Cabanas, ooh na-na…
Half of my heart is at Cabanas, ooh na-na…
Oh. Sorry. I thought I was alone. I've been singing that to myself on a loop for like 3 weeks.
I've been thinking a lot about the food experience on the Disney Wonder ever since the trip started a few weeks ago. And I've been overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to put it into a single post. So what I'm going to do is talk here about the general dining experiences on the ship. And then we'll address Palo…separately…and with great honor and attention…later.
In short, the dining experience on Disney Cruise Line was nothing short of extraordinary. And it wasn't just that it was some of the best cruise dining I've experienced, even outside of Palo. I've had phenomenal meals on other ships. But the food on DCL is across the board wonderful and, paired with what Disney does so well – which is incorporate the Disney experience and attention to detail into every available moment – it wins out as the best overall dining experience that I've ever had on a ship.
In short summary, on the Disney Wonder you have access throughout the day to meals and snacks on deck and in the lounges. Cabanas is the large buffet that most people choose for most breakfasts and lunches, but there are simple a la carte breakfast and lunch options on deck and (as for breakfast) at Triton's. Animator's Palate also offers a character breakfast that you can reserve before sailing at no added charge.
The boys with their favorite mouse at the Animator's Palate character breakfast.
Dinner has two seatings, 5:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m., and is on a set rotation. You'll be scheduled for Tiana's Place, Triton's, or Animator's Palate each night. Palo can be booked in advance for brunch or dinner and as of the time of our sailing the added cover for that meal was just $30/pp – but it does book up!! Worth noting: Remy is a fine dining experience available on other DCL ships, but it is not on the Disney Wonder.
All in all – the food was wonderful but what really reeled me in was the full experience of the meals, which only Disney does so well. The wait staff is what you'd expect from any Disney experience. After the first night our drink orders were anticipated before we sat down. Our kids' mac n cheese was prepared with as much care as our filet. Ketchup is poured in the shape of Mickey heads. And my husband's preference for more than one dessert was noted by our waiter and…much to his waistline's chagrin…catered to at every meal without his even having to ask.
Because it was an Alaskan cruise, we also had special touches like hot chocolate and warm cookies when we reboarded the ship after days in port. And crusty bread bowls of soup on deck as we made our way through Endicott Arm.
**Photo credit to fellow cruiser Michelle Ann.**
In fact, I hear that even when you order nothing for dessert, your waiter might have a way to make it special….
**Photo credit to fellow cruiser Lolly O'Neil.**
Also, pro tip: Ask your waiter for the Indian food if it's available. It's not on the official menu but it might just be some of the best food on the ship.
Oh Cabanas. How I miss you….
We boarded the ship and went to Cabanas before we even went to our stateroom. And for good reason!! This is the buffet that just keeps giving, and you'll find it at the stern on Deck 9 of the Wonder. My best advice for this spot is to do a full loop before you start piling up a plate – some of the really good stuff is at the end!! – and sit outside when you can, as you're looking out on the water from the back of the ship and the views are stunning. If you happen to be on an Alaskan cruise like we were, you might even spot a whale while you nibble your Mickey waffles….
The lox and cheese area here during breakfast is not to be believed, and neither are the lunchtime desserts.
There is also a bar full of steamed shrimp, crab claws, and mussels that are so good that you can all but hear angels sing the first time you see it.
Also worth mentioning – no one walks into Cabanas without washing their hands at the sinks that are there for that sole purpose immediately outside the entrance. Killing germs is kind of a theme on DCL and if you've ever thought about the kind of damage that illness can do aboard a cruise ship, you'll appreciate these rules.
This Princess and the Frog themed restaurant is as festive as it is delicious. We dined here three evenings on the ship and experienced nothing but amazing food and entertainment.
**Photo credit to Michelle Ann.**
**Photo credit to fellow cruiser Margaret Fleming.**
**Photo credit to fellow cruiser Kim Hill.**
Tiana and Louis are out and about throughout the night and on the last night, which was Mardi Gras themed, a wonderful band played all evening.
Everyone should be this photogenic….
Last but so very far from least: Don't miss the beignets on Mardi Gras night!! They are worth every fried calorie!
**Photo credit to Michelle Ann.**
This isn't the fanciest meal on the Wonder but it might just be my favorite. Nowhere else on the ship is the theming so fully immersive and each night here is a different show that will take your breath away.
The character breakfast is SO much fun and offers the kind of interaction with the fab 5 that's rare in crowded parks. If you're lucky you might even end up in character yourself with a folded napkin on your head!!
They told me it was a bow…I felt like I was channeling Maleficent. But whatever….
As you eat your meal, the art on the walls comes alive with color before your eyes. And on the last night here, at least as of our sailing, you'll find a special surprise as some of your own art might be featured on screen! (If you follow my Instagram you might have gotten a little taste of this amazing on screen show.)
**Photo credit to fellow cruiser Liz Meeks.**
**Photo credit to Liz Meeks..**
Triton's is the most formal of the normal rotation dining experiences on the ship. The space is gorgeous. I learned from our waiter that the Little Mermaid and King Triton mosaic that adorns the main wall of this restaurant was created by 5 Italian women over the course of 5 months. And bravo to them. It is massive and stunning.
Our formal night on the ship was at this restaurant, which was fitting. There is also a lobster night here…alas we missed it for dinner at Palo that evening. But the meals that we did experience here were so lovely and wonderful. My only advice is to order one of everything.
**Photo credit to fellow cruiser Missy Nevyn.**
**Photo credit to Liz Meeks.**
In summary, I highly recommend sailing DCL to Alaska, as you'll want to be eating freely and not having to worry about maintaining a bikini ready body. 😉