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Savoring the Flavors of the Mediterranean with Disney Cruise Line

posted on June 19th, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


Savoring the Flavors of the Mediterranean with Disney Cruise Line
One of the Disney differences you’ll find when sailing with us is that we use the destinations we visit as inspiration for our menus. Last week I shared with you how Disney Wonder guests are enjoying a special Taste of Alaska this summer, and today, I want to tell you about the flavors of the Mediterranean Disney Magic cruisers are experiencing.

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Just like in Alaska, we use locally sourced products while sailing in Europe. Depending on where we are in the Mediterranean, we have themed menus like “Kouzina of the Greek Isles” and “Bella Italia” that feature culinary offerings specific to those countries. One of my favorite Mediterranean-inspired dishes is our braised osso bucco “Milanese” with gremolata, saffron risotto and bone marrow-reduction.

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Specifically on cruises that visit Greece, we serve spanakorizo me garides, a delicious jumbo shrimp with sun-dried tomato orzo pasta. Another popular Greek dish is our roasted dorade on spanakorizo, a short-grain rice with cinnamon, spinach and feta cheese.

Throughout the summer, I’ll be sharing recipes for some of our guest favorite dishes so you can make them at home. Today, I’ll leave you with the recipe for our Italian-inspired Potato Gnocchi with Cep Mushrooms. You can also download our keepsake recipe card here. Enjoy!

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Potato Gnocchi with Cep Mushrooms
Serves: 4 Guests
Skill Level: Moderate
Time: 50 minutes
Ingredients:
Homemade potato dumplings
1 white potato
1 egg
1⁄2 tsp. salt
2 cups plain white flour 3 qt. water

White Wine Cream Sauce
18 fl.oz white wine
3 shallots (finely diced)

1 stalk celery (finely diced)

1⁄2 leek (washed and finely diced)
11⁄2 cups heavy cream

11⁄2 cups vegetables stock

2 tbsp. chives (finely sliced)

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Garnish
11⁄2 cups cep mushrooms

2 tbsp. white truffle oil

1/3 cup fresh parmesan (shaved)
1 tsp. picked thyme

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

Homemade Potato Dumplings:
Place potato in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15–20 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash. Place 2 cups mashed potatoes in a large bowl (save any remaining mashed potatoes for another use). Stir in the egg and 1 teaspoon salt. Gradually beat in flour until blended (dough will be firm and elastic). Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 15 times. Roll into 1⁄2-in.-wide ropes. Cut ropes into 1-inch diagonal pieces. Press down with a lightly floured fork. In a thick-bottomed pan, bring water and remaining salt to a boil. Add gnocchi in small batches; cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until gnocchi float to the top and are cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into salted iced water. Then drain and keep on a wet cloth.

For the White Wine Cream Sauce:
Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan; sauté the shallots, celery and leek. When shallots are soft (no color), add the white wine and vegetable stock, then reduce by two-thirds. Add the heavy cream and reduce by one-third, season with salt and ground black pepper and pass through a fine strainer.

For the Garnish and Assembly
Sauté the mushrooms in butter; season with salt, ground black pepper and thyme. Set aside. Mix (dress) the gnocchi with the white wine cream sauce and place into a serving bowl. Place the sautéed mushrooms onto the gnocchi, garnish with the shaved parmesan and lightly drizzle the truffle oil on the gnocchi.

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Palo’s New Tasting Menu: Exquisite Wines, Sublime Tastes with Disney Cruise Line

posted on June 17th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


For the ultimate dining experience, we love nothing more than a savvy sommelier who can pair just the right wine with delectable food. Food and wine pairing is an art, and the new “Esperienza del Vino” at Palo on the Disney Cruise Line is a masterpiece.

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Be forewarned, the six-course dinner should be savored slowly – and though you may want to finish each bite of the lobster and mascarpone ravioli, remember that a buttery branzino, then a rich osso bucco soon will follow. So sit back, relax and let the evening unfold. All of your delicious decisions are already made.

The dinner starts lightly with paper-thin tuna carpaccio with lemon oil dressing served with a crisp, bubbly Ferrari brut ‘11. Next up, grilled Portobello mushroom and polenta, paired with Summus Castello Banfi ’07, a velvety, full-bodied wine with the taste of blackberries and cherries.

