Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster takes us with her on her summer vacation, European travel — Disney style. This was a three-part trip which included two Adventures by Disney packages (Barcelona Escape and Mediterranean Magic), plus a Mediterranean cruise on the Disney Magic, all sandwiched together. Her trip of a lifetime included culture, relaxation, breathtaking scenery, and of course, plenty of food.
My recent Mediterranean Magic Adventures by Disney trip was slightly different than most. While the lunches and daytime excursions were completely run by Adventures by Disney (AbD), our lodging for the evening was not a hotel.
Instead we spent the night sailing and sleeping aboard the Disney Magic cruise ship. This meant that our dinners took place in the regular Magic restaurants. Most dinners were spent with our individual families rather than the group. However, one evening our guides, James and Dusty, treated the adults in the group to an amazing private meal at Palo, the ship’s most deluxe dining venue.
This happened to be my first meal at Palo so, while I had read several reviews of the restaurant here on Disney Food Blog, I didn’t fully know what to expect.
Based on the dress-code, I had anticipated an ultra-lush atmosphere like the Grand Floridian’s Victoria and Albert’s. However, while the room and mood were lovely, they were more in step with the typical signature restaurants at WDW such as Artist Point or California Grill. Refined, but not formal.
We waited for our entire group to arrive and were then escorted to a private room at the back of the main dining room. We had our own server and wine steward.
The steward explained that up to three glasses of wine would be included with our meal. He did an expert job of explaining the characteristics and ideal pairings of a dozen bottles he had selected as ideal for us.
I was still nervous about some former sea sickness issues, so I didn’t think that much wine was prudent, but I did sip on a glass of Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvee, the sparkling wine exclusively produced for Disney. Quite delicious!
Because we were hosted by Adventures by Disney, our guides took the liberty of pre-ordering several items to get our meal started in the right direction. All the food we consumed was part of the regular Palo menu for the evening, James and Dusty just made sure that we had a range of items in front of us at all times.
I was already approaching full, especially after James ordered a sharing plate of the cheese that had appeared on the antipasto platter, just because a few of us commented that we enjoyed it. But we had to soldier on and order proper appetizers.
Among the choices at the table were:
In an effort to have some moderation in my calorie intake, I ordered the salad. It was perfectly light and crisp, but I must confess that I did have more than one of my husband’s pesto shrimp as well. The seasoning tasted of fresh-picked basil.
Then we moved on to entrees. I chose the Chianti braised beef ravioli.
As you can tell, my effort to eat lightly was short-lived. The ravioli was absolutely comfort food. The filling was rich and brisket-y, with just the right amount of sauce.
Others in the group ordered:
Raves were heard across the table. Then when James realized that no one had ordered the lobster and mascarpone ravioli, he took it upon himself to have two plates of it brought to the table so that we could all have a taste.
He was absolutely right, it was a must-splurge item.
At this point, Chef Nicholas came in to check on us and make sure that we were enjoying our meal, a gracious gesture.
I wish I had thought to ask him detailed questions about food preparation, but I was distracted by my full belly and the gentle rocking of the ocean — very relaxing.
Although I couldn’t imagine eating any more, of course I did. Dessert time! Some members of the party selected panna cotta with strawberry basil sorbet or zabaglione with wine-infused berries.
My husband and I decided to share a chocolate souffle and the orange soda float. Each of these items had a bit of theatrics that went with them.
The souffle was brought to the table in all its puffed up glory. Then our server, the charming and hilarious Ciao, stabbed the crown with a spoon and poured in a silky sauce. For the sauce, there was a choice of chocolate, vanilla, or both. We opted for vanilla.
The full description of the orange soda float read: orange soda float with vanilla gelato, amerena cherries, whipped cream and honey crunch. Based on this, I was confused, but intrigued. I couldn’t imagine how all those items would be combined into one dessert. Here’s what Ciao brought to the table:
Ciao then poured club soda, filling the chocolate shell.
And then he stabbed the shell with a spoon, causing the soda to fizz into the orange mixture below.
It was then up to me to crumble the rest of the chocolate shell into the glass. This was one of my top Disney desserts of all time, completely creative and unexpected.
To top off this masterpiece of a meal, our guide Dusty ordered a limoncello shooter for everyone at the table.
We had a wonderful dinner and fully enjoyed the crossover between our great Adventures by Disney service and that of Palo.