Chef Amber, A True Disney Princess

1 week at Disney, All Known Princesses plus various Fairies met and autographed….and my girls are still talking about their favorite person of all….Chef Amber. Thank goodness there was one last page in the Princess Autograph Book for her to sign. Let me back up a bit and say that the trip was absolutely wonderful. Let me also say that despite being a pediatrician and surrounded by wonderful kids all the time…I am also plagued by a touch of cynicism ( I blame that on an overpriced medical education I’m still paying on at an ego-filled University, followed by residency out East in the backwoods filled with the consequences of poor parenting, absent dental hygiene, and an unfortunate trend in parental heroin use.) Disney Magic…bla bla bla bla…how good can they be? The answer..Really, Really, Good….like, still shaking my head in amazement….Good.

I had heard rumors that Disney was pretty good at handling food allergies. I was still a bit (ok, a lot) doubtful, so I ordered up a load of groceries to be delivered to our room, and packed my induction burner to do some cooking. Those back-ups were nice for breakfast, packing a lunch for a busy day, and dinner when we wanted to save a few bucks…but not necessary. We made reservations in advance, indicating Brynn’s allergies, for the California Grill, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Brown Derby, Princess Lunch at Akershus, and Rose and Crown. Granted, those are some of the nicer restaurants, but that was the end-of-the-day reward for mom and dad. And honestly, the $12 kid’s steak dinner is a steal when hot dogs and fries are $9 (plus the cost of Prevacid for mom).

All of the restaurants had kid’s meals with safe options, grilled chicken/steak, safe potato, vege with no butter. All of the restaurants had the chef come to the table to talk options. The visual of The Chef, was a big thing for Brynn. It really put her at ease and she ate all her meals without the constant nervous questioning that usually accompanies her meals…even when I am the cook.

The one restaurant that I was nervous about, ended out being the highlight of our trip. The Rose and

Crown is in the UK portion of Epcot, chosen because it was a good spot to watch the fireworks. As we walked in, I could smell the fish and chips, looked at the kids menu with no safe option in sight…and my heart sank…we had made a terrible mistake. And then Chef Amber arrived, took over and spoke directly to Brynn. Steak? No problem, she had half of a steak left over from an allergic kid she’d cooked for earlier that day. Potato…how about french fries in a dedicated, no-fish, fryer? Veges…your choice, peas, carrots, green beans? And how about dessert? Divvies chocolate chip cookie sundae with Rice Dream ice cream and Mickey sprinkles…for two.

Just when we though Brynn’s heart would nearly burst with happiness, the staff told the girls that Mickey was stuck in the monorail and needed their help to start his fireworks. Those amazing, creative people, ushered the girls onto the deck with a Mickey Wand, and because they had watched the fireworks hundreds of times, were able to tell the girls where to point that wand to direct the fireworks. There is not a doubt in Brynn and Katie’s mind that they truly started and directed the fireworks. Add a Tinkerbell light from Chef Amber and a Tinkerbell pin from the staff…and you get Brynn, floating home saying “My eyes are sparkling and my heart is so full of joy…this is my most magical day ever.” I have to agree.


  1. Camille says

    No one, absolutely no one, can do it like Disney. I can't count how many times I've been to Disneyworld and Disneyland and it never gets old. Every trip is magic.

    (and thus the reason why we never go to any other theme park. No one can compare!).

    So glad you had such a fabulous time and made awesome memories.

  2. wenat says

    Oh my, how have I not found your blog before! Now I want to take my allergic boys to Disneyland — what a magical, fun experience!

    (And thanks for the allergy-friendly ice cream recipes — gonna dig up my ice cream maker now to try it out!)

  3. Kelly says

    Thanks SO MUCH for your post! One of my readers linked to your site and it was so timely. I just posted about my 6 year old son not wanting to go to Disneyworld because of his food allergies. I wrote about it at . Your post meant so much to me and I can't wait to share it with my son! I'd love to add you to my blogroll…is that OK?

  4. Maggie says

    I'm so happy you had such great experiences. We're thinking of trying the Disney cruise line and hope that they train the staff there as well.

  5. Ellen says

    Just found your blog. LOVE it! I too have a daughter with allergies to tree nuts, peanuts, egg, and dairy (and another with no known allergies – yet?). We live in Ann Arbor. AND we just returned from a wonderful trip at Disneyworld. Will the similarities never cease? Our dining experiences were stress-free and we loved that she could have cookies and ice cream like her sister and parents. Divvies are the best!

  6. Speedbump Kitchen says

    Ah, Ann Arbor…my closest Whole Foods, and home to the best allergist a rashy girl and wheezy boy could want…Marc McMorris.

  7. Katrina says

    Thank you for sharing your story. I'm struggling with finding a preschool I feel safe with for my 4-year-old with multiple food allergies. I was feeling a little overwhelmed today. This post was just what I needed. My heart overflows for your lovely daughter and makes me dream of the day we'll visit there with my son. Thank you.

  8. Courtney says

    As a 30 year old with multiple severe food allergies (dairy, all seafood & fish) i have found that many places dont take allergies seriously unless its peanuts, and also that people forget that kids with allergies grow up to be adults with allergies. I have been to disneyland twice & disneyworld once, and have found the service to be incredible, i only have had one issue, at the restaurant in the polynesian resort. we are currently planning yet another disney vacation. our travels tend to stick to Disney & cruises, as i just cant risk going to a non-english country. for those dairy allergic i highly recomend the dole whip, i have one everyday we are there

  9. Maureen says

    My 12 year old daughter has anaphylaxis allergy to dairy. Can she really eat at Disneyland? She recently had reaction to soy ice cream. The product tested 10 parts per million dairy, she's that sensitive.

  10. Jamie Kaufmann says

    oh my gosh, you made me tear up. we have got to take our son there! never eaten in a restaurant, it would truly be magical for him i am sure!

  11. Maureen says

    Stayed at Grand Californian (Disneyland). Chef Chris prepared our girls meals in an 'allergy free' kitchen . None of the top allegens are ever used there, so no chance of cross contamination. My daughter ate all her meals there, had a great restaurant experience, and even ordered 'take out' to dine in another restaurant on Main Street. Chef Chris has allergies to shellfish, so he 'gets it' about allergies. He made the trip memorable for us! Maureen

  12. ellen says

    I am so glad that I revisited this post! We are planning our first visit with multiple family allergies: dairy and peanut for 6 yo, strawberry and avocado for me, and shellfish for husband. allergies for us grownups are easily managed, but it breaks my heart when my daughter can’t just order sundaes and cakes and pies after dinner. I am so happy that Disney is able to make these wishes come true!

    • Meg says

      Hi Ellen, you’re going to have such a blast! Divvies cookies are no longer available in Disney, so we ordered a care package from Divvies last time full of cookies and caramel corn and candy to be delivered to our hotel. The kids LOVED the extra surprise!

      • Meg says

        You’ve inspired me to do post of my favorite safe Disney foods: Smoked Turkey Legs, Mickey Soft Pretzels, Frozen Lemonade, Pork Shank and LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern, Edy’s strawberry bars at the ice cream stands. Reportedly, even the popcorn. Make sure you guys go on my favorite favorite ride: Peter Pan!


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