Geekin’ On WDW 038: How to Learn and Have Fun – Heather Brainerd’s Celiac Convention and WDW Trip Report

In episode 38, Heather Brainerd shares her trip with her son which included the Food Allergy and Celiac Convention.  We’ll learn all about how Disney World helps guests with food allergies.

Momma Says: Memory Maker price going up 169 from 149 tomorrow.

Day 1 – Coronado Springs and the Magic Kingdom (temps in the low 50s-high 40s)

Magic Kingdom

Dinner at Casey’s Corner: Cale had his first GF Disney meal. The hot dog was fine, but the bun was not. We decided that we’ll have to find a new place for our traditional first meal at Disney.
Used our FP+ for Jingle Cruise – loved the holiday overlay.
Went on Haunted Mansion, shopped at Momento Mori (great store!), shopped at Main Street Emporium, and headed back to the resort.

Day 2 – Animal Kingdom and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (temps started in the 40s, went up into the 60s, then back down into the 50s. Sunny all day.)

Animal Kingdom
Scheduled to open at 9am that morning, but that was changed to 8am. We still wanted to rope drop it, so we were up by 6am. Yikes! But it was so worth it!
Huge Christmas tree on the way into the park.
Went straight to Expedition Everest, and were told that the ride was down due to extreme cold. Extreme cold!? It was in the 40s. Floridians are wimps.
Rode Dinosaur twice in a row, then rode Primeval Whirl and Triceratops Spin.
Stopped at the awesome food allergy kiosk to purchase some baked goods. We enjoyed these at the seating area behind Tamu Tamu.
Took the Wildlife Express to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
Took the train back to Harambe and went on Safari. Due to the “extreme cold,” the animals were quite active.
Did Dinosaur five times that day!


We made it to the castle a few minutes before the Frozen “lighting ceremony.” Frozen may be taking over the World, and that might not necessarily be a good thing, but I loved this show. It was beautiful. I kind of teared up a little.
Went on a bunch of rides: Space Mountain twice, the Peoplemover, Under the Sea, Barnstormer, Philharmagic. There may be some I’m forgetting. Most of the ride lines were short to nonexistent, so we did a lot!
BLT hot dog from the Lunching Pad as my dinner. It was delish!
Free cookies and hot chocolate at Pinocchio’s Village Haus. (They even had GF cookies.)
Watched the Holiday Wishes fireworks from the Tomorrowland bridge. Amazing!
Afterwards, we strolled over to Frontierland to stake out a spot for the Christmastime parade. While waiting for the parade to start, we were entertained by the Notorious Banjo Brothers and Bob. (Their hats and instruments were decked out in Christmas lights and they played holiday tunes.)
The parade provided many more teary-eyed moments for me. It was fantastic!
When it ended, we went to BTMR, then stopped by the Diamond Horseshoe for the dance party with the Country Bears.
We did some more rides, and then stopped by Gaston’s Tavern for a brew. We left the party right around midnight and made our way home to Coronado Springs.

Day 3 – Epcot and DHS (temps in the 60s to low 70s. Sunny all day.)

We kept up our rope-dropping ways, this time going straight to Test Track and single riding it with no wait whatsoever.
Headed to The Land side of the park for a popcorn snack. As we munched, Cale glanced over toward the Imagination Pavilion and said, “Hey, that looks like Ariel!” We went over for a closer look, and sure enough, there she was, meeting and greeting. The line was short, we hopped in it, and had our first ever random Ariel encounter. She was great! This was one of those special “pixie dust” moments, as this meet-and-greet wasn’t even listed on the Epcot times guide.
Akershus for lunch with the princesses. The food, atmosphere, and princesses were amazing! This was Cale’s first GF table service meal at Disney. The chef came out to discuss his options, and he loved his chicken.
Cale agreed to go to the American Pavilion with me to see Voices of Liberty (something I’ve never done and always wanted to). We strolled over there, stopping in Germany along the way. Unfortunately, VoL was replaced by a jazz trio. They were great, but they weren’t VoL. So, I’ve yet to see them live. After that, we wandered the rest of the way around the World Showcase, used our FP+ for Soarin’, and went on Living with the Land.

We took the bus from Epcot to DHS (a mere 10-minute ride).
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights lighting ceremony. OMG! This was even MORE moving than the castle lighting and the Christmas parade.
Tower of Terror, visited the animation art store, and headed out about 45 minutes before park close. Cale wanted to close the park that night, but after two nights in a row of only 4 hours of sleep, I needed an early one.

Back at the resort, I went to Pepper Market (the food court) and brought dinner back to the room. Cheese empanadas and nachos – yum!
On the way from our room to Pepper Market, passed kids talking about the pool. (“Think Mom will take us back to the pool?” “Yeah, the bar’s still open!”)

Day 4 – FACC and Magic Kingdom (temps in the 70s with misty rain.)
The Food Allergy and Celiac Convention was great! We learned a lot, got lots of GF samples and info, and saw awesome demonstrations by Disney chefs! What a wonderful opportunity this was. For lunch, we grabbed something quick at Pepper Market.

It was a rainy day, but by the time we got to the park, it was just a light mist, and soon stopped altogether.
We did a couple of pirate adventures, used our FP+ for 7DMT, did more rides (including a Space Mtn FP+) and pirate adventures, had dinner at Columbia Harbour House (the best place for GF counter service), and used our FP+ for Peter Pan.
Near midnight, I ran out of steam. I headed out, but Cale stayed for EMH (midnight to 2am) and had “the best night at Disney ever!”

Day 5 – DHS (temps in the 80s and sunny!)
We rope-dropped DHS and headed straight for RnRC. I’m claustrophobic, and the shoulder harness gets me, so I have to really be in the mood for this ride.
We then tried to go on ToT, but it was down. So we had breakfast at Starring Rolls. (They did have some GF options.) Afterwards, we did ToT on stand-by, immediately followed by ToT via FP+.
We used our TSMM FP+, did some last-minute souvenir shopping, and then used our last FP+ of the trip – Star Tours.
On our way out, Cale pulled the Indiana Jones rope for the first time. We took the bus back to the hotel, took the Tragical Express to MCO, and said good-bye to FL.

Best trip ever? Quite possibly

Heather Fraser Brainerd

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