The food was fine, but there’s a great concept here that seems unrealized to us.
When Disney Magic and Disney Wonder first debuted in 1998-99 and we heard about Animator’s Palate, we thought the concept—a black-and-white restaurant that evolves into vivid color over the course of dinner—was a promising tip of the hat to the craft of Disney’s animators. During the 75-minute “show,” video screens depict scenes from Pocahontas, Mulan and Little Mermaid while music swells; then the lights dim and Mickey Mouse emerges in his Sorcerer’s Apprentice garb as the room bursts into color.
But we find the actual execution falls short, instead being bombastic rather than magical. If the meals were poor, we’d say the concept was an attempt to divert us from actual dining; instead, we found the reverse to be true—the show begs for attention offering little heartfelt payoff and distracts from fairly decent food, the waiters hustling to stay in step with the pre-determined timing of the show. Given all the high-tech wizardry available to Disney’s creative team, this venue seems overdue for a more imaginative implementation. Unfortunately, we seem to be a minority opinion.
As one of Disney Wonder’s three main dining rooms, we were assigned to dinner at Animator’s Palate every third night of the cruise.
The menu at Animator’s Palate skews to California cuisine, with references to Asian and other cooking styles. For an appetizer, we loved the wild mushroom risotto, the rice nicely firm and the mushroom flavors bold; the porcini bread stick that accompanied could have used a bit more heft and crunch. The confetti tomato salad showcased flavorful tomatoes with a light pesto drizzle. For entrée we enjoyed the lemon-thyme marinated chicken breast, which sat on a mound of root veggies and mashed potatoes; and the phyllo-wrapped salmon fillet joined by green peas. For dessert the warm apple crumble was fine, finished with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream.
The ship’s standard bar menu was available at Animator’s Palate.
There were two seatings nightly, 5:45 and 8:15 p.m.
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