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May 28, 2012

Remy Champagne Lunch on Disney Fantasy

Linda Eckwerth (one of the behind the scenes persons at AllEars) here to share with you a special Champagne Lunch that is being offered as a trial in Remy on the Disney Fantasy.

It has been running for about 2-3 weeks now and is offered on one sea day during your cruise. Seating is staggered with less than a total of 40 slots available. To sign up, you must do so once on-board the ship.

The cost is $50 per person and includes the Champagne Pairing.

Lunch began in the Remy Wine Room with Chef Patrick slicing fresh prosciutto - served with our first champagne.

Pata Negra
Served with Ferrari Brut, Trento, Italy

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Gnocchi Chili (Chef Arnaud Lallement)
Served with Taittinger Prestige Rose NV

This was by far the lightest, fluffiest gnocchi I ever had.

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Lobster Cannelloni, Caviar (Chef Scott Hunnel)
Served with Saumur Veuve Armiot

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Sea Bass, Egg, Thai (Chef Arnaud Lallement)
Served with Pommery Gold 2004

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Gascogne Pork Loin, Turnips (Chef Arnaud Lallement)
Served with Taittinger La Francaise NV

Absolutely the sweetest turnips ever. None of us realized they were turnips!

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Duo Chocolate (Chef Scott Hunnel)
Served with Moet & Chandon Ice NV

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Nicolas, the manager, would visit periodically to talk with us about the champagnes.

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Chef Patrick would come out and talk with us about the food courses.

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Dress is resort casual (no jeans, no sandals) and is more relaxed then dinner.

I highly recommend this lunch if you have the opportunity to try it - everything was simply exceptional!


May 12, 2012

Disney Fantasy - Dining Overview

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Yes, I'm still writing about the Disney Fantasy! There was so much to tell about this ship, as you can imagine, it's taken a while to process it all -- I'm not sure when I'll ever catch up. But for those of you gearing up for the AllEars.Net Fantasy Cruise that commences on May 19, I wanted to make sure to get this very important aspect of the cruise experience online before you set sail!

As you might expect, there's a wide range of dining experiences aboard the Disney Fantasy to accommodate every taste, from fast food to fine cuisine. I had the opportunity to chat with Christine Weissman, manager of food standards and menu development for the entire Disney Cruise Line fleet, when I was on the Fantasy media preview cruise a few weeks ago. She spoke about what's different about dining on the Fantasy vs its sister ship, the Disney Dream, as well as some of the challenges of keeping the ship's larders stocked with something for everyone:

As Weissman indicates, the Fantasy has restaurants ranging from the fast-food Flo's V-8 Cafe, to a casual buffet, to more formal table service spots. Unfortunately, I didn't get to dine at either of the so-called "adult" dining spots, the upscale Remy and Palo, during the media preview cruise. Bad luck for me -- next time! And I didn't try any of the pizza or burgers at Flo's. But I did dine at the other eateries, and have some thoughts and lots of photos to share.

Cabanas

Cabanas has a split personality. A well-endowed buffet for breakfast and lunch, Cabanas goes table service for dinner. The space is bright and airy, with beautiful mosaics that feature scenes from Finding Nemo and that film's seagulls overseeing the activity.


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A bit noisy and cafeteria-like at breakfast, I found this the least satisfying meal offered here, even though everything is presented beautifully.


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The chocolate Mickey waffle was fun, but rather heavy, the muffins so dry and crumbly they were nearly impossible to eat, the sausage was extremely fatty, and the scrambled eggs had a consistency that made them unpleasant. No, breakfast was not good.

Lunch, however, was much better. The buffet features an assortment of hot and cold foods, as well as a stunning fresh seafood display and an impressive sushi table.


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I sampled the peppered shrimp and polenta cakes -- both rated a thumbs up.


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The salad bar was loaded with an assortment of dishes that were all very fresh-looking and fresh-tasting, like cucumbers in sour cream with dill, and pasta salads with a variety of vegetables. I could have just eaten from the salads alone.

