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Best Disney Cruise Restaurants

AOL PICK from our Editors
Knowing kids often get bored at meals, Disney Cruise Line wisely created a rotational dining system. You are assigned to eat at a different restaurant each night, and your waitstaff goes with you. This way, there is both change of environment and familiarity -- the servers are excellent at getting to know the kids and sometimes even entertain the youngsters with magic tricks and jokes. When you make your cruise reservations, you sign up for either early (5:45 p.m.) or late seating (8:15 p.m.). Menus include kids’ offerings, and Disney has an excellent reputation for meeting special requests, including food allergies. Disney is the only mainstream cruise line that offers free soda with meals as well as from self-service stations on deck. Casual options include a Lido deck buffet, hamburger grill and panini stand. For date night, there are specialty adults-only restaurants (for a fee).

Animator’s Palate

Ships: Dream, Fantasy, Magic, Wonder
A passenger favorite, this restaurant is done up like an animator’s studio. During the meal what starts as black and white decor gets colored in and suddenly video screens appear, classic Disney tunes play and you see many of your favorite animated characters on the screens. Some fans get teary with nostalgia. On Magic and Fantasy (one-week and longer cruises), a second show uses award-winning technology to let you see your own sketch march across the screens along with Mickey and pals. Mickey also makes an appearance in the flesh. Menu specialties include beef tenderloin with wasabi mashed potatoes.

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Ships: Dream, Fantasy
This beautiful adults-only (age 18 and up) restaurant was very much influenced by “Ratatouille” -- in fact, the private dining area, where you can interact with the chef, was created to look exactly like the restaurant in the movie. The menu is French-influenced; Disney even called in a Michelin-starred chef as an advisor. The waiters speak French, the cuisine is served on fine china, the decor is posh and the wine collection is vast. Cover charge: $75 per person for dinner, $50 for brunch, wine is extra. A dress code applies.

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Ships: Magic, Dream, Fantasy, Wonder
On all four ships, this adults-only Northern Italian restaurant provides the perfect date night locale, a romantic environment with sweeping ocean views and a tasty menu including lobster ravioli and garlic roasted rack of lamb. Brunch is an extravagant affair with a buffet of cold items including fresh seafood, pizzas and other made-to-order entrees and a dessert buffet. Cover charge: $25 per person.

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Lumiere’s (Disney Magic), Royal Palace (Disney Dream), Royal Court (Disney Fantasy), Triton’s (Disney Wonder)

Ships: Dream, Fantasy, Magic, Wonder
The top spot on the rotational dining roster, these elegant spaces evoke the homes of Disney royalty -- Lumiere’s is influenced by “Beauty and the Beast” and Triton’s by the underwater world of “The Little Mermaid.” In the Royal Court on Disney Fantasy, more than 200,000 mosaic pieces make up the Princess-themed wall panels. Dinner is French-inspired, with such dishes as onion soup, duck confit, porcini mushroom-stuffed pasta and seared sea bass. Disney royalty pay a visit, much to the delight of young fans.

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