Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Food of Disney Cruise Line

Breakfast pastries from Palo Brunch

Hi there, Disney Guys and Gals!

     So fair warning... this post is going to make you very, very hungry! Today we are talking FOOD onboard Disney Cruise Line! We all know that cruises are famous for their never-ending buffets and their awesome all-inclusive vibe, but what is food onboard a Disney Cruise really like? How readily is it available? What about picky eaters? What about allergies or those with dietary restrictions??? Well, leave it to me to guide you through it all!

Grilled beef tenderloin from Lumiere's
     Now, I am a bit of an "expert" when it comes to Disney and food. I mean, I have been eating on Walt Disney World property for well over 30 years now and I have dined on 13 cruises. Plus we are a total family of foodies, so I know a little something about Disney eats. I can confidently say that Disney Cruise Line has some of the BEST food out there! From the burgers and fries, to the lobster tails, all of the food is fresh, flavorful and bountiful. 24 hours a day there is access to at least some kind of food and for the majority of those hours, there are many options of food service available. Let's work our way through the dining options, shall we?

Pasta from Lumiere's Lunch
     We're going to start it all off with one of my favorite options, room service! In-room dining is available 24 hours a day, and is included in your cruise fare. (Though you should be prepared to tip the in-room dining servers a few dollars when they deliver to your stateroom.) You can get anything from cheese plates, soups and salads, to burgers, pizzas and desserts. You can even get a couple of "off menu" items, like Uncrustables Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches and Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars! For breakfast, there is a door hanger menu for continental breakfast options, like cold cereals, toast, bagels, fruit and more. I have always found in-room dining food items to be fresh, hot and delicious. It does generally take about 30 minutes or so to get your food delivered and you do need to be IN the stateroom when you order and when the food arrives.


Mickey Ice Cream Bars from Room Service!
     Next let's talk about the counter service food outlets. Though there are some differences from ship to ship, (especially between the "Classic" Wonder and Magic ships and the newer Dream and Fantasy ships), each vessel has similar counter service options. Counter service locations are generally open from 11am to 10pm. By the pools, you'll find a burger place, a pizza place and a "lighter fare" place. On the Magic and Wonder, Pete's Boiler Bites serves up burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, veggie burgers, fish burgers, sausages and fries. On the Dream and Fantasy, you'll find these items at Tow Mater Grill. There's also a full condiment bar available, so you can customize your burgers to your liking. If pizza is calling your name, the Magic and Wonder have Pinocchio's Pizzaria and the Dream and Fantasy have Luigi's. Pizza is all thin-crust and toppings vary from day to day. Looking for something lighter? Daisy De-Lites (Magic and Wonder) and Fillmore's Favorites (Dream and Fantasy) serve up sandwiches, wraps, paninis, salads, fresh fruit and cookies. And if your sweet tooth is aching, Eye Scream has self-serve soft-serve ice cream machines. Flavors vary daily. If you're on the Dream, you'll be lucky enough to partake in Vanellope's Sweets and Treats, a cute new candy and ice cream shop. Just be warned, the items in this shop are all at an additional cost.

Photo Credit: DisneyCruiseLine.com
     For the more full-service dining options, I think it's easier to explain meal by meal, so let's start with breakfast. Assuming you don't want room service, for breakfast you'll have two choices: full, table service in one of the main dining rooms, or buffet service at Cabanas. For full service breakfast, head to Royal Court on the Dream or Fantasy, Lumiere's on the Magic and Triton's on the Wonder. You'll be sat at a random table, and waited on by a main dining room server, (but not typically the same ones you have for dinner). Menus include choices like pastries, fruit, hot and cold cereals, egg dishes, pancakes, waffles, steak and eggs and more. Order as much or as little as you like. Kids get their own menus, but can order off of the adult menu if they so choose.

     If you'd prefer the buffet, the choices are even more expansive in Cabanas. Every morning you can get eggs, fruit, waffles, pancakes, breakfast meats, toast, bagels, pastries, cereals, yogurt, and so much more. I can't imagine there's anything you could want for breakfast that is NOT available! I prefer the buffet for breakfast, because I like making a yogurt parfait for myself, a little bit of scrambled eggs, some slices of cantaloupe and tea, and sitting out on the deck, with the sea air in my hair... ahhhhh...

My favorite breakfast view from Cabanas

Egg options at Cabanas

Bacon and sausage at Cabanas

Fruit at Cabanas

Eggs Benedict at Cabanas
     Moving on to lunch! Aside from the counter service options, you will again have a choice of table service or buffet. If you like a nice, table service lunch, head back to the same full service locations that serve breakfast, and be treated to a full, multi-course lunch. Again, you'll be sat with a server and given a menu that includes appetizers, soups and salads, hot and cold entrees and desserts. Choose as much or as little as you like. Again, there are kid's menus available, but children can order off of the adult menu if they'd rather. Full service lunch is often skipped by Guests and I highly encourage you to try it at least once or twice on your sailing. The food is always great and it's nice to enjoy a more quiet, fully air conditioned meal, at a leisurely pace. Plus menus are different every day, so there's lots of variety. And no matter what, every day they have the dining room burger available, which is totally different from the burgers served at the counter service location. These burgers are huge, beefy burgers in fresh brioche buns with a great variety of toppings, plus they are served with thick cut steak fries. Yum!