Enchanted Garden

My first table service experience aboard the Fantasy was at the welcome buffet presented in the beautiful Enchanted Garden.


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The decor in Enchanted Garden is inspired by the gardens of the French palace of Versailles, with trellis-covered walls, floral landscapes and an airy, almost conservatory-like feel. Custom flower-shaped light fixtures start the day closed, then gradually "bloom" as the day progresses, while the ceiling changes from a daytime blue to an evening sky dotted with stars.


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We also dined one evening in the Enchanted Garden and had the chance to see it change over the course of an hour.

Our meal that evening started with appetizers:

I really enjoyed the tiny Thyme and Garlic Brioche, although I could have used a bit more of the filling, which was lobster, morels and porcini mushrooms and Leek Stew in a light buttermilk cream.


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The Cucumber Garden Roll, filled with delicate strips of carrots, bell peppers and zucchini, had a hint of cilantro and was dressed with lightly tart and lemony dressing.


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The asparagus soup was a little uninspired, relying too much on flour as its thickening agent.


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After a couple days of eating like there was no tomorrow, I asked our server if I could have a smaller portion of an entree. He obliged and brought me a scaled down version of the Caramelized Sea Scallops. Just four small scallops cooked perfectly on a bed of savory pearl pasta and sweet sundries tomatoes.


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Since I had been "good" about my main course, I decided a small dessert was in order as my reward. Faulty logic, I know, but the Steamed Lemon Buttermilk Pudding, which came with a dab of citrus reduction, was light and fresh and helped me to continue to delude myself into thinking that I wasn't overeating.


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Animator's Palate

While the star of the dining experience at Animator's Palate is undoubtedly the new show, Animation Magic (click HERE for a full description), the food at this restaurant runs a close second. Influenced by California's light style of cooking, there's an emphasis on freshness and creativity that mirrors the restaurant's artistic surroundings.

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Passengers on the regular seven-night Fantasy cruises will have the chance to dine at this restaurant twice, and will see a different menu each night. The night I dined here, however, the menu featured a sampler of appetizers -- Marinated Garlic and Herb Shrimp with zesty lemon aioli; Prosciutto with Melon; and Sesame-crusted Tuna Sashimi. All three morsels were well-prepared -- the shrimp was just tender and not overly seasoned, the tuna very fresh, but I wish the melon had been a bit riper.


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I opted to dine vegetarian, and had a hard time deciding between the two choices offered. In the end my decision didn't matter -- after our server realized he had brought me the wrong entree, he brought out the other as well, so I had the chance to sample both. Both were winners! The rich Farro stew with garlic roasted green beans, shallots, hazelnuts and shredded red radishes was a perfect mix of textures and tastes, while the Green Pea and Fava Bean Risotto drizzled with pesto sauce and toasted pine nuts was cooked perfectly and full of sweet pea flavor. I could easily have eaten both dishes in their entirety!


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Dessert was also a trio sampler plate, this time consisting of small tastes of a little apple tart, banana creme brulee, and lemon-infused cheesecake. The creme brulee was a little too sweet for me, but the tart was very good, and the cheesecake -- well, it reminded me of my mother's, with it's cream-cheesy top layer and lighter bottom. I wouldn't have minded more of that!


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Between the entertaining new show, and the wonderful food, this meal was easily my favorite of the cruise.


Royal Court

The most elegant of the family restaurants, the Royal Court simply drips of opulence, with exquisitely detailed mosaics, gilt-trimmed fixtures and crystal chandeliers that all incorporate touches of the royal Disney characters: glass slippers, apples, roses and tiaras.


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For example, Cinderella's coach is represented not only in the light fixtures around the room, but in the whimsical bread baskets placed on the table that are filled with a savory warm herb brioche accompanied by an olive spread.


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All this elegance is meant to take this dining experience a step beyond that of the equivalent restaurant on the Disney Dream, the Royal Palace. I'd say that it succeeds -- make that EXCEEDS -- on at least the physical level, if not on a culinary one.

As at Royal Palace, Royal Court, treats you to elegant, continental French cuisine, beginning with your starters.

