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Disney Magic Arrives to San Juan for First-Ever Departures from Puerto Rico

posted on September 20th, 2014 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


Today, Captain Mickey and the Disney Magic arrived to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to kick off our brand-new Southern Caribbean sailings.

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These 7-night voyages mark our first-ever itinerary departing from Puerto Rico. San Juan will be the homeport of the Disney Magic for the next four weeks until the ship returns to Port Canaveral for 7-night Western and Eastern Caribbean sailings.

To see some of the incredible locations Disney cruisers can visit in San Juan and our Southern Caribbean destinations, check out this video…


To learn more about our Southern Caribbean destinations and Port Adventures, visit these posts:

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A Taste of Grenada with Disney Cruise Line

posted on August 29th, 2014 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Port Adventures Manager


St. George's, Grenada
Next up in my series about Port Adventures on our Southern Caribbean cruises is what to do from the port of St. George’s, Grenada. Known as the “Spice Isle,” Grenada is filled with spice estates, tropical gardens, beautiful beaches, thrilling diving, snorkeling, fishing and exploration through mountain landscapes and waterfalls. There’s an adventure to be had by everyone, with more options than I can possibly tell you about today!

Beach at Grenada Fort George

Tropical Beach Tour – Grenada is known for some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, so many of our excursions bring you to a stunning stretch of sand to relax and swim. If you want to take a step back in time on your way to the beach, this tour gives you the chance to explore the historic Fort George overlooking the capital city. Your stop here also provides a fantastic panoramic photo opportunity above the island and Caribbean Sea! Some of our other beach trips to consider are the Rum And Beach Tour, Aquarium Beach Day With Lunch and Beach House With Lunch.

Wild Monkey Waterfall

Around The Isle Of Spice – This Port Adventure provides a great taste of Grenada with an inside look at the spice and rum industry, along with fantastic views of nature and wildlife. First, discover the reason for Grenada’s nickname with a visit to a garden of spices at a historic estate and to a spice factory to see the seasoning, processing and sorting of nutmegs and mace. Then, after a tour of a famous rum distillery, you’ll visit Grand Etang to see the crater of an extinct volcano and possibly wild monkeys. Your last stop is to Annandale Falls, a 30-foot waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.

Powerboat Sculpture Swim

Amazing Sculpture Park Snorkel By Powerboat – Molinere Point, a protected marine park, is a volcanic reef home to the world’s first underwater sculpture park. After a thrilling ride in a powerboat, you’ll have the chance to snorkel here and see an abundance of tropical fish and other marine life. Before heading back to port, you’ll cruise through Dragon Bay and along the island’s beautiful coast for some great photo opportunities.

Up next, I’ll give you my recommendation for Port Adventures in Barbados. When the ship’s in port, venture ashore!

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Exploring San Juan and the Southern Caribbean with Disney Cruise Line

posted on August 8th, 2014 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Port Adventures Manager


We’re just six weeks away from our brand-new Southern Caribbean voyages, departing for the first time ever from beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico! As we count down the weeks until the start of this spectacular itinerary, I’ll be sharing insights on all you can see and do when we visit ports on the islands of Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and St. Kitts.

Today I want to start with the activities in San Juan you won’t want to miss before or after your cruise. With so much history and beauty in San Juan, it’s difficult to narrow down my favorite places to visit, so here’s just a glimpse of what your family can experience …

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Old San Juan
Think blue cobblestone streets, brightly colored buildings and a history that stretches back to the Conquistadors. You could spend the entire day walking around the old city of San Juan, browsing unique shops and eateries, shopping for arts and crafts in the plaza and exploring the grounds of the fort, Castillo San Cristóbal. Make sure you set aside some time to taste the savory flavors of Puerto Rico’s “Créole” cuisine, called “cocina criolla” by the locals, at one of the many charming cafés.

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El Yunque Rainforest
A lush tropical rainforest, the Caribbean National Forest known as El Yunque is less than an hour away from the city. From high atop the mountains, you can enjoy scenic views of the east coast of Puerto Rico, hike to water falls, explore rugged terrain on horseback or ATV, and more. Keep an eye and ear out for the singing coqui frogs and tropical birds that inhabit the trees.