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Our favorite course is the lobster and mascarpone ravioli with a glass of Cervaro della Sala Antinori ’09, a cool, flowery white. Perfect branzino al cartoccio (Mediterranean sea bass in parchment) follows, with intense, golden Planeta Chardonnay ’08.

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Just two more courses, and the evening moves at a leisurely pace. The final savory dish is tender osso buco (veal shank) served with a rich, meaty Luce Marchesi Dé Frescobaldi ’09, a robust Super Tuscan that was our favorite of the evening.

You may be tempted, but don’t pass up dessert, Palo’s riff on a classic tartufo – their version made with dark chocolate, hazelnuts and house-made vanilla ice cream. Sip the sweet, full-flavored Passito Di Pantelleria Pellegrino ‘08 and watch the world float by.

There is an additional charge of $59 for the wine tasting menu.

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A Look at Disney Cruise Line’s Taste of Alaska Menu

posted on June 12th, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


One of my favorite parts of traveling is experiencing locally sourced food in the destinations I visit. We know our guests appreciate the same, so we’re always looking for ways to give them a sense of where we are in the world through our dining offerings.

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A really special way we do this in Alaska is a cookout while we sail through Tracy Arm Fjord to visit the glacier. We chargrill local items like venison sausages, fresh sockeye salmon, fresh line-caught halibut and elk tenderloin. It’s the perfect way to experience the flavors of Alaska while enjoying the breathtaking scenery!

A Look at Disney Cruise Line’s Taste of Alaska Menu: Elk Tenderloin A Look at Disney Cruise Line’s Taste of Alaska Menu: Honey Mustard Salmon

Our Taste of Alaska menu is another chance we give you to savor food fresh from the region. The guest favorite is the honey mustard-marinated Alaskan salmon with sauteed spinach, fingerling potatoes and an Aquavit sour cream sauce. Another flavorful option is the juniper-spiced elk tenderloin with brussels sprouts and baby carrots on spaetzle with a black currant sauce.

One thing’s for sure … on your Alaska cruise with us this summer, the beautiful frontier isn’t the only spectacular item on the menu for you!

We’re also serving up some pretty amazing culinary specialties in the Mediterranean, which I’ll tell you more about next week.

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A Disney Cruise Line Cocktail You Only Can Savor at Palo

posted on June 10th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


What a pleasure to head to the top deck of the Disney Magic for dinner at elegant Palo, where Italian specialties are beautifully prepared in the onstage kitchen. From a plate of beautiful charcuterie served with warm bread from the pizza oven to a sweet finish of chocolate soufflé, Palo is a leisurely dining experience not to be missed (ages 18 and older).

We can easily recommend the house-made pastas (the lobster ravioli with mascarpone cream is divine), the grilled seas scallops, the garlic-roasted rack of lamb … Palo’s diverse menu has something for everyone, and the chef will happily accommodate vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free requests.

Here’s a new pre-dinner cocktail that we couldn’t resist. It’s one to sip slowly, with a sublime sweetness from the berries and a little tartness from the aged balsamic vinegar. Make sure you use aged balsamic for a more intense, complex flavor.

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Balsamic Grande Cocktail
Serves 1

  • 5 fresh strawberries, divided
  • 1 1/2 ounces agave nectar
  • 1/2 ounce balsamic vinegar (aged 8 years)
  • 5 ounces Grey Goose Vodka

Muddle strawberries with agave and balsamic vinegar in a mixing glass. Add vodka and ice; shake and strain into chilled martini glass.

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Who Will You Become on a Disney Cruise?

posted on June 5th, 2014 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


On a Disney Cruise Line vacation, you can definitely expect to visit beautiful destinations, make friends with Captain Mickey and spend quality time with your whole family. But one thing you may not expect is that you’re likely to pick up some new skills, too! While you’re enjoying all there is to do on and off the ship, don’t be surprised if you and your family find yourselves becoming…

Food Connoisseurs

Food Connoisseurs
After savoring world-class cuisine at our family and adult restaurants, you’re sure to return home with a refined palate and a new appreciation for gourmet food… and, of course, a full belly!