My tablemate opted for the Double Baked Spinach and Cheese Souffle coated with a three-cheese cream -- she was glad that they skimped on the spinach as it's not her fave, but I think they could have used a bit more.



She also tried the Avocado-Citrus Salad with Iceberg and radicchio leaves and orange vinaigrette, while I decided on a classic Royal Market Green Salad with cherry tomato, cucumbers, peppered goat cheese, and a raspberry vinaigrette. Loved the generous portion of goat cheese!


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For dinner, I selected the Aged Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin topped with garlic shrimp and served with sauteed snow peas and marquis potatoes with a cognac reduction. My beef was a shade overdone, and didn't quite live up to the "tender" portion of its name. My tablemate, who had requested the Double Cut Rack of Lamb with a Dijon Crust had an opposite problem -- even though she had been warned it would be prepared rare, she felt the lamb was too underdone.


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For dessert, I decided to indulge in the Grand Marnier Souffle infused with fresh orange zest and served with creme Anglaise, thinking that it would take some time to prepare and would allow me a few moments to digest a bit. But, no! Our server whisked the souffle out to me within just minutes after I had ordered -- guess they had them all made up and waiting to pop into the oven in the back. Despite this, the souffle was airy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the vanilla sauce rich and not-too-sweet. My only complaint? A little on the small side. I wanted more!


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So there you have it -- my take on the array of family dining experiences on the Fantasy. Having not ever cruised on any non-Disney ships, I can't say how the fare compares with, say, Norwegian Cruise Lines or Royal Caribbean. I will say, though, that most everything (save for the breakfast at Cabanas) ranges from perfectly adequate to very, very good. So you might want to try to drop a few pounds before you set sail on the Fantasy -- or at the very least bring some very loose clothing, and forget about the belt-tightening while you're enjoying eating your way around the ship!

And if you want to read more about dining on the Fantasy, you might also be interested in Laura Gilbreath's food blogs from her experiences on the Fantasy's maiden voyage.


DISCLOSURE: As an invited media guest, AllEars.Net's cruise expenses for the Disney Fantasy Media Preview Cruise were paid by the The Walt Disney Company. Opinions expressed herein are solely mine, however, and do not reflect the opinions or policies of The Walt Disney Company or its affiliates.

April 3, 2012

Disney Fantasy Merchandise - Inaugural and Otherwise

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I didn't get the chance to do a lot of shopping while I was on the Disney Fantasy preview cruise last week, but I did pay a visit or two to some of the shops just to see what special merchandise they might have.

As they did last year for the Dream, they've designated Inaugural Sailings merchandise that will be on sale throughout 2012 and into 2013.

AllEars.Net's Laura Gilbreath, who is on the Fantasy's maiden sailing as I write this, posted this photo of some of the inaugural merchandise the other day. I'm sure she and Deb Wills (who is also on the Fantasy right now) will have more merchandise pictures when they return. But as you can see, there are photo albums, pins, shirts, jackets, tote bags, cups -- a really wide range of merchandise that has the Fantasy's Inaugural Sailing logo.


This 24K gold ornament cost $40.

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The poolside bar on Deck 11 was selling a special commemorative Coca Cola bottle.

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There were lots of Disney Cruise Line Dooney & Bourke bags, in all shapes and sizes. This style cost $175.


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I was pleasantly surprised to see some special merchandise branded with O'Gills, the Irish pub found in the Fantasy's Europa area. The t-shirt was $24.95.

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They also have the wine bottle-shaped pepper mills that they're using in the restaurants for sale. They're by Peugeot, and they're $84.95! Ouch!


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They had loads of beautiful costumes for little girls in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but the shops also had an assortment. These retailed at $64.95.


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And there was buccaneer merchandise a'plenty for those who wanted to "get their pirate on."


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I noticed that Deb Wills posted on Twitter a photo of the t-shirt she had pre-ordered boasting the Fantasy's Maiden Voyage, so I thought I'd add that here, too.


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After taking a quick look through all the shops, I decided I wanted to get something for myself. I was very tempted by this shirt, which echoed the peacock theme prevalent throughout much of the ship's decor.


