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Disney Cruise Review: High Tea at Palo

Dining in Disneyland columnist Heather Sievers brings us on Board the Disney Magic’s Mediterranean Cruise for High Tea at Palo!

Although this was my third Disney Cruise, my husband and I had never had a chance to dine at The Disney Cruise Line’s upscale (and kid-free) Palo. We’d heard amazing things, but were always so happy with our dining room experiences that we never strayed from our nightly servers.  I now ask myself, “What the heck were we thinking?!?”

Palo is an Adult Exclusive Restaurant Located on Deck 10 Aft

On this last cruise, an 11-day Mediterranean Cruise, we had not one, not two, but three chances to visit Palo; and honestly, I wish we had made even more reservations than that.  Each visit was for a different meal.  We tried the brunch (amazing), we tried the dinner (amazing), and we also visited the High Tea. This was my first “fancy” official type high tea and I will tell you this: high tea at Palo would be hard to top.

High Tea Place Setting

High tea is offered on sea days only and reservations are a must. It takes place at 3:00pm and will set you back a mere $10 per person, totally worth every penny.

The process starts when you are greeted by a top notch server. Palo servers are the best of the best cast members from the Disney Cruise Line. What do I mean by best of the best? Let me put it to you this way, there are only 8 servers total at Palo, all hand picked, and all started out with lower food service positions. Our high tea server was the fabulous Maria.

Maria, One of Palo's 8 Super Star Servers

Maria stated off by handing us our “tea” menus and recommended some of her favorites.

Tea Choices

The teas were divided into three categories: Green, Black & Herbal.  I went with the Harmony (chamomile & peppermint) from the herbal section and my husband chose the Oolong (green & black tea hybrid) from the black teas.  Once we took our pick, Maria headed to the adorable tea cart to get our supplies.

Tea Cart

Supplies included a tea pot full of hot water, a strainer, tea cup, and of course, our tea.

Tea Time

Infusing and Steeping!

Harmony Tea Ready to Drink

During the tea process, we were also shown the “fixed” high tea menu, which consisted of finger sandwiches, home made scones, and a gorgeous tiered dessert platter.

The menu items were brought out in courses beginning with the finger sandwiches.  There was Gravadlex on Pumpernickel which was cream cheese mixed with sliced dill on pumpernickel bread, Shrimp in Cocktail Sauce on white bread, and Curried Chicken and Cilantro on whole grain bread, and Cucumber on white bread.  My two favorites were the Cucumber on white bread and the Curried Chicken and Cilantro.

Finger Sandwiches

After sandwiches, my absolute favorite thing about high tea came to rest in front of me. Home made scones served warm with Dickinson’s strawberry jam and Devonshire cream.

Scones with Jam & Devonshire Cream

Strawberry Jam & Devonshire Cream

Fresh Scones Prepared and Ready for Devouring

Honestly, this could have been the end, I ate every single bite and was as happy as happy can be. Warm tea, belly filled with fresh scones, delicious jam and fresh cream? What could be better? AND THEN, Maria brought out the tiered dessert tray.

Desserts: The Final High Tea "Course"

I was really quite full by now, but I also knew that I’d not be back to high tea at Palo for perhaps a very very long time, so I did decide to sample everything.  All items were simply amazing and guess what?  They’ll pack up your leftovers so you can take them to go!

Mini Eclair

Gingerbread Cake

Kiwi Tart

Berry Tart

Mango Tart

Raspberry Macaroon

Sherried Trifle (strawberry compote with custard & whipped cream)

Overall, this high tea experience took us about 90 minutes.  It was a great way to spend a kid-free afternoon (thank you Oceaneer Lab) and try something that I’d never “formally” done.  I highly recommend the Palo High Tea Experience for the scones alone.

Palo reservations must be booked in advance.  Once in a while they do have cancellations that allow for a few openings, but if you have your heart set on visiting Palo, don’t delay on making your reservation.

Palo Brunch & Dinner Reviews on the Magic Soon to Follow!

Check out a Palo dinner review on the Disney Dream and a Palo brunch review on the Disney Wonder, too!

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7 Comments

  1. Elizabeth R says:

    Sorry to be so pedantic, but what you enjoyed was actually afternoon tea, not high tea. Afternoon tea is a light meal served around 4:00-4:30 in the afternoon; it consists of tea (of course) and usually of tea sandwiches, biscuits, cake, scones, etc. It was developed by the upper classes in the nineteenth century because the stretch between luncheon and dinner was vast, and it became, in many respects, the iconic British meal. High tea is something altogether different. It is basically the working man’s evening meal, and the “high” should be considered not as a synonym for grand but more like the “high” in the phrase, “it’s high time we had something to eat around here.” High tea was served early in the evening when working men and women returned from their jobs. It consists of heartier fare than afternoon tea, including things like sausages, cold meats, eggs, heartier sandwiches, leftovers from the day before, etc. To this day, working class and many middle class people in Britain refer to their evening meal as “tea.” Again, my apologies for being pedantic, but I do try to do what I can to remedy the fact that Americans and Brits are a people divided by a common language.

  2. AJ says:

    Hi Elizabeth! I feel your pain! Unfortunately, Disney does refer to this meal as High Tea on their Disney Cruise website and on the ship, so we’ll do so as well in order to not confuse people. We didn’t name it, we just write about it :-(

  3. Brittany says:

    This is great! we also had Maria on our Mediterranean cruise earlier this month! She was a great server that we had for both High Tea and dinner. What a sweetheart!

    Thanks for the great review!

  4. Wendy Snelgrove says:

    I’m sorry to quibble, because the meal generally looks lovely, but I have to say that I found the tea service to be surprising. Tea is to be brewed in the pot, not the cup. Then as you pour the tea into the cup the strainer catches the loose tea. (If you’ve had tea at the Grand Floridian it is served this way, and at every other tea shop I’ve been to).

    Those scones and dessert look wonderful! Scones and devon cream are one of my favourite things!

  5. Brular says:

    Thanks for this nice review! I had the chance to try this Palo experience and we had a blast.

    However, something appeared to me as weird in your review : “They’ll pack up your leftovers so you can take them to go!”

    What is that “leftovers” you speak of? The certainly was not such a bizarre occurrence when my friends and I tried it! The good thing with waddling back to the cabin is that you have the excuse of the ship rolling movement to explain it. :-D

  6. Diane says:

    Wonderful review! Thank you for the photos. We will be sailing on Disney Fantasy in August and as soon as we are able to make reservations, we will plan to enjoy tea at Palo. Those scones look too good to miss.

  7. we are sailing on the Dream in January, how/where do we make reservations for the tea at Palos?? This sounds lovely, we did the High tea with Marry Poppins when they had it at the Disneyland Hotel several times, and loved it!

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