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Old May 1st, 2012, 06:18 PM
Jason Leppert
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I want this blog post to focus primarily on the food onboard the Disney Fantasy, but let me first begin by saying just how much fun my parents and I are having onboard. This ship has such personality with extremely unique venues that aren’t just cookie cutter recreations from other cruise lines. What stands out to me is that the rooms aren’t just painted and wallpapered. They’re ‘dressed’ like sets would be with props filling all the nooks and crannies, providing a full backstory for every space on the ship. But let’s talk food for now...

The food onboard Disney Fantasy have been impressive. Everything Disney does ashore and aboard is driven by narrative. It must have a story, and that right there makes such a difference. The dining rooms, as with every venue onboard, are themed leaving layers of story to be revealed during one’s meal.

Of the three rotational dining rooms – each night your assigned dining room differs – Royal Court is perhaps the most static room with no kinetic nor video elements, but it’s also the classiest. Here the Disney princesses inspire all of the decor – from the rose of Beauty and the Beast to the carriage from Cinderella. Wall paintings and mosaics tell the stories more directly while the decor itself acts as a subtle homage to the royal characters. With so many film elements to draw from, such a room could be quite cluttered, but the actual effect is well-balanced and extraordinarily tasteful with beautiful light colors on the walls and ceiling, and rich reds and greens on the tile floor and carpet. The young female passengers who are formally made up at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – the retail experience where girls are made up to resemble Disney princesses – fit in perfectly here.

Enchanted Garden – modeled after the gardens of Versailles – harkens back a bit to the Victorian parlor rooms of vintage ocean liners. Here the lighting and faux horizons transform during the meal from day to dusk and then to a starry night while the floral lighting automatically ‘blooms’ open thanks to some mechanical magic. This is a very relaxed venue with a lovely fountain in the center of the room and pastel colors adorning the surfaces. I did wonder, however, if the ceiling lighting was working entirely as intended as the fiberoptic stars were lit but there was no further blue backlighting of any kind in the overhead panels. All in all, the transformation makes for quite a nice backdrop to a meal.

Animator’s Palate is the most engaging of the dining rooms. Here Crush, the sea turtle from Finding Nemo, comes to each section of the room to actually have a conversation with the diners. It’s a technology first introduced at the parks, and it applies quite well to the dining atmosphere. Here, of course, his interaction with you pertains mostly to the cruise experience and where people are from. It is indeed amusing, and you can’t help but let your inner child out to talk with an otherwise imaginary character.

The other show offered here is Animation Magic, which Paul Motter and I experienced during the christening event onboard in New York. That’s where you draw your own character and see it come to life onscreen with full animation next to infamous Disney characters. It’s quite an impressive show.

While the venues themselves have personality, the food quality itself must be considered to compare it to other cruise cuisine. The food selection is top notch with creative dishes that will not overwhelm you with outrageously eclectic flavors. In fact, I’ve found myself having a hard time deciding between dishes here, more so than on any other cruise I’ve taken.

The food quality itself is generally excellent, however, we have experienced inconsistency with food temperatures. I would put the quality of taste somewhere between standard and premium cruise fare with some dishes exceeding that. And the service from our dining staff is superb, very quick and friendly.

We will also be trying out Remy, the three hour dining experience inspired by the film Ratatouille. I will discuss that along with Palo, the other adult-only dining venue once we’ve experienced both...
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