Guest Review: Dinner at Palo Aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy Cruise Ship

Ahoy to Rachel Gardner! She brings us a delicious review of the exclusive table-service restaurant, Palo, aboard the Disney Fantasy.

Atmosphere

Warm tones of reds, greens, and taupes; elegant wood paneling; large spacious dining rooms with sweeping ocean views; the smell of Italian food wafting from the plates around you as you make your way to your table: this is Palo.

A warm chandelier welcomes diners!

Meaning pole in Italian, Palo is named after the pole to which the gondoliers tie up the gondola when docking.

Palo’s Dining Room

Sweeping ocean views create a serene [Read more…]

The Year in Review: Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2013!

If you’re a Disney Food Fan, then 2013 has been an exciting year!

Disney food news stories of 2013

We’ve had lots of  change, new announcements, and brand new experiences.

So today, we thought we’d take a look back at this year, and review the Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2013!

From new coffee to new restaurants, new technology to new ice cream, we have a ton to cover!

Let’s get started!

1. COFFEE!

When Starbucks and Disney announced in 2012 that the coffee giant would be coming to Disney Parks, the news was huge! And when the first Walt Disney World locations began opening in 2013, the story once again topped the list of Disney food headlines.

Starbucks at Main Street Bakery is Right in the Middle of the Magic

The first location to open was Main Street Bakery on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street USA. While some loyal fans of the historic spot decried the chain store intrusion, many coffee lovers were thrilled that they could now enjoy their favorite brew in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle.

And with the Main Street cinnamon rolls available at Gaston’s Tavern (at least they claim they’re the same…you can see our cinnamon roll throw down here!), well — at least not all of our favorite goodies are lost.

A Busy Morning at Main Street Bakery

The reopening of Fountain View Cafe in Epcot as the second WDW Starbucks location seemed to ruffle fewer feathers, since the themeing for the futuristic ice cream parlor wasn’t as beloved as Main Street Bakery. Still, patrons were irked with the lack of seating, even if the many, many bays for ordering mean that your java arrives fresh and fast.

Have Your Starbucks in Epcot with a View of Spaceship Earth

But Starbucks wasn’t the only coffee news we debated in 2013. Disney also announced that Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company, headquartered in Tampa, would become the official specialty coffee provider for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Vacation Club resorts.

Joffrey’s is Named the Official Coffee Brand of Disney Parks

We’ve been enjoying Joffrey’s products for ages at the kiosks throughout the parks, so this was welcome news to many. So far, we are hearing that you seem pleased with the switch from Nescafe to Joffrey’s.

2. RESTAURANT FASTPASS TESTING — AND MORE TECH UPDATES!

Waaaaayyyyy back in January of this year, we first wrote about how we thought My Magic+ would affect Disney Dining.

mymagic+

And before the year was out, we had the opportunity to see just how some of the new technology would work.

One of the most intriguing uses of MyMagic+ technology was the Touch to Pay System. We had an opportunity to put our Magic Bands to work with the new system, and Erin, our Disney Food For Families columnist, documented the process so our readers could be in the know!

Erin Paying with Her Magic Band at Artist Point!

Erin Paying with Her Magic Band at Artist Point!

And while we love the Magic Band concept, even cooler is all the Disney food bling that you can get to individualize your bracelet! I’m a sucker for the cupcake!

Magic Band Food Bling

Magic Band Food Bling

 

Another rumor that came to fruition was that [Read more…]

News! Royal Court Royal Tea on Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy

We have news about a very special new experience that you can book with Disney Cruise Line!

Disney’s newest ship, the Fantasy, is now offering the Royal Court Royal Tea, an interactive experience featuring some of Disney’s most popular characters — the Disney Princesses.

Cinderella Greets Guests During the Royal Court Royal Tea

Hosted by Lady Chamomile and Chef Brule — two new characters created to bring the event to life — guests are invited to interact with several princesses while they dine on traditional teatime fare.

Lady Chamomile Brings the Royal Court Royal Tea to Life

Young guests also receive gifts. Girls are presented with tiaras and boys receive swords as they are announced to the assembly.

Belle at Tea with a Young Guest

But that’s not all. Boys will also receive a Duffy Bear in cruise finery, pins, and shields. Girls will be surprised by a [Read more…]

Review: Carioca’s on the Disney Magic Cruise Ship

Today we’re visiting the newest Disney dining establishment on the high seas… Carioca’s!

Atmosphere

The Disney Magic is Disney Cruise Line’s original ship. After fifteen years of sailing, she recently underwent her first lengthy renovation (referred to as a “re-Imagineering” by Disney Cruise Lines :) ). Several of the dining and adult lounge areas were refreshed and enhanced, while others received a complete redesign.