     If you're not keen on the idea of sitting for a full meal in a dining room at lunch time, you can always head to Cabanas for the lunch buffet. The theme of the buffet changes daily, but every day there are some staples like the salad bar, soups, a pasta dish or two, chicken nuggets, french fries, carved meats and an awesome dessert bar. Some days the buffet will have a Mexican theme and include items like tacos, refried beans and churros and some days it will be Italian and have lasagna, antipasto and cannoli. The choices are always plentiful and you'll always leave with a full belly.



Gumbo from boarding lunch in Carioca's

Potato Leek Soup from boarding lunch in Carioca's

Muffuletta from boarding day lunch in Carioca's

Mickey Bar from boarding day lunch in Carioca's

Carrot Cake from boarding day lunch in Carioca's

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake from boarding day lunch in Carioca's

Bacon Cheeseburger fro lunch at Lumiere's
Kit Kat Sundae from lunch at Lumiere's


Apple Strudel from lunch at Lumiere's
Chocolate Raspberry Tart from lunch at Lumiere's


Chicken Satay Wraps from lunch at Lumiere's
Orecchiete Pasta from lunch in Lumiere's

Apple pie from lunch in Lumiere's

Red Velvet Cake from lunch in Lumiere's

Lemon Souffle from lunch in Lumiere's

Triton's on the Wonder
     Then there's dinner. Ah, dinner. The main event. Every night onboard a Disney Cruise is special and dinner is really magical. Dinner is where "rotational dining" takes over. You will be assigned a rotation and a table number, which can be found on your Key to the World Card, (room key). You will either have first seating at 5:45pm, or second seating at 8:15pm, and you will start in your assigned restaurant. Each of the ships have three main dining rooms that you will rotate to from night to night. The Dream and Fantasy have Royal Court/Palace, (Princess themed, featuring French cuisine), Enchanted Garden, (Versailles garden themed, featuring world cuisine), and Animator's Palate, (Disney film themed, featuring Pacific island cuisine). The Magic and Wonder each have Animator's Palate. The Magic then has Lumiere's, (Beauty and the Beast themed, fetauring French cuisine), and Caricoa's, (Three Caballeros themed, featuring South American cuisine), while the Dream has Triton's, (Little Mermaid themed, featuring French cuisine), and Tiana's Place, (Princess and the Frog themed, featuring Cajun cuisine). As you rotate from location to location, your assigned dining room server and assistant server will follow along with you, so that you have the same servers nightly, while getting to enjoy a different venue and cuisine. Dinner menus all offer 4 courses in addition to bread service: Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Entrees and Dessert. You may choose as much or as little as you like. Every night there are vegetarian options available, and "Lighter Fare" options, including baked fish, roasted chicken and grilled steak. The food is just scrumptious and the setting is always enjoyable. Kids get their own menus, but again, can always order off the adult menu if they prefer. Each dining room has its own unique features, (some even have "shows"), keeping kids entertained, and the servers are experts at entertaining younger Guests. Many of them perform slight of hand magic tricks and delight their little cruisers.


Chandeliers from Lumiere's on the Magic

Menu from Animator's Palate of the Magic

     If you're on a longer cruise, (4 nights or more), you'll be repeating dining rooms, but don't worry. You won't ever have the same menu! On repeat nights there are alternate themes, like Pirate Night, Prince and Princess Night, Captain's Gala and more... each offering a totally different menu!

Chicken Schnitzel from Til We Meet Again Night on the Magic

Beef Wellington from Til We Meet Again Night on the Magic

Porcini Sachetti from Til We Meet Again Night on the Magic

Tomato Caprese from Til We Meet Again Night on the Magic

Sesame Crusted Tuna Sashimi from Til We Meet Again Night on the Magic

My son's favorite dessert: A Mickey Bar covered in sprinkles and marshmallows

Chocolate Lava Cake from Captain's Gala Night on the Magic

Pork Tenderloin from Captain's Gala Night on the Magic

Venison Medallions from Captain's Gala Night on the Magic

Chicken Fettuccine from Captain's Gala Night on the Magic

Kid's Pizza on the Magic

Chocolate Pudding from Kid's menu on the Magic

Bread Pudding from the Magic

Chocolate Mousse Cake from the Magic

Trio of Veal from Prince and Princess Night on the Magic

Roasted Turkey from Prince and Princess Night on the Magic

NY Strip Steak from Prince and Princess Night on the Magic

Mixed Greens Salad from Prince and Princess Night on the Magic

Sugar Free Coconut Flan from Pirate Night on the Magic

Macadamia Cheesecake Tart from Pirate Night on the Magic

Jerk Chicken from Pirate Night on the Magic

Roasted Strip Loin from Pirate Night on the Magic

Shrimp Cocktail from Pirate Night on the Magic

Crab Cake from Pirate Night on the Magic

Baked Brioche from Pirate Night on the Magic

Ice Cream Sundae from Animator's Palate on the Magic

Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake from Animator's Palate on the Magic


