiday season: Holiday Cookie Hacks
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