Co-written by: Vanessa Prince and Andrew Prince, Disney on Wheels
In November, while on the WDW Radio E-Ticket Adventure Disney Cruise with Lou Mongello, we had the opportunity to experience a brunch at Palo. What is Palo? Palo is an upscale Italian restaurant that is not included in the rotational dining options and is for guests 18 and older for a nominal fee*. There is also a dress code for Palo: cruise casual for brunch and dress pants or slacks and a collared shirt for men, and a dress, skirt or pants and a blouse for women for dinner. Palo serves dinner every night and brunch on most sea days. Advanced reservations are required, so book as soon as you can your online check-in is available. I prefer the brunch as you have more food options, more of a relaxed atmosphere, and more time to enjoy Palo and the view of the ocean.
Our cruise was a six-night cruise out of New York City and included three sea days so there were plenty of options for brunch. On the Disney Cruise Line Magic and Wonder, Palo restaurant is located on deck 10 aft with a wonderful 180 degree view of the ocean. On the DCL Dream and Fantasy, Palo is located on deck 13 on the starboard side with limited ocean views.
Upon arrival at Palo we were escorted to our table and given a choice of beverage; mimosa, Kir Royale, sparkling wine or something non-alcoholic. After relaxing for a few minutes, our waiter, Victor from the Dominican Republic, gave us a tour of the buffet. Did we forget to mention how much food is involved in the brunch? For $30* per person we were able to eat freely at the beautiful buffet and then order off of a menu! There was a large table with gourmet cheeses, fruit, caviar, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, eggplant appetizers, and breads including their delicious walnut-blue cheese bread, small portions of various brunch foods, and delicious vegetable offerings. The next table had all of the other bread options including their famous sticky buns, hazelnut twists, coconut rolls, and more. Then it was over to the antipasto table for salmon, trout, king crab legs, shrimp, Italian hams, salads (if you’re feeling healthy), and more. Finally, we were given the tour of the dessert table where there were at least 12 – 15 desserts including pistachio and chocolate slices, cannoli, tiramisu and more. Everything was in single portions in small glasses, spoons or bite size pieces. Once we had the tour with Victor, it was time to fill our plates! We are grateful to Mirasalava from Slavonia for helping Andrew with his plate.
We decided to tackle each table separately so that we could pace ourselves and not overdo it on our plate. Andrew enjoyed the desserts the most with six different items on his plate. After devouring our items from the buffet, it was time to order from the menu. Good thing we had stretchy pants on! The menu included soups, eggs, waffles, pancakes, pizzas, pasta, and traditional Italian cuisine. Andrew chose the apple cinnamon waffle, which to his surprise was a giant Mickey waffle! Being a little full, I ordered the eggs Benedict which was equally delicious.
Palo brunch is not to be rushed; Andrew and I spent 2 hours and 45 minutes at our Palo brunch! On our way out, we stopped by the Palo Room which is a private dining room within the restaurant. We met Chef Silvio and Salvatore who invited us to return on a port day for a private tour of Palo. We set our tour up for the day we were in St. Maarten. When we arrived we were promptly greeted by Salvatore and Enton. Our tour started in the entry hall with a history lesson on Palo including the beautiful carnival masks from Venice. We were shown the DCL exclusive Murano glass bulbs used throughout the restaurant. Even the floor tiles are exclusive to Palo and imported from Italy. Chef Silvio met us a few minutes later and we continued the tour.
Our next stop was the galley, which is u-shaped and Chef commented on how he prefers this layout versus the one on the larger ships as this allows for an easier flow for the galley crew members. We learned about the various stations in the galley from menu creation to food purchasing from Italy, food preparation and severing stations. We could freely ask them anything we wanted to know about, and they graciously answered each question we had. Chef had to leave as he was needed for lunch preparation at Cabanas (another food service area on the ship).
We continued our tour with Salvatore over at the olive oil display case. He talked in detail about how the olive oil is brought in from Italy and how he personally uses olive oil when he is at home in Italy. Then we moved over to the Palo room where we were again joined by Enton. We learned about the detail in the handmade mosaic mural of Venice and the gondolas and pole system used in Venice as transportation. It was really interesting talking with these two crew members as they shared personal stories and pictures of what they were showing us. Our personal tour lasted almost an hour and we are grateful for the opportunity to share our time with Chef Silvio, Salvatore and Enton.
Dining at Palo on any Disney Cruise Line ship is highly recommended. Remember to make your reservations as early as possible as it does book up fast. If you are unable to make reservations during on-line check-in you may be able to get a table on embarkation day, on our sailing they were taking reservations at Lumiere’s restaurant during posted hours.
* $30 per person on sailing 11-5-16. Alcoholic beverages and additional gratuities are extra.
(Photos from the authors’ personal collections.)
What is your favorite experience or food at Palo? Please leave in the comments below.
Vanessa has been going to Walt Disney World since 1971. She is happy that her three children and husband enjoy Disney as much as she does. Vanessa is an Annual Passholder, a member of Disney Vacation Club, Platinum Castaway Club, WDW Radio Running Team and a runDisney participant. Her son Andrew writes Disney on Wheels for the WDW Radio blog. When she is not at Disney she is a stay at home mom and uses her masters in marketing background to raise money for her children’s schools. Vanessa also enjoys planning her next trip home to anywhere Disney.
Andrew is a 19-year-old high school graduate from Ohio. He was born with cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair. He has been to both US Disney parks, several D23 events and is a DCL Gold Castaway Club member. If you would like to contact him feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or look him up on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/andrew.prince.7161 and on Twitter https://twitter.com/Andrew1arp