Magic Kingdom :: Review of Chesire Cafe

On a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom, I got a little hungry. I mean, all that walking around (seriously people – like 7 miles a day) makes a girl hungry.

So, in the name of research, I decided to get a bite at the Chesire Cafe and write a review for you!

You’ve probably passed the Chesire Cafe many times. There’s a nice bathroom on the left side of it that is a quick jog from the Tea Cups. (Yes, I know this from personal experience.) However, you may have never grabbed a bite here — because it’s literally across the “road” from Cosmic Rays, which has the best quick service in the Magic Kingdom in the opinion of the House of Hills. (They’re also amazing with allergies, but that’s to be told another day.)

Back to the Chesire Cafe. There’s a limited menu here, but it’s a fabulous snacking opportunity.

In addition to the items listed above, they have a steady rotation of specialty snacks.

When I was there, they had the Pizza Frustas so I decided to try that. And, of course I had to try the Chesire Cat Tail – I mean, it’s the Chesire Cafe.

Let me just say. I was impressed. The dough on the Pizza Frustas was better than I expected. And, there was enough meat and cheese to give me the protein I needed in this snack. It was quite flavorful and tasty.

Now, the Chesire Cat Tail… that was AWESOME. It’s a Disney chocolate croissant with icing on it. Um, yes. I said chocolate croissant with icing. I was a happy mommy enjoying that treat. And, I didn’t share it either. Well, to be fair, Maggie is gluten-free, and David doesn’t like sweets much.

I was VERY pleased with my purchases at the Chesire Cafe. If I find myself hungry on that side of the park again, I’ll be stopping by.

Have you ever eaten at the Chesire Cafe?


Hurricane Irma Affects Disney Cruise Line

While we are praying fervently for those in the projected path(s) of Hurricane Irma (while still praying for our recovering friends in Texas), Disney Cruise Line is being VERY PROACTIVE in planning for the upcoming storm.

Today, Disney Cruise Line announced that it is canceling THREE CRUISES due to Hurricane Irma. In addition, both the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream are coming into port early on Thursday, September 7, 2017.

Here are the exact words from the Disney Cruise

Tropical Weather Update

September 5, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.

Based on the projected path of Hurricane Irma, including its expected impact on the Caribbean and Bahamas, Disney Cruise Line is making the following adjustments to itineraries:

Disney Fantasy
The September 2 cruise of the Disney Fantasy is currently sailing a modified Western Caribbean itinerary and is expected to return to Port Canaveral two days earlier than planned on Thursday, September 7. Guests on this sailing will be refunded two nights of their voyage fare and provided a 25 percent discount on a future cruise, which may be booked by calling 1-855-347-2784 or 407-566-7054 from September 18, 2017, through October 18, 2017.

The September 9 sailing of the Disney Fantasy is cancelled. Refunds will automatically be processed back to the original form of payment used for the cruise booking. Guests are invited to book a future cruise at a 25 percent discount by calling us at 1-855-347-2784 or 407-566-7054 from September 18, 2017, through October 18, 2017.

While we always strive to deliver magical cruise vacations, nothing is more important to us than providing a safe experience for our guests and crew. We will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Irma and provide updates as necessary.

Disney Dream 
The September 4 cruise of the Disney Dream is sailing a modified Bahamian cruise itinerary and will return to Port Canaveral one day earlier than planned on Thursday, September 7. Guests on this sailing will be refunded one night of their voyage fare and provided a 25 percent discount on a future cruise, which may be booked by calling 1-855-347-2784 or 407-566-7054 from September 18, 2017, through October 18, 2017.

The September 8 and September 11 sailings of the Disney Dream are cancelled. Refunds will automatically be processed back to the original form of payment used for the cruise booking.  Guests are invited to book a future cruise at a 25 percent discount by calling us at 1-855-347-2784 or 407-566-7054 from September 18, 2017, through October 18, 2017.

While we always strive to deliver magical cruise vacations, nothing is more important to us than providing a safe experience for our guests and crew. We will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Irma and provide updates as necessary.

I will be continuing to follow the updates from Disney Cruise Line and updating my Travelmation Facebook Page.
If you need help determining how Hurricane Irma affects your vacation, please contact me at and I’ll be happy to help you.


Going on a Disney Cruise Again!

We’re about to set sail on the Disney Wonder for the second time and couldn’t be more excited! We sailed on the Wonder way back in the fall of 2010! It was actually our first cruise so we have MANY fond memories of the boat.

I’m telling you… there is nothing better than seeing this sign…

Disney Cruise - Port Canaveral Sign

And then going over the bridge and seeing this out of the corner of your eye. (Don’t worry. I saw it out of the corner of my eye because I was driving. Maggie was madly taking pictures every time she saw a glance of the ship.)

