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Carnevale Has Returned to Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante at Walt Disney World

Much of the world celebrates Mardi Gras, but in Italy it is Carnevale that they hold instead. Last year Maria and Enzo, the fictional couple behind the ristorante that bears their names, decided to bring the tradition from their homeland to Disney Springs. Carnevale was such a hit last year that it has returned for 2020. My daughter and I were invited to enjoy a hosted meal on opening night, and Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante did not disappoint. Then again, they never do.

 

The festivities for Carnevale start before you enter the restaurant. Outside you will find Lucian, a juggler who has performed at many different places at Walt Disney World. His shows begin each evening at 6:00, and he told me that he will be there each night of Carnevale, weather permitting. Even if you don’t plan to dine you can watch Lucian, since the show is outdoors.

Inside the restaurant there are plenty of carnival style decorations. We were given beads and a mask when we entered, and then were taken to our table. We had a view of the water, which is my favorite place to be seated at Maria & Enzo’s. Aerophile – The World Leader in Balloon Flight (aka the Disney Springs Balloon) was not operating, which made the view even more unique because it was right outside of our window.

The menu has an updated theme on the outside. The menu claims to be special for Carnevale, although many of the items are available year-round. There is also a special drink menu. My daughter has an allergy, and our server took special care to speak with the chef to make sure that she had a safe and delicious meal.

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The meal started with the bread service, both plain and tomato bread. We were also served Pinzimonio, which comes with every meal. We each ordered a mocktail. We started with a house salad, which was huge. If we were having lunch instead of dinner it would have been enough for a meal. For the main course my daughter ordered Rigatoni Alle Verdure, while I had the Melanzane Alla Parmigiana. Both dishes were filled with flavor, with fresh tomato being prominent. Entrees come with a complimentary serving of meatballs.

For dessert my daughter ordered Sorbetti, a scoop each of cherry and strawberry. They were the perfect light ending to her meal. I opted for Torta di Pistacchio. The cake part was moist and not too sweet, and the texture was spot on. It was covered (but not smothered) with strawberry jam, and there was just the right amount of whipped mascarpone cream. I think I may have found a new favorite dessert at Walt Disney World.

Of course, Carnevale is about more than just the food. The atmosphere is just as important. The restaurant is decorated from the globe in the ceiling on down. There is a violin player who walks through the restaurant, playing Italian classics as well as taking requests. There are balloon animals and sculptures for the guests. Don’t worry about tracking him down, he’ll come to you. There is a booth on the side of the restaurant where you can paint a mask to take home. Make sure that you ask your server about this, because it is easy to miss. The entertainment this year is a little more subdued than last year, and that is fine. Last year it was a bit loud, this year it’s quieter. That makes it possible to have a relaxing Italian meal, while still enjoying the celebration.

Carnevale is a limited time event. It runs nightly from 5:00 until 10:00, but February 29 will be the last date this year. Reservations are accepted, although there was room for walkups when we were there. If you plan to be at Walt Disney World this month, I highly recommend enjoying a meal here. The food at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante is always delicious, and the Carnevale atmosphere is a welcome addition. It’s family friendly, but also perfect for a romantic meal for two. I’d like to thank everyone at Maria & Enzo’s for a wonderful evening. We had a great time.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.