This week, we are looking at another opportunity to bring a different Disney dining experience home. Last month, we started this journey with the Blue Bayou in Disneyland Park, this time, we are switching coasts to delve into the underwater world of the Coral Reef Restaurant in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT.
This dining location has always been a fabulous option for anyone needing a bit of sensory relief. The soothing movement of the water-filled windows, along with the darker atmosphere, can be very soothing for anyone struggling with the hustle and bustle of the parks outside. Today, we are going to bring that feeling home as we recreate this Disney dining experience in our very own headquarters.
Plan Your Menu
You can use just about any food you would like with this one, however, if you want to get into the underwater theme, I would highly recommend some crab cakes or chowder to start. There is a fabulous Jamie Oliver crab cake recipe that I love; you can find it here.
Next up, anything home-cooked will do, like a simple tuna bake or baked salmon and vegetables, or you could even depart from the theme entirely and use a family favorite like tacos or burgers.
Set the Scene
Set your table with deep blue napkins. Disposable ones can usually be cheaply bought in most grocery stores and can double as table decoration by folding out the squares and overlapping them in diamond shapes down the center of the table.
Your lighting should be low, and moody. If you have any oil lanterns around, or even lava lamps that will create a motion of light swirling around the room, those would be perfect. This isn’t a fairy light or candle situation, but a more subtle nod to our nautical theme.
Need some atmospheric sounds? Try some ocean noise like this, or you could even resort to The Little Mermaid soundtrack for a lighter approach.
Create the Ambiance
Now, this is the fun part. To create your Coral Reef ambience, you are going to use the magical world of YouTube to bring your own aquarium to life in the room.
If you have a smart TV close by, then you can use that to stream the video. If not, make the best of any devices, laptops, iPads; anything that you can place around the room in an upright position like a porthole into an underwater world.
For a larger scale feel, try this YouTube clip, and for a smaller, more lighthearted aquarium, have a look here. Both have truly terrible sound, so be sure to mute them and don’t forget to up that resolution to HD for the best effect.
Next month, we will be heading to another well-loved Disney park restaurant to keep the spirit of Disney dining alive at home until we can all make our way back to the magic. Thanks for joining me!
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.