Disney Cruise - Disney Dream in Port Canaveral

Then, you finally get into the port and you can see the ship. Right there in front of you. It’s the ship! It’s the ship! The real bouncing in the seat happens at this point – even when you’re a cruise veteran.

Disney Cruise - Disney Dream in Port Canaveral 2

You get the car parked in the parking deck. You jump out and run to the railing and look at your home for the next few days. And, you’re just GIDDY with excitement. (Really, giddy is the best word. Overcome with joy works too.)

Disney Cruise - Disney Dream Port Canaveral

This just kinda sums up all the feels.

Disney Cruise - The joy

We can’t wait to have all those feels again in just a few short weeks!!

This time, we’re actually sailing out of Miami, but I’m sure the experience will be similar to the last time we were on the Dream (thus the pictures) out of Port Canaveral. We’re excited to try a different port and are going to be documenting our journey to share with all of you. Maggie has visions of a House of Hills YouTube channel dancing in her head.

Because we’re going back on a small ship that we haven’t been on in awhile, we’ll be experience some things as if they’re all new again.

For those of you that have been on the Wonder recently, what’s one thing we shouldn’t miss?

And, for those of you that haven’t sailed the Wonder (or any Disney ship), what would you like us to investigate and report back on? 

We can’t wait to enjoy FIVE NIGHTS on the Disney Wonder together as a family. Disney Cruises truly are our favorite form of vacation! Happy Spring Break to us!

I’m Going On A New Adventure…Filled With Pixie Dust

If you didn’t see the news on my Facebook, I made a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT last night.

Like HUGE!

Disney Travel Agent Kathy Hill

I’ve become a Disney Travel Agent! 

I’m with an awesome agency full of people I already adore called Travelmation LLC. They’re all dedicated to helping people plan the BEST DISNEY VACATION EVER!!

If you know the House of Hills, you know that we LOVE Disney, and we are constantly helping people plan their trips. So, becoming a Disney Travel Agent makes all kinds of sense!

The best part is that I can help you plan your trip at NO COST TO YOU! That might be my favorite part. I get all the fun of helping you plan your vacation, and Disney pays me to do it. Win-Win for everyone!

So, pop on over to Facebook to “like” my Travelmation page to keep up with all the latest Disney news. And, be sure to shoot me an email when you’re ready to book your trip!

I’m so EXCITED!!!!

Travelmation Logo - high res.

It’s Summer!

We’ve had a ROUGH school year here at the House of Hills. I mean REALLY ROUGH. That’s why we were ALL so excited to yell “It’s Summer!” this past Friday afternoon.

It's Summer 01

We celebrate the beginning of summer with a little mini-party when Maggie comes home from school. She always gets great grades and accomplishes many amazing things throughout the school year so we like to make a big deal of it all.


There are presents.


And balloons.


We gave a little shout out to her role as JoJo this year in Seussical Jr.


And, we gave her a little slice of her second home.


Then, she got her big surprise. We booked a trip to Disney World for this fall weeks ago and were going to surprise her right before we went. But, she needed a bit of Disney magic to start the summer so we told her earlier than planned.


She was so excited and so thankful.


And slightly overwhelmed.

She’s already started planning the trip.
We’ll be talking about it for months.
That’s her favorite.

How do you kickoff summer in your house?


Following the #DisneySMMC Hashtag

Disney loving friends!


Are you following the #DisneySMMC hashtag on the Twitters? If you aren’t, you need to go look it up immediately.  There is so much awesomeness on there right now!

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (DisneySMMC) is going on this weekend in Disney World, and while the HOH totally wishes we were there, I am learning so much great Disney and blogging goodness just from following the hashtag!

This tweet had me looking up Disney Citizenship. What a wonderful website that inspires us all to make a difference.

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They have these fun photo contests going on during the conference. Gave me great ideas to use for work and our conferences.
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They announced the awesomeness that is the new Disney Infinity 3.0. We’re going to need to invest in that I’m thinking.

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Disney Infinity Playsets


I had never heard of the Imagicademy, but am VERY EXCITED to share the information with my nieces and nephews. There are some awesome apps that educate while they entertain. Those are the best kind, right?

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 5.35.17 PM

Then, Donald Driver came on the stage and Twitter blew up! What an amazing talk he must have given. I can’t wait to go read more about him. His story is apparently very powerful.

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I pretty much can thank the above tweets for writing this post right now. I’m a writer. I need to write. I need to share. I’ve not been fulfilling that need.

And this tweet sealed the deal in my head that I needed to get out there more. If you don’t take risks, there is no reward.

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I’ve had such a great day learning along with the ladies (and gentlemen) attending #DisneySMMC. I can’t thank them enough for sharing all the learning and fun with the Twitterverse. They’ve inspired me in a major way!

