Disney Fantasy Christening Gala – Part 2 The Food!

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Yes, there has been a ton of coverage of the Disney Fantasy Christening Celebration from March 1, 2012. It was a star-studded evening, and the Fantasy is an amazingly beautiful ship. In fact, you can read my coverage here, in Part 1.

But I haven’t seen much about the food. And that’s a shame, because the food was VERY good. And as any cruiser knows, half of the fun of cruising is eating. (At least, that’s what I’ve been told.)  So here you go – a recap of what we ate, and how it was.

First up, we had a variety of passed hors d’oeuvres at the cocktail reception. Sorry for the blurry pics – I was juggling my purse, camera and champagne, while attempting to tweet live on my iPhone and taste the food. I could have used another three hands.

The highlight for me of the cocktail reception was the venison. It was lovely and medium rare. I think I ate four or five…

Venison on root veg puree with berry gelee

Smoked salmon with cream cheese and caviar

Gazpacho

After the evening’s amazing entertainment (have you read Part 1?), we moved into the Royal Court restaurant for dinner. Royal Court is a lovely space, with decor inspired by Disney Princesses and their Princes. The place setting set the tone:

Royal Court Place Setting

Then the bread was delivered – warm herbed brioche, with olive spread. The spread was a little too mild for my taste, but the bread was very nice.

Herbed brioche with olive spread

Next up, a trio of appetizers.. The menu descriptions were: (1 from Animator’s Palate) Smoked Salmon Tartare, Capers, Onions, and Micro Greens topped with American Black Caviar (2 from Royal Court) Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp, White and Green Asparagus, Micro Greens, and Lemon Dill Dressing with Horseradish Cream, and (3 from Enchanted Garden) Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower with Crispy Noodles and Wasabi Dressing

Appetizer Trio

All three were very nicely done. I think my favorite was the lobster and shrimp, probably because I hadn’t had it already in the form of an hors d’oeuvre. Besides, I like how the asparagus is like a little arrow.

Moving on to the entrees, there was again a selection from three of the restaurants. Our table tried four of the five options – all but the vegan.

First, from Enchanted Garden, the Pan-Seared Sea Bass with a Mushroom Herb Risotto, sweet Onion Marmalade and garnished with a Potato Crisp.

Pan-Seared Sea Bass

The fish had a really nice seared crust, and the risotto was delicious. I’m not sure the textures were totally right together, and the risotto was a little thicker than I like, but that’s just splitting hairs.

I had the Crispy Roasted Duck Breast with braised Napa Cabbage, Potato Cake, and Pomegranate Jus from Animator’s Palate.

Crispy Duck from Animator's Palette

The duck was just fine, and I certainly ate it all! But it was a little overcooked, and just sort of boring. I loved the braised cabbage, though. Could have eaten a whole bowlful.

From Palo, one of the adult-only restaurants on the Fantasy (and the only one I didn’t get to tour), there was an Oregano and Parmesan Crusted Rack of Lamb with Sangiovese roasted Shallots, Olive Oil, baked Roma Tomatoes, Potato Torta and Herb Jus. My dining companion had this, and said it was absolutely delicious. Truth be told, I was sort of taking one for the team by ordering the duck, just to make sure we had a good selection of the food. But man, I really wanted this lamb.

Rack of Lamb from Palo

Finally, it wouldn’t be a cruise without surf and turf. It came in the form of the Royal Court Aged Angus Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Lobster Tail with sauteed Snow Peas and Marquis Potatoes with Cognac reduction. It looked divine, and my dining companions really enjoyed it.

Angus Beef Tenderloin and Lobster Tail

Moving on to dessert, again there were a trio from three restaurants. (1 from Animator’s Palate) Mini Lava Cake (2 from Royal Court) Tahitian Vanilla Creme Brulee and (3 from Enchanted Garden) Celebration Cake.

Dessert Trio

Frankly, this was the least-successful course. The two cakes were OK (but very boring), and the creme brulee was just not the right texture. The custard was not as soft as it should be, and the crust not as hard. It’s tough to do creme brulee properly at a large scale, particularly with such small cups. I don’t think they should have attempted it.

HOWEVER, here is where the Disney Fantasy service kicked in. Our table of Disney experts from Magic Carpet Travel Service asked our wonderful server if they had Mickey Bars. His answer? “Of course! How many would you like?” Oh, six please!

Disney service at its finest

The other tables were jealous. Mickey Bars suddenly began appearing at neighboring tables, to the delight of all.