With the ship’s launch in 1998 came the introduction of Disney’s unique approach to dinner seating known as Rotational Dining. Instead of gathering in one large dining room every night, guests aboard Disney Cruise ships are assigned to a rotation among three different dining rooms. Their table servers rotate with them, getting to know their likes and dislikes (as well as any special dietary needs), allowing for a more seamless dining experience.

Welcome to Carioca's

With the Magic’s recent post-renovation relaunch, what was formerly Parrot Cay in the dining rotation has become Carioca’s!

Atmosphere

Carioca’s is inspired by and named after Donald Duck’s pal, the one and only José Carioca! You may know José from two Disney films from the early 1940s: Saludos Amigos and The Three Cabelleros.

Mural

Even if you aren’t familiar with these films, you may have enjoyed sailing and singing along with José, Donald, and their third amigo, Panchito, on the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion!

Gran Fiesta Tour

“Where one, two, and three goes, [Read more…]

Photo Tour! Re-Imagined Restaurants and Lounges on the Disney Magic Cruise Ship!

Remember when we told you that the Disney Magic cruise ship was about to get a full makeover?? Well, today we have an awesome photo tour for you!!

The Re-Imagined Disney Magic

The Disney Magic – The original cruise ship of the Disney Cruise Line – first set sail in 1998. Fifteen years later, she has just launched again after a lengthy stay in dry-dock where she spent her time being “re-imagined.”

Re-imagining is more than simply being refurbished or refreshed. Some spaces around the ship were entirely redesigned while others were enhanced. She sure is a beauty!

Disney Magic

Since the re-imagined areas are primarily public spaces, this, of course, means that some of the dining areas and adult lounges were re-imagined or refreshed as well! Though some spaces, already timeless, remained unchanged or just refreshed.

Let’s have a look inside this amazing vessel and see what’s new!

Carioca’s

The biggest update to the dining scene on the Disney Magic is the addition of Carioca’s.

Carioca's Entrance

What was previously Parrot Cay now pays homage to one of Donald Duck’s [Read more…]

DIY Disney Recipe: Konk Kooler from Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay

Welcome back guest chef Carol E. with a Do It Yourself Recipe for the Konk Kooler, an exclusive adult beverage for Disney Cruise Line guests visiting Castaway Cay.

School was supposed to train us all for the real world, right? Then how come we don’t get summer, Christmas break, spring break and other various holidays off in the real world? They prepped us for real life and then took it all away when we graduated! :)

You might agree that summer time is the worse. We’re stuck sitting at work, when we could be on vacation…like visiting Orlando or Anaheim or better yet, sailing on a Disney Cruise!

Well here’s to figuring out how to have summer break even when we are working and can’t take a vacation!

Luckily for you, I think I may have found the solution!!! ;) Thanks to my first ever Disney cruise last year, I was introduced to the Konk Kooler…the signature drink on Disney’s magical private island — Castaway Cay (Bahamian word pronounced Key).

Relax on Castaway Cay!

There is no place like Castaway Cay, with it’s beautiful beaches, kids area, and a private adult only beach where you can really enjoy a Konk Kooler!

Mickey and his friends are there, and we even saw Captain Jack Sparrow walking the beach!

Mickey loves Castaway Cay!

The Konk Kooler is a fantastic drink, and I was so happy to find the recipe in my Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs cookbook!

Konk Kooler as served on Castaway Cay

It’s super easy to make and will only take a few minutes until you are ready to enjoy summer nights in the backyard imagining you are setting sail with Mickey and friends! Let’s get started:

Ingredients

Makes 1 serving

Konk Kooler Ingredients.

-1/2 ounce dark rum
-3/4 ounce light rum
-1 ounce passion fruit juice [Read more…]

Coming Soon! New Dining Options and Nightlife on the Disney Magic Cruise Ship!

Fun news from the Walt Disney World Monstrous Summer event this week!

New dining and entertainment options are being introduced to the Disney Magic Cruise Ship during a dry dock refub, which will take place in Spain this Fall 2013! We’re super excited about a special surprise that we mention at the bottom of this post!

More Magic Coming to Disney Magic!

The Magic was launched in 1998 with the latest in technology and imagineering at the time. But since the Disney Dream and Fantasy have taken to the seas, Disney’s decided it’s time to do some upgrades on the oldest ship! Let’s take a look…

Re-Imagined Dining on the Disney Magic

We love that the dining and restaurants on the ship will get a refresher!

NEW! Carioca’s
The Brazilian-themed Carioca’s will replace Parrot Cay on the Magic, and will bring an energetic atmosphere reminiscent of Rio de Janiero.

Adding to the dining experience, the concept will change from day to night with vibrant colors. Savor the Latin-infused flavors from the menu during day time buffet meals and table-service dinners.

Carioca's!

At night, windows will reveal “city” scapes and flickering lanterns will illuminate the room.

