Sneak Peek: The Menu for Tiana’s Place on the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship

So, what happens if you get a craving for cuisine from “Down in New Orleans” when you’re at sea?

Well, if you’re sailing on the Disney Wonder with Disney Cruise Line, we’ve got an answer for you. You’ll pay a visit to Tiana’s Place, the newest rotational dining restaurant on the Disney Wonder!

Disney Wonder

Disney Wonder

The Disney Wonder recently set sail having received a re-imagineering (also known as a major makeover) involving updates and additions to areas all across the ship. While the makeover in some ways is similar to the Disney Magic (which was re-imagined in 2013), the Wonder has a few new features all its own, including Tiana’s Place.  [Read more…]

News: Disney Pledges to Switch to Cage-Free Eggs by the End of 2016

It’s one of the buzziest trends taking place today: food titans across the country are making pledges to switch to cage-free eggs. And today, you can add Disney to the growing list.

Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich for Breakfast at Be Our Guest

Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich for Breakfast at Be Our Guest

Disney has announced its pledge to make the transition to cage-free eggs by the end of 2016. The switchover will be effective for the company’s US-based theme parks as well as Disney Cruise Lines. [Read more…]

Disney Dream Recipes: Smoothies from the Senses Juice Bar

Time to get serious about drinking more smoothies thanks to these delicious recipes! The Disney Dream is home to the new Senses Juice Bar and they’re serving up some yummy-sounding smoothies that may help you replenish, rejuvenate, and restore.

Grab your blender!

Feel restored with this strawberry smoothie ©Disney

Feel restored with this strawberry smoothie ©Disney

Strawberry “Restoration” Smoothie

Disney Dream Senses Juice Bar
Makes 1 smoothie

[Read more…]

Guest Review: Adult Beverages Aboard the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Adult exclusive hang-outs aboard the Disney Dream offer fun entertainment and gorgeous drinks. Sail away on the Disney Cruise Line with my good friend and guest author Julie Brontman!

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

So many people think that a Disney cruise is just for the little ones in your family, but they’re missing a whole different part of the experience! I recently went on a cruise aboard the Disney Dream with a friend and we had a great time as two adults on a “kid cruise.”

One of the best ways to explore that adult side of a cruise is to visit the bars and nighttime entertainment area, known as “The District.” There are many different spots, all tailored to whatever possible mood you might be in.

Evolution

Considered to be the “dance club” of the ship, Evolution has a special entertainment offering each night, such as variety show, game show, or comedy act. Afterward, there were dancers from the stage show, but in a whole different style of dance. We were honestly a little surprised to see dancers from a family entertainment show doing some risqué style dancing. But that’s a cruise for you I guess! Those Cast Members work in multiple roles every day to bring the Dream’s entertainment offerings to life.

Drink offerings at Evolution are themed around the idea of a butterfly, as is the entire club. There’s everything from your standard martini to something sweet and chocolatey. The first we tasted was the Mariposa, with No3 London Dry Gin, Martini Rosso Sweet Vermouth, Strawberry Puree, Passion Fruit Juice, and Fresh Muddled Basil Leaves. The strawberry/basil combo drew me to it, but this was way too sweet for my taste. It was like liquid candy. It was very dark inside, so this is pretty much all you can actually see of the drink.

Drinks at Evolution

Drinks at Evolution

The next cocktail we had was the Parnassus Apollo, made with Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Frangelico, Baileys, Kahlua, and Honey. This one was certainly sweet too, but in a rich, chocolatey way instead of the sickly sweet Mariposa. Anytime you put Baileys and Kahlua together you know it’s a good time! I’d recommend this drink to anyone with a sweet tooth. [Read more…]

News: “Snacks with Character” Allergy-Friendly Items Now Available in Disney Parks

In early September, we gave you a Sneak Peek of the Disney-branded allergy-friendly snacks that were — at the time — on their way to Disney Parks at an undetermined date. Well, that date is now here… the “Snacks with Character” line is now officially available throughout Disney Parks!

