Written by: Amy Yacullo
LOCATION: Disney Cruise Line
THEME: Disney Animation
Author’s Note: Sailing the high seas on the Disney Dream? Looking for a meal that will satisfy and entertain you? Then look no further than the Animator’s Palate! This restaurant is perfect for the whole family. Delicious food, fun surroundings, and a talking turtle make this spot one you won’t want to miss!! While both the Dream and the Fantasy feature this restaurant, there are major differences between the two. As this writer has only been on the Disney Dream, this article will pertain to the Disney Dream Animator’s Palate only.
When walking into the Animator’s Palate, you are greeted with the sights of light wood, bright colors, and familiar faces. The entrance to the restaurant is surrounded by walls featuring Disney characters in black and white sketches. I always make a point to take a picture posed next to my favorite little mermaid, Ariel, before we are seated. The corridor outside the restaurant can get a little crowded if you arrive right before or around the very beginning of your dinner seating, so I recommend taking an extra 5 or 10 minutes to get ready for dinner to avoid the rush.
As you arrive at your table, it’s hard to miss the Mickey-esque chairs or the signature paintbrush-shaped butter knife (which was so popular that it was added to the gift shops on the Dream and Fantasy, since quite a few of them ended up “walking away” from the dinner tables). All around you, there are shelves themed to look like the desk of a Disney animator. You’ll see pencils, markers, paintbrushes, even character maquettes!
The most prominent feature, however, is the big screen. On most nights, you’ll see a calming ocean scene, pulled right out of Finding Nemo. During your meal, you’ll be visited by everyone’s favorite far-out sea turtle, Crush! Crush actually interacts with the people in your section, so you may find him talking to you and you alone. Crush also likes to tell jokes and ask lots of questions, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing or explaining what exactly a bathing suit actually is.
My favorite part of the Animator’s Palate is the food (obviously). AP is the most relaxed of the Disney Dream’s restaurants, and the fare is American with some multi-cultural inspirations. While the menu has changed a bit since the last time I was on the ship, there are several items I can recommend.
Smoked Salmon Tartar
Black Truffe Pasta Purseittes
Sliced Serrano Ham with bread and Spanish Olives
My favorite appetizer from days past was a shrimp and onion cheesecake—it was savory, but light, with amazing flavor. I’m bummed they got rid of it, but the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes more than make up for it! Anthony and I enjoy them so much that we totally ran down to the Animator’s Palate after our dinner at Remy just to get an order of them—SOOO good. I haven’t had any of the other appetizers, but based on the Purseittes, I’m sure they’re divine.
Soups and Salads
Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
Arugulas and Curly Endive Salad
I love soup. In my opinion, soup is the perfect food, and let me tell you, these soups do not disappoint!! Even if you’re in the middle of the Bahamas, these soups will warm you from the inside out and make your taste buds nice and toasty.
Seared Red Snapper
Lemon-Thyme Marinated All-Natural Chicken Breast
Herb-Crusted Veal Chop
Ginger Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin
Full disclosure: Anthony and I have not eaten entrees at Animator’s Palate since our honeymoon in April of 2012, so I have not tried any of the above options. However, I’m a steak girl, so that tenderloin sounds right up my alley. As with all Disney cruises, the food rarely disappoints, so I can’t imagine that these courses are anything but delectable.
Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Zucchini, and Red Onion Salad
Potato, Celeriac, and Onion Gratin
Black Bean Chipotle Cakes
I’m not a vegetarian, but I’d totally eat all of these, especially the Gratin. They all sound fantastic.
Lighter Note Offerings
Jumbo Shrimp Salad
Grilled Grain-Fed Sirloin Steak
Slow Roasted Breast of Chicken
Oven Baked Fillet of Salmon
All fantastic options for those who have certain dietary restrictions. I would eat these in a heartbeat, even though I’m not the biggest fan of salmon.
Sweet Temptations—a trio of crunch walnut cake, pinapple financier, and lemon mousse
Crunchy Walnut Cake
Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake
Cookies and Cream Sundae
Lemon Mousse with mango coulis and dark chocoalte
Dense Chocolate Cake
I’m honestly not much of a dessert person, but you could put any of these in front of me and I’d totally go to town on them. If I had to choose right now though, I’m really feeling that lemon mousse. Yum!
My favorite night to visit the Animator’s Palate is definitely Pirate Night. While the menu is the standard Pirate fare across all three restaurants, Animator’s Palate is the most fun to be in for one reason: you know those screens I mentioned earlier? On Pirate Night, those screens feature concept art for all things that relate to Disney and Pirates. I loved taking pictures of the art from the Pirates of the Caribbean—it was great to see the concept changes for the ships used in the movies. It was also interesting to compare the POTC movie and ride concepts. My favorite, however, is seeing the concept art from the under-appreciated Treasure Planet. This particular concept art provides stunning visuals which absolutely take my breath away. If you haven’t seen Treasure Planet, you’re really missing out.
Anthony and I love the Animator’s Palate. We know that on Animator’s Palate night, we’re in for a great meal. We love the casual atmosphere and fun that you just don’t get in the Royal Palace or the Enchanted Garden. The Animator’s Palate is the one restaurant that is on all four Disney ships, albeit in different forms, so clearly, we’re not the only ones who feel that way. If you’re looking for a meal that’ll satisfy your taste buds and your eyes as well as your sense of whimsy, then look no further than the Animator’s Palate.
Amy is a 20-something Disney fanatic living with her Disney Prince in New Jersey. She has dedicated her life to all things Disney and is debating naming her first child Ariel. When not blogging, she likes playing video games, reading, and snuggling with her Disney-named cats. You can find her online at www.shortfatandsassy.com.