Friday, January 29, 2016

Dinner on the Disney Fantasy - Part 1

Last week, my family took a seven night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy.  This was our 7th time cruising with the Disney Cruise Line, but our first on the Disney Fantasy.  You can read about my previous experiences dining gluten free on the Disney Dream and the Disney Magic here.

Every time we have sailed with the Disney Cruise Line, I have had my travel agent note my dietary restrictions on my reservation, so our dining team is prepared when I arrive.  You can also fill out a special services form that notes your food allergies, and submit it to the Disney Cruise Line.

Before boarding the ship, you will receive your Key to the World Card, which will allow you to access your stateroom, and notes your dining time, dining rotation, and table number.  The letters after the dining time stand for the three Main Dining restaurants on the Disney Fantasy - Animator's Palate, Enchanted Garden, and the Royal Court.  I love the Disney Cruise Line's rotational dining, because you get to eat in three different restaurants, and experience a variety of different cuisines.  Plus, you have the option of having dinner at Cabanas on most nights, and there is also Palo and Remy, the two adults only restaurants on the Disney Fantasy.   This review will focus on the first three dinners of our cruise.  On the last four nights, my family ate at the same restaurants, but the theme and menu changed every evening, which I will talk about in my next dinner post.

Animator's Palate features Pacific Rim cuisine, and can be found on all four of the Disney Cruise Line ships.  I usually stop at whatever Main Dining restaurant is open for lunch on the first day of our cruise and pre-order my dinner with one of the head servers on duty, but I did not do that this time around.

As soon as we boarded the ship, I could see that the free Disney Cruise Line Navigator app that I downloaded on my iPhone showed the dinner menus for all the restaurants every night of our cruise.  Gluten free and dairy free options are noted in the app and on the menus in the restaurants.  If the gluten free options are not to your liking, you can pre-order other dishes, and they will make a gluten free version for you.

On our last at sea day, all the adults in my family took a behind the scenes tour of the Animator's Palate galley (kitchen), which is shared with the Royal Court.  Chef Massimo, the head chef at Palo, told us that in the Main Dining restaurants, one chef preps all allergy pre-orders, which are written up on pink tickets.  I have worked in restaurants before, and I have never seen such a clean kitchen.  If you are interested in a galley tour, stop at the Guest Services Desk, and ask if they are available.  They are not advertised in the Disney Cruise Line app or in the Personal Navigator that is published each day.

Every night of our cruise, my meal started with gluten free bread.  All the Main Dining restaurants had Udi's Gluten Free French Baguettes.  My bread had a lot of holes, but it was so much better than the Ener-G rolls that were served on all of my previous cruises.  

After bread service, Main Dining restaurants serve four courses - appetizers, soups & salads, main courses, and desserts.  Vegetarian and lighter note offerings are also listed on the menus.  Smoked salmon tartar was the only appetizer marked as gluten free at Animator's Palate on the first night.  Not being a fan of smoked salmon, I chose two items from the soups & salads portion of the menu.  Our server Massiel wrote up my order on a pink allergy ticket.

I enjoyed both my baked potato & cheddar cheese soup, and the chicken & walnut salad with craisins and a cranberry dressing.

The only main course listed as gluten free was the lemon-thyme marinated all natural chicken breast.  I did not order it, because the description of the dish mentioned mustard and sour cream, two foods I dislike, so I chose one of the lighter note offerings for my entree.

The jumbo shrimp salad with poached tiger shrimp, arugula, cucumber, egg, and lemon olive oil was a little bland.  It could have used a little more lemon or vinegar to liven it up.

For dessert, there were two gluten free options listed on the menu - crunchy walnut cake with dark chocolate mousse and raspberry coulis, and chilled mango mousse, a no sugar added dessert.  Because I avoid all sugar substitutes, I did not even consider the mango mousse.  The crunchy walnut cake is one of my favorite Disney Cruise Line desserts.  I first tried it on our cruise on the Disney Magic.  The nuts on the bottom are crunchy and sweet, and make a wonderful crust for the cake, which is made out of chocolate mousse.

On the second night of our cruise, we dined at the Enchanted Garden, which serves Continental Market Cuisine.  The Enchanted Garden can be found on Deck 2 of the Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream.

My fruit obsessed family likes to pre-order several plates of fruit to start our breakfast and dinner service, and our servers have always been happy to oblige.  Massiel always brought me my own plate of fruit, so I did not have to worry about my gluten-eating family cross-contaminating it.

At the Enchanted Garden, I started my meal with a cucumber garden roll filled with julienned carrots, bell peppers and zucchini, flavored with cilantro, and dressed with white shoyu and lemon dressing.  It was a nice light appetizer to start my meal.  I shared a bite with my daughter Emma, who decided to order one for herself.

From the soups and salads menu, I chose a spinach and raspberry salad with baby spinach, fresh raspberries, toasted pine nuts, and raspberry vinaigrette.  It was amazing, and might have been my favorite salad of the cruise.

For a main course, I pre-ordered the marjoram scented roast chicken served with sweet potatoes, buttered baby spinach, and a thyme red wine chicken jus.  I enjoyed this dish, but I was a little jealous of the delicious looking slow roasted prime rib many of my family members were eating, which was also marked gluten free on the menu.

There were no gluten free dessert options listed on the menu, so Massiel marked my dessert as "chef's choice," which she often did.  The gluten free chocolate cake I was served had a very odd taste, that seemed to come from the sauce on top, but I ate it on another night of our cruise and enjoyed it, because the sauce was better.

When I mentioned to Massiel that I had hoped to get a modified apple cinnamon sundae, like on past cruises, she had one brought out for me.  You can never go wrong with vanilla ice cream served on top of warm apples with cinnamon.

We dined at the Royal Court on the third night of our cruise, which serves French cuisine, just like the Royal Palace on the Disney Dream, and Lumiere's on the Disney Magic.

We were seated at a huge table in the center of the restaurant, underneath a beautiful chandelier.  I guess that is one of the perks of sailing with a family of ten people.

I started my meal with a beautiful plate of mixed berries, kiwi, and mango.

My husband and I had brunch at Palo earlier in the day, so I wanted a light dinner.  The only appetizer listed as gluten free was duck confit, so I decided to skip that course, because I don't eat duck.

I really enjoyed the red wine bosc pear salad served with arugula, crispy lardons, and a sherry wine dressing, a dish I have had on previous cruises.

The only main course listed as gluten free was the crispy roast duck breast.  Normally, I would have pre-ordered a gluten free version of the chateaubriand-roasted filet steak, but I decided to try the lighter note oven baked filet of salmon instead.  It is served with garden vegetables, and your choice of steamed white rice or a baked potato.  Every night, at least three of the light note offerings were marked as gluten free, so I always had steak, chicken, and salmon to choose from, and usually the salad offering was gluten free as well.  My entree was good, but nothing special, which is usually the case with the lighter note offerings.

For dessert, I had a couple of bites of the Royal Court's delicious creme brulee before passing it on to other family members, so I would not be tempted to eat it all.  

I would like to finish by thanking our server Massiel, and our assistant server Tamara, who both did an amazing job.

You can read Dinner on the Disney Fantasy - Part 2 here.  


  1. Awesome post! I've been trying to plan a Disney Cruise vacaction soon as we can get time off and I'm gluten-free as well, have own blog and this post is EPIC exactly what I was looking for with dining with allergies. I love your photos and everything else thank so much for this. Will be reposting on my site.