One of the unique features of a Disney cruise is that there are three main dining rooms which families eat in each night – taking table companions and waiters with them.
Like Disney Dream, the new ship Disney Fantasy has an Enchanted Garden restaurant, inspired by the palace of Versailles. The elegant Royal Court restaurant, with detailed design touches that incorporate Cinderella’s glass slipper and Snow White’s magic mirror, is the equivalent of the sister ship’s Royal Palace.
On both ships, the third selection is Animator’s Palate, where the interactive entertainment on 130 video screens around the walls is an integral part of the experience.
Fun as it is sharing a joke with Crush the turtle from the Finding Nemo film as he swims from screen to screen, it’s not quite the same second time around, so the Disney imagineers have come up with a second show for Fantasy. And it’s a winner.
When passengers arrive, they find their table mats are a sketch pad and alongside the cutlery is a box of crayons. Everyone will create their own cartoon which is then whisked away – to become part of the show.
During the meal, the TV screens show a smorgasbord of food-related scenes from Disney and Pixar movies, and as a finale, children will watch their own creations dancing alongside Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio, Tigger, Baloo the Bear and a host of other characters. Here’s a tiny preview of just a part of it to show how it looks.
Each contributor gets their name in the credits, and the original artworks are delivered to cabins with a seal confirming the artist as “an official Disney animator.”
After dinner, with the kids safely tucked up in bed, adults have their own play area on the ship. On Disney Dream it’s called The District”; on Fantasy, it’s Europa.
There have been some tweaks here, made as a result of experience gained on the earlier ship. The Skyline Lounge has been expanded, and the ever-changing vistas on the wall-mounted HD screens now show day turning into night in seven cities: London, Paris, Barcelona, Florence, Athens, St Petersburg and Budapest.
Instead of an American sports bar, Fantasy has O’Gills, a shamrock-filled Irish pub serving Guinness; the Champagne Bar is now called Ooh La La and is decked out like a velvet-lined boudoir.
British passengers will be especially welcome in The Tube nightclub – though whether they will appreciate being surrounded by decor inspired by the London Underground as they party into the night is another matter. For extra authenticity, the seating and ceiling design reflects Union Jack inspiration, and there will be a red telephone box on either side of the dance floor.
Incidentally, the loos in Europa (I refuse to follow the Americans in calling them rest rooms or bathrooms) are a work of art in themselves. And it’s pretty obvious which is the gents’ and which is for ladies.
STILL TO COME: What’s new on the outer decks, plus more exclusive sneak peek pictures