Tomorrow, they’re getting to see a sneak peek of the new Disney film Inside Out. I can’t wait to hear how much they love it. And, the HOH can’t wait to see it!!

Are you following the hashtag? What’s the best thing you’ve learned?

Dear Disney Cruise Line – THANK YOU

Dear Disney Cruise Line,

This is just a letter to say thank you. Just, thank you for being you. We recently returned from our trip on the Dream (left Cape Canaveral on January 2, 2015), and I’ve spent the days since our return singing your praises.

Oh, I knew we were going to have fun, eat well and have great service. This was our fifth cruise after all. But this was our first cruise since Maggie (our 12-year-old) was diagnosed with IBS.

This was our first cruise with her on a low FODMAP diet. And, I was nervous.

I have plenty of friends who have sailed gluten free. I wasn’t worried about the gluten. But low FODMAP isn’t just no gluten. It’s no dairy. No soy. No onion. No garlic. No high fructose corn syrup. No apple. No… and the list just keeps going.

I shouldn’t have been nervous. Disney Cruise Line was amazing.

When we got on the ship, we went to the sit down lunch in Enchanted Garden rather than the regular buffet up in Cabanas. We knew that by doing so we would have an actual server, and that he would be able to help us withe allergies. No sooner did we say allergies than the head server was whisked over to our table ready to assist us. He walked through the Enchanted Garden buffet with us and then asked what Maggie wanted to eat. Pretty much everything on the buffet scared her so she asked for what she knew would be okay. She asked for beef and got a steak. Win!


(Side note: We learned after this meal not to eat the fries. They are flash fried in soybean oil before being frozen. Soybean oil is a big no-no on low FODMAP. This is true of ALL fries in any Disney location from what we can tell.)

Then, as we were eating, Selo, the head server, came back over to our table to see what he could do to make sure she was set for the cruise. This man spent at least ten to twenty minutes with us trying to understand all that she had trouble digesting. He took a copy of the list I had brought with us (I brought MULTIPLE copies just in case) and studied it closely. He took a picture of the list so he could attach it to an email to send to the other head servers. He brought over another head server (Robert – thank you Robert for checking on us multiple times during the cruise) that would be in the same restaurant we were scheduled to be in that first night. By the time Selo left our table, I was literally in tears. It was going to be okay. She was going to be able to eat and have fun.


The smartest thing Selo did was pre-order Maggie’s dinner for that night. He wrote it down on his pink slip, (You get to know the pink slips well when there are allergies.) and promised to turn it in for us. In fact, he gave it to Robert since he was going to be in our restaurant that night.

When we got to dinner, there was a little bit of confusion because our server didn’t know we had pre-ordered. However, once we told him Robert had the pre-order, all was fabulous and her food was on the way. (Note to future cruisers: It’s very important to know who you told what to. They will go find that person and get it taken care of, but you need to remember their names.)

This is what Maggie pre-ordered:


And that is what she ate EVERY night of the cruise. EVERY night. Not an eye was blinked when she asked for filet mignon every night. Filet mignon… EVERY NIGHT. Would they have made her something different within her boundaries? ABSOLUTELY. However, she loves steak (raw by the way – yuck) so why not eat it while you can get it.


With their little pink slips, our amazing servers, Frank and Nova, and our head server, Szilard, took AWESOME care of us. Because of these amazing people, I did not hear, “Mom, my tummy hurts,” one time. Well, that’s not entirely true. The first day, she at too much. That’s a different kind of hurt, and she knew the difference.

Here are our awesome servers Frank and Nova:


And this is the only picture of Szilard I have! How is that?


Oh, the reason I had a picture of his name tag? Because that first night when we were deciding where we would eat the next day, he told me to go to wherever he was, and he would make sure I was taken care of. He was going to be in Cabanas (Deck 11 – buffet) all day the next day, so that is where I went to get Maggie’s food. And, I needed to remember how to say his name. So, I took a picture of his name tag. Smart thinking right?

Let me tell you something about Szilard. This man is amazing at what he does. We watched him orchestrate all kinds of awesomeness around the dining rooms. He seemed to be everywhere. But, when he was talking to your table, you felt like he was only thinking about you and your needs. And, he was all about meeting those needs. Even when you decided you needed three hard boiled eggs during crazy lunchtime so your daughter could have a snack for later.

So, thank you Selo, Robert, Szilard, Frank and Nova for making our Disney cruise even more magical. Because of you, this mama didn’t have to worry about what her child was going to eat, and that made all of us enjoy our trip even more. In fact, because they were so diligent on the Dream, Maggie’s tummy feels better than it has in over a year.

Thank you Disney Cruise Line.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We can’t wait to take this picture again. (Already booked for 2016!)


