Disney Dream Dining: The Miss Bonnie Birthday Edition

May 13, 2014

As you may remember from the post “Another Dream come true… the Disney Dream that is…” we recently got to take another sojourn on the gorgeous Disney Dream to celebrate Miss Bonnie’s birthday. Along with Meme and Bapa, her Parental Units, we were able to board the same big ol’ boat we spent our post-wedding celebration on and this time we got to spend her Big Day on Castaway Cay!

Having the good fortune to sail on the Dream and the Fantasy several times in the past few years, one of our plans (or my plan at least) for this trip was to try as many different menu items as possible. The menus at the main restaurants on board both ships haven’t changed dramatically since we first went on these ships, so I wanted to venture out from some of the items we’ve had on prior sailings – of course there would be a few items we just couldn’t pass on, but I wanted to make a concerted effort to try some different dishes.

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With that being said, I of course went to my old favorite standby for the boarding day buffet: a big pile of mussels!

Shellfish

Mussels & Shrimp…

I really have a “thing” for the chilled mussels and had been thinking about them for days before we got on the Dream, so when we hit Cabanas after we boarded the ship I started off my culinary cruise with a huge plate of the bivalves – so much for trying new things…

Crab

Claws!

Someone in our party (can you say Mama Meme?) has a similar affection for the crab claws… we’ll see more of those in the future…

Veggies

There were a few veggies…

We did sample a few other non-shellfish items off the buffet…

Our just desserts...

Our just desserts…

and yes, there was a big plate of desserts to start off our trip!

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Dinner the first night was at Enchanted Garden.

North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli

North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli

There were a few old favorites among the appetizers/salads/soups…

Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower

Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower

with the tuna & avocado always being a fave…

Applewood Smoked Bacon Wild Mushroom Tart

Applewood Smoked Bacon Wild Mushroom Tart

Romaine Wedge Salad

Romaine Wedge Salad

Heirloom Tomato Soup

Heirloom Tomato Soup

Cream of Green Asparagus Soup

Cream of Green Asparagus Soup

I really enjoyed the tomato soup, while Bonnie & Meme both loved the asparagus soup.

Caramelized Sea Scallops

Caramelized Sea Scallops

The scallops and sea bass are also old favorites – we usually think the sea bass is one of the best items served anywhere on board.

Pan-seared Sea Bass

Pan-seared Sea Bass

Even though the sea bass wasn’t a new item for us to try, it was a bit different from prior times. In the past it was served more Asian-style with a sweet chili sauce, this time it sat atop a fava bean and pea risotto and was napped with a dill-chive Riesling sauce… mmmm… Miss Bonnie loves both Riesling (and had a glass of same to accompany the dish) and sea bass, so this version was a big hit with her!

Part of the Enchanted Garden menu

Part of the Enchanted Garden menu

Harrisa Lamb Salad

Harrisa Lamb Salad

I picked a couple of new-to-me dishes for the first evening: Harrisa Lamb Salad from the “Lighter Note Offerings” section of the menu…

Glazed Portobello Mushrooms

Glazed Portobello Mushrooms

and from the “Vegetarian” section the Glazed Portobello Mushrooms. I liked the cold lamb atop couscous quite a bit, and the meaty mushrooms and lentils was also a very satisfyingly plate.

Sweet Temptations - A trio of Esterhazy Cake, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Chocolate Silk Mousse

Sweet Temptations – A trio of Esterhazy Cake, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Chocolate Silk Mousse

Even though we were all pretty well stuffed from dinner and the afternoon buffet, desserts still made their way to our table…

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Sundae

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Sundae

Our Most Excellent server Christian pretty much insisted that we try the date pudding…

Warm Sticky Date Pudding

Warm Sticky Date Pudding

and I have to admit that even though I had no desire to stuff another bite of anything into my mouth at that time, the Warm Sticky Date Pudding was incredibly delicious – the best dessert we’d have on the entire cruise (in my most humble dessert opinion)

The Infamous Mickey Bar

The Infamous Mickey Bar

And it wouldn’t be a Disney Cruise without Mickey Bars…

Early morning trivia on the Funnel-Vision screen

Early morning trivia on the Funnel-Vision screen

The first morning on board Bonnie & I had coffee on the deserted pool deck while Disney trivia questions were presented to us…

Good morning...

Good morning!

