Saturday, 24 September 2011

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Disney Cruise Line - The Food

How to know when you're full.
Do you remember those big numbers that I was throwing around in the post on pricing?  Well whichever price point you chose, here's your chance to break even.  Actually there's enough food available here for you to break even for the price of the cruise, your flights to the departure city, and a normal amount of souvenirs (You're going to have to make a couple more trips to the buffet if you're trying to make up for my wife's shopping bills.)  I'm not going to recommend gluttony as the best path to balancing your finances, but should you decide upon that route, here's what I can tell you...

The focus of the food experiences on the cruise was dinner.  There are three different restaurants on the Disney Wonder.  There's Tritons, which is seafood oriented and based on the Little Mermaid.  Parrot's Cay is a Caribbean themed eatery with a tropical feel to it, and Animator's Palate is the American restaurant where the walls color themselves in over the course of your dinner.  Fortunately there's a chance to try all of them a couple of times over the course of a voyage.  Are they good?  I guess that depends on your standards.  I thought the food was great, but like most people on a Disney cruise, I'm comparing it to the McDonalds take-out that I picked up on the way to one of my kids extra-curricular activities the night before.  If you frequent restaurants owned by the Iron Chefs of the world, you may see things differently.  If it helps, there is also an adults only restaurant on board which is supposed to be amazing, but it requires separate reservations, a small surcharge, and a suit, and since we were traveling with kids, we never tried it.

Animators Palate.  Doesn't the boy look manly with his Cinderella menu?
There are two seatings for dinner, the 5:45pm and the 8:15pm.  We were on the 8:15 rotation, and were given a schedule of which restaurant we would be eating at each night.  We were placed at a table for ten with another family of five from Northern California.  I wasn't really enthused about having dinner companions forced upon us, but they turned out to be such a great family that I began to look forward to seeing them each night, talking over the days adventures, and trying to decide what the best thing to order for dinner was going to be.  You get to choose your meals off a full menu, including appetizer and dessert, and then sit back and chat while your waiters take care of the rest.

Table 26 on the Disney Wonder.  Hmmm...boy's head on the table again.
I should mention that not only are you assigned a time for dinner and people to eat with, but you are also assigned a pair of waiters who move from restaurant to restaurant along with you.  It sounds a little corny, but it really does work out well.  After the first night they knew our names, what each one of us preferred to drink (except my boy, who kept changing his mind about what he wanted) and that my daughter preferred vegetarian meals.  Not having to explain things every time made for a much more pleasant meal, and by night seven I was just as sad to say goodbye to our waiters as I was our tablemates.

Things get a little crazy on Pirate night.  At least his heads up.
We went to six of the seven dinners (the second night was formal night, which just isn't our style) and loved every meal.  My kids, on the other hand, found the food a little "high end" for them.  My oldest two quickly decided that they would prefer to have dinner with their new friends up on deck at night, so each one only joined us a couple of times.  Our youngest preferred to eat in the cabin, so before we went for dinner we would either go up to the top deck and get her something she liked (pizza, hot dog, etc...), or order room service for her.  This left Lori and I to enjoy a peaceful dinner without anyone demanding our attention (and without witnesses when we couldn't figure out how we were supposed to eat something).  The only night everybody had to come to dinner was Pirate night, and that was mandated by Lori not Disney (If my wife has a chance to dress up like a pirate, we're all expected to be there.)

The outdoor table at the buffet seemed like a good idea...
That's a lot of information about dinner, but there's a ton of other food available to you.  If for some reason you got up in time for breakfast, you could choose from the Beach Blanket buffet or a sit down meal back at Tritons, and once per cruise each family got to attend a character breakfast.  There were two different buffets open for lunch, Tritons was open again for a fancier meal, and Pinocchio's (pizza), Pluto's Dog House (hamburgers), and Goofy's Galley (Starbucks without the drinks) were all open from 11am on.  There is a 24 hour beverage station up on the top deck, and if for some reason you managed to miss absolutely everything else, room service is available 24 hours a day for no charge (although you'll need to tip).

We ate and ate until we were sure that one more meal might cause the ship to start sinking.  I'm sure you could make more sensible choices about how much you eat, but you'd better have willpower because every time you walk past Pinocchio's there's going to be a new kind of pizza out, and Goofy always has new sandwiches and cookies available, and the buffet....well you get the idea.  All the food and (non-alcoholic) drinks are included (I was going to say free, but there's the little matter of that check you wrote to get on the boat in the first place.) and you can eat as little or as much as you want.  Don't worry if you overdo it a little though.  There are plenty of exercise classes available to help you work off the extra calories.


  1. I like that you have the same waiters the whole time. I think I would gain about 10 pounds on a 1-week cruise because I would be trying to "get my money's worth" in food.

  2. I'm sure you'd do fine Stephanie, but the ice cream would never live up to your standards.
    Imagine the waterskiing practice you could get in behind that boat though!

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  5. I can see that you really enjoyed the food in Disney Cruise Line! Greetings from Abilene!

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