Friday, January 20, 2017

Foodie Friday: Palo Brunch (DCL)

This week's Foodie Friday is switching gears a bit. We're heading out to sea to cover
(adult dining) on all four of the Disney Cruise Line ships.

Craig and I had the pleasure of dining here on our last cruise in April. We were aboard the Disney Dream where Palo is located on Deck 12 Aft/Starboard across from Remy. It's a beautiful Italian, adult-only restaurant aboard all 4 of the DCL cruise ships.

Palo requires a reservation and is an additional charge not covered in your cruise fare. A charge of $30 per adult will show up on your stateroom bill. Dinner is served nightly, and if you're on a cruise 4 nights or longer, brunch is served on sea days.

It may seem a little silly to pay for an additional meal when all of the food is included on a Disney cruise, but I have to tell you- it's worth it!

We are Silver Castaway Cay Members, so we were able to make reservations at 90 days out. We did so promptly as I did not want to miss out on the chance to have brunch here on our one sea day. There were still a few openings by the time we boarded the ship, so luckily we were able to snag an earlier time that day, so we could also attend another event that afternoon.

Our stateroom host delivered our invitation that Thursday.

 Palo is located right next door to the Meridian bar which has a beautiful view and outdoor seating area.

 We arrived early, ordered drinks and went outside for a moment. The weather was just fabulous, and the scenery was breathtaking. To be out there in the never-ending ocean with those wide open skies... wow.

It wasn't long before we were seated. There's not a bad seat in the house. All tables face the ocean. Brunch is the time to go! I wouldn't want to miss the bright blue out those windows. (Apologies those photos didn't turn out!

Your server will bring you a complimentary beverage (mimosa or prosecco).

When you're ready, they'll show you to the buffet to give you a little tour of the offerings. They have several tables set up with a wide variety of brunch options, including fruits, veggies, baked goods, seafood, meats and cheeses, and more.

Oh, and the service was outstanding. Our waiter even offered to fix our plates for us. I wanted time to peruse the options, so I politely declined. We gathered our first plates and headed back to the table. Everything we sampled was delicious. Oh, with the exception of the caviar. Not to say it was bad, but this was our first time having caviar. I don't at all enjoy seafood of any kind, but I wanted to try it anyway. As anticipated, I was not a fan. Craig, on the other hand, went into with a more open mind. He wasn't impressed. he said it tasted like a mouthful of tiny olives, salty. He said he probably wouldn't ever pay for any, but he'd eat it again.

In addition to the buffet items they have several items they prepare to order. 

*Note: When we went they had them displayed in carts for you to see, and you simply ordered with your server when you were ready. Since April 2016 they implemented a printed menu of these items which your server will present to you.

There were several we wanted to try, so we decided to order a few to share. 

We went with the parmesan-crusted chicken (oh my goodness, it was every bit as good as everyone said!)

This was a pesto pasta of some sort (I apologize I don't remember the name exactly), but it doesn't appear to be available on the new printed menu. That's a shame, because this was also delicious.

The Italian sausage flatbread was just "okay" in my opinion.
Last, but not least, Craig loved the veal.

And, yes, after all that we still went for dessert. Remember, there is no judgment on a Disney Cruise. you're among friends :-)

I am very sad to see the Strawberry Soup is no longer on the menu. This was absolutely delicious. I am a fan of the dish at the Grand Floridian (1900 Park Fare), but somehow this was even better.

Champagne jello and fruit? Yes, please!

As if it weren't apparent by now, we had a fabulous time and really enjoyed this experience. The food was great, the service was wonderful, and the setting and ambiance were impeccable. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for something special on their next Disney Cruise. It was well worth the "upcharge". 

Know Before You Go: 
  • Palo is an adult-only dining experience. 
  • Brunch is $30 per person and will be added to your stateroom bill.
  • Reservations are required. They can be made online (after your booking window opens) or aboard the ship.
  • There is a strict dress code "to preserve the elegant ambiance of this restaurant," which is enforced. Dress pants or slacks and a collared shirt for men, and a dress, skirt or pants and a blouse for women. While the website does now say that jeans with NO holes are allowed, I wouldn't push it. (Again, this is enforced, so if you're questioning something I probably wouldn't go with it.)

This post carries a disclosure Level of 0. Please see my disclosure page for more details.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Disney's Mousekeeping

If you're new to Disney, you might not know that housekeeping at a Disney Resort goes by a different name... Mousekeeping. Clever, right?

Well, we love Mousekeeping. While we try to keep a pretty tidy hotel room when we travel anyway, we do appreciate them coming in each day to freshen things up for us. Things like taking the trash out, making the beds, replenishing those fun little soaps and shampoos, and getting new towels. Sometimes it's just adding a little touch to an already clean room.

Everyone has a different opinion on tipping Mouse/housekeeping. Some tip, some don't. Some tip daily, some tip at the end. I'm not here to tell you what you should do about any of it. That's a personal choice :-) To each their own, but we're a family who tips daily just in case we get different Mousekeepers throughout our stay. Like I said, we keep things pretty straight around the room, so we usually leave $1 per person, plus $1. Then at the end we leave a little extra to the person who is doing the full clean once we leave.

Mousekeepers are sometimes known to leave some fun surprises in your room while you're away like towel animals or rearranging little lovies.

My kids like to do something special for our Mousekeepers in hopes to motivate them for a little fun. It's not a guarantee, but either way, my kids enjoy doing something nice for the people helping to take care of us while we're away. We like to think it might bring a smile to their day at least.

Those were some certificates we'd found at the Dollar Store when my daughter was young. She colored them and left one each day in an envelope I colored. We've done things like that and notes, and this last trip my daughter decided to draw some of her favorite characters on our tip envelopes. There were a couple I really wanted to keep, but they weren't for me :-(
 She did them all free-hand, too!!

Well, they paid off. We got some fun at Art of Animation for my mother-in-law's birthday.

We also got some nice treats when we switched to Coronado Springs.

Again, this isn't a post to encourage you to tip or do anything special. I just wanted to share a little something my kiddos do to get ready for our trip and spread a little magic of their own while we're away. Hope you enjoyed!

This post carries a disclosure Level of 0. Please see my disclosure page for more details.