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Beach and Water Adventures
There are several great beaches near San Juan where you can relax on the warm sand and take a dip in the sparkling Caribbean waters. Isla Verde is one of my favorites for its wide beach, palm trees and close proximity to restaurants and facilities. Adventure lovers can take advantage of the many fun water activities offered in the area, like snorkeling, surfing, jet skiing and scuba diving, just to name some.

Stayed tuned next week for my recommendations on what to do in Antigua. And remember, when the ship’s in port, venture ashore!

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Disney Cruise Line Summer Recipe: Seafood Paella

posted on June 24th, 2014 by Stephen Walker, Fleet Culinary Standards and Consistency Chef, Disney Cruise Line


This summer, Disney Magic cruisers are in for a special treat as we sail away from Barcelona. Out on the open-air deck, we’re cooking up an incredibly delicious, Spanish-inspired dish – seafood paella!

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Fresh clams, mussels, chicken, chorizo and prawns are just some of the ingredients mixed in with our specialty saffron-infused bomba rice to give this dish an unbelievable amount of flavor.

Even if you aren’t sailing in Europe with us this summer, you can still bring a taste of the Mediterranean into your home with this mouthwatering Disney Cruise Line recipe. You can also download our keepsake recipe card here. Enjoy!

Seafood Paella
Serves 8
Skill Level: Moderate
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 pound chicken tenders (3⁄4” dice)
  • 1 tsp. paprika spice

  • 4 garlic cloves (crushed)

  • 1⁄2 pound chorizo sausage (5” slice)
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil
  • 13⁄4 cup paella rice

  • 1⁄2 Spanish/yellow onion (finely diced)

  • 1 1⁄2 cups fish stock

  • 1 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1⁄2 cups tomato juice
  • 2 beef tomatoes (seeded, skinned and finely diced)
  • 1 tsp. saffron threads

  • 3⁄4 cup green peas

  • 3⁄4 cup tiger shrimps (peeled)
  • 3⁄4 cup scallops (10–20)

  • 3⁄4 cup squid (1⁄4” slice)

  • 3⁄4 cup mussels

  • 3⁄4 cup small clams (like littleneck clams)

  • 3⁄4 cup lobster tail (3⁄4” slice)

  • 1 tbsp. salt ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley (roughly chopped)

Saffron Aioli

  • 1⁄4 tsp. saffron threads

  • 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 2 tbsp. white wine

  • 3⁄4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Red Pepper Rouille

  • 1 roasted red bell pepper (peeled and deseeded)
  • 1 garlic clove (roasted)

  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

For the Seafood Paella

  1. Toss chicken tenders with paprika spice and one chopped garlic clove in a bowl. Chill for 4 hours.
  2. Sear both sides of the scallops, then set aside. Sauté the chorizo, chicken and lobster in 1⁄4 cup of olive oil. Once cooked medium well, place onto a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Pour the remainder of the olive oil into the pan and bring to temperature to gently sauté the onion and the rest of the garlic. Once the onion is transparent, add the rice.
  4. Gradually add the HOT chicken and fish stock (a little at a time while continually stirring). Then add the tomato juice and chopped tomatoes. Once the rice is 3⁄4 cooked through, add the scallops, chorizo, chicken, lobster and remaining ingredients (except the flat parsley, clams and mussels). Continue stirring.
  5. Once the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, stir in the peas and flat parsley. Lay the clams and mussels on top of the rice and cover with a clean napkin.
  6. The heat of the paella will open the shellfish.

For the Saffron Aioli

  1. Place the saffron threads into the white wine and reduce by half, let cool, then mix with the remaining Ingredients.

For the Red Pepper Rouille

  1. Blend the roasted red bell pepper, roasted garlic and red wine vinegar in a food processor. Mix with the mayonnaise and season with the cayenne pepper.
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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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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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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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