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But in the end I bought this one -- loved the peacock blue color. (It was $31.95, by the way.)


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Hope that gives you just a taste of what's "in store" for you when you go shopping on the Disney Fantasy!


DISCLOSURE: As an invited media guest, AllEars.Net's cruise expenses for the Disney Fantasy Media Preview Cruise were paid by the The Walt Disney Company. Opinions expressed herein are solely mine, however, and do not reflect the opinions or policies of The Walt Disney Company or its affiliates.

March 30, 2012

What's New on the Disney Fantasy: Europa

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This is another in AllEars.Net's blog series examining what makes the new Disney Fantasy different from its sister ship, the Disney Dream. Deb Wills and I have been writing about those differences this week, as we recap our experiences from our three-night media preview cruise on the Fantasy.

One of my favorite spots on the new ship is the adult nightclub area. Not that I am any kind of lounge lizard -- it's just that it was a really cool, well thought-ought place.

On the Dream, the adult nightspot area is called The District. I didn't really have the chance to spend much time there when I sailed the Dream preview cruise last year. In fact, aside from the champagne bar, Pink, and the changing scenery in the Skyline Lounge, I don't remember much about The District at all.

On the Fantasy, though, the nightclub area is themed around various cities of Europe. I've traveled to a number of European capitals, and really enjoy exploring the "Old World," so when I read about this, I thought it would be right up my alley. Oh yeah, I was right.

Dubbed Europa, the area features a central location, La Piazza, that acts as a hub (or the central square), with four other clubs branching off: O'Gills, a sports-bar/Irish pub; The Tube, a London-themed dance club with an electrified dance floor; Ooh La La, a boudoir-inspired Parisian champagne bar; and the Skyline lounge, which, like its Disney Dream counterpart, sports a cityscape backdrop that changes every 10 or so minutes.

The Europa theme hits you from the moment you step off the elevator at Deck 4 Aft.

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La Piazza

If you enter Europa from this direction, the first spot you'll encounter is La Piazza, which features Italian accents like Venetian masks from Carnevale, and Vespa motor bikes, and elaborate glasswork you might find in Venice's neighbor, Murano.

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La Piazza is brightly lit, with lots of seating and a very well-stocked bar patterned after an old-fashioned carousel. It's clearly meant as a hub for all the night-life activity -- it has the feeling of a central gathering spot, much like the squares you'll find in European cities, and sometimes features a live combo, which just adds to its vitality.

The Tube

Leading out of La Piazza is a curving pathway with images of the face of Big Ben and other familiar British icons projected onto the walls. You hit a button, a door swings open, and you find yourself immersed in the sights and sounds of London.


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When I spoke to Walt Disney Imagineering's Mike Davie, who was responsible for development of the Europa spaces, he said he was particularly proud of Europa's details, like the portals that led into each space. I have to agree -- seeing what was behind the door before upon my first entry into The Tube was definitely an "Aha!" moment for me.

I absolutely LOVED The Tube, and tip my hat to whoever was responsible for choosing the decor. Benches on one wall are upholstered to resemble British Rail and London Underground tickets -- there are even poles and straps like those you might cling onto whilst traveling on London's efficient subway system. The carpeting is dotted with British colloquialisms like "Jolly Good," and "Cheers!"


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Different seating areas feature different English themes -- one area is designated for the Crown Jewels, with shiny gold leather overstuffed seats, another has benches painted with the Union Jack. Behind the illuminated dance floor, there are old-style red telephone boxes, while the music of British artists of yesterday and today is pumped out of the DJ booth.


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I understand that once the Fantasy starts its regular seven-night sailings The Tube will also feature a live show with dancers, and a trivia game on pop culture. I could have definitely spent more time in The Tube!