Meme and Bapa soon joined us and we all watched as one of the crew members made his way through the Aqua Duck on an early AM inspection trek.

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First drops thru the Aqua Duck...

First drops thru the Aqua Duck…

After our morning entertainment, we again headed to Cabanas (this will be a theme for the trip as you’ll see) for the breakfast buffet.

Just a small part iof the breakfast buffet at Cabanas

Just a small part of the breakfast buffet at Cabanas

There’s always the usual suspects: scrambled eggs, bacon, Mickey waffles and the like, but there’s also things many would think to be a bit different as a breakfast item…

Fish for breakfast???

Fish for breakfast??? Don’t carp about it…

in addition to the not-so-unusual lox and bagels is a whole selection of  cured fish…

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the pastrami-style salmon being one of my breakfast staples while on ship (even though most of the others I’m not too fond of).

Pancakes, the ever-popular Mickey Waffles and the I'm-sure-They-Are-Horrible-For-You-But-Oh-Are-They-Dang-Tasty Mexican Hot Pockets

Pancakes, the ever-popular Mickey Waffles and the I’m-So-Sure-They-Are-Horrible-For-You-But-Oh-Are-They-Dang-Tasty Mexican Hot Pockets

The meaty/cheesy wraps called Mexican Hot Pockets are another go-to item for me in the morning – you could imagine having these at any time of day, but they seem even extra-bad-for-you (and delicious) at breakfast!

And lunch at Cabanas...

And lunch at Cabanas…

Lunchtime found us, well, back at Cabanas. And other than lunch on Castaway day, every breakfast and lunch would be spent there. There is a huge variety of items offered, and they do change things up at least a little bit from day-to-day, so you have plenty to choose from at each feeding.

Sushi

Sushi

Bonnie was looking forward to the sushi, but the offering is fairly mundane – not bad, but certainly nothing to get too worked up about. My first sailing a few years ago on the Wonder featured a much more extensive selection of sushi at the lunch buffet where you could pick and choose from many options, but every cruise we’ve been on since has offered just a one-size-fits-all plate… I’m certainly not expecting uni or toro, but I’d like just a bit more variety.

Big 'ol pile of crab claws

Big ‘ol pile of crab claws

But yes, there’s crab claws… Meme is happy…

Jerk Pork with Rice & Beans

Jerk Pork with Rice & Beans

And there were a few interesting dishes that were quite tasty…

Alsatian Stuffed Chicken Breast (with some Fried Shrimp lurking in the background...)

Alsatian Stuffed Chicken Breast (with some Fried Shrimp lurking in the background…)

And of course more sweets…

Just desserts...

More just desserts…

Royal Palace menu, page one

Royal Palace menu, page one

Royal Palace was the dining venue for our second night.

Royal Palace menu, page two

Royal Palace menu, page two

Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp

Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp

A couple of standard, but good apps were ordered…

Breaded and Deep Fried Brie

Breaded and Deep Fried Brie

and I selected an item from the vegetarian entree section as my appetizer…

Porcini Mushroom Ravioli

Porcini Mushroom Ravioli

the Porcini Mushroom Ravioli were ‘shroom-stuffed pasta pillows in a veggie broth and were among the best things I ate all cruise. Mama Meme had it for her main and agreed with me on their absolute yumminess.  This was another “new-to-me” item, but will be on my “order-again” list if it’s available on our next cruise.

Roasted Steak

Chateaubriand-Roasted Filet Steak

Papa Bapa went for the meat & potatoes main…

Ahi Tuna Nicoise

Ahi Tuna Nicoise

while I again went for something I’d never had off of the Lighter Note section of the menu: the Ahi Tuna Nicoise  with seared tuna, green beans, potatoes, hard-boiled egg and onions all with a vinaigrette dressing. This cold dish was a great lighter option (but still plenty of food) and really tasty – this would also serve as a nice app/salad split between two people.

Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brûlée and Strawberry Shortcake Sundae

Tahitian Vanilla Crème Brûlée and Strawberry Shortcake Sundae

And yes, even though we were all stuffed once again, there just had to be dessert… I think it’s a law…

Peanut Butter Mousse

Peanut Butter Mousse

The Peanut Butter Mousse here is another old favorite, and to me one of the better desserts.

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One thing a lot of people don’t seem to know is that there is food all over the ship for a good part of the day, and not just at the fast-food eateries on the pool deck.

