Eating with Allergies – Sanaa at Kidani Village

Written by Kelley Lord. Posted in Features

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Published on August 21, 2014 at 3:00 am with 9 Comments

Please help us welcome Kelley Lord to MiceChat. Jessica Ma’ilo usually appears in this spot, but due to a very busy schedule is scaling back to a column every other week. Jessica’s good friend Kelley is picking up the newly opened spot. Kelley loves Walt Disney World and lives in the shadow of the parks. We are looking forward to introducing her to you! – Dusty

Anyone who has to deal with food allergies knows how difficult it can be to eat out. My family has various food allergies including gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, corn and onions. Try walking into Olive Garden with that list and see how many items on the menu are even remotely a safe option. Lucky for my family, Disney World does allergies right. The chefs have all undergone extensive training on how to safely deal with food allergies and they take this responsibility very seriously. There are dedicated areas, pans and utensils in the kitchens for food prep to avoid cross-contamination. Some locations have dedicated fryers and grills as well.

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We dined at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa this week and had a most delicious experience! Chef Carroll came to our table after we were seated to discuss our food allergies. My onion allergy pretty much excluded the entire menu for me so I gave her creative control to whip something up for me. Her only questions were what type of meat I wanted and how spicy I liked my foods. I requested chicken and a medium spicy level and mentioned how much I loved tomatoes. The meal that was served to me was nothing short of mouthwatering. Chef Carroll had created a dish with a grilled chicken breast with a light, crispy coating that sat on a bed of basmati rice swimming in a sauce she made up for the dish that included white wine, coconut milk and garlic. I had to resist licking the bowl clean, and I can assure you that every grain of rice was consumed. My son is allergic to eggs and was avoiding gluten and dairy. He is not a fan of any traditional kid’s meal fare so the chef made him a kid’s size steak with a side of carrots that he completely devoured.

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Sanaa was such an enjoyable dining experience that we will most definitely return. The location is tucked away at Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and is usually quite easy to secure with an ADR during the lunchtime hours. Be sure to arrive several minutes before your reservation to have time to walk outside and see the animals on the savanna. The kids loved watching the baby giraffe, the zebras and ankole cattle. Great food and an amazing view gives Sanaa a big thumbs up from our family!

Have you been to Sanaa at Kidani Village? Do you have allergies or special dietary requirements? Have you had good luck dining at Disney?

About Kelley Lord

Kelley is a proud Army wife, mom of 5, former Mouseketeer wrangler, and current travel agent at Fairy Godmother Travel. She lives close enough to the mouse to watch Illuminations from her front yard and Wishes from the bedroom window. She frequents the Disney restaurants often due to the special care they take in dealing with her family's food allergies. Kelley can be contacted at [email protected], and you can also check out her Facebook page dedicated to dining with allergies at Disney: https://www.facebook.com/disneywithfoodallergies

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9 Comments

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  1. So it’s an Indian restaurant in an African-themed hotel, named after the capital of Yemen.

    The only real pity being that Sana’a has some phenomenal architecture. You could build a whole Disney land (two words intentionally) themed around Yemen.

    • Despite its similarity to Sana’a the city, the restaurant is actually named after the Swahili word for art. Sadly no Yemen connection (because you’re right, Yemen has some beautiful architecture). Although Disney calls it “African Cooking with Asian spices”, you’d be surprised how much curry is consumed is Africa. I grew up in S. Africa and have fond memories of all types of curry. YUM. I love Sanaa, by the way!

      • Oh they love the curry in S. Africa, but I think a huge part of that comes from the big influx of Indian immigrants. Most people don’t realize that there are Indians all over Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

  2. Sanaa is a fabulous and creative restaurant. I too have food allergies and was well taken care of here. I can’t have milk products. But rather than being frustrated with me, as some restaurants seem, the chef at Sanaa said she enjoyed creating special dishes. It really made me feel more comfortable.

    Combine great food with the beautiful setting and savanna view windows, and you’ve got an amazing restaurant that many folks don’t even know exists. It’s worth the long trek to get there!

  3. Mango, pistachio, and cashew allergies keep me careful in African and Asian restaurants. Glad to hear the chefs at Disney are so well trained!

  4. I have a severe tree nut allergy and had a good experience here. I believe the chef on duty was Carroll as well, and she went out of her way to make me feel comfortable. And believe me, I had a lot of questions, being that it is Indian food. Also, they had special menus designed for nut allergic customers which was a nice touch.

  5. I have to say the extent that Disney goes to when you tell them you have an allergy is incredible and very much appreciated. At every buffet I was walked around by the Chef and shown what I could and could not have. At Chef Mickey’s they made Gluten free Mickey waffles for us as well. Some restaurants are funny because I tell them I can’t eat Wheat so they tell me what meals I can have and then they bring out a Caesar salad with croutons. hahaha Luckily my allergy isn’t too bad but I do make mention of it so that they might improve their policy for people who are very sensitive to things.

  6. Disney truly ‘gets’ allergies & intolerances. I have never once been disappointed in any of the gluten free meals I’ve had at Disneyland.

    Now if they’d just develop an allergy-free bakery so we can get a ‘safe’ form of some of the delicious treats we see in the baked goods shelves!

  7. It is not a straight-up Indian restaurant. The menu does contain East African specialties. I was curious about this too, but I was very impressed with the food. The lamb shank with tamarind was definitely from the African side of the Indian Ocean.