The Cabanas was the central buffet location. It was open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All-you-can-eat at all times! Their selection was pretty much anything you could ever think of. The counters of food seemed like they went on forever! There were international cuisine options, and each day there was something new added to the menu. I can’t even begin to start listing off the options. It was seriously a challenge trying to decide each time what to put on your plate. You didn’t want to over-do-it too soon on your first plate, because you always wanted room to go back to get new things on your next plate. I would take tiny little scoops of things on my plate, but still get so full so fast! Man, what a hard life, eh? We went to the Cabanas for a few breakfasts and for lunch. We never ate there for dinner because we enjoyed going to the special dining halls too much (more on that in a minute).
First meal on the Disney Fantasy - lunch at The Cabanas
Lunch at The Cabanas on day two
And if at any time during the day, you might not be quite filled to capacity...if there was a little bit of space left in your belly...and you wanted a snack, you could always visit the all-day ice cream machines! They had chocolate, vanilla, banana, and strawberry. You could have it in a cone or in a big cup. You could get as much as you wanted, whenever you wanted. And you could practically eat it anywhere on the ship. That is one (of numerous) awesome things about a cruise. You can walk around anywhere, wearing anything you want...pajamas or swimsuits...make-up or no make-up, hair done or undone, and carry messy food with you, eating while you go. And when you are done, you can leave your plate or cup anywhere and someone will clean it up for you! What a life!
The buffet options are, of course, great...but, the evenings were especially fun because you got to be waited on at dinner and feel a little bit more fancy. The Disney Fantasy has three main dining areas: The Enchanted Garden, The Royal Court, and Animator’s Palate. Each dining area had its own special magic and provided different reasons why we loved them. We enjoyed ourselves at dinner so much that the typical amount of time spent at dinner was 1-2 hours! We were usually one of the last tables to leave each night!
Our first night aboard the ship, we were assigned to The Enchanted Garden. We couldn’t wait for this fine dining experience because, again, this is an unusual experience for an Arbon vacation. We were thrilled to be given the early dining schedule. The ship has two dining time rotations, one at 5:30 and one at 8:30, I believe. If you have the earlier dinner, you have a later show...if you have the later dinner, you have an earlier show. You get the idea. So we felt that it worked out just perfectly in our favor. The only hard part was, after eating so much earlier in the day at breakfast, lunch, and ice cream...we weren’t really as hungry as we wanted to be when dinner came around. It’s like you walk around being constantly full! They encourage you to order whatever you want, even just to try it, and to order as much as you want... and I would have liked to order a lot more than I did, but my stomach literally didn’t have any more space!
The Enchanted Garden is a beautiful room that focuses on blooming flowers. The decor in the room follows the theme as pillars vine their way to the ceiling of a changing sky scene. The sky changes from day to sunset to night with twinkling stars. The light fixtures start as closed buds and then open as the dinner progresses. It is beautiful! I especially loved the hallway leading up to the room. You are surrounded by green and lighting of blues and purples. There is an iron-looking gate that you pass through. You really feel like you are entering a secret garden. There is even a secret/hidden hallway leading from one of the stateroom halls. We had a lot of fun in The Enchanted Garden...and how could we not with the excitement of our first dinner on our first family cruise right in front of us.