Skyline Lounge

Despite how much I enjoyed the vibe of The Tube, I think that the Skyline was my favorite of the clubs on the Fantasy. As I mentioned earlier, the "gimmick" of this nightspot is the changing skyline shown on a 65-inch LCD screen behind the bar. At any given moment, you may be gazing on the serenity of a night in Paris, London, Athens, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Barcelona, or Florence. But it's not just a static image that you're seeing. Oh no. It's a video! Look closely and you'll see the taxis speeding along the street, and silhouettes of residents moving around in their apartments. Be sure to have one of the bartenders show you the little Disney touch that is hidden in every city scene -- so much fun to find. I'll start you out with one, revealed to me by bartender Adriano -- somewhere in the London scene, you'll find Mickey Mouse waving at you from one of the buildings!


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Dark and atmospheric, the Skyline Lounge has cozy corners and comfy seating that you can really sink into. The soft background music represents the city on display, and the drink menu (which changes throughout the evening) features specials with names inspired by the locales, like the gin-based "Londinium" or the "Aphrodite" from Athens. The Skyline was quieter than the other clubs, and I think that may remain the case, as I can foresee O'Gills and Ooh La La being more popular with most cruisers. Still, I enjoyed my time in the Skyline, and would have stayed there longer if I could have.


O'Gills

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Part sports bar, part Irish pub, O'Gills seems destined to become THE destination for many aboard the Disney Fantasy. With three big-screen TVs (103, 70 and 50 inches respectively) scattered around the pub, and three smaller monitors behind the bar, there are plenty of chances for visitors to catch their favorite sports match-ups. Rich leather seating areas, and gorgeous vaulted wooden ceilings, really lend an Old World feel to the pub, which, of course, has both Guinness and Murphy's Irish Stout on tap, as well as Stella Artois and a red lager draft (called, funnily enough, O'Gills) made especially for the pub.

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When I spoke to him about O'Gills, Imagineering's Davie confirmed what I had suspected: that the pub's name was taken from the 1959 Disney film "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," which featured a very young Sean Connery in one of his first major movie roles (and he SINGS in it!). You have to love the way Disney weaves little touches like that into everything it does.


Ooh La La

The final club in Europa is undoubtedly the prettiest. Inspired by the seductive look of a French boudoir, Ooh La La is home to opulent, plush chaises, velvet-tufted walls and ornate mirrors. This club is a place that beckons you to relax and indulge. Like Pink, the Disney Dream's champagne bar, Ooh La La offers a limited edition, private label champagne by Taittinger -- Ooh La La's features Jessica Rabbit from the classic film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit Roger?” on the bottle.

The nights we were aboard the Fantasy, Ooh La La seemed to be very popular, drawing big crowds eager to sip some champagne and sink into the almost decadently appointed room.


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The Restrooms

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The Restrooms? Is that another nightclub? No, seriously, I want to talk about the restrooms in Europa. In fact, I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention them. Why? Because these are some of the most beautiful restrooms I have ever seen anywhere, ever. Inspired by Spanish matadors and senoritas, the restrooms are covered in gorgeous mosaics. You have to see them to believe them, so I'll let the photos speak for themselves. One other note -- this is one of the few places on the ship where I found accessible restrooms... and they were just as beautiful as their regular counterparts.

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DISCLOSURE: As an invited media guest, AllEars.Net's cruise expenses for the Disney Fantasy Media Preview Cruise were paid by the Disney company. Opinions expressed herein are solely mine, however, and do not reflect the opinions or policies of the Walt Disney Company or its affiliates.

What's New on the Disney Fantasy: Animation Magic

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Curious as to what's so special about Disney's newest cruise ship, the Fantasy? Deb Wills and I have been sharing what we found to be the major differences between the Fantasy and its sister ship the Disney Dream over the last week, as we recap our experiences from our three-night media preview cruise on the Fantasy.

While every ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet has a restaurant called Animator's Palate, the "show" performed during dinner varies. The restaurant on the classic ships, the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder, simply features a change in the decor and atmosphere during the course of the meal. Everything starts off in black and white -- the paintings on the walls, even the servers' attire -- but ends in an explosion of color. On the Disney Dream, diners are treated to an interactive conversation with Crush, the sea turtle featured in the film Finding Nemo, using technology similar to that of the Epcot attraction "Turtle Talk with Crush."