©Disney

©Disney

At the time, we sampled the Chocolate Chip Crunchy Cookies, but now a full line is available, offering alternative choices for guests seeking other options due to allergies or lifestyle choice. We’ve spied a few more items that have cropped up over the past few weeks as well, and options include items like Lemon Burst Cookies, Dark Chocolate Bars, and Chocolate Sunseed Bars. [Read more…]

News: Mickey Check Meals Debut on All Disney Cruise Line Ships

Great news for families who prefer to stick with healthy food options during their Disney adventures!

mickey check for kids meals

Mickey Check Meals have now made their way to the entire fleet of Disney Cruise Line ships.

The Mickey Check is an emblem that kids and adults can use on Disney menus to quickly identify meals that meet the Disney Nutrition Guidelines. Mickey Check Meals have been available throughout Walt Disney World and Disneyland. And now, you can add them to your Disney Cruise Line dining options as well.

The use of the Mickey Check and the creation of healthy, nutritious meals continues the work of the Disney Magic of Healthy Living Initiative. The project works to provide nutritious options and kid-appropriate portions.

Mickey Check Meal on Disney Cruise Lines

Mickey Check Meal on Disney Cruise Lines

Mickey Check Meals aim to provide three or more nutritious food groups, including [Read more…]

Guest Review: Disney Cruise Line’s Remy

Join us in welcoming back Victoria Kabakian! She’s treating us to a review of the ultra-posh Remy — a Disney Cruise Line fine-dining restaurant.

Welcome to Remy

Welcome to Remy

The crème de la crème of Disney Cruise Line dining is without a doubt Remy, the Ratatouille inspired restaurant on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. On a recent cruise on the Disney Fantasy, I finally got to check out the “other” adults-only dining option from Disney Cruise Line.

The classic ships (Disney Magic and Disney Wonder) only feature Palo, a wonderful Italian restaurant inspired by Venice, but the two newer ships have also added this French culinary experience deriving half its menu from Chef Scott Hunnel from Walt Disney World’s Victoria & Albert’s and half from Chef Arnaud Lallement from L’Assiette Champenoise, a Michelin three-star restaurant in Tinqueux, France, to create a gastronomic collaboration that is worth every penny (and calorie).

Atmosphere

Located on deck 12 aft (that’s the ship’s rear end for you land-lubbers), Remy is the ultimate tribute to the most perfect “little chef” there ever was. Even before entering the main dining room, two of the wines that are featured in the film Ratatouille are displayed in the wine case: a 1961 Château Latour (featured in the scene where Chef Skinner and Linguini are drinking in the office) and a 1947 Cheval Blanc (featured in the restaurant review scene with Anton Ego). And by the way, you can actually purchase these wines at Remy from their wine vault if you’d like. They cost $13,000 and $25,000 respectively.

1961 Château Latour

1961 Château Latour

1947 Cheval Blanc

1947 Cheval Blanc

Wine vault

Wine vault

Past the wine display is the intimate and elegant dining room, with windows stretching from end to end. This is truly the perfect setting for enjoying a view of the sunset during your meal. In fact we did, and trust me, it was stunning.

The view from our table

The view from our table

Sunset

Sunset

Details featuring Remy and his brother Emile can be found throughout the main dining room. Remy is found hidden in glass atop one of the vibrant chandeliers. He is carved in wood on the backs of chairs. Remy and Emile are stitched into the fabric of the booths and their figures frame every mirror in the space.

Remy atop one of the lighting chandeliers

Remy atop one of the lighting chandeliers

Rat detail on the back of a chair

Rat detail on the back of a chair

Part of the gorgeous dining room

Part of the gorgeous dining room

Rats stitched onto a booth

Rats stitched onto a booth

Remy on one side of a mirror

Remy on one side of a mirror

And his brother Emile on the other side

And his brother Emile on the other side

Upon further exploration, there are two additional dining rooms: a small wine room and of course the beloved Gusteau room, which is a replica of Gusteau’s restaurant in Ratatouille and even features a painting depicting the kitchen at Gusteau’s. A hand-woven carpet (one of three on the ship — the others are found in the atrium and the bridge where the ship is navigated). We’re told it took several months to create.