Underwater Explorers
With the chance to explore 22 acres of crystal-clear waters in Snorkel Lagoon at our private island, Castaway Cay, you’ll become an expert in finding Caribbean marine life and hidden underwater treasures.

Superheroes
Becoming Iron Man and getting superhero training from Captain America can now be a reality for your kids on the Disney Magic in Marvel’s Avengers Academy. For you parents wanting to unleash your own inner superhero, you can join the fun during Open House in Disney’s Oceaneer Club.

Broadway Enthusiasts
When you sit back to enjoy some of the most elaborate, Broadway-caliber musicals presented at sea, your enthusiasm for extraordinary singing, dancing, costumes, special effects will most certainly be heightened!

Ice Cream Specialists
With unlimited soft-serve ice cream served on deck throughout the day, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice crafting that perfect cone.

Dance Masters
Whether you join the fun during our celebrations up on deck, at our family dance parties or in the adult night club, you’ll be able to perfect your signature dance move… and maybe even learn a few more from your Disney friends!

Detectives
After joining the Midship Detective Agency and finding clues to catch a villain on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, there’s no mystery you won’t be able to solve.

Swashbuckling Pirates
Pirate Night, complete with music, dancing, tasty grub and a spectacular fireworks finale, gives you the chance to bring out that swashbuckling pirate side you never get to show… or may not even know you have!

Royalty
Following high tea with Disney princesses at Royal Court Royal Tea on the Disney Fantasy, you may start requesting people address you as “Your Majesty,” given the royal treatment you’ll experience during this magical affair.

Mad Scientists
Once your kids put on their science goggles and join the wacky experiments at Disney’s Oceaneer Lab, you’ll likely find you have a mad scientist on your hands, eager to concoct more crazy creations!

Who did you and your family become on your last Disney cruise?

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Vegetarian Isn’t an Afterthought on Disney Cruise Line Menus

posted on June 3rd, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


So exciting to be back on the Disney Magic – we took a three-night family girls’ cruise with four generations: my mom, three sisters, my daughter and her sweet almost-2-year-old daughter. We’re all foodies, so mealtime was lots of fun as we swapped plates and compared notes on favorite dishes.

One of our nicest surprises was the choice of vegetarian in all the restaurants. Our first evening at Animator’s Palate, I ordered the potato, celeriac and onion gratin with buttered collard greens, a warm, delicious stack of veggies with cream and a touch of nutmeg, and the fresh greens beneath. (Plentiful vegetarian choices included a tomato tart with goat cheese, butternut squash soup, a salad of roasted red peppers, zucchini and red onions and black bean chipotle cakes.) We tried the snapper and grilled sirloin too, both delicious.

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Of course, the food at Animator’s Palate almost (almost) takes a back seat to the restaurant’s fantastic new “Drawn to Magic” show, the next generation of the original, starring both new and iconic Disney characters in a colorful, emotional finale with an appearance by Sorcerer Mickey. It was pure magic for every generation as we watched the stories from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” to the new hit, “Frozen.” Magical!

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Night No. 2 was Cariocas, the new Brazilian-inspired restaurant named after the parrot José Carioca in “The Three Caballeros” animated film. For a starter, the favorite vegetarian dish was the Cuban Salad with watercress, avocado, pineapple, toasted Cuban bread and a vinegar dressing. Our vegetarian main course was small corn tortillas with refried beans, green tomatillo chile and a shredded white cabbage slaw made with white wine vinegar. Pile it all on the warm tortillas for a real treat. Other vegetarian options include yellow, blue and white potatoes with cucumber and olive-tomato salsa with a spicy cream sauce; tomato soup with a hint of jalapeño; Havana-style black bean soup with olive oil, and fried plaintain and malanga pancakes with crème fraiche.

Of course, meat lovers also enjoy the menu here, with a garlic-rubbed slab of prime rib and a skewer with Brazilian sausage, lamb, beef tenderloin and shrimp. We all voted the prime rib as the winner.

Our final night we opted for Palo, where I tried the new wine pairing which I’ll share in an upcoming post.

