One of the most unique and fun Disney Dining experiences on land or sea is at Animator’s Palate. You’re not just going to Animator’s Palate for dinner, you’re going for a show! We recently go to experience it on-board the Disney Magic during a 5-Night Bahamian Cruise and it was wonderful. For that reason I put together this Animator’s Palate review so that you will know what to expect when you go!
Animator’s Palate is a Table Service Restaurant which can be found on all 4 Disney Cruise Line Ships: Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, Disney Wonder and our ship the Disney Magic. You’ll see why it was definitely included in all of them a bit later on! It serves a mix of Californian-style, Pacific Islands and Asian Cooking all-together, but it isn’t all that much different than American-style cuisine, just slightly dressed up.
It’s part of the normal Disney Cruise Dining rotation, so you don’t have to make any special reservations to dine here, your Animator’s Palate night will be assigned to you when you board your Disney Cruise. Like all the restaurants in your Disney Cruise rotation, you can essentially order anything and everything you want and it’s already included in the price of your room, No Charge! Only thing you have to buy are your drinks. I don’t know about you but I’m already liking the sound of this place!! 🙂
I’d heard so much about Animator’s Palate from others that my expectations were sky-high. Why you ask? Well besides the good food, it’s the “in-restaurant show” which makes the place come to life that really draws people in. Before doing my Animator’s Palate Review I wanted to be surprised in person and don’t want to ruin the surprise, so if you don’t want the entire thing spoiled turn back now…
Ok, still here? The restaurant starts out in Black and White, and then over the course of the evening, and with the help of a little Disney magic, it turns to color!
Let’s take a look at the Animator’s Palate Review!
When you make your way down to the 4th Floor on the Disney Magic, you’ll see the entrance to Animator’s Palate. It’s a long hallway filled with sketches from Disney Animation:
Animation is going to be a common theme, but I want you to notice the lack of color and that everything is in black and white:
Cute touch with the painter’s easel as the restaurant sign:
The second you step into Animator’s Palate you notice all the cool angles and curves that are part of this unique Dining Room!
Of course the Animator’s Palate is certainly fitting when you look at the design of the room and see that there are even painting easels on the ceiling!!
Also giant paintbrushes stand and the column supports for the room!
The fake skylights are beautiful to see:
Again we find the animation theme when looking at the walls. There are recreations of hand-drawn black and white sketches of famous characters and scenes from Disney and Pixar animated films:
Besides the sketches built right into the wall there are hanging in picture frames on the walls!
It’s a really cool room that you need to spend time walking around to check out all the little details! But one thing you did notice is that it’s mostly without color…for the moment anyways! 😉
We made our way to the table, we had a huge group so they gave us a couple of big ones like this:
A nice touch were the paint cups for your used paint brushes! 😉
Once we finished looking around, we were ready to chow!
Ready to order? I am…
At this point the restaurant had really won us over with its uniqueness and charm and I was really hoping the food would also live up to expectations. Animator’s Palate offers a mix of Californian, Asian and Pacific-influence foods, but we didn’t find the offerings all that exotic, so if you are a meat and potatoes kind of person don’t worry, you’ll find something you like.
Animator’s Palate has appetizers like Sliced Ham, Black Truffle Pasta, and Salmon Tartar; a couple Soups and Salads each, then entrees like Pork Chops, Beef Tenderloin, Chicken, Pasta, and even some nice Vegetarian options as well.
Let’s get to it! For our Animator’s Palate review we for sure had to try some Cocktails! I really liked the aptly named: Blueberrilicious – Fresh Blueberries, Passion Fruit Juice, Orange Flavor Liquor and Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice.
It was very fruity tasting, if that’s your thing, and really refreshing. It could have used a touch more alcohol, but if you’re looking for a lighter drink then this will meet your needs!
The next drink I honestly can’t remember what it was called, I forgot to write it down. We’ll call it: The Unnamed Drink, hahahaha! Forgive me please! It was some kind of drink with raspberry flavor and blue Curacao. This was pretty good too, your typical Caribbean drink!
- TIP: If you like alcoholic drinks while cruising, you will save money by buying this plastic cup pictured below at the beginning of your cruise. By getting the drink of the day with this cup you will save a couple of dollars every time, and your drink size is bigger than the normal cups! Totally worth it!!
Now that we’re feeling good we need to fill our bellies! I found a Hidden Mickey in our Bread Service!!