The Gusteau Room

The Gusteau Room

The hand-woven carpet is a focal point

The hand-woven carpet is a focal point

The painting of Gusteau’s kitchen

The painting of Gusteau’s kitchen

Eats

Although Remy also offers a Champagne brunch (at a $50 surcharge) on sea days, on this recent cruise we decided to splurge on dinner (a $75 surcharge plus $99 more if you add the wine experience, which we did not). First and foremost, the meal begins with a very special Champagne cocktail inspired by a very special character in the film, Colette.

 

The Colette

The Colette

The Colette is prepared tableside and includes a bit of strawberry, a mint leaf, some Absolut Pears, and Taittinger Champagne. By mixing the Champagne with a spirit, the bubbles dissipate, but by adding a small bit of dried apricot at the end, it creates an effervescent effect that mimics the natural bubbles in Champagne. It’s like a fun magic trick that you get to drink. Cheers.

Tableside preparation of the Colette cocktail

Tableside preparation of the Colette cocktail

After the strawberry and mint, they add the Absolut Pears

After the strawberry and mint, they add the Absolut Pears

Taittinger Champagne

Taittinger Champagne

Adding the bubbly

Adding the bubbly

The dried apricot replaces the lost bubbles

The dried apricot replaces the lost bubbles

The finished product

The finished product

Even before menus are presented, another taste of apparent magic hits your plates. The amuse bouche is a small sphere of deep-fried tomato soup. How is it made, you ask? Well after guessing that it’s prepared similarly to the way Chinese soup dumplings are made (using gelatinized broth in the filling, which then essentially melts when its heated), our amazing server Guiseppe confirmed that my suspicions were on the right track. How does it taste? Like deep-fried tomato soup, and oh so good.

Deep Fried Tomato Soup

Deep Fried Tomato Soup

A selection of fresh breads including tiny baguettes, multi-grain, and caramelized onion brioche are offered up next along with creamy butter from Vermont and sea salt from Bordeaux in France. The baguettes feature the perfect sound that Colette describes in the film as being a sign of great French bread. It has that crackle and that perfect taste and texture. The brioche is delicate and rich, another classic French creation. The multi-grain is the only bread I didn’t try.

The rat-detailed bread plate

The rat-detailed bread plate

Bread Selection

Bread Selection

Butter and Sea Salt

Butter and Sea Salt

The menu is divided in half with two tasting menus (with a la carte options as well so you can easily mix and match). The Saveur menu (meaning “flavor” in French) is created by Lallement, while the Goût menu (meaning “taste”) is created by Hunnel. Both are exquisite options, and while my sister opted to stick to the Goût side of the menu, I tried a little bit of each.

Dinner Menu

Dinner Menu

Our next treat from the chef before starting our official first course is langoustine with lobster bisque and lettuce reduction. The bite of langoustine is perfectly tender and succulent atop the super flavorful mound of bisque. The flavor of the sea really shines through here, creating a lovely start to this very special meal.

Langoustine with lobster bisque and lettuce reduction

Langoustine with lobster bisque and lettuce reduction

For our first course, we both selected the Wagyu carpaccio with ratatouille, basil coulis, 8 year aged Modena balsamic, and Parmesan crisps. The cold ratatouille is actually hidden underneath paper-thin layers of one of the world’s most famous beefs. The soft textures of the beef and ratatouille are offset by the Parmesan crisps, while the basil coulis and aged balsamic each provide contrasting nuances of herbaceous freshness and sweetness.

Wagyu Carpaccio

Wagyu Carpaccio

Ratatouille hidden underneath

Ratatouille hidden underneath

For our second course we tried the scallop crusted with masago (Japanese pearl rice) and served with a curried coconut broth, shiitake mushrooms, and bok choy. The scallop itself is the largest scallop I’ve ever seen in my life. It is perfectly cooked, still soft and slightly under in the center, with a lovely crisp texture on the exterior from the masago. The curried broth is so full of flavor, I wanted to tip the edge of the bowl directly into my mouth and slurp. Don’t worry, I didn’t. Anton Ego wouldn’t approve of that behavior!

