Two of the most enticing reasons to take a cruise vacation are the unique entertainment and seemingly never-ending supply of food. Across all four Disney Cruise Line ships, Disney has combined these two elements in its Animator’s Palate restaurant, offering delightful entertainment based on its rich film history over dinner. On the Disney Fantasy, the newest and most dazzling show to be featured in Animator’s Palate is called “Animation Magic,” bringing patron’s drawings to life alongside familiar Disney characters.
During the ship’s recent Inaugural preview cruise, the new show sparked laughter, amazement, and applause from the whole restaurant, but just barely made up for its lackluster food offerings. So let’s start with the good about dining at Animator’s Palate.
With each new show that Disney debuts, Imagineers continue to impress guests with “how do they do that” moments. The entirety of the Animation Magic show is one of those moments, captured in the video below.
Video: Animation Magic show in the Animator’s Palate restaurant on the Disney Fantasy:
The experience begins as diners sit down, finding markers and blank sheets to drawn on at each place setting. Animation sketches are displayed on the restaurant’s many video screens, acting as inspiration for the soon-to-be-artists dining there.
Servers encourage diners to draw a character, no matter the artistic skill level, within the lines presented on the place mat, making sure to place the head in the head box, arms in the arm boxes, etc. Guests also add a name and stateroom to identify whose artwork is whose. Most patrons draw similar-looking people, with squiggly hair and basic clothing and facial features. Those who happen to possess some drawing talent seize the opportunity to be creative. I drew Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”:
Over dinner, the show remains mostly out of the way, with scenes from various Disney animated films appearing on the video screens in the background.
Mickey Mouse pops in at one point between courses to let everyone know that he’s working on a special show as a finale to the meal. It’s a nice change from Turtle Talk being presented in the same restaurant on the Disney Dream, where Crush invades and disturbs mealtime.
As the meal progresses, the restaurant becomes more colorful through a shift in lighting. Here’s a before and after comparison:
As the dessert course wraps up, Animation Magic begins, with Sorcerer Mickey Mouse making every diner’s drawing animate. Seen in the video above, it all begins with a lengthy segment showing off each drawn character strutting across the screen in groups of four. Every drawing gets its few seconds of fame and guests are often audibly excited to see theirs dancing around. (My Jack Skellington got a good crowd reaction.)