The next stop on our rotational dining is having dinner at Animator’s Palate. The Disney Dream’s dinner show will have an immersive experience where guests can enjoy talking to Crush and playing games with Nemo’s friends from the Disney·Pixar film Finding Nemo.
As we walked in, we felt like we were actually walking into an animator’s studio! The walls at the entrance are sketches of our favorite Disney characters and let’s not forget our favorite Disney·Pixar characters too! The pillars around the restaurant are paint brushes, pencils, and colorful walls decorated with even more character sketches from the Disney·Pixar film Finding Nemo. Don’t forget to look at the shelves! These shelves are filled with maquettes, cups filled with paintbrushes, pencils, and toys from our favorite movies! Books can be found stacked up for the animator’s research with titles such as Great Barrier Reef, Ocean, Seahorses, Yacht Designing, and Coral Reef Fishes. I wonder what movie they could be researching for?
Throughout dinner, we saw Nemo’s friends swimming by us, Bruce and his shark friends slowly making their way around the room, and schools of fish playing guessing games with each table. It felt like we were in a fish tank and the fish were looking in on us as we enjoyed our dinner. I am glad we lingered at our table after dinner because Crush swam by and chatted with us. I really loved Crush interacting with kids and having them tell him about their cruise experience.
The menu offers a fresh take on California fare meets Asian cuisine. The menu offers a wide variety of gluten-free, vegetarian, and lighter note options. Each item on the menu is marked with a special symbol on the side to indicate whether it is gluten-free, vegetarian, or a lighter note option.
Garlic and Herb Focaccia – with Roasted Garlic Dip
The basket also had plain white rolls along with the herbed focaccia. The warm soft focaccia had a perfect blend of rosemary and a hint of garlic. The roasted garlic dip was more of a garlic infused olive oil than a dip.
Gluten-free Bread – with butter
I was really happy that they offered gluten-free bread with dinner since I did not get it at the previous dinner in the Enchanted Garden. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to have my first bite the bread was as hard as a rock and the bite of bread that I did have was bland. At least this gives me a chance to save room for my other courses.
Sliced Serrano Ham – with Manchego Cheese and Olive Tapenade
The only gluten friendly choice was a Smoke Salmon Tartar and I am not a huge fan of raw fish so the kitchen made me the ham and cheese plate without the olive tapenade for my appetizer. Unfortunately, this was not my favorite. I think this was by far the worst dish I have had on the cruise. Sadly, the cheese was warm and had a dried crusty coating around it. This was definitely not freshly cut cheese. The Serrano ham was also not freshly cut and was warm, chewy, and had a dry crust around it. I would never have expected that to come out of a kitchen.
Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes – Pasta Purses filled with Truffle-scented Cheese and coated with a delicate Champagne Sauce
Tyler is a big fan of truffles and as soon as he saw this dish he knew he had to get it. The pasta was cooked to perfection and every bite had the great flavor of truffle, but not to the point of overwhelming the palate. The sauce was subtle and had a slight white wine flavor and added a little acidity to cut the rich flavor of the pasta.
Soups and Salads
Baked Potato and Cheddar-Cheese Soup – with Bacon and Chives
As soon as I saw that this soup was gluten-free, I had to order it! Tyler is also a huge fan of baked potato soup so he had to order it as well. The soup is not what I expected it to be. I thought it would be thick and creamy with chunks of tender potatoes topped with cheddar cheese. This soup’s consistency was on the thinner side with no trace of potato or cheese and topped with a few pieces of bacon bits and chives. I tasted baked potatoes with each bite, but without a flavor of cheese. Tyler, on the other hand, thought it tasted just like a baked potato with hints of cheese and bacon.
Lemon-Thyme Marinated All-Natural Chicken Breast– on top of Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Root Vegetables and Grain Mustard Jus
This dish was the highlight of my meal. The chicken was moist and tender and the size of the chicken breast was massive (the picture does not do it justice.) The flavors of the herbs on the chicken went really well with the jus that was served around the dish. The mashed potatoes were smooth, creamy, buttery, and just plain delicious!
Herb-Crusted Pork Chop – Roasted Pork Chop brushed with Dijon Mustard and crusted with Herbed Breadcrumbs served with Sun-dried Tomato Risotto and a Borolo Wine Sauce
The crust on the pork chop was the best part of the dish. The crunchy, herbaceous coating added a satisfying texture to every bite of pork. The pork was juicy and slightly tender and the risotto was creamy and had a modest taste of tomato. The sauce, however, was the least enjoyable part on the plate. Instead of a rich wine reduction, it was more of a thin tomato sauce with a hint of red wine.
Crunchy Walnut Cake – Dark Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Coulis
I wish this was not labeled as a “cake” because it was nothing near a cake. The bottom layer was crushed walnuts and the top was a dark chocolate mousse that was nothing near what a mousse would taste like. The mousse was more like a gritty chocolate gelatin. Overall this was a disappointing dessert.
Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake – Creamy Vanilla Cheesecake with a Chocolate Fudge base
This dessert was not what Tyler expected either. But at least for him, he ended up enjoying it. The bottom layer was a rich, decadent chocolate cake with creamy cheesecake on top. Then the light vanilla cheesecake cut through the rich chocolate making it one delightful bite.
Overall the service was great. Our server understood that we were filming in between courses, didn’t interrupt and waited until we were done talking to refill our glasses of water. We really appreciated that and thanked him for being aware. The only hiccup that we really had was when I asked our server to take away the cheese plate since I didn’t want to eat it, they immediately served me the second course. Since they served me the second course, they also served Tyler the second course even though he was still enjoying his first course. We felt very rushed even though we were in the second seating.
It is hard to say but, I really was not impressed with this restaurant and the food. Tyler on the other hand really enjoyed his food. This restaurant is perfect for families with children because it is really interactive and always keeps the kids entertained which is the most important part. We enjoyed talking to Crush and learning his turtle way of life along with seeing the sharks swimming around the room, but when it comes to a couple eating dinner, I would have liked it to be a little slower in between the courses and not try to serve four courses in less than an hour. I would say this location is great for families with children but not for couples.