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…]

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: 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…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: October 13, 2013

For those of you who have been waiting for more Grey Stuff goodness from Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant, check out the Grey Stuff Brownie!! Debuting during the Halloween season, this should be on the menu as a regular item going forward!

Grey Stuff Brownie

And are you headed to the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Check out our review of the brand new Parisian Breakfast.

But there are even more events taking place — we love the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic! Or treat yourself to the Flying Fish Cafe’s Instructional Luncheon. Read more below!

What else was in the news this week? Read on…

Disney Food News

Catch up on your reading!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including a Trick or “Tweet Up” for Give Kids The World, Price Increases for Disney Cruise Line’s Palo restaurants, and more!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Twitter friend Norma shares “@DisneyFoodBlog Thanks for letting us know about the cheese dispenser at Casey’s Corner. It made a great addition!” Yay for Plastic Cheese, Norma!

Cheese!

Reader Oli tweeted “GAWRSH I’m addicted!” Me, too, Oli!!

Goofy's Assorted Sour Balls

Thanks for sharing!

The DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book THIS WEEK! With over 190 pages and multiple bonus items, it’s pretty substantial. And just in time to make your plans — the festival is under way!

This week, we have a discount option for DFB readers (as always!). You can get the mini-guide for $3 off the regular purchase price — just use code TRAY at the check-out!

As always, we’ve made this mini-guide instantly downloadable for your convenience, and easily installed on your mobile devices.

It’s a PDF guide with over 190 pages of detailed information about the Festival as well as photographs and customized bonus items to help you get the best experience possible.

Want an Even Better Deal?

We’ve got it! For an even bigger discount, head over to the DFB Store and check out our e-Book Bundles!

All the Guides Bundle, Including Food and Wine: Planning a big trip and need the low-down on Disney Food across the board? We’ve got it all for you in this steeply discounted e-Book Bundle, which includes the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Guide and the Holidays at Disney World Guide!

Food and Wine Bundle: Another chance to pick up two of our very best-selling guides! Get a significant discount on our 400-page DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2013, and the DFB Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival — together! This Food and Wine Bundle offers all of our insider tips and tricks for the Festival AND the rest of your Disney World visit!

For more detailed information and sample pages from The DFB Mini-Guide to the 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival, head over to DFBMiniGuides.com/foodandwine!

On to the Round-Up!

Mickey Fix features a cute Mickey Mouse Teapot for One

Studios Central spots Halloween Treats in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Gorillas Don’t Blog features vintage photographs of a “No Picnic Lunches Allowed” sign and an old-fashioned popcorn cart!

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups stops by the Magic Kingdom’s Big Top Treats for Caramel Apples.

All Ears attends a Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party!

The Daily Disney looks at the enhanced marketplaces at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.

PortOrleans.org discovers new menu items at Boatwright’s in the Port Orleans Riverside Resort.

The Disney Blog showcases the new beverage menu at the California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

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: 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…]