Scallop with curried coconut broth

Scallop with curried coconut broth

Our third course is a polenta and chicken egg yolk stuffed ravioli served over a mixture of corn, black barley and poulet rouge topped with a sweet corn emulsion. This course truly encompasses the chicken AND the egg. I love the sweetness in this dish from the three different uses of corn (polenta in the filling, and corn in the base and in the emulsion). The chewiness from the black barley adds a great textural element, and of course the oozing yolk is the highlight of the dish.

Ravioli

Ravioli

Mmmmm, runny yolk!

Mmmmm, runny yolk!

My sister’s entrée from the Goût side of the menu is onion ash and black Hawaiian salt dusted lamb medallions, asparagus, marble potatoes, and pickled onions. The meat is succulent with a very unique flavor from that onion ash dusting. My sister only spared me one bite (but it was a wonderful bite) and she couldn’t stop swooning about her choice. It really is a lovely dish.

Lamb

Lamb

My entrée from the Saveur side of the menu is cold smoked and pan-roasted Wagyu beef with carrot puree, baby carrots, an orb (thanks, molecular gastronomy) filled with more carrot puree and braised short rib, spinach coulis, and served with a tableside drizzle of Bourguignon sauce. The beef is cooked perfectly and is so utterly tender. The bit of carrot puree and braised short rib that is encapsulated on the dish (not too visible in the picture, unfortunately) is a really neat surprise. It almost bursts in your mouth with sweet carrot puree and then that delicious meatiness that is short ribs. Oh yes. No regrets.

Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Beef

At this point because we were here for my birthday (belated, but still worth celebrating!) the chef actually came out and took a photo with us and then signed personalized menus for us. What a great treat!

Personalized signed menu

Personalized signed menu

Next it’s time for the famous Remy cheese [Read more…]

Guest Review: Royal Court Aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy

We’re embarking on the high seas today! Guest Author Victoria Kabakian is taking us to the Royal Court on the Disney Fantasy. Let’s sail away…!

One unique feature of Disney Cruise Line is their innovative Rotational Dining system, meaning that each night guests alternate between three main dining rooms, and their servers follow them from room to room based on the pre-scheduled rotation.

The Disney Fantasy features the Enchanted Garden, Royal Court, and Animator’s Palate as its three main dining rooms. Of these three, Royal Court is the only one that serves table service options for all three meals of the day.

Royal Court

Royal Court

Atmosphere

Located just beyond the beautiful atrium on deck 4 of the ship, Royal Court is designed to capture the whimsy of nearly every fairytale princess imaginable. The vast dining room has a very regal look, and in its center, beneath a crystal chandelier, is a large round table surrounded by plush red chairs that are larger and more elegant than the others in the room. This focal point is just one of many sophisticated and regal-looking features throughout the room.

Dining Room

Dining Room

The center table

The center table

The lovely red chairs

The lovely red chairs

The remaining chairs in the dining room have crowns engraved in the woodwork, adding another small detail to a dining room already bursting at the seams with Disney princess love.

Crown detailing

Crown detailing

A major decorative element in Royal Court is the Disney princess-themed mosaics found throughout the space. They include beautiful renditions of scenes from Disney movies such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid.

Cinderella mosaic

Cinderella mosaic

Sleeping Beauty mosaic

Sleeping Beauty mosaic

Snow White mosaic

Snow White mosaic

Beauty and the Beast mosaic

Beauty and the Beast mosaic

Aladdin mosaic

Aladdin mosaic

The Little Mermaid mosaic

The Little Mermaid mosaic

The dining room space near the Cinderella mosaic—gorgeous lighting too!

The dining room space near the Cinderella mosaic—gorgeous lighting too!

The lighting around the dining room includes small spot lights as well as large gold-accented pieces atop golden pillars. The detailing in the lights depict golden leaves as well as roses at the top of the pillars, adding to the regal look of the room.

Great detailing on these lights

Great detailing on these lights

Other accents throughout the space include Cinderella’s carriage in more ways than one. Her carriage is featured prominently on platforms around the circumference of the center part of the dining room, but it also makes up the bread baskets used at Royal Court!