Ginger-Teriyaki Tenderloin from Animator's Palate on the Magic

Grilled Tuna Steak from Animator's Palate on the Magic

Herb Crusted Pork Chop from Animator's Palate on the Magic

Butternut Squash Soup from Animator's Palate on the Magic

Black Truffle Pasta Pursiette from Animator's Palate on the Magic

Creme Brulee from Lumiere's on the Magic

Grand Marnier Souffle and Creme Brulee from Lumiere's on the Magic

Kid's Apple Pie from Lumiere's on the Magic

French Onion Soup from Lumiere's on the Magic

Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp from Lumiere's on the Magic

Escargot from Lumiere's on the Magic

Deep Fried Brie from Lumiere's on the Magic

Chateaubriand-Roasted Filet Steak from Lumiere's on the Magic

Black Bean Soup from Carioca's

Cuban Salad from Carioca's

Empanada from Carioca's

Lobster Croquette from Carioca's
     Adults, looking for something more romantic and upscale? Maybe something kid-free? All four ships have the award-winning Palo, an Italian themed, adult-only restaurant, serving up dinner nightly, and brunch on sea days. And for an even more exclusive option, the Dream, and Fantasy also host Remy, a French themed dining room that also serves dinner nightly, and brunch on sea days. Both Remy and Palo have dress codes and also have an additional charge involved. (Remy is $95 per person for dinner and $60 per person for brunch, while Palo is $30 per person for dinner or brunch.) These restaurants require reservations, which can be pre-reserved through the Disney Cruise Line website, or requested once onboard the ship, depending upon availability. These experiences are phenomenal and totally worth the money! I have not yet had the chance to dine at Remy, but I can tell you that brunch at Palo is something we have on our "must do" list for every cruise! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

































     Now we are not quite done with food options just yet. There are of course, snacks available at "off" dining times, as well. Looking for a sweet treat while you enjoy a good book by the pool? Adults can stop in The Cove Cafe, where complimentary pastries and treats are in a self-serve case, through out the day. Of course, specialty coffee and tea beverages, as well as alcoholic beverages are available for purchase here. Looking for a little nosh before dinner? The Promenade Lounge typically has chips and salsa available at a self-service counter, in the evening hours. When headed into the theater, there are snacks like candy and popcorn available for purchase, though you can bring any other food from the ship in as well. And for late night bites, the pub on each ship typically has snack available like nachos, sliders and coconut shrimp, but these are at an additional cost.


Pastry case from the Cove on the Magic


     So, how do picky eaters do on the ships? Perfectly fine! One of the phenomenal things about DCL is that pretty much everything is offered just the way you like it. Don't like sauces and condiments? They can be left off. Prefer a different vegetable with your steak? No problem. Want to order four different appetizers instead of an entree? Not an issue! Want to order four different appetizers AND four different entrees? Sure thing. And there are pretty much ALWAYS plain options available like, like plain chicken, plain cheese pizza, plain steak, etc. DCL servers will always make sure that you leave the dining room happy.

Plain grilled steak, twice baked potato and broccoli

     And those with dietary restrictions need not worry either! There are always vegetarian and gluten free options available on the dining room menus. Vegan is a little tougher, but just tell your server and they will be sure and help you out. For those with allergies, Disney Cruise Line does an awesome job! There are some preparatory steps you should take though. For a food allergy, call ahead and make sure you have your allergy notated on your reservation. Then, when you arrive on the ship, remind your dining room server of your allergy. They will take it from there, and make sure that each night, your items are safe for you to eat. In some cases, they will give you the following night's menu and have you pre-order, so they can be sure and get you exactly what you want, free of your allergen. They'll even do this for breakfast and lunch too. For example, my little dude LOVES Mickey waffles, but since he has an egg allergy, he can't always get them. But every night, our dining room server made sure to place an order for the next morning in Cabanas, so that K could have his egg-free Mickey waffles, and he was THRILLED! Also remember that when you dine from counter service locations, from the buffet, from room service, at a table service breakfast or lunch, or in Palo or Remy, those servers don't necessarily see your allergy info, so just remind them of your allergy and they will be sure and have a chef walk you through what you can have and what you need to stay away from. They'll take good care of you, don't worry!

     So that about covers it! Dining on a Disney Cruise is an amazing experience and one that is sure to delight Guests of all ages, and all food likes and dislikes. I hope you have enjoyed my DCL food photo safari. What are YOU looking forward to trying the most on your next cruise?????

     (Oh, and if you need help planning your cruise, contact the fine folks at Kingdom Konsultants Travel. They would love to make your Disney Cruising dreams come true!)

     Until next time, Disney Fans, have a magical week!

- Jenn aka "Tink"
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