Animator’s Palate
The ever-popular Animator’s Palate will get a slight makeover bringing in new technology (larger, high-def flat screens). The “Drawn to the Magic” black-and-white-to-color show will continue throughout the meal, but new friends like Rapunzel from “Tangled” and Remy from “Ratatouille” will join the ranks of Disney characters represented.

Animator's Palate transformation!

The popular “animation magic” show from the Fantasy will be added here as well — where guests draw their own characters that come to life on the screens! 

Animation Magic coming to Animator's Palate!

New! Cabanas
Many guests rely on the come-as-you-are Topsider Buffet on the Magic for casual eats during the day. During the Magic’s refurbishment, this restaurant will be upgraded and expanded into Cabanas! This casual spot will be treated with an Australian and Finding Nemo theme, similar to [Read more…]

Guest Review: Royal Court Aboard the Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship

It’s time to step aboard the Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship! Today, guest author Rachel Gardner brings us a wonderful review from the princess-themed Royal Court — one of the rotational dining restaurants on this gorgeous Disney Cruise Line ship.

Atmosphere

The Royal Court Restaurant on Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Fantasy, is a princess haven!

The restaurant has the princess concept refined to its most basic elegance. This sophisticated restaurant located on Deck 3, adjacent to the lobby, reflects each princess through unique and breathtaking mosaics!

The stroke of midnight!

There are two rooms set off from the main dining hall with even more princess décor including beautiful (they look hand-painted!) plates.

Beauty and the Beast Plates.

One of the two rooms is dedicated to The Princess and the Frog, with large tiled mosaics on the walls.

The Princess and the Frog!

Princess motifs adorn the restaurant as well. They are so subtle, yet I made it my personal mission to try to spot the unexpected.

Chandelier in lobby area - notice the crowns on top!

Carriage lamps - I want one!

Rose patterned carpet.

The music that plays throughout the restaurants includes songs from classic [Read more…]

Guest Review: Ten Tips for Disney Cruise Dining with a Toddler

Welcome to guest author Julia Mascardo with an informative review and GREAT TIPS for dining with a toddler aboard the Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship!

In any given week, toddlers may decide that they want to eat everything offered to them — or they may want to dine on goldfish crackers and string cheese for every meal.

When you are on land, it isn’t a major problem to make sure your toddler’s whims are met even if you are on vacation. But the idea of spending a week at the mercy of a cruise ship’s galley might make a parent reconsider the idea of cruising.

After spending a week aboard the Disney Fantasy, I found that with a little advance planning, toddler dining on a Disney cruise can be an enjoyable experience—for parents and children alike.

Even if your child doesn’t get desserts at home, you probably will want to allow a little indulgence when on board — like this decorate-your-own-cupcake dessert!

Here are my top 10 tips for making the most of Disney cruise dining with a toddler:

Tips for Disney Cruise Dining with a Toddler

1. Pick your battles

When adults are on vacation, they eat in ways that they wouldn’t eat at home. The same can be said for toddlers.

If you have certain rules that you want to enforce on ship, let your servers know. For instance, if your child must have three bites of vegetables before any macaroni and cheese, they can bring out a plate of vegetables for those required three bites and then bring out a “next course” of pasta.

Flexibility with rules can make life easier, however. If you are okay with treats like doughnuts for breakfast and French fries with every meal, that flexibility may make the experience more pleasant for everyone.

Buffets offer opportunities for your child to pick what he or she wants to eat— and for you to decide what you put on the plate.

2. If you don’t see it, ask

Our daughter drinks milk with every meal. But milk was not listed on the room service menu as a drink option for lunch or dinner, and was not visible at the buffet restaurant Cabanas for lunch.

Milk is available, but sometimes you need to ask where to find it.

One quick question to a cast member and I found that room service will not only will deliver milk, but you can set up for a daily scheduled delivery at a specific time if desired.

For lunch at Cabanas, milk is stored behind the manned salad bar station. All you have to do is ask a cast member, and he or she will [Read more…]

Guest Review: Remy Champagne Lunch Aboard the Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship

Join me in welcoming Amanda Allen (a WDW Moms Panelist) with a decadent review of the new Champagne Lunch at Remy aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy.

Psssst! Wanna know a secret? Remy, one of the adults-only restaurants on the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream Cruise Ships, serves a Champagne Lunch once during select cruises that have sea days.

You can’t reserve a table for this meal online, and you won’t find it mentioned in the Daily Navigator. Since a mere 40 spots are available for this special lunch, it’s advertised only to concierge guests and those who have dinner at Remy, but anyone is welcome to reserve a table.

Remy Table

Atmosphere

I’d read rumors online of this new meal at Remy so when I boarded the Fantasy for a Western Caribbean cruise in June, I stopped by the restaurant to ask if the champagne lunch would be served during my voyage.

Raised Seating Area

I learned that Remy began serving the lunch in May, and on the Western cruises, it is held only [Read more…]