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Vista Cafe, the small coffee bar in the main atrium area usually has several goodies available, and we made use of this to get some (free!) snacks to take into the movie theater for our after dinner flick (and if you haven’t seen Saving Mr. Banks yet, stop here and go watch it!).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

Mocha Filled Chocolate Eclairs

Mocha Filled Chocolate Eclairs

Just ask the crew member for what you’d like, get it on a plate and take your eats with you!

Carrot Cake and Citrus Cream Cheese

Carrot Cake and Citrus Cream Cheese

Oatmeal Cookies on a Stick

Oatmeal Cookies on a Stick

Cookies on a Stick – sheer genius!

The Cove Cafe in the adults area is another place you can get eats – sweets much of the time – but I have seen sandwiches there during the day as well – and even though you do have to pay for beverages in these places, the food is on the house!

There’s also late-nite snacks available for the grown-ups in the adult entertainment area – mostly of the fried bar-food style (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).

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This night was also Pirate Night. If you’re on longer voyages there will be a special menu at your sit-down restaurant on that night, but on a 3-nighter, it’s the standard menu…

Turkey legs, ham, taco fillings...

Turkey legs, ham, taco fillings…

However, after the show on deck and fireworks (yes, there are fireworks at sea!), there is a special late-night buffet.

and desserts, oh my...

and desserts, oh my…

Turkey legs are the highlight for many, but there is also taco fixings, wraps, sweets and a crepe bar among other things.

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To me the coolest part of the buffet is the decor, especially the incredible carved melons!

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And we all know how much a pirate loves melons…

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After a late night snack (and yes, Meme did have more desserts) we all settled down for a not-so-long springtime sleep anticipating Bonnie’s Birthday-Bash-on-the-Beach.

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After another breakfast at Cabanas, we headed ashore on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

One of the first places you pass on the way along the path is the Conched Out Bar – and even though it was a day for celebration, we held off on the adult beverages until later in the day.

Cocked Out Bar drink menu

Conched Out Bar drink menu

There are some good Hidden Mickeys at this location… look for them next time you’re there.

"I'm not bad..."

“I’m not bad…”

And speaking of hidden, a certain Ms Rabbit keeps an eye out at the adult beach…

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The BBQ at the adults-only area, Serenity Bay, is always one of our favorite things on the cruise.

Adult BBQ

BBQ at Serenity Bay

You can find the usual dogs & burgers along with ribs, mahi mahi, chicken and thin rib eyes…

Ribs

Ribs!

They also have a nice Greek-style salad with tomatoes, cukes, feta, etc. that goes really well with couscous that’s also on the menu there.

Fish & Meat...

Fish & Meat… let’s eat!

On our way back to the ship we made a stop at one of Bonnie’s favorite spots: the Heads Up bar.

Heads Up Bar

Heads Up Bar

With a great view, and some dang good beverages, this is a really nice way to end your day on Castaway.

Enjoy a beverage and the view...

Enjoy a beverage and the view…

And speaking of beverages, most of the specialty drinks on the island are really pretty good, with the Konk Kooler being a favorite. And at $5.75, they’re actually a pretty good deal! They could get away with gouging you a bit more, but I think most of the beverage prices on Castaway and aboard ship are really pretty reasonable (but they do need a much better beer selection on the island!).

While still on the subject of booze (which I guess is one of my favorite subjects), you do know you can carry it onto the ship don’t you? Disney allows each adult a carry-on bag which you can fill with bottles of wine, beer and/or the hard stuff! You can’t take bottles with you to dinner (not without a corking fee, that is), but if you want to enjoy an adult bev or twelve in your stateroom you can, and it really helps save to some cash!

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Dinner on our last night was at Animator’s Palate.

"Finding Nemo" Artwork

“Finding Nemo” Artwork

We were (appropriately) seated in an area filled with drawings from “Finding Nemo”.

"Finding Nemo" Artwork

“Finding Nemo” Artwork

"Finding Nemo" Artwork

“Finding Nemo” Artwork

Despite my edict to try new items, we did have to pretty much all order the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes as an appetizer – cheese-filled pasta with the earthy aroma of truffles doused with a champagne sauce, what’s not to love? If I had to pick a death row meal, this would be on it…

Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes - maybe not the best pic, but my, oh my, what a dish...

Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes – maybe not the best pic, but my, oh my, what a dish…

I did try a salad here for the first time, and quite enjoyed the Arugula and Curly Endive Salad – the almost-meaty figs with the most defiantly-meaty chorizo make this plate of greens more than just the average salad.

Arugula and Curly Endive Salad with Sliced Chortzo, Dried Figs, Herbed Croutons topped with a Cider Dressing

Arugula and Curly Endive Salad with Sliced Chorizo, Dried Figs, Herbed Croutons and topped with a Cider Dressing

Bonnie went for the chicken for the first time here, but was a bit underwhelmed… the meat was a bit dry… the roasted root veggies that surrounded the breast were the best part of this dish.

Lemon-thyme Marinated Organic Chicken Breast

Lemon-thyme Marinated Organic Chicken Breast

Meme went for the standby signature meat dish here, the Beef Tenderloin. It was really tender, and had a nice Asian influence to the flavor.

Disney Dream Disney Cruise Line Animator’s Palate

Ginger-Teriyaki dusted Angus Beef Tenderloin

I did try a new item as a side to share with Bonnie: the Potato, Celeriac and Onion Gratin. With collards on the side, this is listed as a veggie entree, but as a main course I’d say it’s a bit on the small side. It was very tasty, so I’d have it again as a compliment to the meal.

Potato, Celeriac and Onion Gratin

Potato, Celeriac and Onion Gratin

My main was a “sorta” new dish – I had a single bite of it on a prior sailing, and had been wanting a full portion of it ever since!

The A-Freaking-Amazingly-Good Herb Crusted Veal Chop

The A-Freaking-Amazingly-Good Herb Crusted Veal Chop

The crusted veal chop sits on a plate with risotto and a wine sauce, but the tender meat doesn’t need anything else to be among my favorite dishes on the ship (not that I’m going to order it next time without the risotto and sauce mind you…). Unless you really have something against dining on baby bovine, this is a must-have meal!

"Make Your Own Pie"

“Make Your Own Pie”

And again, we couldn’t end the night without something sweet – Meme loved the fun and lemony flavors of the Make Your Own Pie…

White Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake

White Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake

while I couldn’t resist the version of cheesecake.

Happy Birthday Bonnie!

Happy Birthday Bonnie!

It being Bonnie’s birthday, she did get a big serenade from much of the staff, and was brought out a special chocolate dessert (including fruity Hidden Mickeys in the plate).

The “special” dessert isn’t bad at all, but it seems that it’s the same one for any celebration, with the only difference being what’s printed on the piece of chocolate (as you can see in the pic below we got essentially the same dessert on our wedding cruise).

Generic Chocolate Celebration Cake

Generic Chocolate Celebration Cake

Animator’s is by far our favorite dining location of the restaurants in the regular rotation – the decor, the “show”, and the menu are all top notch!

Throughout the meal the artwork, well, changes… and there is a visit or two from a certain aged terrapin… but in case you haven’t experienced it for yourself, I don’t want to spoil it for you…

There was an unusual ending to each of our evening meals: magic! The servers did some close-ups magic tricks at the end of each dinner service, I’m sure for the capable conjurer they are pretty pedestrian prestidigitation, but they baffled and amused us! I don’t know when they began this practice (it was the first time we experienced it), or how long it may last, but it was a fun way to wrap up the meal. Have any of you seen this?

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Sadly that was our last night on the Dream, and the next AM we once again visited Cabanas for a farewell breakfast buffet (they do serve a seated breakfast on departure day, but I’ve always found it to be a bit lackluster).

Thanks to Meme and Bapa for a great birthday trip! We’re now counting down the days to our next scheduled sailing on the Magic for our first anniversary! Why don’t you join us?

As always, back to the kitchen – see you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

3 Responses to “Disney Dream Dining: The Miss Bonnie Birthday Edition”

  1. emmabarbie Says:

    Wow what a fantastic post! I love the idea of a Disney Cruise for a birthday trip, especially a day on Castaway Cay.
    Thanks for lots of food ideas – I hadn’t realised the sweet treats in Vista Cafe were complimentary. I’m looking at dates at the moment for a 2015 cruise on the Fantasy.. cannot wait!
    Thank you again, your posts are always so informative and fun :)

    Like

  2. fishyrocketboy Says:

    Thanks Emma – glad you enjoyed it!

    Like


  3. […] Eating (and Drinking) Around the World dines aboard the Disney Dream! […]

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