Cinderella's Carriage Light

Cinderella’s Carriage Light

Cinderella’s carriage bread basket

Cinderella’s carriage bread basket

Cinderella’s carriage on the front door to Royal Court

Cinderella’s carriage on the front door to Royal Court

Breakfast Eats

As I mentioned earlier, Royal Court is the only dining room on the ship to feature table service meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During my recent cruise, I made sure to visit Royal Court for each of these meals so I could share some insight on all of them.

Breakfast Menu

Breakfast Menu

First, let’s start with breakfast. The menu categories range from Delicious Fruit Yogurts to Healthy Options, Off the Griddle, From the Cold Galley and From the Hot Galley, as well as a Children’s Menu. Typical drink options are available, but I decided to start breakfast the same as I start most my meals on a Disney Cruise, and that’s with an iced tea. It’s light and refreshing, and always hits the spot.

Iced tea

Iced tea

Our server at breakfast suggested we try one of the yogurts to start, and even though we hadn’t planned on it, the Mango Mountain Hike sounded really intriguing. It’s almost like a mango yogurt smoothie/thick soup with granola in it, giving it a bit of texture and added flavor. Holy moly! This quickly became an obsession between both my sister and I, and I’ve even emailed Disney to see if I can get a recipe. Yum!

Mango Mountain Hike

Mango Mountain Hike

The bread service at breakfast features a variety of breakfast pastries that are offered tableside from a basket. I selected a pain au chocolat from the options. Although the chocolate was still soft, the pastry itself was also quite soft, not really flaky. It was tasty, but not the best pain au chocolat I’ve tried by a long shot.

Pain au chocolat

Pain au chocolat

For breakfast, we both selected [Read more…]

Holiday Happy Hour Recipe: The Christmas Cookie Cocktail

Whether you need something to add a little Holiday cheer to gift wrapping, or you’re looking for the perfect after dinner drink for your Christmas party this weekend, I totally think you should give this Christmas Cookie Cocktail a try. Served on Disney Cruise Line ships during the holidays, we think it’s a great way to kick up the festivities just a little!

It’s like the best grown up milkshake, ever! And it has all the cozy, delicious flavors of the season — cream, coffee, and the cooling flavor of peppermint.

Disney Cruise Line's Christmas Cookie Cocktail

Disney Cruise Line’s Christmas Cookie Cocktail

Check it out!

Disney Cruise Line’s Christmas Cookie Cocktail

Makes One Cocktail

Ingredients:

1 ounce Baileys Irish Cream
1 ounce Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
1 ounce peppermint schnapps
Vanilla ice cream
Chocolate sauce
Whipped cream
Cookie shavings

Instructions:

[Read more…]

Review: Croissant Berry Bread Pudding at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot’s Land Pavilion

When it comes to Disney World, sometimes I think there are morning park people and there are night park people.

I’ve always considered myself a night park person… I’m always up for a viewing of any of the nighttime spectaculars, and I’ve never been able to pick a favorite out of Illuminations, Wishes, or Fantasmic!

And the lights on the buildings on Main Street or the torches surrounding World Showcase only add to atmosphere. Plus, the blazing Florida sun has set, so you know… bonus!

But even I have to admit that sometimes the early bird really does catch the worm. Check out this unbelievably peaceful atmosphere for an early morning breakfast of Croissant Berry Pudding at Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons!

Early morning at Sunshine Seasons

Early morning at Sunshine Seasons

Sunshine Seasons Sign

Sunshine Seasons Sign

Can’t you just hear the music from Soarin’ somewhere in the back of your mind :) ?

Anyway, while the crowds are lining up for their morning java over at Fountain View (Starbucks) Cafe, Sunshine Seasons has a few great A.M. treasures (available until 11:00AM) that shouldn’t be overlooked.

You can find plenty of bakery pastries alongside hot breakfast dishes, including an Egg and Bacon Breakfast Panini; a full Breakfast Platter featuring eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and a biscuit; and – the reason for today’s visit – a Croissant Berry Bread [Read more…]