Our second night at The Enchanted Garden
Our dinner servers were awesome! We had Natasha (from England) and Cristian (from Ukraine). They followed us each night to the different dining areas, so we really got to know them. It was fun because in each of the rooms, they had a different uniform that added to the theme. Natasha was really laid back and liked to chat with us. A very cute, tall, blonde girl. She was basically over our drinks. The nice thing about the Disney cruise is soft drinks are included, so my family took full advantage. We are a family that didn’t have much soda growing up. Jason got me going on a Coke kick, so I basically ordered that every night, with the occasional lemonade or ginger ale. Funny that I would order Coke because I have always hated it and it has never even been a temptation to me to drink, but boy did I crave it on the ship! I’m not sure if Bryan was ordering Coke or Root Beer...something dark...but I tell ya, he was getting 7-8 refills every dinner!!! He sure was living it up! Cristian was a little more soft spoken and a lot more to the point. He wanted to see that everything was done properly. The only time he would talk more was when he was describing a particular dish. He seemed to enjoy that quite a bit. One of the nights, Natasha started telling us about how she likes to stay up late and party. She said she loves to get drunk and wished she was “drunk right now!” It was hilarious. And then she realized that we don’t drink and she thought it was a “pity”. The next night, Jason tripped over the strap on our video camera bag as he was getting up from the table, and she quickly responded, “see, I knew you got drunk!” It was a hoot!
Cristian and Natasha
The Enchanted Garden is also open in the mornings for breakfast. We ate there, I think, twice for breakfast. You just have to be sure to get up early enough to make it before they close. They have a buffet line you can go through (just like the Cabanas), but they wait on you with drinks, pastries, and anything special from an additional menu.
Sunday morning breakfast at The Enchanted Garden
The next night we went to The Royal Court. The Royal Court is the most fancy of the three dining rooms. This also worked in our favor because the second night was formal night. So it was fitting and exciting to be dressed up and going to the most fancy of the restaurants (more on that night in a later post). The Royal Court feels like you are entering the dining room of a castle. I think it is supposed to be Cinderella’s Castle. You feel like you are a prince or princess and are deserving of this sort of treatment. We ate at The Royal Court three of the nights (while eating only twice at each of the other two restaurants). We also ate there once for breakfast. They have an awesome menu with so many different options….so many delicious options that Bryan could not pick just one. He ended up ordering three big breakfast meals! The waiter, who is used to guests ordering a lot of food, even questioned if he was sure he wanted to order all that. Bryan was given a hard time by the family, and Jason even made a bet of $5 that he wouldn’t be able to finish all that. Well with pride and money on the table, Bryan miserably finished all three plates. He said the hardest part was finishing all of the bacon...as each plate he ordered had a side of bacon that came with it. Needless to say, Bryan did not order any more bacon for the rest of the cruise.
Our first night at The Royal Court
Breakfast at The Royal Court
Bryan working on his three plates...too bad we didn't get a before shot
Animator’s Palate is probably the most fun of the dining areas. You feel like you are entering the Imagineers part of Disneyland or something like that. You enter to find sketches and images of Disney art everywhere as well as countless television screens on the walls. Sometimes the screens are showing movie clips, sometimes sketches, and sometimes even Crush (the turtle from Finding Nemo). The first night we ate at Animator’s Palate, Crush came out and would swim from one screen to another, taking the time to visit with different guests at different tables. That’s right, Crush was actually interacting with the guests...just like he does at Disneyland. Just how he was able to hear the guests over the chatting and noises of the restaurant, I will never know. But it was a fun, personal experience. There is definitely a constant energy and excitement in that restaurant. The final night of the cruise, we got a special treat at Animator’s Palate. When we arrived, before ordering, we were given a sheet of paper with blanks in an outline of a body. We were each given a marker and our task was to create/draw any character, creature, cartoon we wanted. By the end of the dinner, we were surprised with an awesome parade of all of our characters on the big screens. They weren’t just scanned in still shots of our characters either...they were moving, marching, jumping, and dancing characters! It was a whole presentation with fun music and special appearances of Disney characters. It was really awesome! See, this is some of that Disney magic I am talking about. Disney didn’t have to go through all of that work to make the dinner fun, but they did it anyway! They think of everything and they go above and beyond!
Our first night at Animator's Palate
Last night of cruise
Last breakfast before leaving the ship...we were assigned to Animator's Palate...not happy to be leaving
A look at Animator's Palate, Crush, and Character Parade
But Camry and Mom ordered room service...cookies!
Sadly, I can't remember what most of these dishes were!
Man, my mouth is watering again looking at these pictures! Take me back there!