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Dooney & Bourke Special Event Coming to Disney Fantasy in July 2014

posted on June 2nd, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


I recently shared details about new merchandise coming to the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder this summer. There is another special event taking place this July on the Disney Fantasy that will celebrate the fifth anniversary of Dooney & Bourke at Disney Parks.

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For the seven-night, Eastern Caribbean cruise setting sail on July 12, 2014, we will be holding a special product launch featuring a brand new Dooney & Bourke pattern shown above. This specially designed Disney Cruise Line pattern will be included on several items including classic favorites like totes or Crossbody bags.

Additionally, Ian Ray, director of new product development for Dooney & Bourke, will be sailing on this cruise. You may recall seeing Ian in this previous Disney Parks Blog video. For this cruise, he will be hosting a special presentation, highlighting the history and future of Dooney & Bourke at Disney Parks. Ian will also meet with guests in the White Caps merchandise location each evening.

Finally, there will be a silent auction featuring a selection of Dooney & Bourke items, including framed patterns and more.

For more information on how to book this cruise on the Disney Fantasy, please visit DisneyCruiseLine.com. Keep watching DisneyParksMerchandise.com for additional event details as we will share once finalized.

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A Family Affair on the Re-imagined Disney Magic

posted on May 30th, 2014 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


Over the last few weeks, we’ve been giving you a look at the all-new spaces and experiences on the re-imagined Disney Magic. There’s no question that the changes to our flagship vessel are beyond spectacular!

What hasn’t changed is the numerous ways families are entertained onboard, and in fact, Disney Magic cruisers are discovering even more fun together since the ship’s transformation.

In the final video of our Re-imagined Disney Magic series, see all the ways cruisers are making memories on our transformed ship, and name your top picks for family fun.

For more on the Re-imagined Disney Magic, take a look back at these posts:

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Sophisticated Keys Takes Cocktails to New Level on Disney Magic

posted on May 27th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Ahhhh, what a peaceful retreat after a boisterous day of kayaking, snorkeling, and a long bike ride on beautiful Castaway Cay: softly lit Keys piano bar on the Disney Magic. The talented pianist entertained us with Disney tunes (by request) on a beautiful baby grand piano as we settled back in an armchair to peruse a remarkable menu of after-dinner cocktails. Reserved after 9 p.m. for guests 18 and older, the Deck 3 lounge was bliss.

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And no ordinary cocktails on this menu, but the classics combined with trendy new drinks designed by the Disney mixologists, from the bartender’s version of a Manhattan made with Jack Daniel’s “Sinatra Select,” Antica Formula Carpano Vermouth and Cointreau to a Diamonds Martini with Three Olives Strawberry Vodka and Aviation (gin) and Cocci Vermouth di Torrino. This isn’t your dad’s after-dinner cocktail.

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Trendy ingredients are mixed tableside, like the Coco Royale with 1800 Coconut Tequila, Moët Ice Champagne and coconut flakes – a divine concoction that we all agreed was our favorite. The Moji-Do is Keys’ take on a mojito, this version with Kraken Black Spiced Rum, yuzu juice, slice orange, corn shoots and fresh mint leaves, again beautifully mixed tableside. And you wouldn’t recognize the Bloody Mi-Re, a trendy take on a Bloody Mary with Belvedere Bloody Mary, yellow tomato juice, fresh lime juice and Whiskey Worcestershire Sauce.

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Wine is decanted and serve tableside is exquisite Riedel “Black Tie” glassware – gorgeous mouth-blown stemware from Austria, all accented with a beautiful black stem. There’s also a selection of beer, Scotch, Single Malt Tequila, Cognac, Port, Madeira and specialty coffees.

If you feel like dancing post-cocktails, Fathoms is next door, or settle in for a quiet game of backgammon or checkers at O’Gills Pub – all part of the ships’ new After Hours section that caters to grown-ups after dark.

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Just for Adults on the Re-imagined Disney Magic

posted on May 22nd, 2014 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


One of the greatest things about the Disney Magic’s transformation is that our Imagineers thought of everyone in the family when redesigning spaces on the ship. We shared last week a video showing you new ways kids are being entertained, but they aren’t the only ones having fun on this pixie-dusted ship!

Now, check out the re-imagined spaces just for grown-ups!

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