The Disney Fantasy also offers an evening with Crush, but more importantly it is the home of an all-new, technically ingenius show called "Animation Magic."

The basic premise of the show is fairly straightforward: diners draw their own character on a placemat provided to them, and then through "Animation Magic" that character is brought to life on screens scattered around the restaurant.

Now, you can read that description and think you have a reasonably clear understanding of what is going to happen. But the truth is you have no idea how absolutely delightful this show is until you see it for yourself.

I don't want to spoil the fun too much for you, so you won't find any video of the actual show here. But I will share a few stills, along with a few personal observations.

The decor of the restaurant really sets the tone for what you are about to see. Details like preliminary sketches for many of your favorite cartoons, and the Pixar lamp Luxo, adorn the walls. The table settings are based on artists' tools, and even the lenticular menu is animated.


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Your server and your placemat provide very basic, easy-to-understand instructions about how to draw your character.


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Don't worry if you think you have limited artistic talent. I barely know which end of the pencil to hold, yet was able to come up with something usable. (See below.) The key thing to remember is to not draw on the blue outlines when creating your character. You're only given a choice of one color of marker (although that may change in the future) to help speed the drawing process along, then your placemat is collected and you enjoy your dinner.

We were fortunate enough to be seated directly in front of a screen -- we were almost a little TOO close -- so we had a front-row view of the gorgeous animated sequences from classic and current Disney (and Pixar) films that played out during our appetizers and main courses. I noticed that the cartoons began with scenes of gathering food, like the ants from "It's a Bug's Life" harvesting for the winter. Eventually the scenes graduated to preparing food, and finally eating and celebrating with food. (I felt a little smug when an Imagineer confirmed what I had discovered on my own!) The collection of clips shown is a treat in itself, especially for someone of my generation. Many snippets are from classic Disney cartoons that are seldom seen these days, including Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, and the ORIGINAL Winnie-the-Pooh.


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Periodically throughout dinner, Sorcerer Mickey appears on-screen to tease you with what's ahead. Finally, sometime after you're through with your entree, maybe already starting on dessert, the main event begins with Lumiere, the candlestick from Beauty and the Beast, inviting everyone to "Be Our Guest."

I can't explain to you the excitement that rippled through the room as adults and children alike began to spot their drawings tripping across the screens before their eyes. Squeals of "There's mine! There's mine!" and a rumble of laughter filled the room. I confess, when I spotted my lame attempt at drawing dancing among the other figures, I couldn't help shouting out as well.

This is my masterpiece (you can see why I'm a writer and not an artist by trade!):


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And here's what it looked like once animated for the big screen:


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The show progresses for several minutes, and you wish it would go on longer. It is so cleverly done -- and just when you think it can't get any better, familiar Disney characters are interspersed with the audience's hand-drawn ones, adding another level of excitement. The show concludes with rolling credits, listing the names of all the evening's artist-diners.


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Truly, this was an unexpected highlight of the Fantasy cruise for me. I only wish I could have seen the show again -- I think the repeatability factor for this one is very high.

And oh, by the way, my dinner was exceptionally good this evening, too, but I'll have more on that when I get around to writing about the Fantasy's food.


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I had the opportunity to speak at length with Imagineer Bob Zalk, who is Senior Show Producer for the new Animation Magic presentation. He told me of the numerous challenges the Imagineers faced in bringing this new show to life, from deciding what sort of placemat should be used to designing entertainment that would not interfere with the service of a meal.

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It was no surprise to me that he called this one of the coolest projects he'd ever worked on. Again, as I said earlier, no video spoilers of the actual Animation Magic show here --in my opinion, it is really something magical that you should experience in person for yourself.


DISCLOSURE: As an invited media guest, AllEars.Net's cruise expenses for the Disney Fantasy Media Preview Cruise were paid by the Disney company. Opinions expressed herein are solely mine, however, and do not reflect the opinions or policies of the Walt Disney Company or its affiliates.

