One thing we discovered aboard the Disney Fantasy was that Disney Cruise Line is unique in offering rotational dining options for their cruisers each night. Meaning, that you're assigned dinner at a different restaurant each night, and your table companions and serving staff rotate with you. So we ate with the same other family (a lovely threesome from Long Island) at our table each evening, and we were served by the same staff each night.
The first night aboard, we ate at Royal Court, we dined at Animator's Palate our second night, and at Enchanted Garden our third evening. We ate at Cabana's self-serve dining for breakfast and lunch on the ship, usually choosing to eat on the outside deck or near the pool. (Gotta love some fresh sea air, spring sun, and the amazing Caribbean blue hue of the sea and sky!)
Unlimited Soft Serve Ice Cream
Of course, I'd be remiss if I ignored the fact that there's self-serve soft serve ice cream conveniently located on Deck 11. I'm sure many families found themselves stopping by the stations once (dare I say twice?) a day.
Disney Cruise Line's rotational dining experience allowed Disney's customer service to really shine. The serving staff took our drink orders, and noted any special requests (c2cDad asked if they had liquid sugar for his ice tea the first night, whereas I ordered ice tea straight-up, or sugar-free), or any dietary needs (a tablemate tweaked a menu item to make it kosher). Then, much to our surprise and delight, the second evening when we arrived at our table for dinner, our drinks were waiting for us! The same drinks, the same way we'd ordered them the first night! The Kiddo's drink was set up with a cute straw and his name on it.
Disney's Magical Customer Service
The Disney magical service didn't stop there. When the Kiddo ordered a dish that came with French fries, our server, Melody, tapped out ketchup onto his plate with flourish - in the shape of a Mickey. She, Erasmo and Lily developed a raport with us, sharing tidbits each night about each restaurant, about their maiden voyage leaving the shipyard in Germany to sail to the US, about how they came to work for Disney Cruise Lines, about their shifts and what they do aboard the ship. It was fun and fascinating. Plus, whenever we ran into them in other places throughout the cruise, they made a big point of calling out the Kiddo's name and giving him a hug. It was a warm and welcome touch.
I should say, that EVERY STAFF MEMBER aboard the Disney Fantasy was warm and friendly and helpful. Even staff members whom we didn't remember meeting, greeted us with the Kiddo's name and a "Good Morning, Evening," etc. or asked how we were doing, or offered to help us with anything. Perhaps even as employees, it's impossible to have a bad day with Disney? The staff helped make for a stress-free and enjoyable trip and definitely added to the magic of vacationing with Disney.
I mean, how many times do you go on vacation, and have the staff - and you - asking to nab a photo together before you leave? Our dining serving staff will be aboard the Disney Fantasy through early June, and future cruisers would be lucky to be seated with them.
Food aboard the Disney Fantasy
Many people who've gone on a cruise before know that food and dining is an integral part of the experience. The four course dinner menus and food were terrific. Just remember that they're serving over 1200 people at once twice a night, so there's mass platings and I'd compare it to eating at a large wedding. Very good food that Disney prepares according to any special requests.
Here's a few of the dishes we tried:
Ahi Tuna and Avocado Tower at Enchanted Garden . . .
Triple corn soup dish at Animator's Palate . . .
I'd show you more, but we dug into our other dishes before taking pics to share!
Soft drinks, hot/cold tea, milk and black coffee are free and included in the cruise, but any alcoholic or specialty coffee drinks are charged to your stateroom. I ordered a latte one evening with dessert and had to sign to accept charges. There's free open fountain/self serve coffee, tea, water and soda on Deck 11 from morning until night too.