Since eating is a major part of any cruise, in this post I’m going to focus on the Magic’s eating venues starting with the three rotational restaurants. Since this post will be on the longer side, I’ll write about the quick service eats in a separate one.
For young and old alike, dining at Animator’s Palate is definitely a unique and fun experience as it is the only one of the three rotational restaurants that offers a “dinner show.” While the website lists its fare as “contemporary Pacific Rim cuisine” I don’t know if I would necessarily agree with that statement, more continental I would say. As its name suggests, the dining room is created to look like that of a real-life, hand-drawn environment. The walls are adorned with sketches that showcase characters and scenes from Disney and Disney-Pixar films (both classic and modern) and subtle touches of the animation profession are also visible.
For my starter I had the Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (I think I also had this at the Animator’s Palate on the Disney Dream but when there’s something you like, definitely go with it).
Bread service was herb foccaccia and ciabatta bread with a roasted garlic dip.
For my entrée I ordered the Lemon-Thyme Marinated Organic Chicken Breast that came with sour cream mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and topped with a grain mustard jus. As this was our first night of 8:30 PM dining, I wasn’t feeling the greatest and thought that a chicken dish would be a safer bet even though there were some other dishes I would have liked to have tried.
D went with the Marinated Angus Beef Tenderloin that was served atop a bed of wasabi mashed potatoes with bok choy and a tamarind-barbecue reduction.
By the time dessert came around I was feeling a lot better and I opted for the Dense Chocolate Cake. Even though there was no sugar added to it, you would have never known, that’s how good it was. It was a brownie topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream. D selected the Cookies and Cream Sundae which was vanilla ice cream and chocolate wafer cookies, topped with whipped cream.
As I mentioned earlier, the big draw of the Animator’s Palate is the show that is put on. At the start of the meal, the walls are blank and gray, devoid of any color, just like when an animator first begins. However, as the meal progresses color starts to fade into the room with live drawings taking place on the walls. Scenes from Disney movies start playing until Sorcerer Mickey actually joins in the fun. Although I found the food at Animator’s Palate to be good but nothing great, the entertainment portion of the meal is definitely worth it.
When the Magic went into dry dock last fall for its refurbishment, the previous restaurant Parrot Cay was overhauled to make way for Carioca’s. During the day, it serves American fare but at night it becomes the premier spot for South American cuisine. And in case you’re wondering about the name, Carioca’s is named after Jose Carioca, the lovable Brazilian parrot from Rio de Janiero who was one of the Three Caballeros.
Carioca’s was our last dinner on board and was of course the night that my camera decided to die altogether which was so disappointing since the decor and ambiance is fantastic. Festive lanterns adorn the ceilings and one of the walls features a massive screen of Rio de Janiero and Sugarloaf Mountain at night.
For my appetizer I went with a Peruvian causa which is essentially a mashed potato “cake” (yellow, blue, and white potato), paired with a cucumber and olive-tomato salsa and huancaina sauce. I had heard of a causa before and wanted to try it but had no idea it was a cold dish. Perhaps it’s a taste that needs to be acquired; I didn’t care for it too much.
D selected the Argentine Beef Empanada for his appetizer. It was topped with a Chimichurri Sauce, a staple in Latin American cooking. I wish I had ordered that as the bite I tried was really good, although I tried to console myself saying that I’d had numerous Argentine empanadas in Argentina. However, with the slightly bad taste the causa left, I still wish I had ordered it too.
Since I had a bit of an issue with the late dining time I tried to not order dishes that were particularly rich. So for my entree I selected the Fried Plantain and Malanga pancakes (malanga is a type of tropical fruit). These were okay although the plantain tasted more like banana.
D’s entree was fabulous looking-he went with Jose Carioca’s which consisted of skewered and grilled Brazilian sausage, Adobo Chili Crusted Lamb, and Tenderloin with Mexican tomato rice, Jumbo Shrimp, Chimichurri, and a Lime-Garlic Orange Mojo.
The favorite parts of my meal were probably the bread selections (banana bread paired with a mango mint mojo sauce for dipping) and my dessert (coconut tres leches cake). It was a coconut cake that had been soaked in three milks and then served with a light coconut cream. D went for the Carioca’s Ice Cream sundae which came with dulce de leche ice cream, caramelized apples, and churros.
I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t care for the rotational restaurants as much as I did on the Dream, but know this had more to do with what I selected and being apprehensive about eating rich food so late. I’m sure if I were to do it again and had the earlier seating time (5:30) I would have loved it and definitely would have ordered differently. While booking a cruise spur of the moment is novel, it’s definitely not so much when all the early dinner seating times are already booked.
Since our first night we ate at Palo, the adults only restaurant, we had to sacrifice one of the three rotational restaurants so Lumiere’s did not make the cut. We had dined at its counterpart on the Dream (the Royal Palace) and the menu seemed somewhat similar, so we didn’t feel as bad. We did dine here for breakfast one morning (it was a la carte from a menu) and were very pleased with our dishes. For dinner Lumiere’s serves continental cuisine with a French flair.
My favorite part about Lumiere’s was the floor to ceiling mural of a Beauty and the Beast scene. Isn’t it stunning?
Stay tuned for part 2 of this specific post which will focus on the more informal, quick eats venues on the Disney Magic ship.
More in this series!
First travels of 2014
Disney Cruise Review-Magic (Part 1)
Restaurant Review: Disney Cruise Ship’s Palo
Disney Cruise Review-Magic (Part 2)
Attraction Review-Stingray Adventure at Castaway Cay
Disney Cruise Review-Magic (Part 4)
Disney Cruise Review-Magic (Part 5)