The bread itself was good, these rolls were a bit crunchy outside, and soft inside, and there was also a Garlic and Herb Focaccia that was really tasty too. However the real star was the delicious Roasted Garlic Dip:
WOW, this was fantastic!! Super garlicky, and had a little spice to it too! Just don’t get too close to the others after your meal! 😉
The Smoked Salmon Tartar – (with Dill, Capers, Onions, Pickles and Horseradish Cream) was exceptional! It was dressed perfectly, had just the right amount of flavors mixed in, and not too salty like tartar can sometimes be. Perfect!
Next up was my personal favorite of the whole night Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes – Pasta purses filled with Truffle scented cheese and coated with Champagne Sauce:
If you like truffles you will love them because the truffle taste is very apparent. My only complaint was that I would have liked even more of that wonderful cream sauce as it was very rich and creamy, and a different dressing besides carrots would have been preferred, but they were still excellent and I would have ordered 3 of them next time!
On to the Soups. First up was the Creamy Butternut Squash Soup – garnished with Chives and drizzled with Sour Cream:
This was nothing special. It was too watery for me, should have been denser and a bit sweeter. The portion was small, which in this case was a positive for me!
Wait, why is there a picture of French Onion Soup (with Gruyere cheese) when it clearly wasn’t indicated on the menu? This is a good time to tell you a secret of Disney Cruise Rotational Dining…
- TIP: If you liked something you previously had at one of the other rotational dining restaurants, you can ask you waiter and he’ll gladly bring it to you from the other restaurant! We liked this French Onion so much when we had it at Lumiere’s that our waiter got it for us no problem! Love that Disney service!
The French Onion Soup was really good, a nice amount of cheese, and lots of onion and bread inside. It doesn’t quite reach the level of the French Onion Soup we had at Yachtsman Steakhouse, but I’d gladly get it again.
The Baked Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup (with Bacon Bits and Chives) stood out to me right away on the menu and was one of the things I was looking forward to the most! Unfortunately it wasn’t nearly as good as what I was hoping for.
I was hoping for a consistency like the amazing Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier, but the cheese flavor wasn’t strong at all, and was just under-performed overall. Disappointing..
Next we had a Side Salad – lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. This was for one of our pickier eaters in the group, just . Pretty standard.
The Chicken and Walnut Salad (with Craisins, Red Onions and Cranberry Dressing) turned it up a notch, and had a really good dressing and a nice sweet taste that was balanced by the chicken and nuts. Good option!
The Arugula Leaves Salad (with Red Beets, Orange Segmants and Marinated White Beans with Mustard Dressing) was also nice. It was really tasty, but nothing had an overpowering taste to it, everything worked in harmony.
First I tried the Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin – served on Wasabi Mashed Potatoes with Bok Choy and a Tamarind Barbecue Reduction:
Usually I LOVE Beef Tenderloin, my my animal spirit is a T-Rex, so you throw a meat on my plate and it’s getting eaten. This just wasn’t all that outstanding for me though. The meat wasn’t super flavorful and the vegetable accompaniments just didn’t do it for me. I mean it’s still a Beef Tenderloin, so if you’re trying to get the most value for your money then it’s an option, just wasn’t that special.
I tried the Lemon-Thyme Marinated All Natural Chicken Breast next – on top of Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Root Vegetables and Grain Mustard Jus:
This was ok too. The chicken was tender, but not super flavorful. The mashed potatoes didn’t have a very creamy consistency like what I was expecting when I saw there was sour cream in them. Solid but not special.
Grilled Tuna Steak – with Fingerling Confit, Caponata, Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Aioli:
I thought this was a good choice. The tuna was good perfect, grilled outside and rare inside. Very flavorful and not a heavy option, which at this point was good after all the food I’d been eating!! I really liked the sun-dried tomato pesto with it, I thought it really added a nice flavor to the tuna! Good option.
Grilled Grain-fed Sirloin Steak – served with your choice of Garden Vegetables and Steamed Rice or Baked Potato:
Our last entree was this sirloin steak. It came off the part of the menu that has more plain offerings if you are in the mood for any Asian influence. I like that there are a few options like this on the Animator’s Palate menu, and also the other Disney Cruise restaurants as some guests just like to eat plain.
I thought the steak was decent for what it was. Was cooked right, seasoned right, just not an exceptional cut of meat or anything.
Before we get to the desserts, at a certain point during the entree portion of our meal the lights dimmed and the “show” started. This was the moment we’d been waiting for..
Animator’s Palate Show:
I guess I wouldn’t classify it really as a dinner show, because there aren’t really performers, but it certainly is entertaining! As the lights go down those sketches in the picture frames on the walls turn into TV’s and videos from Disney animation are played on the screens!
The whole dining room transforms from black and white to vibrant colors!!
The walls change colors and the black and white sketches on them come alive:
Even the hallway in the entrance lights up!
There was even an appearance by the one and only Mickey Mouse!!
Our waiters’ vests also came to life and were now just as colorful as the room!
It really was a unique experience seeing the restaurant transform, everyone was loving it, people cheering, laughing and just having a great time overall. Totally worth it!
Wow that was a fun time, now let’s finish it off right with some sweets! There’s a nice variety of dessert options as well as some traditional after-dinner drinks like Grand Marnier, Grappa, Tawny Port, and some other interesting ones like an Espresso Martini!
First up, White Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake – with Whipped Cream and Raspberry Coulis:
I was a bit mixed on this one. I thought the presentation was great. The cheesecake part was good, nice and creamy. The chocolate part to me was a bit dry and too much, I wish there was more cheesecake and less chocolate on this.
First we tried the Sweet Temptation – a trio of White Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake, Lemon Raspberry Tart and Chilled Mango Mousse:
When I see a Dessert Trio I have to try it, and this was a pretty good one. The cheesecake was basically the same as the one above, but you see this one has a bit more cheesecake layer and less chocolate. Idk why. The Lemon Tart was great, very lemony and the tart crust was very flavorful, not super dry. Best of the three by far! The Mango Mousse was the weakest imo, it had a super light consistency which was positive, but it just didn’t taste like much until you got to the top part where the mango sauce was. Needed a bit more of that!
Next we had the Duo Chocolate Cake – layers of Brownie and Truffle Mousse (not the same truffles from the pasta, don’t worry!):
This baby was GOOD! It was very rich and creamy. The bottom was harder and dense, while the mousse was light and smooth. Loved the mix in textures, and the caramel drops were great…give me more of that next time too! 🙂
We also had the Crunchy Walnut Cake – Dark Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Coulis:
They sure seem to put raspberry coulis with everything, not that that’s a bad thing! 😉 There was a crust on the bottom and a layer of dark chocolate in the middle that ties it all together. I loved the crust on the bottom, it was absolutely delicious!
Lastly of course we had to try the Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Sundae – Cookies and Cream Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce and Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Although this wasn’t the most inventive thing in the world, if you don’t like it then I really don’t know what to say to you! haha. The ice cream itself was really smooth and flavorful, and there was a fantastic cookie under it. The only problem I had was that the fudge sauce was on the very bottom, that made it hard to get at! Other than that though it was great!
Basically all the dessert options were very good, and we really should have ordered more of them!!
One last look at the colors:
I thought the colors were so spectacular in the room, and now that dinner is dying down a bit, let’s take one more look around:
It’s really so much different after the show, it’s incredible. I couldn’t stop wandering and looking at all the fantastic colors!
Just to give you a look at the vast difference with the colors…
Two different worlds!
Overall our experience at Animator’s Palate was a great one. It was so hyped up by others before our trip that I was afraid it wasn’t going to live up to it, but we weren’t disappointed at all. I do have to say though it’s obviously that the restaurant itself is the star here and the food takes a back seat, which we really were hoping to love.
There were some good food options, we really enjoyed the Black Truffle Pasta, Salmon Tartar, and Grilled Tuna, and mostly all the desserts were solid, but judged on food only it’s in the middle of the pack and you can find dozens of restaurants in WDW where the food is better. The service though we thought was exceptional during our Animator’s Palate review, just like every restaurant we came across on our cruise aboard the Disney Magic!
The show is fantastic and it’s one of the most fun and unique restaurants you will find on any Disney property! It’s like having dinner right in the middle of the Walt Disney Animation Studios! Your kids will have a ball! I think if you go on a Disney Cruise this is a must try, just be aware it will be more for the show and the whole experience than the food itself!
I love to write Restaurant Reviews of Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise and I hope you found this one to be informative and helpful. If you liked this review then please visit my Disney Dining Reviews Page where I have many other Restaurant Reviews. I’m happy sharing with you what I love doing best…eating! ? I try to bring you the most thorough and unbiased reviews about the food and restaurants at Walt Disney World, so that as you are planning your vacation, you know the “can’t be missed” places, and where you shouldn’t waste your time. Hope you enjoyed this one and will enjoy many others in the future!!
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