Travel Tales: Why You Should Never Admit to Having an Allergy

Don’t get me wrong; allergies are serious things.

I myself am allergic to legumes (which means peanuts, peas, lentils, soy, chickpeas and anything else that falls into the legume family. Clearly I can never go vegan).

But for me, I’m not the person that passes out after smelling someone else’s peanut butter sandwich. I’m the person who accidentally eats a Butterfinger because I think it’s a Twix, then takes 2 Benadryl and falls asleep for the rest of the day.

I have “accidentally” eaten things so many times that, while I take my allergies seriously, I know that they are mild and if I take a Benadryl, I’ll be ok.

I also know that “soy” is in literally EVERYTHING. And that usually it’s fine. Soy sauce? Soy milk? No thanks. But Chick Fil A sauce, where the first ingredient is soy? Yeah, that’s fine.

So let me share not one, not two, but three stories with you about how I apparently did not learn my lesson to never admit to anyone while you are traveling that you have an allergy, or you may end up with nothing (or something absolutely disgusting) to eat!

Story #1: The Grey Stuff

Beauty & the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies. And the soundtrack is definitely the best.

As such, it should come as no surprise that I would want to try “the grey stuff” (it’s delicious!). It’s just one of the many foods on my travel food bucket list that I will travel somewhere just to get!

Pre-Covid, you could eat at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney’s Magic Kingdom for a quick service lunch, or a 3-course (expensive!) dinner. Obviously we were just going to go for the quick service lunch and get ourselves a grey stuff cupcake.

But… one of the many not so great changes that Disney has made since then is that both lunch AND dinner at BOG are now 3-course meals. And of course I was already committed to getting my hands on that grey stuff (in Disney! None of this homemade crap) (Ok, just kidding. Homemade stuff is good too!).

Jason being Jason, he said of course I must get us reservations at Be Our Guest and get myself that grey stuff to try.

Even after I discovered they started serving the grey stuff cupcake at Gaston’s Tavern for $5…

So I woke up at 6 am and made the reservation. We skipped the fireworks to go to BOG. We ate our $62 (each) meal.

And then we wait for our dessert…

When you get the 3-course meal, you get a dessert trio of a macaron, a chocolate truffle, and a white chocolate cup filled with the grey stuff.

As our waitress cleared away our plates she remembered that I had marked a food allergy on my reservation.

“Oh, you’re allergic to soy?” she asked me. “Yes,” I said. “Oh, ok.” And off she went.

Which clearly wasn’t a good sign.

Out she comes with Jason’s dessert trio, and my plate of 3 macarons…

“I’m sorry, that’s all I can give you,” she said.


I woke up at 6 am and paid $62 (each!) just to get the grey stuff!

“No!” I cried after her. “I’m not that allergic, I promise!”

The poor waitress didn’t know what to do with me. She finally took my plate back to the kitchen and came out with, what I call the “blue stuff.” Because apparently I am allergic to the grey food coloring.

Soo… I “ate” the grey stuff… I think. But I had to borrow Jason’s for the picture.

In all honesty, the grey stuff in the song supposedly refers to liver pate, so, I think I’m ok without it.

Be Our Guest Restaurant is at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.

Story #2: Afternoon Tea

You’d think I would have learned my lesson.

I did not.

Our first day in England, we had a Romeo & Juliet themed afternoon tea at The Globe Theater’s restaurant. It was one of the things I was most looking forward to on our trip.

I was not going to tell them I had any allergies! I just planned to skip the one sandwich with pea shoots in it and get on with my life.

But they asked…

So I said if you could leave the pea shoots out of that sandwich, that’d be great!

And our waiter went off into the kitchen.

A few minutes later someone from the kitchen came over to our table. “Are you allergic to just peas, or all legumes?” she asks. “Oh, all legumes,” I said, thinking I had finally found some people who understood my food allergies!

I only started to worry when, 10 minutes later our waiter comes back over and asks if I’m allergic to soy. “Yes, I am…” I said, and immediately regretted it.

Minutes went by, and no one came back to our table.

Half and hour went by, and no one came back to our table.

Other people who had ordered after us got their tea trays, and still no one came to our table.

This did not look good…

Finally the woman from the kitchen came back out to our table.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “There’s really nothing I can make for you.”


Seriously people, I’m not that allergic! I tried to convince them that I would be ok, but they (unlike me) took my food allergy very seriously.

Finally they brought our tea trays out of the kitchen. Jason had ordered a fish and chips afternoon tea (in other words, it was a manly afternoon tea tray).

But my tray was full of foods I didn’t recognize (and didn’t want to eat). They brought someone out from the kitchen to explain the strange looking foods to me.

Instead of cupcakes and truffles I had poached rhubarb on sour yogurt. Bread pudding. Some pile of weird jellies. And for my sandwiches… carrots and cream cheese, and salmon.

The only thing from the actual menu I got were the scones (which were delicious), but I didn’t even get the jam and cream to go with them!

I vowed never to admit my allergy to anyone ever again.

The Globe Theater in London, where we had our afternoon tea.

Story #3: No Samples for You!

We found the York’s Chocolate Story museum when we spent an afternoon exploring York, before heading up to Scotland.

The best part about visiting chocolate museums is… free chocolate! And York’s Chocolate Story did not disappoint. They gave us plenty of free samples.

But when they were handing out the first bags of free samples, our tour guide asks if anyone has an allergy.

I have learned by now not to answer this question. But my ever protective Jason would not hear of it.

“Yes! She’s allergic to peanuts!” he declared.

Well, I still got the bag of goodies. But then we went on to the next phase of the tour, where we got samples of a candy I had never heard of.

When it came my turn to pick out my samples she asks “Are you ok with traces?”


“Traces? Are you ok with traces?”

I stared dumbly at her.

She meant could I have traces of nuts. Which I can. But since I had never had this brand before, she decided to be safe and check with someone and then get back to me.

She never got back to me.

Now, I really can’t complain, because I got plenty of other samples on the tour. But I still missed out on those two because of admitting an allergy that I really didn’t need to.

And so I’ve declared, again, that I would never admit to having an allergy on vacation. And to pack lots of Benadryl.

The York Shambles, the coolest street in York!