by Makena W.
The WDW Radio Cruise was a blast this past week. A lot of new things were tried, like the AquaDuck, seeing Villain’s Tonight! (which my family had skipped on our previous cruises), and the most important thing, food. This blog is going to be a review of the three rotational restaurants: Animator’s Palate, The Enchanted Garden and the Royal Palace.
The first night of the cruise, our dining rotation led us to Animator’s Palate. I had been to the Animator’s Palate on the Magic and the Wonder, but never to the one of the Dream. I heard this one was a little bit different than the others, and that I was in for a treat.
The décor in the restaurant on the Dream is much more colorful than on the Magic and Wonder. The storyline is also different. On the original 2 ships, all the artwork started out as sketches in black and white. As you started to eat and continued through the courses, everything slowly started to get its color. The paintings on the walls look just like the movie they came from and your servers come out in different uniforms. On the Dream, there wasn’t really a storyline. Around you were shelves that showed original concepts from Pixar movies, models and statues of your favorite characters, and more. The structure of the restaurant is basically the same – paintbrushes and pencils are holding the ceiling up and painter’s palates are on the ceiling. The chairs looked like Mickey’s pants, which I just thought was a little detail that made the restaurant.
This restaurant is most famous to kids for the interactive aspect. There are big screens scattered around the restaurant in front of some tables. These screens become the home of Crush, the 150 year old turtle from Finding Nemo, who interacts with guests near the giant screens. When he came to a screen, the palate in that area would turn red, indicating his location. It was fun to sit back and watch Crush talk to unsuspecting guests. When this social sea turtle wasn’t talking to humans, there was a game going on with the moonfish. They would make a shape and you had to guess what it was before it was completed. It was a cute idea and held the attention of younger children.
As an appetizer, I got the Sesame – flavored Rock Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Cheesecake, which I thought tasted better than I expected. It tasted a little bit like bacon to me, then later on you tasted the cheese part. I couldn’t eat too much though, because it was very filling. Next was the Lemon-thyme Marinated Chicken Breast, and I thought it was nothing short of delicious. For dessert, I ordered the Cookie & Cream Sundae, which wasn’t anything special, but it was really good.
Another thing that you should know about me is that I am very shy – unless I am at a Disney event. In between courses, I would look around for yellow lanyards (every person in the WDW Radio Group got a yellow lanyard), leave my table and talk to other people with yellow lanyards on. My point in mentioning this was that I found this restaurant easy to walk around in and follow the table numbers if I was looking for a specific table.
I was pleasantly surprised by the décor in this dining establishment. I walked in only knowing that select tables rotated. Unfortunately, we had too many people in our party (7) and the tables are for 4 so we were seated at a stationary table. The light fixtures descended from the ceiling and looked like flowers scattered around. Each one was different – some were just little buds while others were in full bloom. In the center of the restaurant was a beautiful water fountain with Mickey at the top that changed colors throughout the evening. There were no tables RIGHT next to the sculpture, so you had room to take pictures (probably a 5 foot radius around the fountain). The closest tables to it are the rotating ones, then the stationary tables follow suit. I liked the feel of this restaurant.
As you eat in this restaurant, slowly the color scheme of the room changes to simulate “sunrise” and “sunset”. Besides this change, there isn’t really a lot that entertains you besides talking to the other people at your table.
Romaine Wedge was the appetizer that I choose which consisted of romaine lettuce with Romano Dressing and Homemade Spiced Croutons. I thought it was great, but it needed more Romano dressing. Then again, I always go overboard with salad dressing! As a main course, I ordered the Pan-seared Sea Bass. This might have to be the best fish I have had my whole life, let alone this trip. For dessert, I ended up getting vanilla ice cream because I was halfway across the restaurant talking to other families when my table was supposed to be ordering dessert. My mother ordered ice cream for me, but I am not complaining! It was really good, but vanilla is vanilla.
I found moving around in this restaurant to be VERY difficult. The tables were very close together and there were little stations for the waiters all over the place. I am pretty sure you aren’t supposed to go behind the counter, but I had to cut through a few of those to get to the other side of the restaurant. The Enchanted Garden was very anti-social (although I did fight my way through the tables to socialize).
The third night was Pirates night (which will be its own blog) in the Royal Palace. There is a special menu for that night so we didn’t see the same menu for two days. I am going to skip pirate night for now and go right to the final night at the Royal Palace.
The Royal palace had little tributes to each of the Disney princesses. The bread basket looked like Cinderella’s carriage, your napkins were folded into rose petals when you first arrived at your table, and the chandelier had glass slippers attached to it. The back of every chair had a princesses’ symbol, some including an apple, a rose, Aurora’s crown and a glass slipper. There were paintings on the walls of the princesses in their loveliest moments. The one near us was Beauty and the Beast walking down the steps in the ballroom before they started dancing. I like the idea of the restaurant and I thought it was very well done.
Once again, there wasn’t much that the restaurant itself can do to entertain you. You have to entertain yourself by talking to the members of your party and other people in the restaurant.
I ordered the Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp as an appetizer and the Oven-Baked Salmon as my main course. I didn’t eat a lot of my salmon because I never eat a lot the last day (I get too upset), but it was very good. For dessert I actually asked for a small Caesar salad, because I love Disney’s Caesar salads and I hadn’t had one all trip. Sadly, once again I couldn’t eat too much of it because I was sad. From what I remember it tasted like every other Disney salad, meaning that it was amazing. The plating was as amazing as always.
This restaurant was very easy to move around in. The setup was kind of like a circle, with a huge center table on an elevation (where you could find our fearless leader, Lou Mongello) surrounded by other tables and then two more outer rings of tables. I liked it because this restaurant was the easiest one to find table numbers in, which meant that I could find people faster.
If I had to pick a favorite out of all these restaurants, I might have a hard time deciding. Each of them had their pros and cons. Décor and entertainment wise, I would pick Animators Palate. Food wise, Enchanted Garden was the way to go but the ability to move around was easiest in the Royal Palace.
Since I was just onboard the Dream for the WDW Radio 2.0 cruise, the next blogs are going to be about cruising. Some will be specific to WDW Radio events, and others just about the cruise in general. If you don’t like the Disney Cruise Line, I apologize for the next few weeks, or even months.
Two weeks ago, there was a “Where in the World?” winner by the name of Sheila who guessed correctly. The photo was taken from the Kali River Rapids attraction in Animal Kingdom. This week’s picture takes place somewhere outside of the four Walt Disney World parks.
See ya REAL soon!