Friday, June 17, 2011

Dinning on the Disney Cruise Ships

Dinning on the Disney Cruise Ships

       Going on any cruise means eating good food and lots of it! This is no different on a Disney Cruise. What is different is the service. Disney has a unique dinning plan called rotational dinning. There are three main restaurants on the each ship along with quick service and a buffet. For dinner you will rotate through the 3 main restaurants for dinner each night. You will always sit at the same table number with the same people in each restaurant and eat at the same time. Your servers will rotate along with you and be with you every night of the cruise. You will find a card in your stateroom when you board that will tell you what restaurant you are in each night. The order of restaurants is also on you Key to the World Card (your key room and charge card). They use the first letter of the restaurant name to indicate where you will eat each night.

       First I’ll tell you about the main restaurants then I’ll tell you a little bit about the other places to find food. I will stick to telling you mostly about the restaurants on the Magic and Wonder because I’ve been on those ships. Where I can I’ll tell you what has been said about the different restaurants on the Dream and upcoming Fantasy.

Each restaurant on the ship is designed to have a different feel. Lumiere’s on the Magic and King Triton’s on the Wonder are the formal dining restaurants. Lumiere’s decor is from Beauty and the Beast and gives the feel of being in a French Castle. Triton’s décor is from Little Mermaid and gives the feel of being in King Triton’s underwater royal palace. The Dream has the Royal Palace and the Fantasy will have the Royal Court. Both of these have the feel of classic Disney Princesses such as Cinderella and Snow White. All of these restaurants are off of the Atrium Lobby and have the ships character mascot statue outside the front door.

       Parrot Cay is a tropical island themed restaurant. This restaurant is the same on both the Magic and the Wonder but is not on the Dream or Fantasy. This has a more relaxed atmosphere and in fact is my most favorite of the full service dinner restaurants. As you walk into the restaurant you will hear parrots calling out to each other. This restaurant would fit on any Caribbean Island because the décor is so much like those there. This restaurant is a full service sit down restaurant but is also used as a buffet for some breakfasts, lunches and for brunch the day you board the ship. This is where you will go for your first meal on the ship when you board. Ask your server when your Character Breakfast is scheduled and Parrot Cay is where you will eat it.

       On the Dream and the Fantasy the Enchanted Garden restaurant takes the place of Parrot Cay. It is located on Deck 2 Midship. It is designed to have the feel of the luxurious gardens of Versailles, Enchanted Garden magically transforms from day to night.

       Animator's Palate is on all of the Disney Ships. The décor in this restaurant gives you the feel of being in an animator’s drawing room. On the Magic and Wonder when you walk into the room it is black and white. On one night of the cruise a fantastic transformation takes place as the black and white walls and pictures start to change to color right before your eyes. As the meal progresses even the waiters costumes change from black and white to full color! On the Dream Animator’s Palate is different. The room is in color but on show night the room “cork boards” and walls change to make you feel like you are underwater. The “cork boards” change into windows into the sea. During the meal Crush, Marlin, Nemo, Dore and other friends from Finding Nemo swim by to say hi and talk to you. You can ask questions and get answers about life under the sea and tell them about life on land. From what I’ve read the Fantasy’s Animator’s Palate is similar to the Dream’s in general look but on show night it is different. Instead of going under the sea for a visit from Nemo and friends you will be given help to draw a cartoon character on your placemat. (This may only be for children.) Then the picture you drew will be animated onto the screens around the room for all to see.

       You can have a sit down full service breakfast or lunch at any of the three main restaurants as well as going to the buffet restaurant at the aft of the ship or having a meal delivered to your room. If you have breakfast or lunch at any of them you will not need to sit at your assigned table. Your servers most likely will not be there for breakfast or lunch.

       All the Disney ships have the adult only restaurant Palo. This is an Italian restaurant with fantastic food and an incredible view off the back of the ship. You can book online before the cruise. You can have brunch, high tea or dinner here. I suggest you book this early as it fills up quickly if you wish a romantic time with your sweetheart. There is an extra cost for dinning here but it is truly worth it. The cost depends on what meal you choose. At this time they run from $10-$20 per person.

       Remy’s on the Dream and Fantasy is a second adult only restaurant. The theme of this restaurant is inspired by the movie Ratatouille. The food is French inspired. The cost of dinner at this restaurant is $75 per person at this time. Again I would suggest booking this dining experience early as seating is limited and I’m going to guess this will only gain in popularity as time goes on. There are only 80 seats in Remy’s so it is very limited.

       Topsiders and Beach Blanket Buffet on the Magic and Wonder are buffet restaurants located on deck 9 aft. There is both indoor and outdoor seating. They are open for breakfast, lunch serving a wonderful buffet. For dinner these restaurants are transformed into table service dining than anyone can go to. We enjoy eating at the buffets for breakfast and lunch. We enjoy the whimsical decor and food at these locations. This is a great place to get a meal while the ship is in port before you leave the ship or if you decide to stay onboard. You can sit outside or inside and the view is wonderful! Like Palo the view is off the back of the ship.

       Cabanas is located on Deck 11 aft on both the Dream and Fantasy. Like the buffets on the Magic and Wonder they serve buffet style meals for breakfast and lunch and for dinner are turned into table-service restaurants.

       On all the ships there are quick service food locations near the pools. They are located between the kid’s pool and the family pool. You can find Pizza, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Ice Cream there. A self serve soda fountain with a variety of drinks is also located on deck 9 near the pools. There is some food in the lounges as well. You can also have food delivered to your stateroom.

       There is a coffee café near the adult pool and there are lounges/bars in various locations around the ship. These have specialty drinks and foods. Finger foods are free at these locations but the drinks cost.

       Now for the question that everybody asks. What do I have to pay for the food! Here is the quick and easy answer. If when you ask for the food they ask for your Key to the World you will be charged extra. If they pop the top of a can or open a bottle it costs. Most food on the ship is included in the price of the cruise. So relax and enjoy the treats! Soda, coffee, tea and juice is free with meals in the dining rooms and from the soda fountain. Alcoholic drinks you will always be charged for. If you order a soda or a specialty coffee or a special drink from a cart, in a lounge or by room service you will be charged. The charge for a can of soda is $6 so be aware and take something to fill at the soda fountain. Bottled water is also quite expensive. Most food delivered to your room is free but as stated be aware that soda will cost when delivered to your stateroom. All food in the main dining room, buffets and the quick service places is free. Finger foods are free but drinks at the lounges you will be charged for. Best rule to follow is when in doubt ask.

       There are some special things that are free as well. Any food set out at deck parties is free. There is a midnight chocolate buffet one night of the cruise and that is free. If you do an Art of Disney Entertainment cooking demonstration they will give you a serving for free and it will often be accompanied by a ¼ glass of wine. I highly recommend going to these demonstrations as you will learn some fun cooking and serving tips from some of Disney best Chefs. They will even give you copies of the recipes to bring home.

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