As many have already figured out or if you didn’t know, The Two Gay Geeks (Ben and Keith) took an extended vacation in December. We visited Walt Disney World and have posted a couple of reviews of restaurants in the Orlando area. We also spent a week aboard the Disney Magic, rounding out our tours of all the Disney Cruise Line ships. While on board we were treated to an enormous amount of food everywhere we turned. For our review of Palo, the adults only dining experience click here.
This post will be about the other dining opportunities as well as several of the places to find adult refreshments.
In case you are not aware, Disney Cruise Line does what is known as rotational dining, a concept I prefer to the free for all available elsewhere. This concept is that you choose a dining time of either early (5:15) or late (8:30), your table is assigned and your wait staff are with you throughout the duration of the cruise. When you go to a different dining room, they go with you. It makes for a more relaxed and easy experience. Generally, your requested beverage is there or arrives just after you sit down on subsequent visits. If there are any dietary restrictions or special requests, you only have to give them once. And you get to know the staff and they get to know you.
This cruise we were seated with three other couples, all of us in the same age range, give or take ten years. We all had an opportunity to get to know each other and soon the stories were being told out of school, so to speak. Of course, the Magic being a smaller ship you would run into your table mates repeatedly. That even happens on the larger ships, too.
The first night of the cruise we started off in Rapunzel’s Royal Table. Obviously the décor was fashioned after the movie Tangled. I don’t recall too much about the characters that evening but the last night was also at Rapunzel’s and there was a floor-show deluxe. What an experience that was. The food at all of the dining rooms is a mix of standard cruise fare with a few signature items designed around the dining room. There are some of the same items that make an appeareance on menu’s across ships and years. I don’t think we have had anything bad on any of our cruises with Disney, there are a few things that I don’t need to order again just because of the way they are served and portion size. You have to remember they are serving several thousand meals in a night out of I believe one kitchen. That kitchen is separated into to three different partitions, one for each dining room so, they don’t get orders mixed up. The food is always tasty and hot.
Our second night was at Lumiere’s, fashioned after Beauty and the Beast. Unfortunately, the dishes didn’t dance and spew champagne everywhere. Once again the food was adequate. I will say that one of our couples we ate with are longtime Royal Carribean customers and the lady asked the chef to surprise her. She had some very interesting food brought out. I wish we had thought of that. Usually, by the time dinner rolled around we were somewhat tired and just ordered fuel for the next day.
The next two nights were in Animator’s Palate a unique to Disney dining experience. As you enter everything in the place appears to be washed out and only black and white animation is on the walls. As dinner progresses bits of color pop up all around you until the whole place is color animation. The two bigger ships (Dream and Fantasy) have additional things goin on in Animators palate form Turtle Talk with Crush and even a night where you draw your own art and it is incorporated into a slideshow.
I am going to take a side trip to some other areas for food and come back to the last night in Rapunzel’s Royal Table.
On embarkation day the staff generally directs you up to the pool deck and Cabana’s, it is a buffet restaurant and since embarkation usually starts around 10-ish it is a brunch buffet. They put on a good spread with eggs benedict, peel and eat shrimp, and crab legs just to mention a few items. Of course, there is the obligatory Prime Rib and multiple desserts to choose form. I always have to walk down the buffet before starting to decide what I really want and then come back and always wind up with more than I can eat. I love to taste a little bit of this and that. You can also choose to go to one of the dining rooms and have a meal there. There is some limited table service and a buffet for you to choose from.
Before we go up to Cabana’s we always find out where the reservations for tastings are and head there immediately. Tastings? You say? Yes, on most cruises they have at least a whisky and cognac tasting as well as a mixology (only do this if you don’t plan to do anything else afterwards) and sometimes a beer tasting. On longer cruises there will be a wine tasting and margherita’s. Our customary tastings are whisky and cognac and wine if it is available. The big ships have a champagne tasting and the Fantasy has a special bubble shaped lounge dedicated to champagne’s. Even though we have done the whisky and cognac many times, it is always different because of the bartender.
The whisky and cognac were held in the Cove Café a nice little respite form all the people. It is located on the pool deck in the Adults Only section and they serve coffee drinks and alcohol and have lovely little snacks throughout the day. The wine tasting was in a bar on Deck 3 Forward. It is a piano bar reminiscent of the Piano Bars of Hollywood in its heyday. We had a great time here enjoying a glass of wine in the evening while listening to Lenora Clare tickle the ivories. Two other lounges on Deck 3 are O’Gills Pub where you can have a beer and a snack and Fathoms where they have lounge acts throughout the day and Karaoke in the evenings.
There are a number of fast food type of spots on the pool deck for enjoying a snack or meal at most any hour. Duck-In Diner has burgers and the like, Pinnochio’s Pizzeria, Frozone Treats and Eye Scream soft serve machine that is always very popular, so I have heard… who am I kidding, I may have frequented it more than a few times. There is Signals, a walk up bar on the pool deck and Preludes a snack bar outside the Walt Disney Theater.
Now back to our last night dinner. We were told that the Chef had prepared something special for everyone at our table. We arrived at Rapunzel’s Royal Table and there were pirates and scallywags everywhere making their rounds and ready for the show. It really was quite the experience with singing and dancing and comedy all for us. We ordered appetizers and salads and then the main course arrived. It was a gigantic breast of chicken stuffed with spinach, coconut, and a special curry of the chef’s concoction. It was breaded in panko crumbs and parmesan and baked to a crispy brown. It was delicious. The chef even came out and chatted with all of us at the table. It was the highlight of the regular dining on board the Disney Magic.
If you are considering a Disney Cruise you needn’t worry about not getting enough food. There is too much. And just so you know, if you want to try two different appetizers or slads or entrée’s ask they are very accommodating. Oh, and there is room service too.