Rotational dining is unique to Disney Cruise Line, and the three dining rooms on the Disney Dream showcase cuisine that beautifully fits with each theme. Here’s a look at Animator’s Palate, Royal Palace and Enchanted Garden, with our favorite dishes.
In case you haven’t been aboard the Disney Cruise Lines ships, rotational dining is a way of making sure each guest experiences each of the dining rooms. Every evening you have the same tablemates and the same servers as you “rotate” – you get a schedule when you board which tells you exactly when and where to go. Have you sailed on the Disney Dream and have your own favorite dining room and dish?
At Animator’s Palate, we were too busy looking at all the fun animation touches – character sketches, character models, scenes from Disney and Disney•Pixar films – to focus on our menus, but our patient server said he was used to his guests being wowed by the décor. And it only gets better: during dinner, the undersea world of “Finding Nemo” comes alive via more than 100 video monitors on the walls – and Crush, the sea turtle, was talking to us!
When we finally focused, what a feast. Favorites included black truffle pasta “purseittes,” little pasta “purses” filled with truffle-scented cheese in a Champagne sauce; the simple smoked salmon tartare; the rich, sesame-flavored rock shrimp and caramelized onion cheesecake (it’s a starter, not a dessert!); and the grilled Pacific black cod. Our sweet ending was the chocolate brownie cheesecake.
For vegetarians, the menu includes stir-fried veggies and black bean chipotle cakes. Meat lovers can choose from veal, beef tenderloin and chicken breast.
Royal Palace takes an elegant approach (we love the whimsical chandelier that’s adorned with Cinderella’s glass slippers) with an upscale menu and Old World wines. It’s a great place to try escargot if you haven’t; their version has finely chopped mushrooms and lots of garlic butter. And we loved the avocado citrus salad with a citrusy vinaigrette, a favorite we now make at home (recipe below). Our favorite entrée was the wild boar tenderloin, but there’s also beef and lobster, double-cut rack of lamb and salmon with a horseradish crust. We also enjoyed the wild mushroom pasta in a light broth, a nice vegetarian option. For dessert, hands-down favorite was the no-sugar-added mango cheesecake. Yum!
Walking into Enchanted Garden feels like spring no matter what time of year, thanks to the 600 light panels arching across the ceiling like a glass canopy, white trellises, a terrace fountain (with a cherub Mickey Mouse) and gorgeous flower light fixtures. If the setting makes you want to eat lightly, try the golden and red beet carpaccio or the curried carrot and apple soup. Entrées include our favorite pan-seared sea bass with risotto, caramelized sea scallops with roasted asparagus, pork tenderloin with citrus-flavored polenta cakes and a hefty New York strip steak with a double-baked potato.
The Enchanted Garden tuna salad features seared sushi-grade tuna and for vegetarians, there are glazed Portobello mushrooms with lentils and a sun-dried tomato cream drizzle or pearl barley cakes with shallots, leeks and rosemary.
We ended our attempt at eating lightly with a bananas Foster sundae – rum-glazed bananas and a caramel sauce. We’ll count calories tomorrow.
If you’re not sailing soon, here’s a taste of Disney Dream dining – one of our favorite recipes from Royal Palace. The buttery avocadoes and oranges with a light, citrusy vinaigrette make a perfect spring salad.
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 lime, juiced
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 navel oranges
3 ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
6 cups mixed baby lettuce
For the citrus dressing:
- Combine orange juice and lime juice in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil, salt and pepper, whisking vigorously until combined. If making in advance, re-whisk before serving.
For the avocado-citrus salad:
- Cut peel, including the white pith, from the oranges with a small knife. Cut segments free from membranes; set segments aside and discard membranes.
- Cut avocadoes into 3/4-inch-thick slices.
- Divide mixed greens among 4 salad bowls. Top with 5 avocado slices and 5 to 8 orange segments; drizzle lightly with dressing. Serve immediately.
Want to try your hand at making some other Disney dishes? Check out the posts below: