Disney Cruise Line: Animator’s Palate
When onboard any of Disney Cruise Line’s ships there is one thing you can be guaranteed: a wonderful evening in a interactive dinning room called Animators Palate. Animator’s is themed around Disney and Pixar animation, and no matter which ship you are on, you are in for a fantastic experience; available in restaurant activities are ship specific, and itinerary length specific. Regardless, no matter which Animator’s Palate you eat at – Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Wonder, or Disney Magic – you are in for a very magical experience.
Through five different cruises, I’ve been able to experience all of the Animators Palate dining experiences, and while I have my favourite, they are all extraordinary. Whether you are designing your own interactive figure, watching a great animations show complete with a visit from Sorcerers Mickey, or doing Turtle Talk with Crush, Disney knows how to put a smile on the face of all cruisers, young and old.
Drawn to Magic
While probably the least favourite for most adults, animating your own character is a huge hit with the kids, at least my kids. When you enter the restaurant and are shown to your seat, a place mat and marker will be at your table. Using the market, cruisers are encouraged to animate their own stick figure by drawing a head, arms, and legs in the designated areas, adding whatever details they would like, area permitting.
The hosting team provides plenty of time for both adults and kids to finish their creation before bringing food to the table, so you’ll never feel rushed; should you finish early, sit back and take in the beauty of the restaurant. On the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, the restaurant is themed in sections, showing off the best of Disney Animation. In our section of the restaurant, for example, was themed after Toy Story, with a few toys and books up on shelves; it’s subtle, but a real Disney fan will find it all.
Turtle Talk with Crush
Disney is using the latest and greatest in available technology, and if you’ve ever been to Epcot you might be familiar with Turtle Talk with Crush.
The restaurant is sectioned off in areas, with each area having a number of large, strategically placed TV’s, that will allow all cruisers to view Crush. During dinner, Crush will cruise from section to section, sometimes talking off a script – honouring those with Birthdays and Anniversaries – or will go off script and interact with Cruisers themselves.
Questions are generally simple: what’s your name, where are you from, and who are you cruising with. What’s great, however, is the knowledge memory from person to person. If Crush talks to two people from Georgia, for example, he might say to person #2, “Oh you are from The Georgia too dude. Do you know Dan from The Georgia?” It all works very well, making people wonder just how it works!
Disney Animation Show
The most passive entertainment at Animators Palate is the Disney Animation show, which has no audience participation, but is by far my favorite dinning show. When you enter the restaurant, the walls will be very…white. All you will see are sketches of characters from your favorite Disney movies, but little-to-no colour. This boring, colourless decoration will extend to your wait staff as well, who will don black pants and white and black shirts. If you are unfamiliar, it looks a bit…odd.
As dinner progresses, however, the restaurant slowly begins to change. Unfinished sketches on the walls will begin to be completed, and slowly colour is added to the sketches. On the various TV screens, you will be treated to Disney artists bring your iconic characters to life, from start to finish. The wait staffs attire, like the restaurant, slowly changed as well, with more colour being added into their wardrobe. It’s a unique touch and the various wardrobe changes had little to no effect on dinner or service.
Near the end of your dinning experience, you will be treated to a 10 minute Disney animations video, which is actually and emotional roller coaster taking you through the highs and lows of various Disney fans; for the real hard-core fans, it might even cause you to shed a tear. I did see some of that around the restaurant.
The show comes to a completion with the entrance of Sorcerer Mickey, who dances around the restaurant with the wait staff to cheers and applause. For kids who are not expecting it, it’s a phenomenal extra surprise. You are bound to hear shouts of “It’s Mickey mom” or “It’s Mickey dad!” I’ve seen the show a few times now, but it was enjoyable to see the reactions of those viewing it for the first time!
While all the restaurants onboard Disney Cruise Line are special in their own ways – and be sure to try them all, themed differently and offering a different regional dishes – Animator’s Pallet will definitely be the highlight of your trip. While the restaurant will be busy, crowded, and load on this evening of your trip, seeing the fandom ooze out of fellow cruisers in infectious!
Want to experience Animators Palate for yourself? Head over to the Disney Cruise Line web page and book your trip now!