Mickey Bars all in a row

So were we done eating? Nah. We headed to the Europa club district for the after-party, and found treats there as well. I hope these are still around for the regular cruise, and not just for the christening party. The salted caramel truffles were delish!

Treats at Europa

Chocolate dipped strawberries

Salted caramel truffle

I can’t wait to go back.

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Holidays Around WDW part 2 – Epcot Celebrations Around the World

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EPCOT’s World Showcase is magical at any time of the year, but during the holidays it is completely mind-blowing. (Part 1 – Resorts, is here.)

First, there are the storytellers.

In Italy, La Befana flies through the air on her broomstick and visits children on the eve of the Epiphany and leaves children gifts, just in case they are in fact the Gesu Bambino. The storyteller we saw was riveting.

La Befana, Italy Pavilion, EPCOT
In Japan, a traditional New Year’s gift is the Daruma doll.  From what I could gather, it’s basically a way to stick to your New Years resolution. The dolls have no eyes when you first receive them.  When you make your resolution, or set a goal, you paint one eye on the doll. When you achieve your goal, you can paint on the other eye. It’s keeping its eye on you! Creepy…
Daruma doll vendor, Japan Pavilion, EPCOT
Not an official Storyteller, but if she’s there, make sure to see Miyuki, the “Candy Lady”! She is one of only 15 artists in the world who still practice the art of Amezaiku, and the only woman. She makes incredibly detailed animal lollypops out of corn syrup. She is absolutely mesmerizing. And the lollypops get donated to kids at a local hospital.
Miyuki, Japan Pavilion, EPCOT
In Norway, your hosts are Sigrid and the trixter gnome Julenissen. Julenissen watches over the family’s animals, so the kids leave him porridge in the barn. It’s a charming story, and pretty funny.
Sigrid, Norway Pavilion, EPCOT
Julenissen, Norway Pavilion, EPCOT

Yet another jolly rotund fellow with a white beard is Father Christmas in the United Kingdom. Truth be told, he was a little long-winded. Plus, he wouldn’t stand still so that I could get a non-blurry picture. It is entirely possible that even surrounded by magic and wonderment, I started to get a little tired and grumpy toward the end of the night.

Father Christmas, United Kingdom Pavilion, EPCOT
After you visit the Storytellers, (Yes there are more, but man, it really takes a lot of time to get to each of them. So we didn’t.) you must, must, must see the Candlelight Processional. And you must, must, must have advanced reservations so that you don’t have to stand in line for two to three hours. It’s not difficult to get the reservations, it just takes a little planning. The Candlelight Processional package includes a three-course dinner at a restaurant in EPCOT. When you pay for dinner, you are given a badge. At your appointed time, you stick your badge to your shirt and stand in the special “shorter” line. Don’t worry if it looks ridiculously long. Once the gate opens it moves very quickly.
And why is it worth the effort and wait? It’s a spectacular show featuring a large orchestra and chorus, with a celebrity narrator who tells the story of Christmas. And we had the BEST narrator ever. What up, NPH?!
Neil Patrick Harris, Candlelight Processional, EPCOT

OK, honestly, my kid was whiny and bored. It was cold, and she was tired, and listening to an hour of the Christmas story and choral music was a little too much like being forced to go to church while at EPCOT. But I LOVED it.

More NPH

Seriously, this was a great time. I was singing French carols for a week.

Candlelight Processional, EPCOT
But as always, it’s sometimes the smallest touches that make EPCOT and Disney so special.
Winter on the Rhine, German Pavilion, EPCOT
Twinings Tea Shop, United Kingdom Pavilion, EPCOT
And it’s spending time with my two favorite people that makes it fun.
The Stave Church, Norway Pavilion, EPCOT
Happy Holidays. Until next year!
Christmas Tree, EPCOT 2011

Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop 9/21/2011 – Your Favorite Disney Souvenir

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Hosted by The InfoMouse.  All I’m left with are photos and cavities…

Gummy Burger!
Deco/Tongue in Cheek Chocolates from Tower of Terror
A Mouthful of Candy Helps the Wait-time Go Down
Flakie Puffs at the Canada Pavillion!
Wicked Smaaat – United Kingdom
Japanese candy at the Japanese Pavillion, EPCOT
Fits so nicely in the suitcase.
A rainbow of Japanese soda flavors.  The lychee is the best.

Feel free to link below!  Happy Hopping.