March 28, 2012

What's New on the Disney Fantasy: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

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We know a lot of you are wondering what's so special about Disney's newest cruise ship, the Fantasy -- what's new about it, and what makes it different from its sister ship, the Disney Dream? Deb Wills and I will be writing about those differences for the next several days, as we try to recap our experiences from our three-night media preview cruise on the Fantasy.

One of the things that is totally new for the Disney Cruise Line is the addition of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a special beauty salon that transforms little girls into elegant princesses. Extremely popular on land, at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, the installation of the Boutique on the Fantasy is sure to prove a perfect fit.

As you approach the Boutique, which is located on Deck 5 Midship, you'll note that there are medallions on the exterior wall depicting a variety of Disney Princesses and Princes.


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Like its landlubber counterpart, the Boutique is a very regally appointed setting, with rich-looking marble floors and lots of pretty pink and glittery gold accents. It's staffed by Fairy Godmothers-in-Training, who will beautify little princesses with new hairdos, shiny nails, and elegant makeup.


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There are plenty of princess gowns, shoes, wands, tiaras, and other royal accountrements for purchase. And if you'd rather emulate your favorite mice, there are costumes for Princess Minnie, First Mate Minnie, and even Captain Mickey Mouse.

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The Boutique offers a variety of packages, some similar to those offered on land, others exclusive to the Fantasy.

Coach: choice of one hairstyle, shimmering makeup, face gem, cinch sack, and princess sash. Cost = $54.95

Crown: all elements of Coach PLUS nail polish. Cost = $59.95

Castle: all elements of Crown PLUS your choice of costume and coordinating wand, tiara, and shoes. Cost = $184.95

The Fantasy (exclusive to the Disney Fantasy): all elements of Crown PLUS tutu, sparkly t-shirt, and head band. Cost = $119.95

Under the Sea (exclusive to the Disney Fantasy): This package turns a little girl into a Little Mermaid, and includes a choice of swimsuit and cover-up, vibrant sun block application, Del Sol floral clip that changes colors in the sun, necklace, and nail polish. Cost = $99.95

And if you want to go all out, the Boutique offers the Royal Sea Package, which it says is "dedicated to every true Princess who ever dreamed her sneakers were glass slippers, and to girls who believe it's better to twirl than to walk, sing than talk and that everything goes better with sparkles!" The deluxe Royal Sea package comes complete with a Princess Royal Rolling Trunk created exclusively for the package, and also includes three makeover experiences: 1 Castle, 1 Under the Sea, and 1 Pirate package, PLUS a boutique frame with a photo of the Fairy Godmother, PLUS a special invitation with a glass slipper ribbon necklace, and a keepsake glass slipper from Cinderella's helpers. Cost for this deluxe package = $595.

Children must be between the ages of 3 and 12 to take advantage of the Boutique's services -- no adults, I was told, because after you reach a certain age you are no longer a princess... you are a Queen!
I guess that's the nicest way anyone has ever told me I was too old for something!

A unique aspect of the Fantasy's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is that it even transforms itself! Every sailing has a designated Pirate Night, and on these days, the Boutique magically becomes The Pirates League, the place to go to "get your pirate on!"

Here, Disney's attention to detail really shines. On Pirate Day, burlap sacks bearing the Pirates League logo and the Jolly Roger cover the pretty salon chairs, and the sparkly princess outfits are replaced by buccaneer garb. Fairy Godmothers-in-Training become Pirate Lasses... and Lads! (But beware of the Jack Sparrow sound-alike there -- he'll propose marriage to any female who happens by! The scoundrel!)


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Nearly every trace of "princess-ness" is erased -- even those medallions on the exterior of the Boutique that I mentioned before show pirates instead of princesses!


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The basic pirate makeover costs $34.95, and will give you your own special pirate look and name. You'll also learn how to swashbuckle, and the Official Pirate League Oath. The First Mate package for boys also includes a bandanna, scars, fake teeth, eyepatch, and sword. For girls, the Empress package has shimmering makeup, face gem, nail polish, earring, eye patch, and sword. If you want to add a special pirate costume to either package, you'll pay $99.95.

