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Review: Animator’s Palate-Disney Dream

Review: Animator’s Palate-Disney Dream

An evening of whimsical fun!!

On Deck 3 of the magnificent cruise ship, the Disney Dream, Animator’s Palate is a whimsical tribute to Disney animation and its artists, with special emphasis on the magic of the Pixar films. Designed to look like an animation studio, there are storyboards on the walls, ceramic film cans and paint brushes acting as table centerpieces and interactive movie screens. Colorful and vibrant, there is a lively and light-hearted ambiance in the room. The chairs and entire color scheme are reminiscent of Mickey’s familiar red, black and yellow outfit.

The highlight of the restaurant is clearly the interactive visits from the star of the evening, Crush, the turtle “dude”made famous in the now classic Pixar favorite “Finding Nemo.” During dinner, Crush converses with diners in a jovial manner, illiciting much laughter and miles of smiles from adults and children alike. Here, fun is the name of the game. Even the servers’ shirts are decorated with black and white character sketches, offset by pastel-hued ties, representing the animation process of black/white movies coming to life with splashes of color.

Serving food with a Pacific Rim influence and flair, Animator’s Palate tends to rely on gimmick more than its cuisine, not that one even notices while so much fun and merriment abound. The menu offers a variety of fresh fish, pastas and vegetarian options.

 

Noshing on the warm garlic and herb foccacia (and divine garlic dip), my dining companion and I made our selections, beginning the meal with the butternut squash soup which overflowed with a fresh, zesty flavor. It was hot, creamy and delicious. It was lighter than expected (I sometimes find this type of soup to be too thick – almost like a puree) and a wonderful start to our dining adventure. A definite must-try. Not as overly sweet as I have often found variations of this soup to be which was very much appreciated.

We also sampled the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes, cheese filled pasta pockets coated with a light champagne sauce. The light, buttery pasta was perhaps a bit too soft and overcooked but the sharpness of the cheese and fragrant sauce helped salvage what might have been a poor choice off the menu. A shame because had it been prepared so that the pasta was not so soft and soggy, it would have been so much better. But our other selection, the Wild Mushroom Risotto was the a standout, a delightful combination of milky rice, creamily blended cheese and a hint of chives. Warm and wonderful. It was a dish to be savored. and could have been a five-star meal in itself.

Our two entree selections were the Trio of Veal and the Lemon-thyme Marinated Chicken Breast. The organic chicken breast was moist and juicy and seasoned with a lemon and rosemary glaze. Accompanied by grilled squash and hearty, sweet beets, this dish was light, summery and prepared perfectly. The grain mustard sauce with which is was served had the right amount of kick but didn’t necessarily compliment the dish. It was almost unnecessary. While there was nothing terribly fancy about this entree, it didn’t need to rely on heavy sauces or an overly fancy presentation. The taste was enough to make it a winner. The one negative was that mashed potatoes could have been warmer, creamier and a little less bland.

The veal trio consisted of a grilled tenderloin, a pulled shank and a ground veal pasta. All three were standouts. The tenderloin was flavorful and just a touch smoky. Succulent and moist, it almost melted in the mouth. The pulled shank had the right touches of seasoning and tasted almost as if it had a hint o honey and rosemary braising. The pasta was divine. This is a definite must try for the veal connoisseur. Probably one of the best dishes in the three rotational restaurants on board (Royal Palace, Enchanted Garden and Animator’s Palette),

Dessert seemed to be a lavish affair, and too many offerings were tempting so I opted for the Sweet Temptations, a trio mini-sized indulgences: crunchy walnut cake, a pineapple financier and lemon mousse. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. The lemon mousse was almost too subtle in flavor. It was flat and watery. The pineapple financier was bland, nondescript and tasted like a dated vanilla wafer. The crunchy walnut cake was the best of the three but lacked moistness. While the cake itself was just okay, the chocolate topping was rather bitter.

Luckily, my companion ordered the chocolate brownie cheesecake which was a much wiser selection. It was a delightful combination of creamy cheese and moist chocolate cake. The raspberry coulis offered a nice contrasting, slightly sour taste to the sweetness. A very nice balance of flavors.

Animator’s Palate offers a spectacular Disney dining adventure. The spontaneous visits from Nemo friends and the playful vibrancy of the room make this the perfect setting for an unforgettable dining experience. Two fins way up for this one, dudes.

FOOD: Although the food may come in second place to the atmosphere, some inventive and skillful dishes can be found here. Some of the desserts may be weak, but overall, the food is definitely some of the best on the ship.

ATMOSPHERE: The cork board sketches coming to life as the ocean world of Nemo takes shape lends itself to an evening of merriment and laughter. From the centerpieces to the chairs to the dishes, no detail has gone unnoticed and untouched by the magic of the Disney decorators. An Oscar for set design in this dining room.

SERVICE: Craig and Andre gave service with a smile and kept the magic and laughter alive.

TIPS: There’s a ;lot to see so take time before of after dinner to wander the room and look at some of the shelves housing Pixar memorabilia and memories. And if Crush wants to chat, make sure you chat back. He is one awesome dude. Totally.

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About ChristineD

Christine is a former Magic Kingdom entertainment cast member. Hailing originally from New Jersey, she has called Florida home since college graduation. Her passions are animals (especially dolphins, horses and dogs) cinema and the performing arts. Currently working as an Orlando real estate agent, she devotes much of her time to raising funds/awareness for Children's Hospice.