31 Days of Disney: So, I’ve got a broken pinky

Broken Pinky


This happened yesterday.

One minute I was stepping up on the curb at Maggie’s Drama Studio. The next, I was falling ever so quickly towards the ground. I braced my fall with my left hand and felt and heard something nasty as I landed.

I knew immediately it was NOT GOOD!

I was whisked to the ER by the Drama Mamas where hubby joined me. He of course started taking pictures.

Broken Pinky

Major fracture of the left pinky. I wish I had a picture of the x-ray. Not the pinky itself because it was GROSS! My poor little pinky had totally moved over. Like A LOT!!

And OH. MY. WORD. did it hurt. My poor husband. He’d never seen me in that much pain.

Then, they gave me these massive shots to numb it so they could set it, wrapped it up and sent me home. With some prescriptions of course. Did I mention the pain? The insane pain.

So, I’m sitting here icing and elevating. And typing with one hand.

Making an appointment with the hand specialist tomorrow. Praying I won’t have to have surgery, but not real optimistic about that. Like I said, the finger practically moved over.

This definitely will slow down my 31 Days of Disney posts. I had big plans to write several posts during rehearsal yesterday. Sigh.

I still have lots to share with you. And, I REALLY want to share it!!

31 Days of Disney: Streetmosphere at Hollywood Studios

One of the BEST parts of visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the Streetmosphere. These folks are walk the streets of Hollywood dressed like old Hollywood stars and are in character from the moment they set foot on the pavement. For a drama kid like the one I’ve got, they are the ultimate in entertainment. In fact, we go to Hollywood Studios not so much to ride the rides but to interact with the Streetmosphere folks.


When we went in December of 2012, Maggie REALLY got into talking with them. I mean serious conversations. And, they never broke character. Never. It was so fun to watch. In fact, hubby got it on video. So, go ahead and watch. Maggie even sings at one point in this one. Oh, and please excuse my obnoxious laugh.

While talking with the actors that morning, Maggie got invited to come back and be at “Glee Club” with them that afternoon. Now, we had Fast Passes to Toy Story Mania (the BEST ride at Hollywood Studios) at the same time as “Glee Club.” Guess which one we ended up doing?

Ya, we’re pushover parents. Maggie totally wanted to be at “Glee Club” because she was certain she would be asked to join in. And, being part of Streetmosphere is even better than watching it. We arrived with a few minutes to spare and made sure our friends from the morning saw her.


When it came time for them to pick audience members, Maggie was snatched up right away! Then, something we didn’t expect happened. I was chosen too! Ack! I can’t sing! But, I can laugh and have a good time, in I went. The hubby got it all on video.

Mags and I come in around minute 14 if you want to skip to the part where you know people.

Just watching that still makes me smile. We had so much fun that day just being a part of the Streets of Hollywood. And, we rode a few rides too.

Do you have favorite Streetmosphere characters?

31 Days of Disney: The Pirates League

Yesterday, I introduced you to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Did you see the adorable video of my girl? If not, you must go watch it. While Bibbidi Bobbidi does have special packages for boys, all that pink and purple doesn’t make most young men quiver with excitement. So, Disney came up with something that does – The Pirates League.

Pirates League

The Pirates League works very similarly to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in that there are different packages and choices to make. They even have girl packages because, well, we know they’re pretty smart over there at that Disney.

Maggie saved up her money and instead of going to Bibbidi Bobbidi in 2009, she chose to visit the Pirates League that had opened recently in the Magic Kingdom. It’s located right by Pirates of the Caribbean. Get the theming there? When we visited, there was only one girl package available, the Pirate Empress. Since then, they’ve added a Mermaid package. Oh, and a Jake and the Neverland package for the boys. Be sure to check out all the choices. 

There are several pirate fun things that happen at The Pirates League. I can only tell you about a few because the rest are top secret. Seriously. You take an oath of secrecy. And, I don’t want to ruin the fun for you!

The Pirates League

One of the first things that happen is that you determine your pirate name. It’s a very piratey, multi-step process that totally intrigues the kids and has the grown-ups giggling.

The Pirates League

Then, the transformation begins. The guy we had back in 2009 was AMAZING. He talked to Maggie all pirate like and helped her make all kinds of make-up decisions. She had the best time.

The Pirates League

Finally, you take a pirate pledge. Or, maybe it’s called an oath. I can’t remember. Actually, there is an awesome, fun thing that happens after the pledge/oath. Remember, I can’t tell you about that.

If you boys (or girls) are into all things pirate, then The Pirates League is a fun add-on to your Disney vacation. It costs a little bit extra, but it’s an experience unique to the Disney Parks. (I just checked, and it’s available in  Disneyland and on the Disney Fantasy.)

Do your kiddos love pirates? Gonna try The Pirates League?