Unlike the princess makeover, anyone over the age of 3 can be a pirate. Our time on the Fantasy was short, so we didn't have the chance to try it out, but AllEars.Net's Deb Wills is planning a Pirate Makeover for herself next week when she's sailing on the ship's Maiden Voyage -- so stay tuned!

Reservations for both Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and The Pirates League are strongly recommended -- and if these makeovers become as popular on the ship as they are in the theme parks, you will need them! You can make reservations online before you sail at www.disneycruise.com. Click "Planning Center" and choose "My Cruise Activities." Once on the ship, visit the Boutique in person or call ext. 9438. (NOTE: A $10 cancellation fee will be charged for all no-shows or cancellations with 24 hours of appointment.)

DISCLOSURE: As an invited media guest, AllEars.Net's cruise expenses for the Disney Fantasy Media Preview Cruise were paid by the Disney company. Opinions expressed herein are solely mine, however, and do not reflect the opinions or policies of the Walt Disney Company or its affiliates.

March 23, 2012

Fantasy Preview Cruise, Day 1

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Wow, what an exhausting and exciting Day 1 of the three-night Disney Fantasy preview cruise has been.

Because tomorrow is our day at sea, and I'm not at all confident that we'll have internet available to us, I thought I'd give you all a few highlights of the day and share some photos.

If you're familiar with the Disney Dream, the Fantasy's sister, you'll already know what a beautiful ship she is. I was impressed all over again at not only the size, but the grandeur of this ship -- from the sweeping staircases to the twinkling crystal chandeliers, everything about the Fantasy is BIG.


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We ate lunch at the buffet in the Enchanted Garden, which to the best of my memory, is identical to the restaurant of the same name on the Disney Dream.


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After lunch, I explored all the kids' areas on the ship. The "it's a small world" nursery was essentially the same as the nursery on the Dream, a very cozy place for the littlest voyagers (3 months to 3 years old). The Oceaneer's Club and Lab were also very similar to those on the Dream, but I really did enjoy Andy's Room there, featuring a grumpy looking Mr. Potato Head.


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I also made sure to check out the Edge, the area specially designed for "tweens" agse 10-14, and the Vibe, for older teens 14-17. I have to admit, I so enjoyed the "vibe" of the latter, that I almost didn't want to leave... but they told me that being a teenager at heart didn't count, so I out had to go! But look how cool it is:


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After our muster drill, we went up on deck to watch the Sail Away Party. Disney's Karl Holz was on hand to toast us as we finally set sail.


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Our dinner tonight was at the Animator's Palate, which I had really been looking forward to. If you've
read about the new technology in play here, you'll know that diners are asked to create their own character, which is then magically transformed into a cartoon before your eyes. I don't want to give up too many spoilers here, but I will say that it was an absolutely delightful presentation. I'm no artist, I guarantee you, but you can see my little red creation on the right here:


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So cute, really. And the food was pretty good, to boot. In fact, I had both of the vegetarian dishes (slight ordering mix-up -- the waitstaff is still working out the kinks!) and they were outstanding. Worth special mention was the Farro Stew, which also featured hazelnuts, green beans and radish, and a hint of lemon juice.


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We closed out the evening with a viewing of Wishes, a brand new show. Sorry no photos allowed.

Well, seems like it's taking longer and longer to load photos, and I keep getting disconnected and error messages, so I'm going to publish this now and hope you can see it. If you want to see more photos, you can take a look at those I posted earlier today to my Twitter account HERE. And be sure to follow Deb Wills and me, and the AllEars.Net Twitter acounts -- we'll be posting more whenever we're able to:

@AllEarsDeb = http://twitter.com/AllEarsDeb
@dcdeb_allears = http://twitter.com/dcdeb_allears
@AllEarsNet = http://twitter.com/AllEarsNet

I promise you that we have lots more photos and facts to share in the coming days, if the internet gods smile on us and keep us connected. Otherwise, it'll have to be after we're home! Ciao for now!

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About Disney Fantasy

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to AllEars® Team Blog in the Disney Fantasy category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Disney Dream is the previous category.

Mediterranean Cruise 2007 is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.