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Disney Fantasy ‘Animation Magic’ dinner show is a wonder, while Animator’s Palate food is a bland blunder

in Disney, Disney Cruise Line, Entertainment, Food, Movies, Reviews

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.

Animator's Palate restaurant

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.

Animation Magic

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.

Animator's Palate restaurant

Animator's Palate restaurant

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”:

My Jack Skellington drawing - Animator's Palate

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.

Animator's Palate restaurant

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:

Animator's Palate restaurant

Animator's Palate restaurant

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.)


  1. Scott B

    haha, this headline is pretty awesome.

  2. AJ

    Awesome pics and review, Ricky!!! I’m sorry to hear about the food here. I really enjoyed Animator’s Palate on the Dream, but perhaps that was more about atmosphere and fun than about food. I maintain that Palo and Remy are the places to eat on the ship.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      I also enjoyed the food at Animator’s Palate on the Dream, more so than the Turtle Talk entertainment. It was the reverse on the Fantasy. Fortunately you’re right – my meal at Palo the following night more than made up for this dull food. Palo’s food was fantastic! (Review and photos to come soon.)

  3. Jenny

    How will you know if you’re getting the Captain’s Gala menu? I don’t think I understood how you got this menu. Does the menu differ night by night, or does one night’s menu have different options than the other nights? Thanks for the review!

    1. Ricky Brigante

      The daily Navigator guide that’s delivered to staterooms tells which menu is served that night. The whole restaurant gets the same menu. You may be able to find out in advance when you first get on board and change your dining rotation around then, though there isn’t always room to switch.

  4. Nick

    Looks like we sat at the same table! What were the names of your dinner staff?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Leandro and Noel.

  5. Tim

    We thought the food at Animator’s was great, but then, we like seafood and I love venison (I actually ordered both the venison and lobster). I loved the buttered popcorn soup, too. I thought Royal Court was the disappointment for us. Also, on the Magic, Wonder, and Dream, I’ve ordered from the other restaurant menus, even though we weren’t in that restaurant (for instance, I get the escargot every night). Have done this on every Disney cruise I’ve been on (LOTS) and have never had a problem. Tried to do the same thing on the Fantasy in Animators Palate and was DENIED! Was not a happy camper on that one…

  6. Leah

    Thanks for this review. One question…I have been talking up the Crush interaction that we experienced on Dream. Is this still a part of dinner at Animator’s Palate at all? Did you go on a 7-day cruise? Do you know what the show is at Animator’s Palate on those cruises, when you eat twice in this restaurant? Thanks!

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Turtle Talk is indeed also part of the restaurant’s experience, just not on the same night as Animation Magic.

  7. Olivia

    Ok HARSH. I just got off the Disney Fantasy and found out that the sailing I was on was only the 9th! They haven’t had much time to refine the menu and waiters like the other 3 ships have. Granted, my head waiter sucked too. But give em a break sheesh!

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Not harsh. The menu is nearly identical to the one served on the Dream. There has been plenty of time to refine it before porting it to the Fantasy. Yes, the staff has to be trained, and I give them some slack for that. But I can’t write an honest review and chalk up all poor experiences to it simply being “new.” Everyone on the ship today is a paying customer and should expect a quality meal and service. Anything short of that is worth noting, now or later.

  8. Curtis

    I am a tubal shock at your reviews Out table that consisted of seven people found the advice and food amazing The pop corn soup was designed for you to put popcorn in to the soup to highten taste which without it would be like a chocolate Sunday without the chocolate. Our expience with the different menue was nothing short of amazing. So I might say you werea bit harsh as well.

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