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…]

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…]