/ Friday, December 21st, 2012

by Angie Carreiro

Last we met, I was talking about how we had just boarded the ship.

We were hungry, but didn’t want to take a chance on missing the first WDWRadio event on board the Disney Dream. We boarded the ship on Deck 3, and the first event of the cruise was in D-Lounge which was just one floor up, so we headed up! In D-Lounge our group set up different stations with tables assigned for certain things. We signed up for the flag contest, door decorating contest, and stateroom tours. MEI/Mousefan gave us our cruise credentials (a name tag on the infamous yellow lanyards), a neat backpack with the WDWRadio Dream Cruise 2.0 logo on it (I still use mine at least once a week when I go up to Boston for the day), and itineraries. There was a Bingo game as an ice breaker game which really helped us meet a lot of people right off the bat! We also received our scavenger hunt papers, but somehow lost them at some point along the way.

It was food time, we decided, so we headed up to deck 11 where they had a Car’s themed cafeteria style eatery. We both got a side salad, fruit, and some french fries. A little boring, but just a snack to hold us over.

We checked out our stateroom to drop off our things and the room was HUGE! It was also located right near The Enchanted Garden restaurant, which came in handy when we wanted to sleep as late as possible in the mornings, but still have time to get ready and get going fast!

We’d been given some great advice when chatting with Emily from BabyCakes NYC a couple days before; if you have a special diet, talk to guest services even if you’ve already made a note of it on your reservation! We decided to do this before any more fun events started onboard. We were actually pretty lucky because on our way to Guest Services, we boarded the elevator with a Cast Member who worked at Guest Services and she brought us to where we needed to go! Rather than Guest Services, we were brought to an empty restaurant on the 3rd Deck called Royal Palace. There were 2 head chefs sitting at a table, both with laptops, talking to guests with special diets. There were only 2 sets of guests ahead of us when we arrived and we waited less than 10 minutes until it was our turn.

When we spoke with the chef, we realized he was very well-versed on what our special diets entailed. He immediately started discussing vegan options, then would say things like, “but this isn’t gluten free, so we will make it gluten free for you.” He noted that we would be eating at Animator’s Palate that night and took our order for the night. It was all very easy!

Dinner time rolled around and we headed to the restaurant. Unfortunately the first night somehow our order was lost, so it was the latest of the table’s coming out, but we had much better luck for the rest of the trip. Our waiter came out and we explained that we already placed our order and he checked on its status. Eventually we were served as follows:

Tapioca Dinner Rolls- they were quite dry, but it was nice to have the option! I’ve had these before and usually only like them as a bun for something else, like a veggie burger with toppings that can add flavor to the bun. Kevin ate the rolls, I had one bite and decided to save room for the rest of the meal.

Butternut Squash Soup- I’m not much of a soup person, but there was something about this soup that made me wish I could eat it all day, everyday. It had the perfect consistency and the right amount of every flavor of goodness. I’m not a food critic, so excuse the awful descriptions, but it was just so tasty!

Salad- I usually love having salad with my meal. It adds lots of fiber, without making you feel too full, but this salad was just too much! They gave us a meal sized salad instead of a side salad and for some reason I tried to eat it all! It was pretty bland and not very creative, but that’s ok, because the main course made up for it!

Black Bean Chipotle Cakes on top of Fried Rice- I was expecting this to be just some generalized, plain vegan option, like, “hey, they don’t eat meat? Just give ‘em some beans!” but it ended up being full of just the right flavors. The outside was cooked perfectly so it was crisp and the inside was smooth. I would have gotten this for every meal if I didn’t want to try new things for the rest of the cruise!

….and for dessert- Brownies with Rice Dream Ice Cream on top!- For some reason I didn’t think something like this would have been an option. Going on the cruise, I thought that maybe there would be ice cream, which was easy to get from a container, but I never thought that they would take the time to actually bake us a special dessert! A lot of people will describe gluten free desserts as a hit or miss, because if you aren’t using the right flours it might be too crumbly or too heavy, but they did a great job with the brownies! I wouldn’t have known they were gluten free otherwise!

We also got coffee with vanilla flavored Silk soy milk, which is something we used to buy at home (we like almond milk better now, though.)

All of this was gluten free and vegan (even Kevin got his stuff gluten free just to be less confusing). It was all surprisingly good, too! I’m sort-of picky about what I will eat, but I ate as much food as I could that night!

At some point during our meal our head waiter came out, Goncalo. He was really great! He understood our diets very well and was willing to get us anything we wanted. He was from Portugal and explained that he has two brothers back home that are vegan as well! One of his brother’s families are being raised vegan, too, so he clearly has a grasp on what the diet entails! We we very comforted in knowing this!

After we ate, our waiter took our order for the next night after we glanced at the menu for that night, but I’ll save the fine details for the next post!

All-in-all the first night of eating on the cruise was a success! My advice for before or after dinner, ALWAYS go see the shows scheduled to compliment your dinner time, they are well worth it!


Angie has been a WDW addict since her first visit at age 8, and since then her life has never been the same! She lives in southeastern MA with her boyfriend, Kevin (fellow Disney lover), and their 3 dogs, Flip, Josie, and Hildy, where she is currently training to become a professional dog trainer.  Please join Angie every week in “Fish Are Friends, Not Food: Eating Vegan in WDW!” Angie believes that WDW is the most magical place for people with special diets, so, should you have any special diet questions (especially about vegan and gluten-free dining) she’d be happy to help! Angie is also an artist, and you can see her work at www.angiecarreiro.com!